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Do You Lose Your License for a DUI in Chicago?

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Illinois, you may be aware that you are facing a looming license suspension. All persons arrested for DUI's are subject to license suspension while waiting for conviction and sentencing, and anyone convicted of a DUI will have their license fully suspended. In some cases, after too many repeat offenses, you may even lose your license permanently. Unlike some other states, Illinois also suspends the licenses of those who are facing drunk driving charges or have DUI convictions in other states. 

If you are facing drunk driving charges or are dealing with any kind of license suspension in Chicago, Illinois due to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the experienced attorneys at Ktenas Law are here to help you start your journey to getting back behind the wheel. Many citizens who are facing license suspension due to failed or refused field sobriety tests, or high BAC (blood alcohol content) are not aware of their options, and as dedicated defense attorneys, we're here to help.

How Long Will You Lose Your License for a DUI?

The length of suspension depends entirely on how many times your license has been suspended for DUI's in the past, as well as any other charges you may have received during your DUI arrest, such as reckless driving or reckless endangerment. The following time limits can be used as a general rule of thumb in most cases: 

  • Refusing a breathalyzer or field sobriety testing, first offense: automatic 12-month suspension
  • Refusing a breathalyzer or field sobriety testing, second offense: automatic 3-year suspension 
  • First-time Offender: 6-month suspension 
  • Second-time DUI offender: 12-month suspension
Liquor and car keys on a table.

While these guidelines are normally good guides for what you can expect, even the smallest details can change your sentencing drastically.

When Will My License be Suspended?

Your license will be automatically suspended 46 days after your arrest, in what is called a Statutory Summary Suspension. It will remain suspended until your sentencing, if your charges are dropped then your license will then be reinstated. If you are found guilty, the time that your license was suspended under your Statutory Summary Suspension may be allowed to count towards your total license suspension time after your conviction. 

This also means that you do have the ability to drive for a short time after your DUI arrest. In most cases, unless you called someone to pick up your car during your arrest, your car will have been impounded by the police. If your car has been impounded, you will be subject to impound fees to regain possession of your vehicle.

Many people do not know, but you do have the right to have someone pick up your car during your arrest. Having a friend or family member pick up your car means that it will not be impounded, and you do not run the risk of facing additional problems caused by the police doing an inventory on your vehicle. If your vehicle has been impounded, an inventory will be done of all contents upon delivery to the impound yard, which can be used as evidence against you if you have open containers or illegal substances in your vehicle at the time of your arrest. 

Learn More: Penalties for a DUI in Chicago

Is There a Way to Get My License Back Faster?

Whether your license is suspended under a Statutory Summary Suspension, or through a suspension given to you during your sentencing, there are options to shorten your suspension. 

Some first-time DUI offenders are able to continue driving if they agree to submit to having a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in their personal vehicles. This is a machine connected to the ignition system on your car and stops your engine from being about to turn over until you are able to pass a breathalyzer test. In some cases, you may even be required to take a breathalyzer while your car is on. A failed breathalyzer with disable your car and cause you to face further consequences, such as another DUI charge. 

You may also qualify for Restricted Driving Permit. This is a permit given in special circumstances when losing your license will cause undue hardship on your life, such as loss of a job, inability to see your children, etc. There are no automatic qualifications for a Restricted Driving Permit, you will have to convince a judge that you will suffer without your driving privileges. You must also prove that you are not a danger to yourself or others if you are behind the wheel. 

How Much Does a BAIID Cost?

Having a BAIID installed in your car is not cheap, and it's not a flat fee. You will be required to pay monthly fees for the entire duration of the BAIID being installed in your vehicle. It costs around $75 for installation in most vehicles, and $95 a month for upkeep and records, which will be sent to the Secretary of State's office in Illinois and reviewed.

An image of a man driving a car.

If any violations are found in your records, such as blowing a positive BAC or someone else using your BAIID in order to start your car for you, your provisionary license will be immediately revoked, you may be arrested for a DUI depending on the circumstances of your violation, and none of your fees will be returned to you. Your blood alcohol concentration does not have to be over the legal limit in order for your BAIID and provisionary license to be suspended, any BAC over .00 is enough. 

Learn More: What Does a DUI Cost?

How Do I Get My License Back After My Suspension Period is Over? 

If you lost your license to a Statutory Summary Suspension, you will need to pay fees to the Secretary of State's Office in order to have your license suspension lifted. If you lost your license in a DUI suspension, however, it's not quite as easy to get back on the road. 

First, you must complete your entire suspension period, as well as ordered alcohol and drug evaluation, education courses, and alcohol and drug treatment. You may also be required to complete days of community service, depending on your sentencing.

Once those are completed, and you have purchased the necessary high-risk car insurance, you will be allowed to attend an administrative hearing in which you will be required to provide proof that you are no longer a danger when behind the wheel. If you are approved during your suspension hearing, you are then able to retake your driver's test and will have your license reinstated, pending the payment of your application fees and reinstatement fees. 

Even if you have finished the required suspension period after conviction, you will not be able to regain your license by completing the above steps. This means that the longer it takes you to complete your required courses and classes and gain insurance, the longer it takes to get your license back. Taking too long to finish all required actions can lengthen your suspension by weeks or even months. 

Related Content: How a Lawyer Can Help You With a DUI

Get Help Keeping Your Driving Privileges

If you are facing DUI criminal charges or license suspension in Illinois, you don't have time to waste. Calling a Chicago DUI defense lawyer as soon as you can is the best way to avoid jail time and extended license suspension. A strong defense built by experienced criminal defense attorneys is your best shot to a clean driving record and license reinstatement, so don't wait, call Ktenas Law now. 

During our initial consultation, we will go over your case, all realistic outcomes for your case, and begin building the perfect defense for your unique case. Confidential consultations with our experienced team are always no-judgment zones, we know that everyone makes mistakes, and our clients are no different. But we also know that no one deserves to have their entire lives turned upside down by a mistake. 

Call us today, and let us help you get your life back in the fast lane. 

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