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What happens to a driver’s license after a DUI arrest?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2024 | Drunk Driving

Although most people know that drunk driving is illegal, many people don’t realize they are drunk before they drive. Particularly when people enjoy alcohol regularly, they may become accustomed to its effects or struggle to estimate their own impairment after drinking. They may then try to drive when home when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is high enough to lead to their arrest.

People who get pulled over and accused of drunk driving have to deal with a variety of different penalties. The judge presiding over a driving under the influence (DUI) case can put someone in jail in some scenarios and can order them to pay fines. A driver’s license suspension is also mandatory in most cases.

License suspension is typically automatic

Drivers don’t need to wait for court proceedings to lose their driving privileges. The countdown to administrative license suspension begins on the day of someone’s arrest for an alleged DUI offense. The state implements an automatic suspension 47 days after a DUI arrest in Illinois. Drivers can petition the courts to retain their licenses while waiting to take their cases to trial. They must act quickly or face the potential of losing their license until they exonerate themselves.

Even then, someone is still at risk of a license suspension if they plead guilty or get convicted when they take their case to trial. The courts can suspend someone’s driver’s license even if they have never broken the law before. A first-time DUI conviction or the first offense within five years carries a six-month license suspension. A second offense within five years of the first leads to a 12-month suspension.

It is sometimes possible for those subject to licensing penalties to get their license back early by installing breath alcohol ignition interlock devices (BAIIDs) in their vehicles. Drivers can regain restricted privileges as long as they only operate vehicles where they perform breath tests before starting the vehicle and while driving.

The licensing consequences possible after a DUI conviction can be highly inconvenient and potentially very expensive. Assertively fighting DUI charges can help someone keep their license and avoid a criminal conviction that could change their life.