Under Illinois law, motorists being placed under arrest for Driving Under the Influence must be read their rights from a form called “Warning to Motorist.” Basically, this form states that if a subject refuses or fails to complete any chemical tests the officer requests or if they fail a chemical test, their driving privileges will be suspended.
According to Illinois law, a person does not have to comprehend the content of the “Warning to Motorist,” but must be fully informed of the consequences of submitting or refusing to submit to chemical testing.
There are cases in which the “Warning to Motorist” is administered in such a way that the subject is not aware of the consequences. A client of ours was in a serious car accident late one evening. While the paramedics assisted her, she was conscious and told them she had been drinking. She was then transported to the hospital for treatment. Police officers claimed that they had reasonable grounds that our client was driving under the influence because of the accident and her admission to the paramedics earlier, despite not having any further details about this admission.
The officers arrived at the hospital to talk to our client, but by this time she was unconscious. One officer then informed our client that she was under arrest and began to read her the “Warning to Motorist.”
While it is true that a subject does not have to comprehend the content of the warning, they must be fully informed of the consequences of submitting or refusing to submit to chemical testing. Our client was not fully informed of these consequences because when they were read to her she was unconscious. Nevertheless, the officer indicated on the “Law Enforcement Sworn Report” that she refused chemical testing that the Secretary of State suspended her license for one year.
We argued that the officer wrongly suspended her license and the Court agreed stating that under 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1(b) “Any person who is dead, unconscious, or who is otherwise in a condition rendering the person incapable of refusal, shall be deemed not to have withdrawn the consent provided by paragraph (a) of this Section and the test or tests may be administered, subject to the provisions of Section 11-501.2.”
The officer was correct in reading the “Warning to Motorist” to the unconscious client, but he should not have deemed her failure to answer a refusal. Therefore, the Court rescinded the suspension and she never suffered a suspended license.
If you suffer a suspended license, we strongly encourage you to contact Richard Fenbert at Fenbert & Associates, LLC, so that he can assist you in avoiding these charges.