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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 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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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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