Each year, the Secretary of State releases a DUI Fact Book explaining the law and number of arrests for driving under the influence in Illinois. The Secretary compares these figures for each county, as well as year-over-year.
The Secretary also tracks the reasons why statutory summary suspensions are rescinded. For instance, a record is made whenever a summary suspension is rescinded for these reasons:
- Not properly placed under arrest.
- Improper warnings.
- No reasonable grounds.
- No refusal.
- Test was not 0.08 or more.
- Officer failed to answer defendant’s subpoena.
The issues in a summary suspension hearing are restricted. On the other hand, the burden of proof is low. In this respect, the law on summary suspension hearings is good and bad.
How often can the person arrested for DUI win a summary suspension hearing and have the suspension rescinded?
According to the Secretary of State, the answer is, not often.
“About 17 percent of the 48,113 statutory summary suspensions processed in 2007 and 2008 were rescinded.” – Secretary of State 2010 DUI Fact Book
Only 17 percent. But this statistic is misleading. You have to take into account that among DUI offenders, many are indigent and cannot afford the services of a private attorney. For these individuals, the judge will appoint the public defender.
The appointment of counsel by the court is guaranteed under the 6th Amendment to the Constitution. Basically, it says that a defendant cannot be prosecuted for a crime unless he is represented by counsel (or he waives representation). It is a matter of fairness. But the appointment of the public defender is limited to defending the client against the criminal charges.
The summary suspension is a civil matter, and so, the public defender is not appointed by the court to assist the defendant with the suspension. There is no guarantee of legal counsel with regard to civil cases.
The result is that only about 0.1 percent of public defender clients ever contest the summary suspension. If a courtroom appoints the public defender in 33 – 50 percent of cases, then this is a huge number of people who don’t fight the suspension.
I believe this partially explains the low number of suspensions that are rescinded. The truth is that summary suspension hearings can be won. I’ve been able to win the summary suspension on more than 50 percent of my cases.
So don’t take the Secretary of State’s word for it. You can win these cases.