Common Terms in DUI & Criminal Cases
When you are charged with a DUI or criminal offense, it can be a very scary time. While setting up a consultation with an experienced DUI and Criminal defense attorney will be your best bet, you, like most people, will want to do some research on your matter first.
One of the things that trips a lot of people up is the terminology used in DUI and criminal cases. The purpose of this article is to provide some common definitions to some of the terms and/or phrases you may encounter.
For more definitions you can look to the following resources:
General Terms: Applicable to DUI & Criminal Defense Cases
Arraignment: This is where you will learn what you are charged with, and you will tell the judge if you are pleading guilty or not guilty
Bail: The amount of money you will be required to pay to be released from custody while your case is pending
Bench Trial: a type of trial where the judge listens to all of the evidence and makes the decision of if you are guilty or not guilty.
Complaint: This is a form that gives you information about what you are charged with, time, place and location of the charge, who is making the complaint, and the police department. The details of what happened (very brief) and possibly the next court date will be included.
Felony: If you are charged with a felony in Illinois, this means that you are facing a potential prison time or a crime that is death eligible in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) for a minimum of 1 year and fines up to $25,000.00 dollars.
- Class 4 Felony: A potential imprisonment term of 1-3 years in IDOC.
- Class 3 Felony: A potential imprisonment term of 2-5 years in IDOC.
- Class 2 Felony: A potential imprisonment term of 3-7 years in IDOC.
- Class 1 Felony: A potential imprisonment term of 4-15 years in IDOC.
- Class X Felony: A potential imprisonment term of 6-30 years in IDOC.
Hearing: A hearing is similar to a trial in that the judge hears testimony or attorney arguments regarding the law that applies to the particular case you are charged with. The hearing typically has an impact on the case as a whole.
Indictment: A written statement, presented by the Grand Jury to a court, which charges the commission of an offense.
Information: A verified written statement signed by a State’s Attorney, and presented to a court, which charges the commission of an offense.
Jury Trial: A trial where 12 people, picked from your community, will listen to all of the evidence in your case. All 12 of them would have to agree that you are guilty or you will be found not guilty.
Misdemeanor: If you are charged with a misdemeanor in Illinois, this means that you are facing jail time sentences of less that one year in your local jail and maximum fines up to $2500.00.
- Class C Misdemeanor: A potential jail sentence of up to 30 days.
- Class B Misdemeanor: A potential jail sentence up to 180 days.
- Class C Misdemeanor: A potential jail sentence up to 364 days.
Preliminary Hearing: This is usually a short hearing in front of the judge to determine if the prosecution has probable cause to charge you with the offense you have been charged with. This does not mean that the prosecution will ultimately be able to prove you guilty of the offense, but it means they have enough to proceed with the case.
Probable Cause: Very generally, this means that the police have enough information to charge you with a crime or to conduct some type of search.
Supervision: Supervision means the case is continued for a certain amount of time. During that time, you have to fulfill the conditions set by the court. There is no conviction entered against you. If you do what the court says, the case is dismissed at the end
Common DUI Specific Terms
Abstract: This is a record of all your driving history within the state of Illinois and other states. The prosecution will take a look at this and consider it, along with any criminal history you have to determine how to charge you. We often ask that you bring a copy of this form with you when you come to the consultation so that we can assess how we need to approach your DUI.
Aggravated DUI: A felony charge of DUI. You can be charged with aggravated DUI under several circumstances. For example, if you get a DUI and you were never issued a driver’s license, you could be charged with Aggravated DUI. A third or subsequent DUI is also an Aggravated DUI.
Alcohol and Drug Evaluation: This is an evaluation that determines what substance abuse issues you have and what level of treatment you need to address your issues. Before sentencing, you must complete this evaluation. The law requires that this be done prior to the judge giving you a sentence.
Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID: This is a device that you put onto the ignition of your car that requires you to blow into it every time you drive. You may be required to get one of these as part of your DUI sentence, to get a Restricted Driving Permit, or to have your license reinstated.
DASA Approved Evaluator: A DUI evaluation or treatment facility that is approved by the Department of Human Services Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse. Your DUI evaluation and treatment must be completed by a DASA approved agency. Please note, specific counties have specific locations they want you to go to so you will need to check your county’s rule or have your lawyer tell you.
D.U.I.: Driving Under the Influence. You will often hear the term DUI for short. A DUI refers to any type of DUI including a DUI for driving under the influence of alcohol, a DUI for driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs.
Formal Hearing: A formal hearing is required for a driver whose privileges have been suspended or revoked for an offense(s) involving a fatality or multiple DUI dispositions.
Informal Hearing: An informal hearing is required for a driver whose privileges have been suspended or revoked for an offense(s) not involving a fatality, a single DUI disposition or for sanctions related to lesser moving violations.
Illinois Secretary of State: This is the agency that gives you your driver’s license and the agency that has the power to revoke or suspend your driver’s license. Except for the PTR hearing, all hearings regarding your license are carried out by this agency.
Law Enforcement Sworn Report (LESR): The police officer fills out this form after placing you under arrest and sends this form to the Illinois Secretary of State. It will contain information as to whether you submitted to chemical testing, the results of the chemical test, if applicable, and a short description of what the officer observed during his/her investigation of you for DUI.
Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP): This is an option for first time DUI offenders to drive during the suspension of their driver’s license as long as they have a BAIID device installed in their vehicle. The MDDP is not valid if you are driving a car without the BAIID.
Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension (PTR)): This is the form you file to challenge the suspension of your driving privileges after an arrest for DUI.
Restricted Driving Permit: This is a special hardship license that allows you to drive within certain guidelines during the period of revocation. You will often be required to install a BAIID device to get this special license.
Revocation of Driver’s License: This means that your driving privileges are revoked indefinitely, and you must go through a formal hearing to get your driving privileges restored.
Statutory Summary Suspension: Anytime you are arrested for a DUI in Illinois, you will receive this type of suspension. This suspension is given regardless of whether you are ultimately found guilty of the DUI itself. The length of time of this suspension varies depending on your DUI history and whether you submitted to chemical testing.
Statutory Summary Suspension Hearing (also often called a “SS HEARING”): After you file your petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension, you will have a court hearing to tell the court why your suspension should be rescinded.
Suspension of Driver’s License: This means that your driving privileges will be suspended for a definite time. After that time has ended you are eligible to pay a reinstatement fee and no formal hearing is required.
Warning to Motorist: This is a set of warnings that the police officer is required to give to you before asking you to submit to chemical testing. An officer’s failure to read these warnings before asking you to submit to a chemical test may invalidate the statutory suspension of your driver’s license.
As we said at the beginning of this article, these are some of the most common words or phrases you will hear in the Criminal and DUI context. An experienced criminal and DUI defense lawyer will know this terminology and be able to explain them to you in more detail. If you are charged with a criminal or DUI offense, contact Attorney Anisa Jordan. Anisa has been practicing criminal law for over a decade. While Anisa practices throughout Cook and the collar counties, she primarily spends her time in Lake County at the Waukegan main courthouse and Cook County, the Rolling Meadows Courthouse.