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How to Win a Statutory Summary Suspension Hearing

Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois DUI defense lawyersMost people know that you can lose your driver’s license if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) in Illinois. However, many people do not realize that there is a way you can get a statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license rescinded (canceled).

You Have the Right to a Court Hearing on the Suspension

If you fail or refuse chemical testing following a DUI arrest, the state of Illinois imposes an automatic suspension of your driver’s license, the statutory summary suspension. For most people, this suspension lasts six months if you failed testing (meaning you were over the legal limit) or 12 months if you refused to test.

But the law also grants you the right to a court hearing to challenge the suspension. At this hearing, your lawyer can question police officers and present arguments as to why your license should not have been suspended. If the judge is convinced, the statutory summary suspension will be lifted.

Valid Arguments for a Statutory Suspension Hearing

You must convince the judge that the suspension should be rescinded using one of the following arguments:

1.  The arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds on which to stop you, arrest you for DUI, or request chemical testing.

Your lawyer may be able to develop a strong argument on this basis. Prior to the hearing, your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of your case, taking actions such as:

  • Questioning you in detail about each step of the traffic stop, arrest, and testing process;
  • Talking to any witnesses such as a passenger in your car or people you were with prior to your arrest;
  • Reviewing any dashboard-camera or another police video;
  • Examining police reports and any other relevant evidence.

During the hearing, your lawyer will be able to question the arresting officer on his reasons for stopping you, and for deciding that you were driving under the influence. For example, the officer might testify that you failed field sobriety tests but, under further questioning, it may be revealed that he did not conduct those tests according to state standards. Your lawyer could then argue that those tests were invalid, therefore making your arrest invalid.

2. There was a flaw or error in the chemical test that showed you were over the legal limit for drugs and/or alcohol.

This is another strong possibility for your defense. Your lawyer will question the operator of the breath testing machine to determine if they followed all of the rules for proper testing. For example, they are required to observe you for 20 minutes prior to testing to ensure that you did not eat or drink anything that could affect the test results. Your lawyer will also request and examine the logbook for the testing device, along with records of repairs or malfunctions which occurred within 45 days of your testing. Any issues with the device within that time frame could be used to argue that the machine may have delivered an incorrect reading in your case.

3.  You were not properly arrested for DUI.

Your lawyer will check your DUI citation (Uniform Traffic Ticket) to make sure it was filled out correctly, and that the police records on your arrest are accurate.

4. The police did not give you the legally required warning prior to chemical testing.

Your lawyer will review the mandatory warning form to ensure that it was completed properly. Your lawyer will also check any police video which might show that the officer did not read you the full warning out loud.

5. The police claim you refused testing, but you did not.

Any number of factors could have made it difficult for you to comply with the policy directions for a breathalyzer test, which the police may have interpreted as refusal when in fact you did not intend to refuse.

Win Your Hearing with a DuPage County DUI Defense Lawyer

If you have been served with a notice of a statutory summary suspension, contact a knowledgeable Oak Brook DUI defense attorney right away. Your lawyer will need time to gather and review evidence for your defense. A thorough investigation could result in you getting your driver’s license back and winning your DUI criminal case. For a free consultation, which can take place during evening or weekend hours, call McMahon Law Offices at 630-953-4400.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501.1

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K6-208.1

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K2-118.1.htm

 

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