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5 Strategies for Challenging Statutory Summary Suspension in Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Law

McHenry County DUI defense lawyerMost people know that you can lose your driver’s license if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) in Illinois. However, many people do not realize that there might be a way to get the suspension of your driver’s license rescinded, but doing so generally requires the help of a qualified attorney.

You Have the Right to a Court Hearing Regarding Your Suspension

If you fail or refuse chemical testing following a DUI arrest, the state of Illinois imposes an automatic suspension of your driver’s license—known as a “statutory summary suspension.” For most people, this suspension lasts six months if you failed testing or 12 months if you refused testing. The law in Illinois, however, gives you the right to a court hearing to challenge the suspension. At this hearing, your lawyer can question police officers and present arguments as to why your license should not have been suspended.

If you hope to have your automatic suspension rescinded, you will need to prove one of the following:

1.  The arresting officer did not have grounds to stop you, arrest you, or request chemical testing. 

Your lawyer may be able to develop a strong argument on this basis and use similar arguments in your defense against the criminal DUI charge. Prior to the hearing, your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the details of your case to ensure that the officer had sufficient reasons for stopping you, arresting you, and requesting chemical testing.

During the hearing, your lawyer will be able to question the arresting officer on his reasons for stopping you and for deciding that you were driving under the influence. For example, the officer might testify that you failed field sobriety tests but, under further questioning, reveal that he did not conduct those tests according to state standards. Your lawyer could then argue that those tests were invalid, and therefore your arrest was invalid. 

2. There was a flaw or error in the chemical test.

This is another strong possibility for your defense. Your lawyer will question the operator of the breath testing machine to determine if they followed all of the rules for proper testing. For example, the administrator is required to observe you for 20 minutes prior to testing, to ensure that you had nothing to eat or drink that could affect the test results. Your lawyer will also request and examine the logbook for the testing device along with records of repairs or malfunctions which occurred within 45 days of your testing. Any issues with the device within that time frame can be used to argue that the machine may have delivered an incorrect reading in your case.

3.  You were not properly arrested for DUI. 

Your lawyer will check your DUI citation (Uniform Traffic Ticket) to make sure it was filled out correctly and that the police records on your arrest are accurate. In addition to looking for procedural mistakes, your attorney will also verify that your arrest was for DUI. If you were arrested on charges other than driving under the influence, for example, the statutory summary suspension would not apply to your situation.

4. The police did not give you the legally required warning prior to chemical testing. 

Your lawyer will review the mandatory warning form to ensure that it was completed properly. Your lawyer will also check any police video which might show that the officer did not read you the full warning out loud. You must have been made aware of the consequences of failing or refusing chemical testing in order for the suspension to be valid.

5. The police claim you refused testing, but you did not.

There are a number of reasons why you may not have been able to comply with the police's directions for a breathalyzer test, which the police may have interpreted as refusal when in fact you did not intend to refuse. As long as you made appropriate attempts to complete chemical testing, you cannot be found to have refused the test.

A McHenry County DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help

If you have been served with a notice of a statutory summary suspension, contact a knowledgeable Crystal Lake DUI defense attorney right away. Your lawyer will need time to gather and review evidence for your defense. A thorough investigation could result in you getting your driver’s license back and winning your DUI criminal case as well. For a free consultation, call Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC at 815-338-3838 today. 

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501.1

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K6-208.1

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K2-118.1.htm

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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