The University of Illinois is the flagship university in Illinois. The main campus is located in the twin cities of Urbana-Champaign, Champaign County. There are branch campuses in other cities, including Springfield, Illinois.
As a Big Ten university, the U of I has a football program. Being a university, it has young people. Young people drink, some of them drive. And some of them are charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
On July 30, 2011, one Ashante Williams, a U of I football player, was arrested for DUI in Urbana. It was reported that Williams was stopped at about 1:30 AM for improper lane usage and speeding. Williams did submit to a breath test, with a resulting blood alcohol level of .177. The legal blood alcohol level in Illinois is .08. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1).
When a person who is arrested for DUI registers a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, he has committed a “per se” violation of the DUI laws. This is a Latin term that essential translates into “automatic”.
The state does not have to prove that the driver was under the influence of alcohol (“drunk”) but simply that he was operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. The Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the “per se” law. People v. Ziltz 98 Ill.2d 38, 455 N.E.2d 70 (1983)
Williams was granted court supervision for one year. Supervision is a sentence that prevents Williams from having his driver’s license revoked by the Secretary of State, the agency in Illinois that maintains driving records.
The judge imposed certain conditions on Williams (fines, alcohol classes, Victim Impact Panel sponsored by MADD), including that he not receive another traffic violation during the year his supervision is in effect. If Williams complies with all of the supervision requirements, although he pled guilty to DUI, he will not have a conviction entered on his record and the charges will be dismissed. 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1(e)
You are only entitled to DUI supervision one time in your life. 730 ILCS 5/5-6-1(d) Notwithstanding the fact that the charges are dismissed, the judge is required to report a supervision disposition to the Secretary of State, where it will remain a permanent part of your court purposes driving record, a record to which the Secretary of State, the police and the judge will always have access. 625 ILCS 5/6-204 This guarantees that you will only get one bite at the apple.
Williams will also face another consequence because of his DUI arrest and blood alcohol level. Illinois has a provision that if you are arrested for DUI, the police may (and will) ask you to submit to chemical testing (blood or breath) to determine your blood alcohol level.
You have the right to not agree to testing, but doing so carries with it negative driver’s license consequences. Since Williams was granted court supervision. we know that this is Williams’ first DUI arrest. Therefore, because he submitted to testing, Williams will face a driver’s license suspension that will automatically end after 6 months. (a suspension automatically ends. A revocation ends only when you have a hearing with the Secretary of State). Had Williams refused to take the test, he would have been suspended for one year. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1.
If Williams had been arrested for a DUI within the previous 5 years, he would have been a non first offender under 625 ILCS 5/11-500 and would have been suspended for 1 year since he took the test. Had he refused, his suspension would have last for 3 years with no chance to drive. 625 ILCS 5/6-206.1(a)