You Can Lose Your License Before Being Found Guilty of a DUI!


You read that right. In Illinois, a person charged with a DUI can lose his/her license before the DUI case is resolved.  This is because Illinois has something called a “statutory summary suspension,” which is an automatic suspension imposed on the license of a person who fails to take, or refuses to submit to, a chemical (intoxication) test. 

How is that even legal?

Statutory summary suspensions are explicitly allowed by law (625 ILCS 5/11-501.1), and there are a couple circumstances where a statutory summary suspension can be instated. 

a) The first possibility is if a defendant submits to a chemical test (e.g., a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test) and that test shows intoxication over the legal limit (e.g., 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of whole blood, 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter of another bodily substance, or a trace of other drugs (including medications)).

b) A second possibility is for the suspension to be put in place is if a defendant refuses to submit to chemical testing. 

How long can they suspend my license for?

The length of the suspension depends on whether or not the accused submitted to or refused chemical testing.

  • If a person submitted to chemical testing, but failed, his/her license will be suspended for six months for a first offense* and one year for subsequent offenses that are within five years of the first.
  • If a person refused chemical testing, his/her license will be suspended for one year for a first offense* and three years for any subsequent offenses within five years of the first.  Although the suspension length may be longer for a refusal, refusing chemicals tests may help in your DUI defense.

Can I fight a summary suspension?

Yes, but it is very time sensitive, so it is highly recommended that you retain an attorney as soon as possible.

A criminal defense attorney may be able to fight to have the summary suspension rescinded.

If you have received a suspension, call the Criminal Defense Group at (773) 893-0252 as soon as possible, so that we can start the fight for your license!

* Defendants who are on their first offense may be eligible to receive a monitoring device driving permit.