You have been arrested for DUI. You remember the police officer said something about a suspension, but you don’t remember exactly what. And what if you are found guilty? Will you lose your license then?

Generally, a first-time DUI results in the temporary suspension of your license. After your arrest, either because of drugs or alcohol, the Secretary of State will issue a Statutory Summary Suspension which suspends your license on the 46th day after your arrest for a period of six months. If you refused the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests, you may be suspended for one year.

For most first-time DUIs, you will not lose your license after the suspension expires except under certain circumstances. Under the Illinois Zero Tolerance policy, the Secretary of State will automatically suspend your license if you are under age 21, even if you weren’t actually driving but were caught drinking or carrying open alcohol in the passenger compartment.

You can also lose your license if you are convicted. Generally, a first time DUI offender will receive a sentence of supervision. Supervision may involve attending alcohol classes, performing community service and paying fines. Supervision is not a conviction, and thus, you would still be allowed to drive. However, if your DUI resulted in an accident that caused serious injury or involved some other aggravating circumstances such as an extremely high breathalyzer, you could be convicted on a first offense. Convictions are the rule for second or subsequent DUI offenses.

If you are convicted, the Secretary of State may revoke your license indefinitely until you satisfy several conditions, and maybe not even then. Conditions may include attending classes, obtaining alcohol abuse treatment and surviving a rigorous interview with the Secretary of State. Even if you are diligent, the Secretary of State will probably require your car to be fitted with a breath activated ignition interlock device (BAIID) prior to returning your license.

If you are charged with DUI, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An experienced DUI attorney may be able to fight the Statutory Summary Suspension on your behalf, or at least, help you obtain a BAIID so that you can continue to drive.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)