Common DUI Questions
Call my Geneva, Illinois, law firm at 630-232-1116 for assistance regarding any of the following DUI questions and answers.
Q: I've been told by the police that because I blew over .08 or because I refused to take the breath test, my driver's license will be suspended. I must drive to work. Am I eligible for a driving permit?
A: Your license suspension will not take effect until the 46th day after your arrest. If you are a first offender, employed, and need to drive to and from work and/or even within the scope of work, you are eligible for a Judicial Driving Permit (JDP).
If your suspension is for three months, the court has the authority to grant a JDP for the last two months of the suspension. If your suspension is for six months, the court can grant a JDP for the last five months of the suspension. The first month of the suspension, i.e., the 46th day through 76th day after the arrest, is a hard suspension — the courts do not have the authority to grant a JDP. All applicants for a Judicial Driving Permit must agree to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in any vehicle they intend to drive during the suspension period. Since that is quite expensive it pays to contest the summary suspension.
If you are not a first offender, you are not eligible for a Judicial Driving Permit and you must apply for a formal hearing with an administrative hearing officer of the secretary of state for driving relief, i.e., a "hardship license." For the purpose of eligibility for a Judicial Driving Permit, you must not have had a DUI or DUI suspension within the past five years.
Q: What do I need to do to get a Judicial Driving Permit issued?
A: You will need an alcohol evaluation from a licensed DUI counselor. DUI counselors are listed in the Yellow Pages under "Alcohol Counseling and Treatment." To get an alcohol evaluation, you will need to obtain a copy of your driving license record "for court purposes" from the driver's license facility located near you. During your evaluation, the counselor will ask you questions about your drinking and drug use pattern and history to determine your risk level for repeating the offense of DUI and to prescribe the appropriate level of treatment to prevent recidivism. You will also need a letter from your employer (or yourself if you're self-employed) stating the days and hours you work (including overtime) and to what extent you drive within the scope of your employment.
Q: I can't afford to lose my driving privileges for even one month. Is there anyway to avoid the suspension completely?
A: Yes, you can contest the lawfulness of the suspension.
You are entitled to a hearing 30 days after you notify the state of your intention to contest the suspension. At the hearing on a Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension, you are entitled to raise four issues:
1) Whether the police had reasonable grounds to believe you were driving under the influence.
2) Whether the police had probable cause to stop you.
3) Whether you were properly warned of your rights concerning taking and/or refusing to submit to breath or blood tests.
4) Whether you refused to take the breath or blood tests or, if you took the test, whether your blood alcohol concentration was .08 or more.
If the judge rules in your favor on any one of these issues, the suspension will be lifted by the secretary of state upon receipt of the court order.
Q: Is there a way of avoiding the suspension even if the judge rules against me?
A: If the state has a very weak case against you on the DUI charge, some courts will occasionally agree to remove the suspension as part of a plea agreement. Typically, the defendant must have a clear driving record and pay a much higher fine than would normally be expected: up to $2,500.
Q: Can my insurance company find out about this DUI?
A: By law, the secretary of state can give out information concerning your driving privileges. If you receive court supervision, the secretary of state is not allowed to disclose the fact that you were charged with DUI. However, the secretary of state can disclose the fact that you received a DUI suspension, but only during the actual time of the suspension. For example, assume your suspension is effective from January 1 through March 30 of next year. If your insurance company asks for information on your driving record on January 2 or March 29, the state will tell them you have the suspension. If the insurance company asks for information on December 30 of this year or April 1 of next year, the state, by law, may not disclose the existence of the suspension.
Q: Is it worth the effort to get the suspension lifted?
A: It's always worth it to get the suspension lifted. Your insurance rates go ballistic if they find out you've had a DUI suspension and that's assuming they don't refuse to renew your policy.
Q: Will my driver's license be automatically reinstated at the end of the suspension period?
A: No! In order for your license to be reinstated, you must send a $60 reinstatement fee to:
Illinois Secretary of State
DUI Processing Division
2701 South Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, Illinois 62723
or you may pay the fee with a Visa or Discover credit card by calling the secretary of state at 217-782-3619. If you pay by mail, you should do so at least 10 days prior to the end of date of your suspension to allow for processing.
Q: When do I have to pay the fines assessed against me?
A: If you can afford it, you can pay your fines right away. However, you do not have to pay them until the date you return to court to terminate your supervision, i.e., 10 or 12 months down the road.
Q: I'm a first-time DUI offender with a good driving record. Assuming the police have a good case against me, what punishment can I reasonably expect from the court?
A: If your DUI occurred in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall or DeKalb County, and the DUI did not involve an auto accident causing serious personal injury or death, the sentence you should expect is court supervision and a fine between $200 and $800, plus fees and court costs. You will also be required to obtain an alcohol evaluation and complete any remedial education or treatment recommended by that evaluation. Upon completion of court supervision, you will be required to return to court with proof that you have complied with the terms and conditions of supervision. Assuming you do that, the court will then dismiss the DUI charge and it will not appear on your driving record.
Q: If the state has a good case against me, do I really need to hire a lawyer to represent me if I am a first-time offender?
A: Remember the old saying, "He who represents himself has a fool for a client!" Because every case is different and an experienced attorney can be of value to you even in so-called good cases. For example, an experienced lawyer may find defects in the state's case that you are unaware of. Secondly, not all judges in the counties listed above will grant court supervision to first offenders. Your lawyer will know who those judges are and will get your case transferred to another judge. Third, your lawyer should know what is reasonable to expect in plea negotiations so you will not be punished more than normal under the circumstances. Finally, the judge you are appearing before may simply not allow you to proceed without the benefit of a lawyer.
In short, hiring an experienced attorney to represent you for a reasonable fee will give you peace of mind knowing that your rights are being protected by someone who knows the law, the judges and the court system. You can trust him to work for you and your best interest.
Q: How much is "reasonable" to pay an attorney to handle a first offense DUI?
A: If you ask five different lawyers that question, you'll get five different answers: Most competent attorneys charge between $750 and $1,500 to handle a first-time DUI case, although I've heard of rates ranging from $450 to $2,500.
In law, like everything else, you tend to get what you pay for! Being railroaded because you didn't pay enough to obtain competent counsel is worse than hiring better counsel than you need.
Remember you choose your lawyer — he works for you!
GENERAL DRIVER'S LICENSE QUESTIONS
Q: "What is 'Scott's Law'?"
Scott's Law was passed by the Illinois Legislature in 2002 and was designed to protect workers, both public and private, from some of the dangers of the being on the highways of the state. It is designed to protect not only emergency workers like police and firemen, but also construction workers and funeral processions. The secretary of state has put out a pamphlet explaining the law.
Link to: More Information About Scott's Law
Q: "Can the Secretary of State Suspend or Revoke my Driver's License for other reasons besides Traffic Tickets?"
Many people, and often their attorneys, are unaware that their driver's license may be suspended or revoked for criminal offenses other than traditional traffic offenses. For example, if you are convicted of any of the following criminal offenses, your driver's license may be taken away.
707 or 550/7 * Cannabis Control Act violation - manufacture and delivery while using a motor vehicle
707 or 550/7 * Unauthorized delivery of a controlled substance while using a motor vehicle
9-3 * Reckless homicide resulting from operation of a motor vehicle
11-15.1 * Soliciting for a juvenile prostitute while using a motor vehicle
11-19.1 * Juvenile pimping while using a motor vehicle
12-5 * Conviction of reckless conduct
12-13 * Criminal sexual assault while using a motor vehicle
12-14 * Aggravated criminal sexual assault while using a motor vehicle
12-15 * Criminal sexual abuse while using a motor vehicle
12-16 * Aggravated criminal sexual abuse while using a motor vehicle
18-3 * Vehicular hijacking
18-4 * Aggravated vehicular hijacking
1401(a thru g) or 401(a thru g) * Unauthorized manufacture or delivery of a
controlled substance while using a motor vehicle
1401.1(a) or 401.1 * Controlled substances trafficking
1402(a)1-11 or 402(a)1-11 * Conviction for possession of a controlled or
counterfeit substance while using a motor vehicle
1402(b) or 402(b) * Conviction for possession of a controlled or counterfeit substance while using a motor vehicle
1407 or 407 * Unauthorized manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance while using a motor vehicle
1407.1 or 407.1 * Unauthorized manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance while using a motor vehicle
21-2 * Criminal trespass to motor vehicle
2103 or 600/3 * Sale or delivery of instruments used for illegal drug use or abuse while using a motor vehicle
22-51 or 635/2 * Sale or exchange of instruments used for illegal drug use or abuse while using a motor vehicle
24-1(a)3 * Conviction of unlawful use of weapons while using a motor vehicle
24-1(a)4 * Conviction of unlawful use of weapons while using a motor vehicle
24-1(a)7 * Conviction of unlawful use of weapons while using a motor vehicle
24-1(a)9 * Conviction of unlawful use of weapons while using a motor vehicle
24-1.2 * Conviction of aggravated discharge of a firearm
24-1.5(b) * Reckless discharge of a firearm
43-131(a) * Minor presents false ID to buy alcoholic beverage (Liquor Control Act of 1934)
335-14A 1-6 * Unlawful use of ID card
335-14AB 1-11 * Possessing/displaying/altering a fictitious ID card
335-14BB * Possessing/displaying a fraudulent ID card
335-14CA 1-3 * Presenting or accepting false information for issuance of an ID card
General Criminal Law Questions
Q: Can I get an arrest or conviction expunged from my record?
A: Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to expunge your criminal record even if you were convicted of a crime. The following is a link to information regarding expungement to get you started: