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What happens at a Chicago DMV hearing when there is a refusal?

Do you read the fine print on everything you sign? Many people don’t, and that means they’re not entirely certain what they are signing. This leaves you in a bind if you’re in legal trouble because you did something you said you would not do. For example, did you know that taking a driver’s license from the Department of Motor Vehicles in Illinois includes an agreement to submit to a chemical test in the event you are arrested under the suspicion of driving under the influence?

This is called implied consent. Your acceptance of your driver’s license implies you are aware of this law, and that you have every intention to agree to a chemical test if that’s what it comes to during a DUI arrest. If you refuse, it’s called refusal. Refusing to submit to a chemical test during a DUI arrest in Chicago comes with its own set of harsh penalties not only with the court during your DUI hearing but also with the DMV. Your license is automatically suspended, and there are other consequences as well. Here’s what might happen if you refuse to submit to a chemical test in Chicago and you end up at a DMV hearing.

DMV Hearing Process

If you are arrested for DUI in Illinois, you must use your time very wisely and very quickly following your arrest. Your license is automatically suspended, and you have only 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV. This is the hearing where you ask to have your license reinstated. If you’re going to trial for your DUI, you can ask to have your license reinstated at this hearing until your trial and penalties are issued.

You can ask to have your license reinstated for specific reasons, too. Sometimes the DMW will suspend your license for pleasure driving only and allow you the courtesy of driving to and from work and medical appointments for yourself and your family. The court does understand you cannot just forgo your job and caring for your family, so it’s likely you can have this permission granted.

This 10-day period is mandatory. If you fail to make this request within the 10 days allowed, you fail to care for yourself. You get no second chance with the DMV if you fail to do this. Your job is to spend as much time as you can working on getting your hearing request to the DMV.

At the hearing, the DMV can take whatever action they choose. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test following your DUI arrest, they will suspend your license for one year. There is no second chance because the law recognizes implied consent.

You do have a chance to repeal this decision at your hearing, however. If the officer did not read you your rights or do the rest of his or her job correctly during the arrest, charges against you are dropped and the DMV cannot suspend your license. If you have evidence you did not refuse and the officer is stating you did, you can present that. There are options, and that’s why you need to make sure you request a hearing right away.

Call an Attorney

The problem with refusal is you do not have a right to an attorney prior to refusing to take a test. The law does not offer you rights in this situation until you’ve been arrested. You cannot be arrested under the suspicion of DUI unless you refuse or you fail a breathalyzer. A chemical test can prove you are not drunk or under the influence and charges are immediately dropped if this is the case, but you do not have the right to speak to your attorney prior to refusal.

Your attorney is going to help you prove your case by finding evidence you did not refuse, by making sure you are able to have the best defense, and by ensuring you know the laws and what they mean to you. This is not something you want to forgo, especially if you make the decision to refuse the chemical test. It’s not easy to win a case like this without an attorney to help you fight the law.

Your best defense here is to speak with an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney of your own, the court will appoint one when you make the request. Once you are officially arrested, you are read your rights and the right to an attorney is offered. There is no reason not to accept the help of an attorney when you are in the middle of DUI refusal hearings in Illinois. The law is harsh, and you need every opportunity you can find to protect yourself.