Have Questions About Your Case? Check Out Some of Our Law Firm's FAQs
Dealing with any kind of legal matter inevitably leads to a number of questions. We have created a list of some of the questions we hear the most in our Edwardsville law office, but please give us a call if you have a question that is not answered here.
- Page 1
How Does the New DUI Suspension Law Effect Me?
Enacted January 1, 2016 was a new provision that now allows for first time DUI offenders to avoid the first 30 day "hard time" suspension period. The manner in which the person accomplishes this is by filing for the MDDP permit prior to the inception of the SSS. In other words, if a person is to begin their SSS on 2/1/16 they should file the permit application sent to them in the mail by the SOS two weeks prior to the first day the SSS begins.
One problem that I have discovered is that it takes the SOS 3-4 weeks to process the request for the driving permit. Therefore, the client must almost immediately upon receipt of the paperwork in the mail fill it out and return it in order for them to realistically be able to drive the first day their suspension goes into effect.
This is a very useful provision that will positively impact many drivers in Illinois. For further information on this new law please contact a qualified DUI attorney.
How Can I Beat the Statutory Summary Suspension on My DUI?
The first concen one faces when charged with a DUI is the pending Statutory Summary Suspension ("SSS"). This is an administrative suspension that takes effect 46 days after the Notice of Suspension is issued. The SSS law affords the subject of the suspension a hearing to contest its issuance. The motorist must file a request for heearing within 90 days of the Notice. Failure to file the petition to rescind within that time frame results in the loss of ability to contest the SSS.
At the SSS the court addresses the following issues:
1. Did the arresting officer have "reasonable suspicion" to initially stop the motorist?
2. Did the arresting officer have "probable cause" to arrest the motorist for DUI?
3. After being arrested for DUI was the motorist read the Warning to Motorist?
4. And lastly, after the Warning to Motorist was read did the subject refuse a breath test or submit to a test with results in excess of the legal limit?
The motorist has the burden of proof in these hearings. The burden shifts to the State when the motorist proves at least one of the aforementioned elements. The normal rules of evidence apply with the exception that the State can present the Notice of Suspension as evidence if the officer fails to appear to testify. Subpoenas may be issued if necessary. Normally, the State will organize necessary witnesses and produce them in court if requested ahead of the hearing. The motorist can use Supreme Court Rule 237(b) to cause such witnesses to be produced in open court.
The hearing begins with opening statements which may be waived. The Court generally wants to know what issues are being addressed during the hearing. The motorist does not have to advise any narrowing of issues and can wait until the evidence has concluded before narrowing them.
The hearings usually last about an hour. I like to call the officer first and sometimes ask to treat as an adverse witness if it becomes apparent that the officer has the demeanor that makes such motion appropriate. Most police officers don't act in such a manner. But it seems I run across them from time to time. Judges don't always allow this method. First the police officer's qualifications must be defined. How much training in the field of DUI and field sobriety testing does the officer have? Some police officers haven't received any subsequent training on DUI cases since they passed the academy. These officers generally don't do very well during these hearings. Some other officers like to act like they are very current in DUI processing. But a thorough examination often reveals they have shaky foundation. By that I mean they don't understand the correct manner in which to administer each of the three standardized field sobriety tests. If you can prove to the judge the police officer did not correctly administer the SFSTs you can win the SSS hearing. The issue being attacked in this manner is #2 above (probable cause to arrest). Other issues arise in the hearings. For instance, I won a hearing recently when I proved that the reason claimed for the initial stop was untrue. The officer claimed that he stopped my client for driving with her high beams on. We watched the video during the hearing and it was obvious she never had her high beams on.
The advent of videos creates lots of viewing time for the attorney. This takes about one and a half hours for each DUI case. But, watching the videos is a must. I recently watched a video for a DUI (2nd time offender). The officer skipped several portions of the Warning to Motorist when reading it to the client. We raised that issue (#3 above) and won the hearing. This is not dispositive of the DUI but was determinative for the SSS.
It is important to consult a qualified experienced attorney when fighting the SSS.
Is there a way to keep a DUI off my permanent record?
Many first offender DUI clients don't know whether they can keep the DUI and its arrest off their record. The "records" they are concerned with are both the arrest record and Secretary of State driver's records. If a person pleads guilty to the DUI under court supervision as a disposition the answer is fuzzy. There will always be an arrest record of the event. DUIs are one specific offense that cannot ever be expunged (arrest records erased). However, there will not be a conviction and no record will appear for the DUI on the SOS driver's record (abstract). If a client is able to avoid a plea of guilty to the DUI itself the arrest may be erased after a certain period of time under expungment proceedings. Due to the complexity of the issue contacting experienced and qualified legal counsel is of the utmost importance.
My child is a student at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and he was just arrested for a DUI. What should I do?
If you just received a call from your SIUE student to tell you that he was arrested for DUI, you're probably struggling with a lot of different emotions right now. Part of you wants to run to help him immediately, while another part of you is probably angry and wants to teach him "tough love." Many parents find it difficult to decide which method will ultimately help their child the most in the long run.
In the end, it is ultimately up to you how much you want to help him. However, it is important to consider a few things before you make your decision. First of all, your child has already gone through a lot of stress and embarrassment; he has ridden in the back of a police car, been arrested, fingerprinted, and probably placed in a jail cell. This experience in itself can be a huge reality check for your arrested SIUE student.
You must also realize that leaving your son to fend for himself after a DUI arrest can affect him for many years to come. He may have trouble finding a job, he may watch his car insurance rates skyrocket, and he may never be able to obtain certain types of professional licenses.
There are many other ways you can punish your child—or show your disapproval—following a DUI arrest without ruining his future. If you want to help your child, contact Polinske & Associates immediately. Attorney Brian Polinske is a top DUI attorney in the Edwardsville area and he has extensive experience helping SIUE students and their families.
Ready to talk? Give us a call or fill out our easy online contact form and we will get right back to you.