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Understanding Summary Suspension

What Is a Summary Suspension?

The State of Illinois considers driving to be a privilege. Drivers need a valid driver’s license to legally operate a motor vehicle on the roadway. A statutory summary suspension impacts these privileges by temporarily suspending a person’s driver’s license following a DUI arrest.

Suspension is an administrative penalty imposed by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. It is separate from any criminal charges related to the DUI. Meaning that a successful DUI acquittal does not automatically rescind the suspension. You can challenge a statutory summary suspension by requesting a hearing.

For help with your DUI and summary suspension, contact an Illinois criminal defense lawyer at Hirsch Law Group.

How Summary Suspension Works

Driving under the influence (DUI) occurs when the driver is impaired by alcohol, cannabis or some other intoxicating compound. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher; a THC level of 5 nanograms or higher; or 10 nanograms or more of another prescription or nonprescription drug that impairs driving.

Under the Illinois “implied-consent law,” any person in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on public highways is deemed to having given consent to chemical testing for alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants. If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence they can ask you to submit to testing. If you refuse, the officer will advise you that refusal will result in a statutory summary suspension.

A variety of things will occur before, during and after a summary suspension of your driving privileges.

Traffic Stop and DUI Arrest

The summary suspension process begins with a traffic stop by law enforcement officers. If the officer has probable cause to believe you are driving impaired they can arrest you for driving under the influence.

Chemical Testing and Results

After the arrest, the driver will be asked to submit to chemical testing. A chemical test of breath, blood or urine will be done to determine BAC or the presence of a controlled substance. Failure to submit to testing, or a test result above the legal limits, will result in a summary suspension.

Notice of Summary Suspension

The officer will provide written notice of the suspension advising the driver of the suspension, length of time their driving privileges will be suspended and their right to challenge the suspension in a hearing. The suspension becomes effective 46 days after the notice. Law enforcement will also send notice to the circuit court and Secretary of State’s office about the suspension.

Summary Suspension Hearing

You have 90 days from the date of the notice to request a judicial hearing to challenge the suspension. The summary suspension hearing occurs at the circuit court presiding over the jurisdiction where the DUI arrest occurred.

The scope of these hearings are limited to:

  • Whether the petitioner was placed under arrest for a DUI.

  • Whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the petitioner had actual physical control of the motor vehicle and was operating it under the influence.

  • Whether the petitioner refused to submit to testing to determine their drug or alcohol concentration.

  • Whether, after submitting to testing, the test revealed the petitioner’s drug or alcohol concentration was above the legal limits.

  • If the petitioner’s driving privileges were revoked at the time and they were in a crash causing injury or death to another.

When contesting a summary suspension, the petitioner has the burden of proving a prima facie case. Prima facie means “at first appearance” and establishes a presumption of fact. If established, the burden then shifts to the Secretary of State’s office to rebut this presumption.

If the driver prevails at the hearing, their driving privileges will be restored. If not, their privileges will remain suspended for the duration outlined in the written notice.

Reinstatement Process

After the suspension ends, individuals need to complete the reinstatement process and show they are complying with the DUI laws.

Before your license can be reinstated after a summary suspension, the following must occur:

  • Other suspensions or revocations must be closed.

  • Payment of a $250 reinstatement fee to the Secretary of State. This fee is $500 for a repeat offender.

  • Entry of reinstatement on the driver’s record in the Secretary of State’s office.

If you received notice of a statutory summary suspension, the team at Hirsch Law Group is here to protect your rights and freedoms. Call us at (815) 855-2028 to speak with an attorney and schedule a free initial meeting.

Consequences of Summary Suspension in Illinois

If your license was suspended you may be wondering what this means for your daily life and what other options you may have for relief. The repercussions of summary suspensions will vary based on things like prior offenses and whether you submitted to testing.

  • Duration of suspension: For a first DUI in Illinois, your driver’s license may be suspended for six months. However, if a first-time offender refuses testing they can face a one year suspension. Second or subsequent DUI offenses may result in longer statutory summary suspension periods.

  • Criminal Penalties: Besides summary suspension, you may also face criminal penalties. These are separate matters and the successful defense of one does not erase the other. After getting a DUI in Illinois, you could face fines, probation, mandatory alcohol education programs and incarceration.

  • Insurance Implications: DUI-related summary suspension and convictions often lead to higher auto insurance premiums. Some individuals may also face difficulties finding insurance coverage.

Driving Relief Options

While there are various consequences of a summary suspension, you may still be permitted to drive during this time with restrictions.

First time offenders may be eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) during their suspension period. The MDDP allows a person to drive during this time, but requires the installation of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in their vehicle.

If a person does not qualify for an MDDP, they may be eligible for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP). This permit allows a person to drive only for purposes specified in their permit. A BAIID is also required as a condition of an RDP.

Can a Summary Suspension Be Challenged Immediately?

Yes. Individuals facing statutory summary suspension can challenge it immediately by making a timely request for a hearing. After receiving the petition, the court will schedule the hearing within 30 days.

It’s important to remember that a request for a hearing does not stay or delay the suspension and your driver’s license will remain suspended during this time.

How Can a Lawyer Help With a Summary Suspension?

A criminal defense lawyer can provide invaluable assistance when facing a statutory summary suspension. They can also defend your DUI charge.

Your attorney will help make a timely request for a suspension hearing and represent you during the hearing. They will carefully review the details of your DUI arrest and summary suspension assessing the strength of your case, building a defense and exploring options for relief.

If the summary suspension is sustained, your attorney can also help you pursue alternative relief like applying for a MDDP or RDP.

Contact Hirsch Law Group Today

Understanding the full impact of summary suspension is crucial after a DUI arrest. The Hirsch Law Group can help you minimize the consequences of summary suspension.

Our criminal defense lawyers are here to help you secure your reputation and your freedom. We understand the impact the loss of driving privileges can have on your life. Being unable to drive can make it difficult to get to work, participate in daily activities, and even see family and friends.

Contact us today to discuss your case and let the dedicated team at Hirsch Law Group fight for you.