DUI arrest and what it means to be arrested for DUI.
Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) or Drunk Driving, is a unique criminal offense, in that it can directly affect the status of your driver's license. A DUI is a class A misdemeanor, which means that the offense is punishable by up to a year in jail with a maximum fine of $2,500.00 or both.
What makes a DUI arrest unique, is that they you can be penalized in two different ways at the same time. First, you have the underlying criminal offense of DUI which is the aforementioned Class A Misdemeanor. The Second penalty comes in the form of a Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS). For first time offenders, if you submit to a breath test over .08, your license will be suspended for six months. If you refuse to submit to a breath test, your license will be suspended for one year. Typically, your suspension will go into effect on the 46th day after you receive notice of your impending suspension from the Illinois Secretary of State.
The underlying criminal case of DUI will be prosecuted at the Circuit Court level. However, your Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS) is an administrative type of punishment which is handed down by the Illinois Secretary of State.
Many individuals combine the two penalties which leads to confusion as to how to address the DUI arrest. If you consider the two issues separate, (1) Criminal Offense, and (2) Administrative Penalty, a DUI arrest is much easier to understand.
In practice, you can have a DUI charge dismissed, but still have a SSS on your Driving record. Likewise, you can have the SSS rescinded, but still be found guilty of the DUI.
You can also be charged with DUI, without having your license suspended. For example, if your DUI occurred on private property and not on a Illinois roadway, it would be improper for a SSS to apply in your DUI case. However, you cannot have a SSS without the underlying DUI arrest.
By looking at the Criminal offense of DUI and the SSS as two separate entities, you can understand why a DUI arrest can be very complicated.
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