What Rights Do You Have if You Are Charged With a DUI?


Being arrested for a DUI can be a very confusing and stressful experience for most people.  Based on my over-27 years of experience in handling DUI cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County Kane County, and Lake County, I can tell you that most of the people that I have represented for a DUI are not criminals, nor are they bad people.  Most of the people that I have represented for a DUI are hard-working citizens who have no criminal record.  Some of them have never even received a traffic ticket.  They simply made a mistake and were at the wrong place at the wrong time when they were caught driving when they had too much to drink.  As a result, most of the people calling me wanting to discuss their DUI have lots of questions and want some guidance on what they need to do and what is about to happen to them.  I want to take this opportunity to explain the process and what to expect.

If a police officer takes you down to the police station and asks you to take a breathalyzer test you have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test.  But if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you will be facing a mandatory 12-month suspension of your driver’s license.  If you agree to take a breathalyzer test then you must listen very carefully to the instructions given to you by the police officer.  If you fail to properly blow into the machine, that failure will be considered a refusal to take a breathalyzer test which will result in the 12-month suspension.  It’s not enough to argue you tried to follow the police officer’s instructions the best you could but failed to provide an adequate breath sample.  It is your responsibility to listen to the instructions and provide the adequate breath sample.

If you take a breathalyzer test and the test indicates that the blood alcohol level in your system was .08 or above, you will be facing a six-month suspension of your driver’s license.  The suspension of your driver’s license will begin 46 days after the arrest.  Until then you can legally drive your car.

If the police officer detains you and starts asking you questions you have a right remain silent and demand to speak to a lawyer before answering any questions.  You need to understand that anything you say to the police officer can be used against you in court.  You have a constitutional right to talk to a lawyer before answering any questions by the police.  If you have any questions you can always call Chicago DUI lawyer, James Dimeas, about your case.  Mr. Dimeas call always be reached at 847-807-7405.

If you are charged with a DUI, you will be given the opportunity to post a bond so that you could be released from the police station and can go home.  When you are released, you will be given several pieces of paper.  Your bond slip will have your court information on it.  Put the court information on your schedule.  You must appear in court.  You will also receive a couple of documents entitled, “Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension” and “Warnings to Motorists” which will inform you that your license will be suspended on the 46th day after your arrest for a DUI.  This paperwork will notify you that you will be facing a six-month or 12-month suspension of your driver’s license, depending on whether you submitted to a breathalyzer test or not.

You have a right to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license.  To do so you must file a Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension as soon as possible.  However, you cannot file the Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension beyond 90 days after the DUI arrest.  Once the petition is filed, you are entitled to a hearing within 30 days of the date the petition is filed, or within 30 days of your first court date, whichever comes last.  I prefer to file the Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension as soon as I am retained by a client.  The earlier I can start the clock ticking, the more likely it is that the time limit will not be met by the state and we will prevail on the petition and avoid having your license suspended.

You have the right to legally drive your vehicle during the period of the Statutory Summary Suspension by having a Breath Alcohol Interlock Device (BAID) installed on your vehicle.  As long as you have this device installed in your vehicle you can drive your vehicle without any restrictions as long as you blow into the device when prompted and it does not detect any alcohol in your system.  After your DUI arrest you will receive paperwork from the Illinois Secretary of State telling you what you need to do to get the BAID device installed in your vehicle.  It is very important that you carefully follow the instructions and submit the paperwork, pay the required costs and fees, and take all the steps necessary by the deadlines set out in the instructions.  If you do not follow the strict guidelines, you will not be able to have the device installed on your vehicle.

Like I stated earlier, you must appear for every court date.  The State is required to turn over all of their evidence to your lawyer.  Your lawyer will review all of the evidence to determine the best way to obtain a successful resolution to your DUI case.

James Dimeas, is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, DUI lawyer, with over-27 years of experience handling DUI cases in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. Recently, James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer in the State of Illinois for the Year 2018 and 2019” by the American Society of Legal Advocates. James Dimeas was named a “Best DUI Attorney” and a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago” by Expertise. James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers. The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys awarded James Dimeas the “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois.” James Dimeas is rated “Superb” by AVVO, the highest classification possible for any DUI lawyer in the United States. The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys recognized James Dimeas as a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois.

If you are charged with a DUI, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You can always talk to James Dimeas personally by calling him at 847-807-7405 for a consultation.

Additional Resources:

Illinois DUI Statute, 625 ILCS 5/11-501.

 Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension Statute, 625 ILCS 5-2-118.1.