A first time DUI suspension ("Statutory Summary Suspension") lasts either 6 months or one year. The suspect who submits to a breath test faces a 6 month suspension. The suspect who refuses a breath test is looking at a one year suspension. Both suspensions begin 46 days after the date the subject receives the notice of suspension which usually correlates to the date of arrest. The Notice begins the suspension and is a legal document that is served upon the offender, the circuit clerk, and the Secretary of State by the arresting officer. Failure to file the notice with the Secretary of State will not trigger the suspension. Failure to timely file the notice may also result in the suspension being thrown out (rescinded).
Once the Secretary of State receives the Notice they mail a Confirmation of Suspension to the offender. The Confirmation is mailed to the address as stated in the notice. This is one piece of mail that will NOT be forwarded by the US Post Office. If the mail is not properly addressed it is then returned to the SOS. This happens more than you would believe. The only method to determine whether the officer has properly mailed the notice if the subject has not received notice is to contact the SOS to inquire. Many times the notice is amended by the officer after issuing the original Notice. Usually the amendment is made due to failure to completely fill out the form correctly or completely. The officer must then provide notice by mailing the amended Notice to the subject. Again, failure to timely amend and serve notice can be fatal to the SSS.
If notice is proper, then the subject may petition the circuit court where the DUI is filed for a rescission of the SSS. There are a limited number of grounds upon which the SSS may be rescinded. 1. Did the officer have reasonable grounds to stop the subject's vehicle. 2. did the officer have probable cause to arrest the subject for DUI. 3. Did the officer read the WTM to the subject after arresting him/her for DUI. 4. And lastly, after having been read the Warning to Motorist did the subject submit to a BAC which disclosed .08 or higher or did the subject refuse the test.
There exists quite a bit of precedent on each of these separate issues. Most commonly an attack is made upon the first two issues during the rescission hearing. Every defense attorney differs in technique when conducting the SSS hearing. I personally prefer to memorize as much of the officer's reports as possible and attempt to get the officer to discredit his own testimony. I find it fairly easy to do just that. Many times the officer won't take enough time to prepare himself to testify. In such instances they almost always can't remember all the information contained in their reports. The dash cam video is a very important part of prepping for the SSS hearing. I like to note the times for important pieces of the video for quick reference by the reviewing judge. If the video shows my client passing a portion of the standardized field sobriety tests I question the officer with the NTSB student manual which defines how each of the individual tests must be administered and evaluated. For clients with low BACs (.08 to .11) their performance almost always looks to be passing. Judges like to be made aware of inconsistencies with the officer's testimony versus their written narrative reports. If the evidence contains video and it contradicts the officer's testimony it must be clearly presented to the court.
If the subject does not win their rescission hearing they must then opt for a MDDP which is a driving permit that requires installation of the BAIID in their car. The BAIID is a breath interlock device that is installed by a qualified mechanic for a fee. The BAIID must be removed and its data downloaded each month or two depending on the device used. The data is downloaded to the SOS who determines whether the breath samples introduced into the device register any ethanol. If they do the permit may be revoked.
There is much more that must be considered when preparing for and conducting a rescission hearing.
Seek qualified legal representation when choosing your DUI defense attorney.