DUIs and Statutory Summary Suspensions

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Ray Flavin, Attorney at Law

Woodstock, IL

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The Illinois legislature had provided different requirements for being charged with a DUI (Driving under the Influence) charge, and a Statutory Summary Suspension. The law for a DUI charge is found at 625 ILCS 5/11-501. The law for statutory summary suspensions is found at both 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1 and 625 ILCS 5/2-118.1.

To be a charged with DUI a person must be operating a motor vehicle anywhere in the State of Illiinois. Therefore a person could be charged if they were driving a car in a corn field. The person need not be operating a vehicle on a public highway. Also a person could be charged with operating any vehicle which under Illinois law is classified as a vehicle such as a golf cart, ATV, or even a motorized skateboard. There are a couple of exceptions to the "motorized vehicles": boats, and low powered motored bicycles. Of course boats are under their own DUI code found at 625 ILCS 45.

However, a person may only be suspended for taking a breathalyzer or other chemical test and failing, or refusing to take such a test if it can be shown that they were operating a motor vehicle on a highway. So for example if a person were to consume too much alcohol at a bar, walk out to their car, and then drive that car into a ditch before reaching the roadway, then they never operated a vehicle on a public highway, therefore they should not be suspended. Or if the police have filed a Notice of Summary Suspension, then that suspension should be challenged at a hearing pursuant to 625 ILCSS 5/2-118.1, by filing a Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension. We can easily see that if that same person makes it out on to a public highway then turns into the next bar down the road, but drives into a ditch, then the suspension would stand. This is because the police will be able to prove that the driver was operating a vehicle on a public highway before placing their vehicle in a ditch. So it matters which way the car is facing in a bar parking lot accident.

For these reasons, a driver may have both a suspension and a DUI, or a DUI with no suspension depending on the facts of the case. Upon receiving a DUI charge the best course of action is to consult a qualified DUI attorney, and get his or her opinion on the case.

Ray Flavin

Attorney at Law

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