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Illinois Updates DUI Laws - July 2011

The severity of state DUI penalties has increased in the last several years, due in large part to the increased pressure from lobbying groups. Additional penalties, established by the states have allowed for additional civil penalties for drivers charged with DUI if they fail or refuse to take a chemical test. This is called an administrative license suspension. Throughout 2010, in the state of Illinois, police were also allowed to force drivers who were involved in a car accident that killed or injured another driver to draw blood evidence from the driver. Drivers were first given the right to submit to a breath, urine or blood test, but if the driver refused, their license would be automatically suspended and the police would take the sample (laws for this procedure were originally outlined in Bill 3732 which was sponsored by Senate Democrat M. Maggie Crotty from the 19th District). Amendments to this bill have been passed under Public Act 96-1344 and will take effect on July 1, 2011. Under the new law a driver who is involved in a motor vehicle accident which causes death or injury must consent to the chemical test or they will have their license revoked. This is a more severe DUI penalty than the summary suspension allowed under the old law. The new law also allows for the police to use force to collect the blood sample, if necessary. Revocations and suspensions of a license may both last for a period of a year, but drivers who have only had their license suspended may generally be entitled to reinstatement of the license immediately following a payment for the reinstatement fee. No other qualifications are generally required. Drivers who have had their license revoked will have to attend a formal hearing with the Secretary of State Department of Administrative Hearings and will not automatically be entitled to reinstatement. The hearing will allow the Secretary an opportunity to review and investigate the driver. According to the new law the license will only be reinstated if the following requirements are met: “In no event shall the Secretary issue such license unless and until such person has had a hearing pursuant to this Code and the appropriate administrative rules and the Secretary is satisfied, after a review or investigation of such person, that to grant the privilege of driving a motor vehicle on the highways will not endanger the public safety or welfare. See 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b).” Opponents of the new law suggest it is too harsh because the driver is penalized for refusing a chemical test that he does not have the legal right to refuse. In addition, the law carries the same penalty for the driver as they would face if they had been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. Proponents of the new law applaud the government’s efforts to continue to eliminate and lower the rate of drunken driving, reducing the number of injuries and death from DUI. Drivers who have had their license revoked under the new law are entitled to an Administrative Law Hearing. The rights for a hearing are the same as they were previously under the old law if the driver’s license had been suspended. The Administrative hearing must be requested in writing within 30 days from the date of the illegal action.

Hiring a DUI Lawyer

DUI lawyers can help you if you have been arrested for a DUI in Illinois. Illinois drivers may not understand the severity or the ramifications of driving under the influence of alcohol. DUI may have severe long-term consequences for you socially, professionally and financially. DUI penalties in the state of Illinois can include: • Jail time • Fines Up to $2,500 • Higher fines for drivers with a BAC above .16% • $1,000 Minimum fine if the driver had a child under 16 in vehicle • License Suspension – Minimum 1 Year • Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device • Vehicle Registration Suspension • Community Service – 100 Hours Minimum - (BAC above .16) • Community Service – 25 Days - (If Child under 16 in Vehicle)