Arrested for a DUI. Warnings to Motorist and Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension. What Does This Mean?

DUI

I just received a phone call from a client who was arrested last night for a DUI and was asking me questions about the paperwork that the police gave her when she left the police station. More importantly, she wanted to know what a Statutory Summary Suspension means and how this will affect her ability to drive.  Because I’ve been handling DUI’s throughout Cook County, DuPage County and Kane County for 25 years, it’s easy to forget how confusing the whole DUI process can be for someone who does not handle cases like this every day.  So, I want to take this opportunity to explain the Statutory Summary Suspension process so you can understanding what is happening, and what will happen in the coming months with your driver’s license.

In Illinois, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle upon the public roads while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  If you are found guilty of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you could be facing criminal penalties which cannot exceed one year in county jail and a fine of up to $2,500.  Most people know this.  But what many people do not know is that when you have a DUI case, you also have a separate legal matter between you and the Illinois Secretary of State which involves your driver’s license.  If a police officer requests that you submit to a Breathalyzer Test and your blood alcohol level (B.A.C.) is .08 or above, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months starting 46 days after your arrest for a DUI.  If the police officer asks you to take a Breathalyzer Test, and you refuse to take that test, your license will be suspended for 12 months starting 46 days after your arrest for a DUI.

A refusal to take a Breathalyzer Test is defined a little more broadly than simply refusing to submit to the test.  If you agree to take the test and are unsuccessful in submitting an adequate breath sample, then this will be considered a refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer Test. What typically happens is that the police officer will instruct you on what you must do to provide an adequate breath sample so that the machine can register a valid result.  You must pay close attention to what the police officer is saying because if you do not follow the police officer’s instructions and are unable to provide an adequate breath sample, the Secretary of State will try to suspend your license for 12 months because they will consider this to be a refusal.

When you leave the police station you should be given several pieces of paper.  One paper will contain the information regarding your Bail Bond.  You should carry that piece of paper with you always just in case a police officer asks you for proof that you posted your Bail.  You should carry this with you even if you were released on an I-Bond, which does not require that you post any cash to be released.  This paper will also contain the information for your court location, date and time.

Another piece of paper will be entitled “Warning to Motorist”.  This is a paper that you sign before you took your Breathalyzer Test.  It warns you about what will happen if you submit to a Breathalyzer Test and what will happen if the B.A.C. is .08 or above.  It also warns you about what will happen if you refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer Test.

You will also receive a document entitled “Notice of Summary Suspension/Revocation”.  You will receive this paper if you submitted to a Breathalyzer Test and the test registered a B.A.C. level of .08 or more.  You will also receive this paper if you refused to submit to a Breathalyzer Test.  This paper will notify you that your license will be suspended for 12 months because of your refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer Test.  These penalties will apply if it’s your first DUI.  But if this is not your first DUI the suspension period will be increased.  The Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension/Revocation will contain boxes and you must make sure that you look at whichever box is checked on the forms that were handed to you when you left the police station.  The back of the Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension will also contain a box which should be filled out by the police officer indicating that you can drive until your Statutory Suspension kicks in on the 46th day following your arrest.  You should keep this with you in case you are pulled over by a police officer.

You will also receive the traffic tickets there were written by the police officer.  You should receive at least two traffic tickets, both will be for the DUI.  You will receive two tickets because there’s two ways that you could be charged with a DUI.  It’s very important that you consult with an experienced DUI criminal defense lawyer to take the steps necessary to protect your legal rights.  A DUI in Illinois is a very serious matter.  Not only are there criminal penalties, but a DUI will affect your ability to be able to drive a vehicle anywhere.

Chicago DUI lawyer, James Dimeas has been handling DUI cases in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, and Kane County for 25 years.  DUI lawyer, James Dimeas, has been named a “Best DUI Attorney” and a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago” by Expertise.  James Dimeas has been named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer” by The National Trial Lawyers.  The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys have named James Dimeas a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” If you are facing a DUI in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, or Kane County, you can contact James Dimeas anytime to discuss your case and your legal options.  James Dimeas can be reached anytime at 847-807-7405.

Additional Resources:

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Statute, 625 ILCS 5/11-501.

Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension Statute, 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1.