Most DUI-convicted drivers who have been charged do not know what to do after their arrest, and court proceedings after an arrest can be confusing and tedious. In Illinois, there are two separate charges - your criminal charges, which include the DUI and other traffic tickets that you may have been given, and your license suspension. For driving under the influence of alcohol criminal charges, you are innocent until proven guilty. These charges won't populate on your criminal record until the end of your case, depending on if you are found guilty or innocent.
License suspension, however, is different. You are subject to an automatic license suspension 46 days after your arrest. You are able to request a hearing to fight your suspension, but there is a deadline to do this. If you were in possession of a valid driver's license at the time of your arrest, you have 46 days that you are able to continue driving on that same license. At midnight of the 46th day, all driving privileges will be suspended.
You should have been given a notice of statutory summary suspension by a law enforcement officer at the time of your arrest. On the back of this notice, you should see a receipt to drive - meaning you can continue to drive if your license was taken at the time of the arrest.
Driver History Documents You Should Get For Court
Once your license is suspended in Illinois, you will not be able to drive again until it was reinstated. You'll need to attend an Illinois license reinstatement hearing at the Office of the Secretary of State or SOS. This agency has the ability to enforce the Illinois Vehicle Code over your arrest.
The Secretary of State will need to know if you've got any out-of-state under the influence offenses. You'll need to obtain a Problem Driver Pointer System, or PDPS, report. This report will identify any of your driving under the influence of alcohol arrests in other states. Your reinstatement petition could be denied if you fail to inform the Secretary of State of any offenses you may have.
You will need to submit an Alcohol Evaluation and Drug Evaluation. This is a crucial piece of evidence that has to be prepared within six months of your hearing. If you are unable to prepare this documentation within six months, the Secretary of State will require you to get a new one.
How to Obtain an Alcohol/Drug Evaluation Report
Your Alcohol/Drug Evaluation Report can only come from an authorized agent from the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, or DASA. In order to obtain your Alcohol and Drug Evaluation, you will need to attend an Illinois License Reinstatement Hearing at the Office of the Secretary of State. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine your alcohol or drug use, and any associated risk to public safety, both current and in the future. Your driving history, chemical testing results, objective test scores, and you will also need to expect to have an interview with an evaluator.
The interview will focus on any past or current substance use, and how it relates to your driving history. Your responses are checked against your driving records, the objective test score, and the results of your chemical tests/blood alcohol content. This information will be used to determine the severity of your alcohol and/or drug use and will place you in one of four different levels in regard to public safety.
These risk levels are Minimal Risk, Moderate Risk, Significant Risk, and High Risk. Each of these levels has its own amount of counseling and education that must be completed. Minimal Risk has 10 hours of DUI Risk Education. Moderate Risk carries 10 hours of DUI Risk Education and 12 hours of Early Intervention. Significant Risk requires 10 hours of Risk Education and 20 hours of counseling. Lastly, High Risk requires 75 hours of counseling.
In order to complete the evaluation, you must bring a copy of any tickets and paperwork related to your DUI arrest(s) and a current Court Purposes Driver's Abstract. This can be picked up at any DMV or at the Secretary of State.
Should You Start Alcohol/Drug Risk Education Before Court?
If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Illinois, you are legally required to complete a minimum of 10 hours of Risk Education. These classes will provide you with information regarding the mental, physical, and social effects mind-altering substances have on an individual and the legal consequences of driving offenses while intoxicated.
These courses are approved by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, and meet all of the necessary requirements established. Evaluations are required before sentencing.
The easiest part of attending DUI risk education and DUI court is to dress appropriately. You are not required to wear a suit, but you'll need to come in something more appropriate than jeans and a tee shirt. Anything considered appropriate for a business career would be appropriate for a court appearance. For men, this would be a suit with a tie, a sports coat, a long sleeve collared shirt that buttons down, with long pants like khakis.
For women, this would be a nice knee-length dress with sleeves or a business suit, or a conservative top and long pants like slacks. Shoes should be closed-toe and conservative for both genders. You should make sure your hair is clean, dry, and appropriately styled. Personal hygiene should be of the utmost importance while you are in court for a DUI. Please make sure your teeth are brushed, facial hair is trimmed, shower beforehand, and wear deodorant.
Get a Lawyer
Illinois is one of the strictest states in the country. Many people wonder if they should hire a criminal defense attorney for their first DUI - or any DUI. Every state in the United States forbids anyone who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher from driving. It is always advisable to hire experienced defense lawyers any time there's a chance of jail time. Illinois takes an alcohol-related motor vehicle offense very seriously.
Should You Take a Plea or Go to Trial?
If you and your defense lawyers have any doubt regarding your case, you will likely be advised to take a guilty plea. In exchange for a guilty plea, there is a possibility the individual judge may hand down a lesser sentence. There are things that can cause reasonable doubt in your case, such as questionable field sobriety tests, the arresting officer doesn't read you your Miranda Rights, or if there are questions regarding the accuracy of your blood alcohol concentration in your police report. In the event that there are questions regarding the validity of your case, there is a possibility your DUI charges could be reduced, or dropped entirely.
What to Expect From a Trial
During a DUI trial, the prosecution will describe how they intend to prove the charges brought against you. They will explain who they anticipate calling as witnesses, and the evidence they plan to present to back up the charges. At a DUI trial, the prosecution has the obligation of proving the charges brought against you without a shadow of a doubt.
This evidence must be sufficient enough to convince the jury of your guilt. If they cannot accomplish this, you are presumed innocent if they can't present enough evidence to find you guilty. Evidence will be presented first, and following the evidence presented, the defense will have the opportunity to cross-examine the prosecution's witness. At this time, they may object to the prosecution's evidence.
When the case is at rest, the defense will then present its own evidence. For most cases, evidence presentation from prosecution and defense typically does not take longer than two days. It is at this point that closing arguments are presented. Evidence will be re-evaluated, and the prosecution may take this time to explain how the evidence supports the charges.
The defense will then do the opposite and point out holes and deficiencies in the prosecution's case, and highlight areas that raise doubt of your guilt. The closing argument is the last chance an attorney has to address the jury before the case is settled. Finally, the administrative judge will inform the jury of the applicable law, or jury instructions, and the jury will then collaborate, deliberate, and make a decision of guilt or innocence. If a consensus is made, a foreperson will inform the judge of their decision. A verdict of guilty or not guilty will then be announced.
Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer Today
Our DUI defense team here at DUI Lawyers 24/7 will work relentlessly for you and your case. We ensure positive results to get you as favorable of an outcome that we possibly can get. Our lawyers understand that receiving a DUI can be an extremely stressful situation and take action in ways that are catered to your case's specific details. Call today to get started with your free consultation!