In honor of my winning two separate summary suspension hearings today (which is no easy task), I decided to write a little bit about Illinois’ summary suspension law and how it works. I’ll start today and write more this later this week.
A “statutory summary suspension” (or “SSS”) of your driver’s license occurs 46 days after you have been arrested for a DUI, and you have either failed, failed to complete, or refused a blood, breath or urine test. The suspension is in addition to the DUI charge. (There are alternative suspensions for certain special fact scenarios, such as serious injuries or drivers under the age of 21).
Generally, if a person has not had a DUI or summary suspension in the past five years, he or she is considered a “first offender” for summary suspension purposes. (Note: this “five year” rule only applies to suspensions, not the underlying DUI case).
“First Offenders” are suspended for six months if they have failed a breath, blood or urine test (i.e., had a BAC in excess of 0.08 or any amount of narcotics detected) and one year for refusing or failing to complete testing.
A “Repeat Offender” will be suspended for one year for failing a chemical test, or three years for refusing or failing to complete testing.
“First Offenders” are eligible for a Monitored Device Driving Permit (“MDDP”) which is basically a permit allowing you to drive a motor vehicle during your suspension, after a 30 day “hard time” period, conditioned upon your use of a breath ignition interlock device (“BAIID”), which prevents the driver from operating the vehicle with a BAC in excess of 0.025.
The suspension can be challenged in court. The motorist has the burden of proof and must show either that:
1. He or she was not properly placed under arrest for DUI or a similar provision of a local ordinance;
2. The arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe that the motorist was driving (or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle) while under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs, or a combination thereof;
3. The motorist was not properly warned by the arresting officer about the consequences of failing, refusing or being unable to complete a blood, breath or urine test;
4. The motorist did not refuse to submit to and/or complete the required chemical test or tests;
5. Petitioner submitted to the requested test or tests but the sample did not:
A. Indicate a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more; or
B. Indicate any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in my blood or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis listed in the Cannabis Control Act or a controlled substance listed in the Illinois Controlled Substance Act.
Note that actual innocence to the underlying DUI charge is not a defense.