Driving After DUI: A Primer

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, driving under the influence was little more than a somewhat serious traffic ticket. Many officers would not even arrest intoxicated drivers, if they were close to their destinations or promised to drive straight home. But then a number of advocacy groups successfully changed both the laws and the way they were enforced. While some of the political and social furor over DUI has faded, these laws and procedures remain in place.

Just recently, for the first time in several decades, the Legislature actually relaxed the DUI law somewhat, in terms of post-conviction driving ability. That change has created many questions about DUI arrests, convictions, and driving ability.

Pre-Conviction License Suspension

Illinois is an implied-consent state, which means that all drivers give consent to provide a chemical sample of either breath or blood upon lawful demand from a peace officer. But drivers still have the right to refuse to provide a specimen, and in most cases, such refusal is generally a good idea. Officers may still obtain search warrants to extract samples from uncooperative suspects, as is the case in so-called “no refusal weekends.”

A first refusal means a suspension of up to 12 months and a first failure a maximum six month license suspension; a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) is available. For a subsequent refusal or failure, the maximum suspension is one and three years, respectively. Special rules apply to incidents that involve a vehicle crash with serious injury.

Drivers have a right to notice and hearing before the suspension takes effect. The notice takes place upon arrest; the hearing usually takes place about a month later. These hearings are difficult to win, because the hearing officer is often a paid DMV employee. But an aggressive attorney can often get the case thrown out or at least get the suspension period reduced.

Post-Conviction License Suspension

The length of suspension depends on the nature of the offense, as follows:

  • First DUI – one year (two years if driver is under 21)
  • Second DUI – five years
  • Third DUI – 10 years
  • Fourth and Subsequent DUI – lifetime revocation

All drivers are eligible for a restricted driver’s license. To obtain an RDL, the driver must prove a hardship exists, abide by all terms and conditions, and pay all BAIID installation and monitoring fees. The suspension does not end automatically, but rather remains in force until it is overturned at a Secretary of State hearing. At this hearing, the driver must present:

  • A clean driving record, other than the sanction at issue,
  • Proof of completion of required alcohol counselling and aftercare,
  • Evidence that reinstatement will not endanger public safety, and
  • Proof of financial responsibility.

The driver must also pay all reinstatement fees and other associated costs.

Attorneys Who Stand Up For You

It is possible to continue driving after a DUI arrest or conviction. For prompt assistance in this area, contact Glasgow & Olsson. We routinely handle cases originating from Schaumburg and throughout Chicagoland.

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