Thousands of individuals are arrested in the Chicago area each year for DUI offenses (driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs). Having a skilled and aggressive DUI defense attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of a DUI arrest. If you’ve been arrested in or near Chicago for a DUI offense, protect your legal rights by retaining an experienced DUI lawyer.
The law governing DUI is found at 625 ILCS 5/11-501. The DUI law is constantly changing and often times becoming more harsh on the suspect. When people think about DUI cases they generally think about driving while drunk. Although this is the most common reason for a DUI arrest, there are many other basis for such an arrest. It is also illegal for example to drive under the influence of illegal drugs such as cannabis, heroin or cocaine. It is critical to hire an attorney with knowledge of the relevant law so that a proper defense can immediately be put in place.
Illinois law has harsh penalties for drunk drivers and those under the influence of narcotics. A DUI arrest and conviction may result in the automatic suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, and depending on your driving history and any criminal history, you could be facing forfeiture of your vehicle and even jail or prison time. A Chicago DUI defense attorney who is familiar with the local criminal justice system will work to minimize the negative consequences of your DUI experience.
DUI offenses can be charged as misdemeanors or as felonies. A prosecutor may be open to persuasion regarding the severity of charge – your defense attorney will negotiate on your behalf to try to get the charge reduced or even dismissed. The following factors may work to your advantage in a DUI case in terms of avoiding jail time or other harsh consequences:
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor DUI not involving a car accident and you’ve never before been found guilty of a DUI offense, or
If you’ve had a DUI reduced to a charge of reckless driving (625 ILCS 5/11-503), then you may be eligible for court supervision on your new charges. This will minimize the long term issues related to your driving priviliges. The same would not be true if you were previously convicted of aggravated reckless driving.
Jail or prison time along with large fines and court costs
Depending upon the facts of your case and your driving history, a misdemeanor DUI charge can be upgraded to a felony charge of aggravated DUI. This can happen even on a first-offense DUI if at the time of your arrest you didn’t have a valid driver’s license, or if you knew or should have known that the vehicle you were driving was not insured.
You are alleged to have committed a DUI while your license was suspended or revoked because of a previous DUI
A felony DUI conviction can result in a long-term prison sentence.
DUI offenses are a challenge to defend, since they’re usually based on a law enforcement officer’s direct observation, aided in many (but not all) cases by chemical testing (breath testing and blood testing for alcohol). A qualified Chicago DUI lawyer knows how to challenge the prosecution’s evidence.
Another serious driving offense not involving alcohol or drugs is driving on a suspended or revoked license (625 ILCS 5/6-303). Even a driver following all other laws can go to jail or even prison when driving when his license is either suspended or revoked. This offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the driver’s traffic record.
These charges are quite easy for the prosecutor to prove. They simply must show the judge or jury that the person was driving and that at the time of the driving the person’s license was either suspended or revoked. If a person is caught driving with a suspended license based on a prior DUI, the suspect faces almost certain jail time.
Don’t let the prosecution roll over you; if you or a loved one has been arrested in the Northern Illinois area, including Chicago, contact a DUI lawyer who knows the local criminal justice system and the many ways to defend your interests. Protect your legal rights.