Many people are confused about the difference between a summary suspension and supervision. The two may sound alike, but they are very different.
A summary suspension concerns your driver’s license. Your license to drive is suspended usually 46 days after an arrest for driving under the influence. The suspension is called a statutory summary suspension. It is statutory in that it is mandatory by statute, and summary because it occurs without you being called into court. The police officer mails a notice to the Secretary of State independent of the court process and the Secretary suspends your driving privileges automatically.
If you were arrested for DUI and served with a notice of summary suspension, you have a right to challenge the suspension in court. Your attorney will represent you in the hearing. Generally, it is advisable to retain counsel as soon as possible.
Supervision is a term that describes a sentence after the court finds a person guilty of DUI. A person sentenced to supervision is “supervised” by the court for usually one year, and as long as he has not violated the law, the charge will be dismissed without a conviction. Supervision does not cause your driver’s license to be suspended. It has no effect on your license.
Rather, supervision is a penalty imposed by the court as part of sentencing. Just as a criminal can get jail time, a defendant in a DUI case can get supervision.
Supervision is the minimum penalty provided only to first offenders. But do not be deceived. It is a serious matter and if you violate supervision, the judge can sentence you to jail for up to one year. Judges in Cook, DuPage, and Kane County are known to sentence defendants to jail for a violation of supervision. The incidence of jail sentences after violation of supervision in Lake County is increasing.
Your attorney will assist you with understanding these issues. Choose a lawyer whose practice area emphasizes DUI.