By Attorney Angie Reed
Most people know that getting arrested for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is a criminal offense, but the arrest and subsequent consequences can also have a collateral, administrative effect on driving privileges. After a first-time arrest for a DUI, a driver will have their license suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State for 6 months if they submitted to (and failed) a chemical or breath test, or for 1 year if they refused or were unable to submit to a chemical or breath test. This is called a Statutory Summary Suspension and is based solely on the DUI arrest. Subsequently incurring a criminal conviction for the DUI can have additional consequences for an Illinois driver.
A criminal conviction for a DUI will result in a license suspension (or revocation, depending on how many past DUI convictions a driver has), but that suspension does not automatically clear at the end of the term. In order to reinstate driving privileges with the Secretary of State, a hearing is required, and the driver must submit additional documentation in the hearing to be eligible for reinstatement. A driver must, at the time of the hearing with the Secretary of State, have submitted to an alcohol and drug evaluation, and completed any treatment indicated within that evaluation. Required treatment is usually anywhere from 12 to 30 hours, but can be more. The alcohol and drug evaluation also must have been completed within 6 months of the hearing with the Secretary of State. To request a hearing with the Secretary of State after a license suspension or revocation, the driver must pay $50 and submit a hearing request form. Because the timing and documentation needs to be precise for the Secretary of State, it is always a good idea for a suspended or revoked driver to have a skilled attorney prepare the hearing request and guide the driver through the necessary preparation for the hearing.
At the hearing, a driver is allowed to be represented by an attorney. The hearing officer will go over the alcohol and drug evaluation, go over any completed treatment, and ask questions of the driver. The driver's attorney will also get to ask their own questions. A skilled attorney can help ensure that a driver not only has all the necessary documentation heading into the hearing, but also that the driver is prepared for any and all questioning that takes place during the hearing.
Additional arrests or convictions for multiple DUIs may pose additional challenges for reinstating your license with the Illinois Secretary of State. It is important for a driver to consult an attorney to determine the best path forward. CTM Legal Group is prepared to help you get your license back.