Most people don't know what to do once they've been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Almost every drunk driving arrest in Illinois has two separate cases: criminal charges and also driver's license suspension. For the DUI criminal charges, you're innocent until proven guilty and these won't appear on your criminal record until the end of the DUI case if you're found guilty or plead guilty.
The license suspension is different. After a DUI in Illinois, your driver's license is automatically suspended 46 days after the arrest. You're eligible for a court hearing to fight the license suspension, and there is a time timeframe to do this. Not only that, our DUI criminal defense lawyers can file the petition asking to fight your license suspension right away, and because this starts a clock running, this could very much be in your favor. Waiting to file the court petition can increase the odds of your license being suspended.
What Happens After DUI Charges in Illinois?
Here is a rough summary of what usually happens after a DUI in Illinois.
- Statutory Summary Suspension Hearing:
- Your license will be suspended if you're arrested for impaired driving and either (a) you submit to chemical tests that reveal a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more or (b) your refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test.
- The suspension of your driver's license is separate from the DUI arrest and it normally begins 46 days following your arrest.
- The license suspension period may vary from three months to three years.
- You're eligible for a license hearing within 30 days of making a written request or the license suspension will be lifted. You must file the written request within 90 days of your DUI arrest.
- Arraignment: This is the date on your traffic ticket, about 30 to 60 days after your drunk driving arrest. If you have a DUI attorney, he or she will advise you.
- Pretrial Conference: Your DUI criminal attorney will discuss your DUI case with the State’s Attorney and negotiate the best possible plea deal. This happens after arraignment and normally after the Summary Suspension Hearing.
- Suppression Hearing: The judge may suppress some or all of the evidence against you if your legal rights have been violated. Your DUI criminal defense attorney will file motions to suppress the evidence against you. This typically happens after the pretrial conference.
- Court trial: A Trial must be held within 120 to 160 days after you demand a court trial, depending on whether you're in custody.
- Sentencing: The Court imposes a sentence after a conviction at a court trial or after a plea deal is imposed and a plea entered. Sentences may include probation, jail time, in-home detention, community service, alcohol classes, and hefty fines.
What is the Criminal Penalty for a First Time DUI Charge in Illinois?
It’s crucial to understand you aren’t alone after a drunk driving offense. In Illinois, every year nearly 35,000 people are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although the criminal penalties of a first-time DUI differ based on how your intoxicated driving case plays out and if your Kane County DUI lawyer gets your drunk driving charges dropped or reduced, here are the possible criminal penalties for a first-time offender:
- Because a first-time DUI offense is a Class A misdemeanor offense in Illinois, if you’re arrested and charged with this criminal charge you’ll need to pay a maximum fine of $2,500 and a potential jail time of one year.
- Rarely are first-time offenders sentenced to months or a full year in prison. Often, they don’t pay the maximum fine; however, they must pay a mandatory minimum fine of $500. But the $500 doesn’t include other expenses, such as court fees, surcharges, or the cost of court-imposed rehabilitation programs, including alcohol treatment programs.
- Often, substance abuse treatment is ordered, but it’s not a mandatory criminal penalty if convicted.
- If you were transporting a child under 16 years old in your car, you must pay a minimum fine of $1,000.
- A first DUI offender whose blood alcohol concentration was 0.16% or higher must complete a minimum of 100 hours of community service.
- A first offender who was with a minor in their motor vehicle must complete 25 days of community service in a program that’s beneficial to children.
Apart from the statutory summary suspension discussed above, a first-time offender is subject to a driver’s license suspension for one year. However, the offender can apply for a hardship license or restricted driving permit (RDP) to drive to school, work, medical appointments, and/or alcohol or drug treatment. If your license is suspended after a first-time DUI conviction and a statutory summary suspension, you must install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device in your vehicle for the duration of the hardship license.
How Do I Reinstate My Suspended Driver's License in Illinois?
There are no requirements for drivers to get back their driver’s license after suspension or revocation. The license reinstatement process varies based on the reason your driver’s license was suspended or revoked, and factors, which include your driving history. Essentially, you must:
- Pay a driver's license reinstatement fee.
- Satisfy any particular requirements made by the court.
Reinstating a suspended driver's license is tricky, and there are others steps to follow. For example, to get your driver’s license back after a drunk driving conviction, you must:
- Have maintained a clean driving record.
- Undergo alcohol awareness courses and if you have a substance abuse problem, you must submit proof of alcohol treatment.
- Complete substance abuse counseling.
- Meet with hearing officers from the Illinois Secretary of State office.
- File proof of financial responsibility.
- Pay a license reinstatement application fee and a $500 driver's license reinstatement fee. But if you request formal hearings for license reinstatement, you will have to pay a $50 non-refundable filing fee.
- Pass a vision exam, driving exam, and a written exam.
Your license reinstatement only becomes valid after it’s entered on your public driving record in the Secretary of State office. Loss of driving privileges is a devastating experience.
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Contact Our Experienced Kane County DUI Criminal Attorneys for Legal Advice!
Being charged with a drunk driving offense can affect your life in multiple ways. It can stay on your criminal record permanently, limit your career progression, and cause serious economic consequences. You must take the DUI charges seriously, even if this is your first offense. At DUI Lawyers 24/7, our experienced attorneys have helped thousands of DUI offenders in Cook County, Lake County, Kane County, Kendall County, McHenry County, DuPage County, and throughout Illinois get their charges dismissed or reduced and we can help you, too. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation, call our criminal defense law firm today at 847-999-7616.