In Illinois, DUI offenses result in administrative and criminal penalties. If you are arrested for suspected DUI, you may find yourself facing both. While criminal charges and a conviction can permanently affect your criminal record, the civil penalties of a DUI can also have a negative impact on your day-to-day life.

This article will discuss a specific type of civil penalty you may face following a DUI arrest, called a statutory summary suspension, which affects your Illinois driving privileges even if you don’t ultimately receive a criminal DUI conviction.

What Exactly is a Statutory Summary Suspension?

In the most basic definition, a summary suspension is an administrative action carried out by the Illinois Secretary of State on your Illinois driver’s license, which results in suspension of your driving privileges for a period of time. It occurs separately from any criminal penalties in a DUI case.

How is a Statutory Summary Suspension Different from Criminal DUI Penalties?

The most distinguishable aspect of a summary suspension is that it penalizes refusal or failure of chemical sobriety testing, independent of whether you are charged or convicted of a DUI.

What that means is, you are subject to summary suspension if you refuse to take any chemical sobriety tests after a DUI arrest, or if you take any tests and score a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Even if you never face criminal charges, your license may still be suspended if either of the situations above occur. Unlike the results of a criminal DUI case, which may be influenced by many factors involved in your arrest, statutory summary suspensions are solely based on your compliance and performance in sobriety testing.

When does a Statutory Summary Suspension go into Effect in Illinois?

A summary suspension does not officially begin until the 46th day after you are presented with a Notice of Summary Suspension or sworn report by the police officer. In certain cases, the effective date of the summary suspension may be delayed if the police must wait for laboratory results on blood or urine testing. If delayed, the summary suspension will go into effect 46 days from when the arresting officer mails your Notice of Summary Suspension.

How long will my Driver’s License be Suspended for DUI in Illinois?

The length of time of a statutory summary suspension depends on two main factors:

  1. Whether you failed or refused the sobriety test; and
  2. Whether you have any previous DUI offenses or statutory summary suspensions which occurred within five years of your current arrest

The suspension periods based on number of offenses and compliance or noncompliance are as follows:

  • First offense; refused test — 12 months
  • First offense; failed test — 6 months
  • Subsequent offense; refused test — 36 months
  • Subsequent offense; failed test — 12 months

Can I Avoid a Summary Suspension of my Driver’s License after getting a DUI?

The simplest answer — and the one you were probably hoping to hear is ‘yes’.

If you are facing a statutory summary suspension, you have a right to challenge it through a summary suspension hearing, held in the Circuit Court of the county where your DUI offense occurred. To be granted a hearing, a Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension must be filed within 90 days from the date recorded on your Notice of Summary Suspension.

During a summary suspension hearing, the court will review the details of your arrest, including whether proper police procedure was followed, and whether there was reasonable cause for your pull-over or arrest. If, in the course of the hearing, the court finds substantial issues or flaws involved in your DUI arrest, your summary suspension may be rescinded.

Can I drive during DUI Summary Suspension of my Driving Privileges?

If your license has been placed under statutory summary suspension or will soon be suspended, there is still a way you may be able to gain your driving privileges back.

In Illinois, an individual undergoing a first summary suspension is eligible to apply for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP), which allows them to operate vehicles equipped with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID).

A BAIID controls your car ignition and measures your BAC anytime you want to drive. If your BAC is below 0.05, the BAIID will allow you to start your car and drive normally.

After being issued an MDDP, you are required to have a BAIID installed in your vehicle within 14 days of the issuance. You are also responsible for acquiring the BAIID installation from an approved vendor and covering any fees and costs associated with the MDDP or BAIID.

An MDDP is only effective starting on the 31st day of suspension, meaning that anyone placed under statutory summary suspension will lose their driving privileges for at least 30 days, regardless of if they obtain an MDDP or not.

Individuals who are not first offenders are not eligible to obtain an MDDP.

Can I Fight a Summary Suspension without an Attorney?

Yes, you can. You always have the option to represent yourself in court.

However, in most cases, there is a distinct disadvantage to challenging a summary suspension alone, without the legal expertise of someone whose day-to-day job involves taking on and winning these types of cases.

When it comes to filing a Petition to Rescind, different counties have different requirements and filing procedures which an experienced attorney practicing in that region will already be familiar with. Additionally, a seasoned attorney will know how to best represent your case based on their experience from previous cases they’ve taken on. They will know which arguments to make and what factors in your arrest are most likely to get your suspension rescinded. In many instances, the experience of an attorney can make or break your summary suspension case.

More importantly, if you are facing statutory summary suspension, you may also be facing criminal DUI charges. In these instances, the representation of an experienced lawyer can be pivotal in securing favorable outcomes for both your summary suspension hearing and criminal DUI case.

Contact the Top DuPage DUI Lawyers at Dolci & Weiland

If you or a loved one are facing a statutory summary suspension or DUI charges, the dedicated DUI defense attorneys of Dolci & Weiland are here provide you with the legal representation and support you need. Whether you have just been arrested, or are already dealing with summary suspension and possible charges, there is hope for your case. To speak to an attorney or to schedule a free consultation, contact our office at 630-261-9098.