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Senate Bill 924 would revamp driver’s license process in Illinois

Illinois law currently provides that if you are arrested for DUI, your driver’s license may be suspended under the statutory summary suspension (SSS) laws. A suspension, which is a temporary invalidation of your driving privileges for a specified period of time, occurs in conjunction with a request by the arresting officer to take a chemical test, either a breath test or a blood test.

There is a different breath test, the preliminary breath test (PBT), that the officer will usually ask you to take at the arrest scene. Your taking or refusing to take this test has no bearing upon whether you are considered to have refused the test that determines the length of an SSS. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.5 Your response to the request to take the test at the police station is the one that counts, as it is the “chemical test”.

Likewise with blood tests, which are usually used when there is a crash or the officer suspects drugs. At the hospital, the emergency room personnel will ordinarily draw blood for the purpose of rendering treatment. This is known as a “medical draw”.

Later, a police officer will request a separate blood draw for his DUI kit. If you have had a medical draw but refuse the officer’s request for a blood kit draw, you are considered to have refused testing, even though the results of the medical draw can be used against you in the DUI case. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.4.

As shown by the varying scenarios with “refusal”, often with the law what seems obvious is not always so. And so it goes with “first offender”, another term that is relevant in determining the duration of a SSS.

In the context of SSS, a “first offender” is determined by looking back five years. If there is no DUI in the past 5 years, the offender is a first offender, even if there are older offenses. 625 ILCS 5/11-500

A driver’s license supension for a first offender who takes a chemical test and registers .08 or higher will be six months. A first offender who refuses the chemical test is subject to a suspension for one year. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1
A non first offender who tests at least .08 receives a suspension for one year. Refusal of testing means a suspension for three years. There is no right to a permit or license, even on a restricted basis, during a non first offender’s suspension.

Senate Bill 924 seeks to redefine first offender to remove the five-year lookback provision. Simply stated, if you have ever had a DUI conviction, court supervision or an SSS, regardless of how long ago, you would not be a first offender.

Moreover, newly defined first offenders who tested over .08 would be subject to a one year suspension. Those who refused would see a suspension for 18 months.

A non first offender who tested over .08 would be looking at a suspension for eighteen months. A non first offender who refused would be suspended for forty-eight months.

The bill would allow the driver to install an interlock ignition device and shorten the suspension periods provided there were no violations. The suspension would not end until the offender provided a drug and alcohol evaluation and proof of completion of treatment. Thus, the bill, which has not been passed, would redefine the meaning of a suspension.

Related posts:

What are the future consequences of an Illinois DUI conviction? July 6, 2012, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg
Blood tests and Illinois DUI accidents August 5, 2011, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg

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