People make mistakes every minute of every day. Admittedly, some mistakes are more serious than others. And, all mistakes come with their own set of consequences. Not all of us have made the mistake of driving while impaired, but for those of us who have and who have been caught, it means a lot of regret and inevitable cost to make it right. A lot of uncertainty also comes along with the severity of the consequence that could accompany a driving under the influence (DUI) charge.
Illinois has some of the toughest laws and penalties when it comes to DUI offenses. A driver’s license will automatically be revoked for one year with no opportunity to obtain driving relief for the entire year, if they are involved or suspected to be involved in an alcohol or substance related accident causing injury or death and refuse chemical testing, whether or not they are ultimately convicted. Some DUI offenses result in a license suspension while others carry a penalty of license revocation. It is important to understand the difference between revocation and suspension. They are very different, revocation being much more serious and sometimes very hard to overcome.
A suspended license is automatically reinstated after a set period of time and upon the payment of a reinstatement fee. When a license is revoked, driving privileges are taken away with no guarantee for restoration. At the end of the one-year summary suspension revocation, a person will need to go through the Secretary of State hearing process.
A person would have to obtain an alcohol evaluation and complete any counseling deemed necessary by the evaluation. Then, the person would need to appear before the Office of the Secretary of State for an administrative hearing. A person is rarely granted full driving privileges at this hearing. Typically, a person is granted a restricted driving permit. If the person successfully drives on that permit for the required time, the person can then reapply to obtain full reinstatement of driving privileges.
There have been years of debate surrounding whether it is constitutional for Illinois to impose a statutory license revocation on a person who may or may not have be convicted of a DUI offense. Defense attorneys have argued that summary suspension is a form of double jeopardy. The Supreme Court has taken the position that summary suspension is a civil proceeding and the punishment of license revocation is instituted with the ultimate goal of making the roads safer. The underlying DUI charge is criminal and although it may result in a trial that is not the equivalent to an administrative hearing held for summary suspension so therefore double jeopardy is not present.
The reality of facing a DUI charge is emotional and could potentially affect a person for a long time. It is important to have an attorney who can help you understand and sort through the confusing laws and penalties. For more information from a DUI attorney in Illinois, contact Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols at 309-467-3213.