As we often tell our clients, the clock starts ticking from the moment you are first arrested for an Illinois DUI.
What does that actually mean, though?
It means, if you get charged with a felony or misdemeanor DUI as a result of your arrest, your Illinois driver's license will be effectively suspended 46 days from the date of your arrest. Once suspended, you are no longer allowed to legally operate an automobile, and may face criminal charges if caught doing so.
For many individuals, driving privileges are essential to their day-to-day life. If you are facing an Illinois or DuPage County DUI charge, you may wish to avoid any period of suspension if at all possible. That is where this 46-day period becomes absolutely critical.
The Basics of DuPage County and Illinois Laws in DUI-Related Statutory Summary Suspensions
In most Illinois or DuPage County DUI cases, statutory summary suspension kicks in on the 46th day following the initial date of arrest. That means, on the 46th day after your DUI arrest, you will no longer be able to legally drive.
Because a loss of driving privileges can cause many unimagined obstacles in your day-to-day life, many people choose to contest their summary suspension by filing a specific petition to do so. Depending on the circumstances of your DUI and legal representation, you may be able to successfully have your summary suspension rescinded and regain your driving privileges.
This is where timeliness becomes key, however.
Why Every Minute Matters in an Illinois DUI and Summary Suspension
A common source of frustration to lawyers and clients alike is the fact that paperwork and processing takes time. Meanwhile, the days continue ticking by until your Illinois license is suspended. That means, if you file a petition and attempt to schedule a hearing towards the end of the 46-day period, there's a great chance that you won't be able to get a hearing date before your license is suspended.
As a firm, we make a point of filing our legal paperwork far in advance, since there is always an unavoidable amount of waiting involved in any court case. We always work hard to streamline and keep track of the entire process to make everything easy for our clients.
If, however, you do not have a lawyer who can streamline your DUI case for you, it is imperative that you are personally proactive in keeping up with your case.
How an Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension Hearing Works
First and foremost, to get a summary suspension hearing, the appropriate legal paperwork must be filed with the circuit clerk of the jurisdiction of the case. This applies to all DUI cases, whether it is prosecuted by a city in DuPage or Cook County, or by the State of Illinois. Legal petitions and motions are necessary in any legal case, and come in different forms for different types of cases.
In DUI cases, we promptly file a specific petition to contest the summary suspension, along with other standard DUI paperwork. We are well aware that in DUI cases, time is of the essence. This is especially true for DUI cases where we were retained later on. Regardless of when we were retained, our clients will effectively lose their driving privileges on the 46th day after their arrest unless we challenge it in court.
Typically, the initial court date for DUI cases we represent takes place within the 46-day deadline. In those instances, we are able to schedule a summary suspension hearing on the same date as the court date. In the rare cases where the initial court date occurs after 46 days have passed, we schedule the hearing for earlier.
At the summary suspension hearing, we review the facts of your case, both leading up to and following your arrest, in order to find arguments as to why your Illinois summary suspension should be rescinded. For more on ways you can beat your summary suspension, read our article about How To Challenge Your DuPage County DUI and Summary Suspension.
So, What Should I Do If I Am Facing Summary Suspension in Illinois or DuPage County?
In most DUI cases, it is important to speak with a legal professional, even if you do not retain an attorney. Most criminal defense law firms with experienced attorneys are willing to offer free consultations for you to evaluate your case and explore your legal options before any retainment or payment is necessary.
The sooner you speak to a legal professional, the better. DUI cases are extremely time-sensitive, as we've established above. The sooner you can sit down and discuss the options of your case, the more likely it is that you can challenge your summary suspension and build a strong defense before your Illinois license becomes suspended.
As for what you can do immediately, if you are facing a DUI arrest or DUI charge?
It may be a good idea to invoke your rights and keep track of everything happening around you. In many instances, exercising your right to remain silent, avoiding possible self-incrimination, and keeping track of every detail you remember can be a major advantage to you later on in your case. Be sure to hold onto any paperwork you are given including your arrest documents and ticket. If you are charged with a DUI, make sure you mark your court date down so you don't forget it.
Facing a DuPage County, Illinois DUI? Contact Experienced DUI Defense Lawyers
If you or a loved one are facing a difficult DUI charge and concerned about maintaining your Illinois driving privileges, the experienced DUI defense attorneys at Dolci & Weiland may be able to help you. We offer free consultations where we can sit down and evaluate the facts of your case to help determine your legal options.
With decades of combined legal experience both prosecuting and defending DUIs throughout northern Illinois and DuPage County, we know what it takes to defend a difficult DUI case. We pride ourselves in providing aggressive, strategic legal representation catered to the needs and interests of our clients. To schedule a free consultation today and speak with an attorney, give our office a call at (630) 261-9098. We are here to help.