Statutory Summary Suspension After DUI Arrest

Summary suspension of a driver’s license after DUI arrest: an explanation of Illinois law

by Sami Azhari on October 5, 2014

Getting arrested for a DUI can be a scary ordeal. In most cases, a driver is driving late at night and suddenly pulled over for a traffic violation. Once the police officer approaches the vehicle and detects even a slight odor of an alcoholic beverage, a DUI investigation begins. In all likelihood, once the DUI investigation begins, the officer has already made up his mind as to impaired driving due to bloodshot and glassy eyes, and an odor of alcohol.

Once placed under arrest, a driver faces severe penalties of their driving privileges, most of which will depend on whether it is their first or subsequent DUI, and whether or not they refused to take a breath, blood, or urine test. Contrary to popular belief, there is no penalty for refusing the field sobriety tests at the scene, or the portable breath test. The suspension on the driver’s license occurs only with the chemical testing after the arrest, usually by way of a breathalyzer. The suspension is known as a Statutory Summary Suspension and automatically begins 46 days after the arrest. Regardless of what happens with the actual criminal charge, the suspension remains in effect.

A driver charged with a first DUI will face a 6 month suspension if they choose to take the breathalyzer test. In the event they refuse, they are threatened with a 12 month suspension instead. A driver charged with a second or subsequent DUI will be faced with a 12 month or 3 year suspension if they take or refuse to take the test, respectively. Therefore, the penalties are far different depending on which offense a driver is facing.

A driver should keep in mind that the license suspension has nothing to do with the criminal charges they are facing. It is important to have an attorney file a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension as it may be the driver’s only method of getting any kind of driving relief.p[

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