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Getting arrested for a DUI can be a frightening and stressful experience. A first time DUI arrest is never expected and typically not something we prepare for. If you have found our website and are reading this blog, I’m guessing you are looking for information that can give you some answers as to how the DUI process works in Illinois, and what to expect.

When arrested for a DUI, most often the Police Officer will issue you (along with your tickets) a “Notice of Summary Suspension”, or it may be called “Law Enforcement Sworn Report”. This document will explain the license suspension, which will occur on the 46th day after arrest. For a first arrest, if you take and fail the tests, your license will be suspended for 6-months, if you refuse to test (the breathalyzer test AT THE POLICE STATION) you will lose your license for 12-months.

If you want to drive during this suspension you must apply for a permit, which will require you to install a Breathalyzer in your vehicle. This request for permit (MDDP) will be made at your first court date.

The next step in your process will be to get a DUI Evaluation completed. Many courts will not proceed with your case until your DUI Evaluation has been completed.

If you were arrested in DuPage or Cook County you must get this evaluation completed with your county. If you were arrested in any other surrounding counties, you can choose your own DASA licensed agency to obtain your first time DUI Evaluation. The agency must have a specific designation to their license to provide DUI Evaluation services. The cost of Evaluations can vary according to agency, so I would encourage you to “shop around”, and definitely call Tools For Life, as part of our commitment to providing quality services, is to make these services affordable. We are typically priced lower than other agencies, and if not, we are willing to meet the price of other agencies.

The DUI Evaluation represents your “risk level to public safety” through 4 different classifications. Minimal, Moderate, Significant and High Risk. Each classification has specific recommendations and hours that the court will want you to complete. The evaluation process and recommendations come from a standard state issued program, meaning all agencies use the same program.

Completing the recommendations can be done before or after sentencing. Many attorneys recommend clients to start the recommended hours of education and/or treatment for their classification prior to sentencing. Doing so can work in your favor, as it shows responsibility, which the courts like.

Upon sentencing, the typical first-time offender will be offered supervision, (meaning all court requirements completed in the allotted time period and this arrest will not be on your public record). Often this supervision period is 12-18 months.

Every first time DUI offender must attend a Victim Impact Panel, which is an hour to an hour and a half presentation of victims or offenders, or family members of the same that have been involved in a serious injury or fatal accident resulting from someone driving under the influence.
You will have fines to pay that will vary. The Judge will issue a specific fine for the criminal offense, however, be aware that there will be additional court fees on top of that fine. There may be up to 100-hours of community service required as well.

This is the typical process of a first time DUI offender in Illinois. I hope this information gives you some idea of the process ahead. Please feel free to contact me via email or call our offices to answer any specific questions you may have.

Stay tuned, next on the agenda is a discussion of the benefits or detriments to taking field sobriety tests or refusing.

By Shelley Simmons, BS, CADC, Director of DUI Programming