In Illinois, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08. So, that means you’re safe to drive if you have a BAC lower than that, right?
No. Illinois has a zero tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21, so any amount of alcohol will trigger a DUI arrest.
Drivers holding a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) can only have a maximum BAC of .04. Also, any driver with a BAC between .04 and .08 can be arrested for DUI at the officer’s discretion. There must be additional evidence, beyond the BAC, that shows the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, such as if an officer observes a person driving erratically.
Penalties for DUI
An arrest for DUI can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense. The specific circumstances of the case will determine the charge, such as the BAC level, prior convictions, and the actions of the arrested driver.
Penalties for a DUI conviction can include jail or prison time, forfeiture of the offender’s vehicle, suspension or revocation of the offender’s license, installation of a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID), large fines, community service, or drug and alcohol counseling.
What about First Time Offenders?
Serious penalties are not just reserved to repeat offenders; first time offenders can face serious penalties as well. Although a first time offender may have options that a repeat offender does not, there will still be a significant penalty upon conviction.
As a result, first time offenders should not assume that they will automatically be treated lightly by the court. As with all criminal charges, a person’s best chance for a favorable disposition will result from hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney.
It’s also important to note that the court will not have mercy on a defendant simply because the defendant does not have an attorney. There will also not be a “second chance” to re-litigate a charge if the initial result from not having representation is unfavorable.
I Got a DUI, What Happens Now?
From the outset, you’re basically fighting two cases:
- The Statutory Summary Suspension; and,
- The criminal arrest itself.
Whether you submit to field sobriety tests, a breath analysis, or neither, once you’re arrested for DUI you will be facing the loss of your license for a period of time. This is referred to as the Statutory Summary Suspension.
The first step in defending you is to contest that suspension and fight to help you keep your license. In Illinois, the law provides for an automatic suspension of a person’s driver’s license upon being charged with a DUI, unless an evidentiary showing can be made to convince the court that such a suspension is not warranted.
If it isn’t possible to rescind the suspension, you may still be able to secure a Monitored Device Driving Permit. This permit ordinarily will allow a person to drive for certain purposes, such as to and from work.
The criminal case is where all the evidence against you is laid out. There usually will be multiple court dates that will address a number of evidentiary and other matters. During this time, as a DUI defense attorney, I will be looking for every procedural deficiency and forming your defense against the charges. This may include going to trial to beat those charges, or negotiating to secure the least possible sentence for your individual case.
If you retain me, you will be in complete control of your case. I will advise you as to the strategies that may be taken, the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and the possibilities of accepting a plea agreement if such an agreement is available. In the case that a plea agreement is offered, it will be up to you as to whether you wish to take this plea agreement, or go to trial.
At trial, I am tenacious in seeking a complete win for clients. I understand what is at stake, and I will work hard to secure the best outcome possible.
Defending Against DUI Charges – Call Me Today
If you have been charged with a DUI, please contact me today. I can explain how I will work to protect your rights and explain how the law applies to your charge, including the potential penalties. It usually does not cost any more to hire an attorney at the outset of your case. In order to best protect your rights, it will be in your interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible.