Illinois Traffic Violation and DUI Lawyers

How to Fight a DUI in Illinois

Last updated on

Some states consider Driving Under the Influence (DUI) a traffic offense. But, a DUI in Illinois is a criminal offense with serious consequences. A person charged with a DUI should be aware of a possible license suspension or revocation, the likelihood of high fines, and even jail.

Fighting a DUI in Illinois is comprised of two components: the DUI itself and the Statutory Summary Suspension.


If you are charged with a DUI for the first time in Illinois, it is likely a misdemeanor. However, it can be upgraded to a felony if there are aggravating factors, such as:

  • A child was in the vehicle;
  • The driver did not have a valid license or insurance;
  • You have previous DUIs; or
  • There was an accident involving serious injuries.

The Criminal Case

A first offense DUI may carry a period of incarceration of up to a year, fines up to $2,500, mandatory drug and alcohol testing and treatment, or community service. But in many cases, a DUI lawyer may be able to obtain court supervision for a driver charged with DUI for the first time. Eligibility depends on the specific circumstances of the incident and the defendant’s background. But court supervision allows the driver to avoid a criminal conviction for DUI.

In addition, any conviction for DUI will result in a revoked driver’s license. This is separate from the statutory summary suspension mentioned above and is much more serious. For a first conviction, your license will be revoked for a minimum of one year. Your license remains revoked until you have a successful hearing with the Secretary of State to have it reinstated. A DUI conviction or supervision can never be expunged.

In Illinois, anyone found guilty of a DUI must undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation before they can be sentenced.

The DUI evaluation will influence the actual terms of your potential DUI sentence. The evaluator will ask you questions and review documents relating to your history with drugs and alcohol, especially as it relates to driving. The evaluations are standardized and they are designed to produce one of four classifications. Your risk classification level determines the recommended hours of treatment.

If required to undergo an evaluation, you will be responsible for the cost of the education and treatment classes. The procedure for these evaluations varies from county to county.

DUI convictions can create other problems, such as increased auto insurance rates, impoundment or forfeiture of your vehicle and possible immigration consequences.

For the above reasons, it is extremely important that you hire a skilled DUI defense attorney to represent you.

Statutory Summary Suspension

When charged with a DUI in Illinois, the second thing you must deal with is the Statutory Summary Suspension. This is not a criminal matter. It is a civil issue with the Illinois Secretary of State.

Do you remember the phrase “driving is a privilege and not a right?” Well, that privilege is often taken away from you when you’re charged with a DUI. The suspension of your license often goes into effect automatically on the 46th day after you receive a notice of the summary suspension. Notice is often given to you on the day of the arrest.

The length of the summary suspension will depend on whether or not you submitted to chemical testing for the presence of alcohol or other intoxicating compounds.

If you refused to submit to this testing, your license will be suspended for at least one year.

If you submitted to the testing, and it showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, your license will be suspended for at least six months.

If you submitted to the testing, and it showed 5 nanograms of THC in your blood or 10 nanograms of THC in your urine, your license will be suspended for at least six months.

If you submitted to the chemical testing and showed any amount of a drug, substance, or compound resulting from the unlawful use of a controlled substance and/or an intoxicating compound, your license will be suspended for at least six months.

This suspension occurs regardless of the outcome of your DUI. After the period of suspension is over, you must pay a reinstatement fee to the Secretary of State. Your license will remain suspended until it is reinstated.

However, after reviewing the police reports and watching the arrest videos, an experienced DUI lawyer may be able to identify ways to challenge the summary suspension. It can benefit you and your case if you speak with a DUI attorney shortly after your arrest.

How To Fight A DUI Charge

As you have seen, a DUI charge carries a significant risk of long-lasting consequences. Therefore, it is vital that you have an experienced attorney from the very beginning of your case to guide you through the process.

At Driver Defense Team, we believe in the team concept. Our attorneys are in courtrooms throughout Chicagoland every day defending people charged with DUI.

Our attorneys have backgrounds including prosecution, public defense, and judicial clerkships. We have experience at every point and every side of DUI cases. And, while all DUI cases are different, we bring our training and experience to each and every case. We work together to ensure that all of our clients get an aggressive and creative approach to their case. Our defense is designed to get the best possible outcome for our clients every time.

When you hire Driver Defense Team you have:

  • An experienced attorney with you at every court appearance;
  • An opportunity to review everything the government will use against you in court;
  • Experienced attorneys review your case with you and find the best possible defense to the charges against you;
  • Assistance in preparing for your DUI evaluation;
  • Information at every stage of proceedings;
  • Attorneys fighting to make sure your rights are protected in the criminal case and the suspension case.
  • If you are ticketed for a DUI, don’t trust just any attorney to handle your case, contact Driver Defense Team as soon as possible.

I received a ticket for...

Contact Us

(312) 940-8330

Questions? Fill out the contact form and we’ll get back to you right away.

Using the Driver Defense Team website or submitting a form does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Driver Defense Team or any of our attorneys. Driver Defense Team does not represent you until the firm determines there would not be a conflict of interest, and the firm officially informs you that it is able to accept the engagement. Accordingly, if you e-mail any information or documents, and we do not already represent you, your e-mail will not be treated as privileged and confidential.