The state of Illinois has no tolerance for driving under the influence and imposes severe punishments on anyone who is caught doing so. If you are facing a charge of DUI, the team of criminal defense attorneys at Dolci & Weiland are dedicated to providing quality representation and working with individuals who face a DUI charge to protect their driving privileges.
Consequences of a DUI on Your Driver's License
A conviction of driving under the influence in Illinois will result in the revocation of your driver's license. Whereas some states will suspend a person's driver's license after a DUI conviction, Illinois takes this punishment one step further--whereas a license suspension ends after a set period of time, a revocation of your driver's license means that your driving privileges will be suspended indefinitely until you apply for a reinstatement of your driving privileges. Following a revocation of your driver's license for driving under the influence, you will lose your driving privileges for a minimum of one year.
The penalties that you face following a charge of driving under the influence in Illinois vary widely depending on whether you have any previous offenses of drunk driving on your record. The following penalties apply with respect to your driver's license following a DUI conviction.
- 1st offense: revocation for one year
- 2nd offense: revocation for five years
- 3rd offense: revocation for ten years
- 4th and subsequent offenses: revocation for life
It's important to note that your penalties may be increased if you refuse to consent to alcohol testing at the time of your arrest. Illinois follows the legal theory of implied consent when it comes to alcohol testing for suspicion of driving under the influence, which means that you consent to submit to testing as a condition of receiving your driver's license. If you refuse to take a field sobriety test or submit to a breathalyzer, you will face a suspension of your license a minimum of one year, depending on the number of DUI offenses you have faced in the past. Furthermore, if you refuse to submit to testing and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is later determined to have been 0.08% or higher, you will face a suspension of your driving privileges for a minimum of three years.
Reinstating Your Driver's License Following a DUI Conviction
As stated above, your driving privileges won't automatically be renewed following a conviction of driving under the influence; you must take affirmative steps to regain your right to drive by reinstating your driver's license. In order to do so, you will need to attend a hearing before the Secretary of State to determine whether you are eligible to receive your driver's license back. These hearings come in two forms: an informal hearing and a formal hearing.
If you have been convicted of driving under the influence for the first time, you may attend an informal hearing to receive a reinstatement of your driver's license. Informal hearings do not require an appointment; they are conducted on a first-come, first-serve basis in local areas around the state. These forms of hearings are usually quick and easy and only include the hearing officer, yourself, and the attorney representing you. The turnaround time for decisions from an informal hearing is generally only a few weeks.
If you are facing a second or subsequent DUI charge, you will need to go through the formal hearing process in order to request that your license is reinstated. A formal hearing requires a written request and such proceedings are recorded. In contrast to an informal hearing, an attorney who represents the Secretary of State will also be present at the hearing and will attempt to demonstrate why you should not be allowed to have your license reinstated. Following such a hearing, you may have to wait several months to learn whether your license has been reinstated, as these decisions are delivered in a formal order.
Your License is at Stake--Let an Attorney Help You
If you are facing a charge of driving under the influence, there is a lot at stake. You can face hefty fines and even imprisonment, depending on the number of times that you have been convicted of DUI in the past. Most importantly, however, you face the revocation of your ability to drive. The loss of your driver's license can have a devastating impact on your livelihood--it can impact your ability to work, travel, or even take your children to school.
As so much is at stake after a charge of driving under the influence, it's important to enlist the assistance of a criminal defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of DUI law. An attorney may be able to introduce defenses that could help your case or--in some cases--even result in a dismissal of your charges. Defenses that your attorney may be able to assert on your behalf include the following.
- A violation of your Fourth Amendment rights, which prohibit an officer from engaging in unreasonable search and seizure or pulling you over without probable cause that you were committing a crime.
- A breathalyzer test result that is faulty due to lack of proper maintenance of the machine or an officer who was not properly trained in operating the machine.
- An alternative reason that you failed a field sobriety test, such as a medical condition that rendered you unable to pass the test.
No matter the circumstances surrounding the charge that you face, the best decision that you could make for yourself is to hire a competent attorney to fight your charges alongside you.
Facing a DUI Charge? We're Here to Help
If you were arrested for driving under the influence, the attorneys at Dolci & Weiland are standing by to help. Our team of DUI defense attorneys has decades of combined experience helping individuals in your situation defend against their charge and retain their driving privileges. Don't try to fight your charge on your own; to place your case in the hands of an attorney you can trust, fill out an online case evaluation form or call the office closest to you today. For our DuPage office, call (630) 261-9098, or for our Chicago location, call (312) 328-9007.