DUI Frequently Asked Questions

If I am arrested for DUI will my driver’s license be suspended?
The short answer is yes. The length of the suspension depends on whether the driver submitted to a blood, breath or urine test at the time of arrest. If the driver submitted to a test and failed, his license is suspended for 6 months. If the driver refused to submit to these tests, his or her license is suspended for 12 months of the driver is a first offender. The suspension will take place on the 46th day after the date of Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension. Generally, the Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension is given on the date of arrest, but that is not always the case. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1

Can I fight the suspension of my Driver’s License if I get arrested for DUI?
Yes, of course you can. Once a driver receives a Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension he or she has 90 days to file a Petition to Rescind the suspension of their driver’s license. Once filed, the State has 30 days or your first court date (whichever is later) to grant you a hearing on your petition. At the hearing, the burden is on the driver (and his or her attorney) to prove to the court that a legal basis exists to rescind or cancel the suspension of a driver’s license. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1.

Will an Attorney help with my case?
Yes. A DUI is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 365 days in jail and a $2,500 fine. In addition to the criminal penalties, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least 6 months based on the DUI arrest. Furthermore, if you are convicted for a DUI your driver’s license will be revoked for a year or more. A revoked driver’s license is different than a suspension as the revocation results in the cancellation of your driver’s license and driving privileges. An experienced DUI attorney will help you not only fight the criminal case, but can also help fight the suspension of your driver’s license. An experienced DUI attorney is often times the difference between a valid driver’s license and a suspended license. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501, 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1 and 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-55.

It is my first DUI, do I need an attorney?
Yes, you do. A DUI is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 365 days in jail and a $2,500 fine. In most cases, the judge will require you retain an attorney. If you cannot afford your own attorney the Judge may appoint the public defender if the judge finds that you are qualified to receive their services. An Illinois driver who has been charged with a DUI can attempt to represent themselves, but you do so at your own peril. In most instances, a judge will recommend that you do not attempt to represent yourself. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501 and 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-55.

What will a DUI attorney do for me?
Any good attorney will review all of the police reports, videos and statements prior to advising you on how to proceed with your case. An experienced DUI attorney will help fight the suspension of your Illinois Driver’s License. A DUI attorney will also fight to keep the DUI from permanently appearing on your criminal record or having a negative impact on your Illinois Driver’s License. An experienced DUI attorney will also make sure the police followed the law and made a proper arrest. Often times the police make mistakes in the course of a DUI arrest and an experienced DUI attorney will know how to spot those mistakes and more importantly how to use them to his advantage. A good DUI attorney will also be prepared to take your case to trial and convince a judge or a jury that the State failed to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt which could result in a finding of not guilty. It is imperative that your DUI attorney is an experienced trial attorney.

How much does a DUI attorney cost?
DUI attorney fees depend on the specific facts of your case. DUI attorney’s fees can be charged hourly or at a flat rate. It is important to understand not only how much you are paying, but it is equally important to understand exactly what you are paying for. Before you agree to hire a DUI attorney make sure you ask the appropriate questions so you can be sure you are getting what you pay for. Is your DUI attorney experienced, does he regularly conduct DUI trials, and does he or she have experience litigating jury trials are all good questions for your DUI attorney.

How to Choose a DUI Attorney?
The only thing that you can do for yourself once you have been arrested for DUI is to hire the right attorney to fight your case. You should find an attorney that you are comfortable speaking with. Your attorney should return your phone calls and emails in a timely manner. You should question your attorney regarding his or her experience with DUI cases. If so, what kind of experience does your attorney have? Does your attorney litigate DUI cases on a regular basis? Does your attorney regularly conduct hearings on Statutory Summary Suspensions? Is your attorney successful representing other clients? Though past results are never a guarantee of success on your DUI case, they can be a helpful factor in deciding which attorney is the right fit for you.

I was arrested for a DUI, am I going to jail?
A DUI is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 365 days in jail and a $2,500 fine, so jail time is a possible sentence. However, there are many alternative outcomes to a DUI arrest that DO NOT result in the defendant serving any jail time whatsoever. It is impossible to forecast what will happen on any given DUI case without the specific facts of your case, but often times driver’s who are charged with Misdemeanor DUI’s do not serve any time in jail.

Why is my DUI being charged as a felony?
There are many different reasons why a DUI is charged as a felony offense as opposed to a misdemeanor. The most common reason a DUI is a felony is because the defendant had a suspended driver’s license, a revoked driver’s license, or the driver was never issued a driver’s license. If you are arrested for a DUI and you do not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the arrest, then you are at risk of receiving a felony DUI. A driver may also be charged with a felony DUI if they have 2 or more DUI violations in their past. Also, if a driver causes injury or death to another person while driving under the influence it can also be charged as a felony. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501.

Will a DUI stay on my record?
A person who receives their first DUI is eligible for court supervision in the State of Illinois. A driver who receives court supervision for DUI will not receive a conviction on his or her criminal history. Further, the Illinois Secretary of State will not assign points to your driver’s license which, in turn, could cause your insurance rates to increase. However, a DUI will generally show up on your driving record and a criminal history if you are found guilty. If a person is found not guilty or the DUI is dismissed for other reasons, then you may be able to expunge the DUI from your record as if it never happened. Generally speaking, a person who is found (or pleads) guilty to a DUI will not be able to expunge or seal the DUI from his or her record.


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Dustin Smith - Chicago DUI Attorney

Dustin SmithDUI Attorney

We understand people make mistakes, so we will fight to get your life back on track. I have leveraged both Dustin and Mike when I needed legal support in the past 2 years. They are able to explain the situation and choices in terms I can understand. They offer the same advice they would give their own sons or daughters. I can trust them to be honest with me and I know they have my best interest in mind. I have actually referred them to many friends who needed legal support. You will be in good hands with either of them.

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