There are two parts to almost every DUI case in Illinois. There is the criminal charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and the civil Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS) of a driver’s license following a DUI arrest.
The criminal charge of DUI in Illinois carries a possible jail sentence and driver’s license revocation upon conviction. A criminal case may take months to more than a year to resolve depending on the facts of the case, the speed discovery is provided by the prosecution, and the court’s schedule among other factors. Time is important in a criminal DUI case, but a delay usually does not prejudice the person arrested. In fact, delay may be beneficial to a criminal defendant in a DUI case for several reasons. No action is taken against the criminal defendant’s driver’s license by the Illinois Secretary of State unless the driver is found guilty of DUI, and the driver’s sentence is considered a conviction.
On the other hand, time is critically important in the civil portion of the case, the Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS). The Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension is usually served on the arrested driver on the same date as the arrest. The SSS lasts for a minimum of six months to a minimum of 36 months, and until the Secretary of State reinstates the driver’s license. The Secretary of State will suspend your driver’s license on the 46th day after service of the Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension regardless of whether you hired an attorney, filed documents to preserve your right to a hearing on the SSS issue or had a hearing on the SSS issue.
The SSS statute allows the driver to file a petition for a hearing before a judge on the SSS issue. The petition must be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court with a copy served on the prosecution. Once properly served, the prosecution is required to provide a “meaningful hearing” on the SSS within 30 days of the filing of the Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension or the first court date, whichever is later, unless the Petitioner causes the delay in holding the hearing. The prosecution’s failure to provide discovery within the 30-day period deprives the Petitioner of a “meaningful hearing” resulting in a Due Process violation and rescission of the SSS.
The prosecution can avoid a Due Process violation by providing discovery, including video and written reports, within 30 days of the filing of the Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension. This gives the Petitioner an opportunity for a “meaningful hearing” on the SSS. Winning the hearing means the SSS would be rescinded on the merits after a hearing.
There are limited bases to proceed on a hearing to rescind the SSS. It is the Petitioner’s burden to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the officer had no reasonable grounds to believe a driver was operating a vehicle on a publicly maintained roadway while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the Petitioner was not properly warned of the consequences of refusing or submitting to a breath, blood, or urine test, the Petitioner did not refuse or fail to complete a breath, blood, or urine test, or the breath blood, or urine test was inaccurate when it showed a result greater than the legal limit for alcohol or drugs.
Steven Herzberg focuses his practice on defending people charged with DUI. His knowledge of this area of law allows him to vigorously advocate for you in your Statutory Summary Suspension case and in your criminal DUI case. Contact Herzberg Law Firm today to help protect your driving privileges.