DUI Lawyers in Illinois
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If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois, it is very important that you take your charge very seriously. A conviction for a DUI in Illinois will have long lasting consequences. A criminal record can affect your employment, your future and your personal freedom. If you have general questions or need an attorney referral we can help. We are attorneys in Illinois that don't want to represent you. Rather we want to help you find the right lawyer for your case. We do this based on the case facts, the court where your case will take place and our knowledge of good DUI attorneys who really fight for their clients. If you want our help please contact us. There is no cost for our service and all calls are confidential.
The following information gives a general overview of Illinois DUI laws and a typical chronology of what happens when someone is pulled over in Illinois and suspected of driving under the influence.
"Driving Under the Influence" is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, other drugs or intoxicating compounds and methamphetamine. In Illinois, a driver is legally considered to be under the influence if he/she has a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more, has used any illegal substance, or is impaired by medication. A driver's BAC is based on the ratio of alcohol to blood or breath. However, an individual with a BAC between .05 and .08 may be convicted of DUI if additional evidence determines that the driver was impaired.
In Illinois, you can be arrested for a DUI even if you are not driving. You need only to be in "actual physical control" of a motor vehicle. For example, you could be sitting behind the wheel in park, with the engine off and the radio on, and be considered in "physical control" even though not driving. The same would be true if the keys were in your pocket and you were close by your car.
If you are convicted of DUI in Illinois, the offense will permanently remain on your driving record. If you are arrested and/or convicted, you may lose your driving privileges and vehicle registration, and be fined and/or imprisoned. Repeat arrests or convictions may result in greater penalties.
When driving on Illinois roadways, you will be asked to consent to submit certain tests, including breath, blood and/or urine tests, to determine if you were drinking or using any other drug or intoxicating compound before or while driving. Every Illinois DUI law firm we know advises their clients not to take any tests, especially if you have been drinking. Doing so provides evidence to convict you. If you don't do it your license may get suspended, but that can usually be overturned.
A DUI suspension of your license is set for a definite time - 6 months, 1 year or 3 years. If you are arrested for driving with a BAC of .08 percent or more and/or any impairing drug in your system, your driving privileges will be suspended for 6 months. If you refuse to submit to testing, your driving privileges will be suspended for 1 year. If you are a second offender within a 5-year period, your privileges will be suspended for 1 year if you fail the test or 3 years if you refuse to test.
In addition to a SSS, you may be convicted of DUI. If you are convicted of a DUI, your driver's license and driving privileges will be revoked for a minimum of 1 year for the first offense, 5 years for a second offense, 10 years for a third offense and lifetime revocation for a fourth or subsequent offense (so long as the fourth or subsequent DUI was after January 1, 1999).
If you are under age 21 at the time of the DUI conviction, your driver's license and driving privileges will be revoked for a minimum of 2 years for your first offense; second offense a minimum of 5 years or until your 21st birthday, whichever is longer; third offense a minimum of 10 years; and a lifetime revocation for a fourth or subsequent offense.
Penalties for DUI in Illinois vary depending on the circumstances of the arrest and conviction. These circumstances may include the driver's age, the driver's BAC level, whether the driver was transporting a child under age 16, and whether the driver has previous DUI convictions. Any DUI offense resulting in felony charges is classified as Aggravated DUI.
A DUI offense in Illinois is typically charged as a misdemeanor, however certain aggravating factors may enhance the charge to a felony offense. Felony convictions carry much harsher penalties than misdemeanor offenses (which carry a maximum jail sentence of 1 year). Enhancements include: DUI with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle, DUI bodily injury, DUI serious bodily harm/disfigurement or disablement, and prior DUI convictions.
Although every case is different, according to the Illinois Secretary of State, the following is a chronology of a DUI arrest:
- An officer stops a vehicle at a roadside safety check or for probable cause, reasonable suspicion or unusual operation.
- The officer observes the driver and requests a driver's license, vehicle registration and insurance card.
- If the officer suspects the driver is under the influence, the driver is asked to submit to field sobriety tests.
- If the officer does not suspect the driver is under the influence, the driver is released with any applicable violations.
- If the officer has probable cause based on the field sobriety tests, the driver is placed under arrest for DUI and taken to the police station. The driver is asked to submit to a chemical testing of breath, urine or blood.
- If the chemical test determines the driver is not under the influence, the driver is released with any applicable violations.
- If a tested driver's BAC is more than .05 but less than .08 and no drugs are found in the system, no statutory summary suspension will apply; however, the associated DUI charge will remain until appropriate action is taken by the court.
- If the driver refuses to submit to or fails to complete testing, the statutory summary suspension will apply.
- If the driver's test results show a BAC of .08 or more, or any trace of a drug, illegal substance or intoxicating compound, the driver will be issued a law enforcement sworn report notifying the driver of a statutory summary suspension.
- If the driver's license is valid, a receipt is issued allowing driving for 45 days.
- A driver may obtain additional testing at his/her own expense; the results are admissible in court.
- The offender is required to post bond and may be detained until bond is posted.
- The offender's vehicle may be towed, impounded or seized.
Understanding the Illinois DUI laws and proceedings can be a challenge. A qualified and experienced Illinois DUI attorney who's practice concentrates on DUI defense will help defend you and advise you of all your rights. The right attorney is the difference between jail time and freedom. If you have any questions or would like a referral to the best lawyer for your case, please contact us.