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The Financial Impact of a DUI ConvictionMore than a million people in the U.S. are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol each year. In Illinois, 27,046 people were arrested on DUI charges in 2017 alone. In the event of a DUI charge, it is important to act quickly in order to avoid potential jail-time, fines, and loss of driving privileges. Outside of the criminal punishment of a DUI, the monetary impact of a conviction can be significant. Below we will explore the true cost of a DUI. 

What a Conviction Can Cost

As you prepare to go through the court process, you need to understand the hidden expenses that accompany a DUI conviction. In many cases, these expenses can seriously impact your family’s livelihood. According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, the average cost of a DUI conviction is $18,030. After a DUI charge, most people view the monetary impacts of a potential conviction solely in terms of fines. While these fines can be significant (a first-time DUI conviction comes with a minimum fine of $500), the most costly expenses of a conviction are rarely talked about:

  • Your insurance payments can rise by a final cost of $6,000;
  • Court costs, including the fine, reimbursement for law enforcement, and court fees, can end up being as much as $3,500; and
  • If you are eligible for a restricted driving permit, the purchase and installation of a blood alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) can cost upwards of $1,000. 

Yet, some of the most significant financial ramifications of a conviction come in lost work hours. After a conviction, most offenders are unable to work due to time spent in jail or hours spent performing community service. In lost work hours alone, the average Illinoisan can lose more than $4,000 in income. Fortunately, with quality legal representation, you may be able to avoid a conviction altogether.  

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How to React to a License Suspension or Revocation in Illinois There are a number of traffic violations that can result in loss of driving privileges in Illinois. From aggravated speeding or reckless driving charges to a charge of driving under the influence, it is important to understand how to react to a traffic violation. Having your driver's license suspended or revoked can significantly impact your livelihood. In the event of a DUI conviction, the likelihood of revocation of some length is very high. If you face charges for driving under the influence, speak with a quality attorney right away. 

Driving Permit Options 

According to Illinois state law, a first-time DUI offender faces an automatic minimum license revocation of one full year. Fortunately, a first-time offender can qualify for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit. (MDDP). In order to secure an MDDP, a person must install a blood alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) and camera into their vehicle.  

The BAIID will ensure that the person cannot start their vehicle with any traces of alcohol in their system. The camera gives local law enforcement officials the opportunity to view the driver taking part in the breath test. It should be noted that a driver with an MDDP can operate any vehicle with a BAIID and drive to any location. If a person is apprehended while driving a vehicle that is not equipped with a BAIID, they could face substantial fines and potential jail-time.  

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How to Safely React to a DUI Traffic Stop It is common to panic when you are pulled over on the suspicion that you may be driving under the influence of alcohol. Seeing those red and blue lights behind your vehicle can spark a wide array of emotions. As you prepare to pull over and speak with the law enforcement official, it is important to remain calm and operate your vehicle in a safe manner. If you are charged with a DUI, you still have a number of options at your disposal. Speaking with a qualified defense attorney can help you in finding the best course of action, moving forward. 

Remain Calm, Stay Safe

According to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, the vast majority of DUI arrests occur between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., on weekends. When officers are patrolling at night, they are likely prone to take increased precautions due to the amount of night-time criminal activity and their lack of visibility. Below are three tips you should follow if you are pulled over:

  1. Find a Safe Place to Stop: Once the officer turns on their lights, indicating that they have noticed unusual or negligent vehicle operation, it is important for you to find a safe place to pull over. While you should try to pull over in a timely fashion, safety is the top priority. Avoid pulling over at a curve in the road or in a place with a limited shoulder. If necessary, safely pull into a parking lot. Recognize the fact that other vehicles may not be aware of the traffic stop, and avoid the temptation to come to a sudden stop.
  2. Remain Calm and Respectful: As the officer approaches your vehicle, you need to remain composed. Do not leave the vehicle, and make sure that both your hands are visibly resting on the steering wheel. Avoid making sudden movements, and only remove your hands when the officer requests your driver’s license or insurance information. The manner in which you speak to the officer can go a long way in your case. By remaining calm and speaking to the officer in a respectful manner, you are ensuring that the situation will not escalate, and your cooperation may be useful in a courtroom setting.
  3. Know Your Options: While it is important to be respectful, it is also important to know your rights. If the officer asks you to take part in chemical testing, it is not mandatory for you to comply. Refusing to take part in chemical testing is not a criminal offense. While you will face an automatic one-year license suspension, you may avoid a DUI charge on your permanent record. If you have any questions regarding your options in the event of a traffic stop, we would be happy to answer them. 

Contact an Oak Brook DUI Defense Lawyer

In the event of a charge, the first step you should take is hiring a defense attorney that you can believe in. Even if you refuse chemical testing and are simply cited for a statutory summary suspension, a quality lawyer can ensure that you secure a restricted driving permit (RDP). In the event of a DUI charge, it is important to take the charges incredibly seriously. Even a first-time DUI conviction can result in substantial fines, a mark on your driving record, and difficulty securing housing and employment opportunities. 

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Should You Refuse a Breath Test? Throughout the U.S., more than 1 million drivers are arrested on driving under the influence charges each year. In Illinois, state police are constantly patrolling for inebriated drivers. In 2017 alone, 27,046 DUI arrests were made throughout the state. The implications of a DUI conviction can be incredibly severe. According to Illinois state law, a first-time DUI conviction constitutes a Class A misdemeanor and can lead to potential fines and even jail time. 

Due to the severe punishment of a conviction, many drivers refuse chemical testing after being pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving. Below, we examine the legal impacts of a chemical test refusal. If you are arrested on DUI charges, seek out quality legal guidance right away. 

What a Test Refusal Could Mean For You 

When you apply for an Illinois drivers license, you are consenting to a number of requirements, including submitting to blood alcohol content (BAC) testing at an officer’s request. The most common form of BAC testing is a breath test. It is important to note that a refusal to submit to chemical testing is not a criminal offense but an administrative offense. That said, violation of the consent law does come with some consequences:

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What an Underage DUI Charge Could Mean For Your Child Consumption of alcohol as a minor (a person under the age of 21) is against the law in Illinois. Getting behind the wheel of a car, after consuming alcohol, can be especially dangerous for people under the legal drinking age. Due to the inherent danger of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the legal consequences of a DUI charge can be incredibly severe. If your child is charged with a DUI, it is important to speak with a legal professional. 

The Zero Tolerance Law 

In 2017, a staggering 397 drivers under the age of 21 lost their driving privileges due to violations of Illinois’ Zero Tolerance law. According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, the Zero Tolerance policy was officially established in 1995. The law states that if a driver under the legal drinking age is found with traces of alcohol in their system, they may face driver’s license suspension. It is important to note that a minor does not have to be driving with a blood alcohol concentration over the standard legal limit of 0.08 to be in violation of the Zero Tolerance policy. Violation of the zero-tolerance policy results in a mandatory three-month license suspension. 

The Legal Consequences of an Underage DUI

Penalties for underage drivers are more severe if their BAC is 0.08 or higher. A first-time DUI conviction is a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in fines up to $2,500 and as long as one year in prison. For drivers under the age of 21, even a first-time DUI conviction automatically amounts to a two-year driver’s license revocation. For minors, restricted driver’s permit (RDP) eligibility is not warranted until the second year of the revocation. 

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The Impact of a DUI Charge in Illinois According to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 29 Americans die every day in car accidents involving impaired drivers. Due to the sheer number of fatalities caused by inebriated drivers, it should come as no surprise that law enforcement officials are always on the lookout for drunk drivers. In Illinois, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can come with severe legal consequences. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to seek out quality legal representation as soon as possible. 

Consequences of a Conviction

Illinois classifies a first DUI as a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, a class A misdemeanor could lead to:

  • A maximum of 364 days in prison;
  • Fines up to $2,500; and
  • A one-year driver's license suspension.

In certain situations, a first-time offender can face increased criminal punishment. If an offender has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .16 or higher or is carrying a passenger under the age of 16, they will face a minimum of six months in prison, along with mandatory community service hours.  

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DuPage County DUI defense lawyer alcohol/drug evaluationIf you plead guilty or are found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois, you are required by law to undergo a professional evaluation of your drug/alcohol use prior to your sentencing (625 ILCS 5/11-501.01). You are required to pay for this evaluation, and it costs around $225. Because the resulting report reveals a great deal of information about you, and it will be used by the judge in your sentencing, it is highly recommended that you consult a lawyer prior to your DUI evaluation. 

What to Bring to Your Alcohol/Drug Evaluation

You will need to bring the following to your DUI evaluation:

  • The police documentation from your arrest that shows your drug/alcohol test results.
  • A list of any prescription or over-the-counter medications that you currently take or were taking when you were arrested for DUI.
  • A friend or relative at least 18 years old who knows you well and is willing to answer questions about your alcohol/drug use.

What Happens at a DUI Evaluation

You can expect the DUI evaluation to take about 2.5 hours. The evaluator will ask you a number of questions in order to complete a standard form called the Alcohol/Drug Evaluation Uniform Report. The questions will cover these topics:

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Oak Brook drunk driving defense attorneyAccording to an annual report on DUI arrests in Illinois, law enforcement efforts remain one of the most significant deterrents to drunk driving. The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) has been producing this report for over 25 years in order to highlight the efforts of individual police departments and specific officers. 

Illinois State Police Make the Largest Number of DUI Arrests

According to the latest AAIM report, the Illinois State Police make more than 5,000 DUI arrests each year. They get credit for making the most arrests of any law enforcement agency in the state, in part because they employ more than 1,700 troopers. However, when you consider the ratio of DUI arrests per sworn officer, the State Police ratio of three arrests per officer per year is well below the arrest rate for several county and city police departments. Still, anyone thinking about drinking and driving on the interstate highways should think twice, because there is a good chance of being caught by a state trooper.

Several DuPage County Cities Rank High in DUI Arrests

You might think that the city of Chicago, with over 12,000 sworn officers, would also have a large number of DUI arrests. However, the opposite is true. With just under 2,000 DUI arrests per year, the CPD makes just 0.1 arrests per officer per year.

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Illinois DUI defense lawyerBreath testing for blood-alcohol content (BAC) has been the gold standard in DUI law enforcement for decades. However, with marijuana use on the rise, as well as concerns about opioid use, there is a clear need for faster and more accurate methods of testing for drug-impaired driving.

Illinois Law on Drug-Impaired Driving

Illinois law defines the offense of “driving under the influence” in seven distinct ways, using both subjective and numeric measures. In the broadest terms, it is illegal to drive under the influence of any combination of intoxicating compounds, alcohol, or other drugs “to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving.”

In addition to that subjective standard, Illinois also has established several measurable standards to facilitate enforcement of the law (625 ILCS 5/11-501).

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Illinois DUI defense lawyersMost people know that you can lose your driver’s license if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) in Illinois. However, many people do not realize that there is a way you can get a statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license rescinded (canceled).

You Have the Right to a Court Hearing on the Suspension

If you fail or refuse chemical testing following a DUI arrest, the state of Illinois imposes an automatic suspension of your driver’s license, the statutory summary suspension. For most people, this suspension lasts six months if you failed testing (meaning you were over the legal limit) or 12 months if you refused to test.

But the law also grants you the right to a court hearing to challenge the suspension. At this hearing, your lawyer can question police officers and present arguments as to why your license should not have been suspended. If the judge is convinced, the statutory summary suspension will be lifted.

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DuPage County DUI defense lawyersIn Illinois, a driver who is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) faces two penalties. First, there is the criminal charge, punishable by fines, jail time, and other penalties. Second, there is an administrative sanction, the statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license. Most people know they need to fight the criminal charge. But did you know that you can also fight the statutory summary suspension?

Understanding the Statutory Summary Suspension Law

If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, Illinois law requires you to submit to chemical testing for drugs and/or alcohol (625 ILCS 5/11-501.1). If you refuse to be tested, the penalty is the statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license for a minimum of one year. If you test over the legal limit for alcohol, cannabis, or another controlled substance, your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of six months.

If you refuse or fail chemical testing, the police will take your Illinois driver’s license and give you a receipt that allows you to continue driving legally for the next 45 days. On the 46th day, the suspension automatically takes effect.

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Oak Brook DUI defense lawyerOne of the most common questions asked about driving under the influence (DUI) is this: If you are arrested for DUI, should you submit to a breathalyzer test at the police station or refuse to blow?

As you will see, this is a difficult question to answer. Some experts argue that the less evidence you give the prosecution, the better; in other words, refuse the test if there is any chance you are over the legal limit. Others argue that it makes sense to take the test because, if you are below the legal limit, you could get the DUI charge dismissed altogether.

The purpose of this article is simply to help you understand the consequences of taking versus refusing a post-arrest breathalyzer test. This test is also referred to as an evidentiary test because the device and procedures are considered accurate enough to be used as evidence in court.

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DuPage County DUI defense lawyerThe ubiquitous red Solo cup is likely to appear in your hand at some point during a seasonal party. Here are some handy tips to help you track your alcoholic beverage consumption in terms of the current standard, 18-ounce, squared Solo cup. Knowing how much you have consumed will help you stay safe and avoid the chance of an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI).

What Constitutes a “One Drink” of Beer, Wine, or Liquor

With today’s wide variety of alcoholic beverage choices, you really have to be aware of the alcohol content of your drink of choice. The number of ounces one “standard” serving varies from 1 ounce to 12 ounces:

  • Bourbon or whiskey labeled “barrel proof” or “single barrel” (120 proof, 60% alcohol): 1 ounce.
  • Standard liquor (80 proof, 40% alcohol): 1.5 ounces.
  • Wine, champagne, sparkling wine (12% alcohol): 5 ounces.
  • Imperial stout or double IPA (10% alcohol): 6 ounces.
  • Craft beer (6% alcohol): 10 ounces.
  • Regular beer (4.5% alcohol): 12 ounces.
  • Hard cider or hard lemonade (5% alcohol): 12 ounces.

How to Manage Your Consumption by Solo Cup

When mixing a cocktail, pour the liquor in first. 3 ounces will amount to about an inch of liquid in the bottom of your Solo cup. The liquid should just touch the bottom of the word Solo that is spelled down the side of the cup. Add mixer and ice, and that will be the equivalent of two drinks. (Let us assume the use of real glasses for those single barrel bourbons and whiskeys.)

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Illinois drugged driving defense lawyerWhen you think about driving under the influence (DUI), do you think the bigger issue is driving while intoxicated by alcohol, or driving while impaired by drugs, such as marijuana or heroin?

Drug-Impaired Driving Is a Growing Problem

Interestingly enough, fatal car crash data shows that the number of alcohol-impaired drivers killed has declined over the past decade, while the number of drug-impaired drivers killed has risen. Now, there is no nationwide standard protocol for alcohol and drug testing of drivers killed in car crashes, but a report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association in May 2018 stated some concerning facts in relation to drug-impaired driving:

  • The number of known alcohol-positive drivers killed in a car crash decreased from 7,750 in 2006 to 5,473 in 2016;
  • The number of known drug-positive drivers killed in a car crash increased from 3,994 in 2006 to 5,365 in 2016;
  • Of those who were tested, nearly half of the drivers involved in a fatal crash tested positive for both drugs and alcohol; and
  • Of the drug-positive drivers killed, 38% tested positive for cannabis, 16% for opioids, 4% for both, and 42% for some other drug.

 One reason given for the increase in drug-impaired driving is the rise in opioid use, which includes illegal “street” drugs, like heroin and illegally manufactured fentanyl (a synthetic opioid), as well as prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin.

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DuPage County DUI defense lawyerIf you have at least one prior conviction for driving under the influence on your record, each new conviction has increasingly more serious consequences. The more DUIs you commit, the greater your chance of spending time in jail or even in state prison becomes.

You also need to be aware that, thanks to interstate data sharing agreements, DUI conviction in other states will count when an Illinois prosecutor or judge adds up the number of prior DUI convictions on your record. (A DUI arrest that resulted in a successfully completed court supervision will not be counted as a prior conviction.)

Likelihood of Spending Time in Jail for a Second DUI Conviction

Illinois classifies both a first DUI conviction and a second DUI conviction as Class A misdemeanors, punishable by a maximum of 364 days in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $2,500. A first DUI conviction has no mandatory minimum jail sentence, however, so a judge could conceivably let you off with supervised probation, a fine, and/or community service.

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Oak Brook DUI defense attorneyIt is important to understand what you are risking when you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Illinois. State law categorizes even a first-time DUI as a class A misdemeanor crime, which is punishable by up to one year in jail, among other penalties. A more serious form of DUI, known as aggravated DUI, is a felony for which a judge can impose a sentence of multiple years in state prison.

However, those are maximum penalties, not the most likely. By looking at historical data, we can assess the likelihood that someone convicted of DUI will actually spend time in county jail or state prison. The circumstances of a first-time DUI will have a significant impact on the likelihood of your spending time in jail.

Jail Time Is Unlikely for Misdemeanor First DUIs in Illinois

Circumstance 1: First Offense with Successful Court Supervision. For a first-time misdemeanor DUI, the court may allow to you plead guilty and receive court supervision. If you fulfill all the requirements set by the court and successfully complete the supervision period, no DUI conviction will be entered on your criminal record. The court may require you to perform community service or pay fines, but the penalties will not include jail time or revocation of your driver’s license. Note that you will still have to serve out any statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license.

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DuPage County DUI defense attorneysWhen someone is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), one of their biggest fears is the possibility of spending time in jail. There are two ways you could spend time in jail. First, if you are arrested for a DUI and cannot make bail, or if you violate the conditions of your bail, you could be held in jail until your case is settled. Second, if you are convicted of DUI, part of your sentence could include jail time.

Fortunately, recent changes in Illinois law and the increased use of electronic monitoring devices have significantly reduced the likelihood that DUI offenders will have to spend time in jail.

Misdemeanor DUI Arrest: Usually No Jail, No Bail

When arrested for a misdemeanor DUI in Illinois, most people are processed and immediately released on their own recognizance without having to pay bail. This includes most first-time and second-time DUI arrestees charged with a misdemeanor offense.

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DuPage County DUI defense lawyersWith over 900,000 residents, heavy traffic is a fact of life for DuPage County drivers. It also means you have a good chance of being in a traffic accident. Whenever an accident involves significant vehicle damage or personal injury, Illinois law requires you to summon the police and file an accident report. Even if you were not at fault in causing the accident, you could still find yourself in serious trouble. If you consumed alcohol, marijuana, certain prescription drugs, or any other intoxicants before getting behind the wheel, you could be charged with driving under the influence.

Statistics on Vehicle Collisions and Children in DuPage County

DuPage County reported about 21,000 collisions involving over 42,000 vehicles in 2016, an increase of 16 percent from 2011. Given that 37 percent of DuPage County households have children, around one-third of collisions in the county likely involve children.

In other words, if you drive while intoxicated in DuPage County, there’s a strong probability that you will get into a collision that involves a child.

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Chicago DUI defense attorneysEffective January 1, 2019, Illinois judges will be authorized to impose harsher sentences on anyone convicted of “wrong way” driving under the influence (DUI).

The new law, PA 100-1053, was passed in August 2018. It amends a section of the Illinois Criminal Code (730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.2) that lists the aggravating factors that a judge may use to justify extended-term sentencing.

How Extended Term Sentencing Applies to a DUI

Illinois law states that a driver who causes the death of another person while driving under the influence is guilty of a class 2 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison.

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Illinois DUI defense lawyerImagine this scenario: You had a few drinks uptown, started driving home, and got into a car accident. Do you know the correct actions to take next? Do you understand what can happen if the police have reasonable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence (DUI)? It is important for every driver to know what to do in this type of situation, even if you just had one drink and were not legally intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Do You Have to Call the Police to an Accident Scene in Illinois?

If you have a single-car accident, you only need to call the police and file an accident report if there is over $1,500 worth of property damage.

If your car collides with another motor vehicle or person, Illinois law requires you to stop, render necessary aid, and exchange identification and insurance information. The police must be called to the scene if there is property damage over $1,500 or if anyone is injured or killed.

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