On Warnings: Winning a Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension

Statutory Summary SuspensionWinning  a  Petition  to  Rescind  Statutory  Summary  Suspension  hearing pursuant  625  ILCS  5/11-501.1  means  the  world to  our clients. A win prevents our  client’s privileges from  being suspended so they can  drive while they are fighting their DUI and thereafter; whether the  DUI is  for  alcohol, cannabis or other drugs.

My client was involved in a car accident when he side-swiped a limousine. When the police officer arrived at the scene of the accident, he apparently smelled the odor of burnt cannabis on my client and arrested him for DUI. However, there was no evidence that my client was under the influence of alcohol or any drug while he was driving. The police officer, although, did recover a  pipe from my client and cannabis from his car.

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1, the given officer is required to warn the motorist that his/her license will be suspended if he/she does not take the requested chemical tests. The police officer is required to sign and read to the motorist a document called a “Warning to Motorist” which warns  the motorist of the suspension. In our case, the  police officer did not warn our client that his license would be suspended for one year nor was he given a copy of the “Warning to Motorist.”

At the hearing to Petition to Rescind a Statutory Summary Suspension, the State’s attorney admitted into evidence the police reports and the “Warning to Motorist.” Being careful not to jeopardize my client’s DUI case by having him testify at the Petition to Rescind a Statutory Summary Suspension, I limited my questioning specifically on whether the police officer read the “Warning” to my client. My client did a great job testifying as our preparation went a long way during the  State’s cross-examination.  The State’s attorney tried to make it look that my client didn’t remember whether he was read the “Warning.” I objected to that line of questioning and was largely successful. At closing argument, I emphasized that the Court had no reason to doubt my client testimony, and further, if the State’s attorney was unable to produce the officer to testify, the Court should place no weight on the State’s “paper” evidence.  The Court agreed, and we won.

To note, on January 1, 2006,  625 ILCS 5/11-501.1 was amended to provide: “A person requested to submit to a test shall also acknowledge, in writing, receipt of the warning required under this Section. If the person refuses to acknowledge receipt of the warning, the law enforcement officer shall make a written notation on the warning that the person refused to sign the warning. A person’s refusal to sign the warning shall not be evidence that the person was not read the warning.”  Under the amended version of 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1, the motorist has the option to acknowledge in writing  that the “Warning” was given to him/her.  In the case discussed here, 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1 applied before its amendment.  Thus, the issue as to whether my client acknowledged the warning was not at issue. However, if the motorist refuses to acknowledge that he/she was warned, then the motorists will have grounds to win the Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension on the basis of Warnings if he/she can prove that the “Warning” were not given.

John Ioakimidis is an award winning Chicago criminal defense attorney and author with almost 22 years of experience aggressively representing his clients in DUI cases.  If you have a DUI case in Illinois, contact me in Chicago (312-229-5500), DuPage and Kane (630-504-2096) or Lake (847-696-6458) for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal options.

Additional Resources:

Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension Statute

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