The Purpose of Suspension Warnings

In Illinois, if you are arrested for DUI and you are a first offender, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months if you fail chemical testing and for 12 months if you refuse chemical testing.* Before an officer asks you to submit to chemical testing, he will warn you of the consequences of refusing the testing and of failing the testing.  What is the purpose of the warnings? Is it to help you make an informed decision? Nope, the purpose is to coerce you into providing evidence for the government.  This is what People v. Ehley (.pdf) (internal citations omitted) has to say:

A person asked to submit to law-enforcement-directed testing [. . .] must be warned by the officer that (1) refusing to submit to a test will result in a statutory summary suspension and (2) submitting to a test that shows an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater will result in statutory summary suspension.  The Illinois Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that the warnings are not meant to enable an “informed choice” but are an evidence-gathering tool for the State.   That is, the suspension provisions are meant to motivate drivers to submit to testing.

Jeremy Richey

*If you thought that the suspension periods were 3 months for failure and 6 months for refusal, you’re wrong.  Those were the suspension periods in 2008.   Things have changed for 2009 and beyond.

Jeremy J. Richey, Attorney at Law
© Jeremy J. Richey and The East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog, 2008-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.