If you are facing DUI charges in Illinois, it’s likely that you have many questions about what will happen next in the legal process and what you should do.
In this post, we’ll break the facts down for you and explain how you can fight back to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
What’s the Requirement for a DUI Arrest?
The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration in Illinois 0.08 on a breathalyzer or blood test. If your reading is over twice the legal limit, you could face additional penalties. You can also be arrested for DUI if you use other controlled substances, such as marijuana or illegal drugs, that impair your ability to make responsible decisions while driving.
Will I Lose My Driver’s License?
It’s important to know that you can refuse to submit to breathalyzer or blood testing. However, if you do so after being placed under arrest, you will automatically lose your driving privileges for one year on your first refusal and up to three years on subsequent refusals. A skilled attorney can let you know whether it’s best to submit to the tests or not.
What Are the Penalties for a First-Time DUI Conviction?
For a first-time DUI conviction in Illinois, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor in most cases. A conviction will result in the loss of your driver’s license for up to 12 months. You will also be required to pay a fine of up to $2,500. The judge may require that you serve up to 240 hours of community service and possibly spend up to one year in prison.
You may also be subject to the following requirements and penalties if convicted for DUI in Illinois:
- Higher driving insurance rates for up to three years
- Required alcohol or drug testing, which may include an ignition interlock device
- Required participation in an alcohol or drug treatment program
- Loss or suspension of vehicle registration
If you comply with the judge’s requirements, you may be eligible for court supervision or adjudicated sentencing. A skilled attorney provides you with the best chance at getting a positive outcome.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
Some DUI convictions also required the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. This device will not allow the vehicle to operate unless your blood alcohol concentration level stays below the set level. You will need to blow into the device during regular intervals while driving. The judge will issue the device’s installation for a measured period after your driving privileges are reinstated.
What Are the Penalties for a Felony DUI Charge?
For more serious cases, felony charges could apply. A felony DUI may be issued for repeat offenses or if the victim or victims experienced bodily injury as a result of an accident. A conviction for felony DUI could result in up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, and the loss of driving privileges for the rest of your life. With penalties this serious, you need all the legal help you can get.
What Are the Best Defenses to a DUI Charge?
An experienced Chicago criminal attorney will know the best defense in your specific situation to minimize the consequences you face. Here are the most common defenses that have proven successful in other DUI cases:
Miranda rights not read
Did you hear the phrase, “You have the right to remain silent” at the time of your arrest? If not, anything you said can be stricken from the record and the prosecutor won’t be able to use it.
Field sobriety test problems
Field sobriety tests are notoriously inaccurate. There may be medical reasons that you failed the test, and the results cannot be held against you if your attorney can show reason.
To provide accurate results, a breathalyzer must be properly used and calibrated. If there were problems with the device, or if the officer was not experienced in using the equipment, your breath test results can be thrown out of court.
Do I Really Need an Attorney?
Since many of your rights are at stake in a DUI case, it’s essential to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you retain your driver’s license and avoid criminal charges with the right defense.
Facing your charges without a lawyer’s help could mean experiencing a number of long-term and expensive consequences if you are convicted. Educate yourself on the law, then reach out to someone with a reputation for getting results.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.