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Reacting to a DUI Traffic StopEvery year, more than 20,000 people in Illinois are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. In a significant percentage of those cases, the party arrested is ultimately convicted of driving under the influence. While many people assume that a conviction is inevitable after they have been pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving, that is factually incorrect. In reality, your actions while and after being pulled over can dramatically impact the likelihood of a conviction. Below we will examine how you should react to a DUI traffic stop. 

Steps You Should Take During a Traffic Stop

Seeing red and blue lights behind your vehicle is no enjoyable experience, but your ability to have some emotional fortitude can be the ultimate difference between potential jail-time and no criminal charges at all. Here are a few steps you should take during the arrest process. 

  1. Pull Over Safely: The worst thing you can do as you are getting pulled over is to make the situation worse by pulling over in an unsafe manner. Pulling over at high speeds can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and potentially lead to an accident. Pulling over on a blind turn or on a bridge can make it more difficult for other vehicles to avoid you and the officer. If you pull over in an unsafe manner, not only are you putting yourself in danger, but you are likely prompting more suspicion from the officer. 
  2. Do Not Panic: Remaining calm is one of the most important things you can do during a traffic stop. Panicking will likely lead to perspiration or tremors, which can lead to suspicions of illegal activity from the officer. Most importantly, though, panic can lead to erratic or aggressive behavior, limiting your ability to fight against a charge in court. Keep your emotions in check and let your attorney do the rest. 
  3. Understand Your Rights: If an officer asks for you to take a breath test, you have the right to decline. If an officer tells you that you would be breaking the law by not taking the test, they are either deceiving you or unaware of the laws in Illinois. While declining a breath test will result in loss of driving privileges for one year, it is not a criminal offense. Understanding your rights can be the most important step you take during a DUI traffic stop. 
  4. Try to Remember the Events: If you are in fact arrested by an officer, it is important to be able to analyze the arrest process with your attorney. If the officer forced you to give a breath sample, was verbally or physically abusive, or failed to read you your Miranda rights prior to questioning in police custody, your attorney will have a strong defense case in court. 

Contact an Oak Brook DUI Defense Attorney

At McMahon Law Offices, we understand just how traumatic a DUI stop can be. Whether you have been mistreated or charged with a DUI, it is time to seek out quality legal assistance. Our attorneys are dedicated to building a quality defense case for all of our clients, in the hopes of avoiding a conviction. If a conviction is ultimately unavoidable, we will do everything in our power to lessen the charges and help you regain your driving privileges as soon as possible. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation with a skilled DuPage County criminal defense attorney, call us today at 630-953-4400. 

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The Importance of Hiring a Skilled Attorney in Your DUI Case Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Here in Illinois, upwards of 20,000 Illinoisans are apprehended each year for inebriated driving. If a person is convicted of a DUI, their life can be changed forever. From potential jail time to loss of driving privileges, the legal ramifications of a DUI conviction should not be taken lightly. Hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney can make all the difference in your case. 

How an Attorney Can Help

When you hire a quality DUI defense lawyer, you are making a conscious choice to fight against the charges you are facing. A skilled DUI defense attorney can lessen the severity of criminal charges or help you avoid a conviction altogether. Here are just a few reasons why hiring the right attorney is critically important in your DUI case: 

  1. Loss of Driving Privileges: If convicted of a DUI, you will lose your driving privileges in some capacity. According to Illinois state law, a first-time DUI conviction will result in a minimum license revocation period of one year. A second conviction constitutes a five-year revocation period. While a first-time offender can purchase a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) and gain probationary driving privileges, the process of doing so can be long and tedious. An experienced legal professional can fight for your right to drive.
  2. Time Spent in Jail: When some people think of a DUI case, they believe that it is best to accept the criminal charges and move on with their lives. This assertion could not be further from the truth. A DUI conviction can result in jail time, and subsequent convictions will almost certainly lead to some time in prison. A first-time DUI offender will likely not face jail time, barring aggravating circumstances (a minor was in the vehicle or someone was caused significant bodily harm). A second conviction can result in a minimum of five days in jail. As the convictions pile up, so too does the possible time spent in jail.
  3. Someone to Fight For You: After being charged with a DUI, it is common to feel helpless. The legal process can be isolating, and the law enforcement officials in your case can be intimidating. A quality legal professional will not be deterred from examining every aspect of your DUI case, in hopes of helping you avoid a conviction. Were you operating your vehicle in a negligent manner, prompting a traffic stop? Did the officer explain your Miranda rights during your arrest? Did the officer use intimidating language or physical force to coerce you into chemical testing? In your DUI case, someone should ask these questions. A knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer will.  

Contact an Oak Brook DUI Defense Lawyer 

At McMahon Law Offices, we fully understand the manner in which a DUI conviction can change a person’s life. Because of this, we are prepared to do everything in our power to help you avoid a conviction. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation with a skilled Arlington Heights DUI defense attorney, call us today at 630-953-4400. 

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How a DUI Case Involving Bodily Harm Could Impact YouAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 30 people die each day in drunk driving accidents throughout the U.S. Because of this, law enforcement officers are constantly on the lookout for signs of inebriated driving. In Illinois, upwards of 25,000 drivers were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, throughout 2018. A DUI charge can drastically change a person’s life, impacting their ability to secure employment or find housing. A charge can be especially severe if an accident occurred resulting in bodily harm to another party. Below, we will examine the legal implications of a DUI charge involving injuries or even death to another person.  

The Legal Consequences

According to Illinois state law, a standard DUI charge constitutes a Class A misdemeanor. Those charges will be elevated significantly if a person is hurt in an accident and the driver is charged with inebriated driving. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, a DUI in which a person is caused significant bodily harm will constitute an aggravated DUI charge. It should be noted that other transgressions can result in a DUI being elevated to an aggravated DUI, such as driving under the influence without a valid license or on a license that has been previously suspended for a DUI conviction.

If a collision causes great bodily harm to a person, including disability or permanent disfigurement, one will face a Class 4 felony charge and complete revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of two years. In Illinois, a Class 4 felony conviction could result in one to three years in prison and fines as high as $25,000. Even though a Class 4 felony is the least severe of all felony charges, it is easy to see how a conviction of that magnitude could drastically impact one’s life. If a person is fatally injured by a person that has been driving under the influence, the driver will face Class 2 felony charges, potentially resulting in up to seven years in prison. 

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The Implications of Driving Under the Influence With a Minor in the Car In Illinois, more than 27,000 drivers were arrested for driving while intoxicated throughout 2017. If charged, a DUI can come with significant legal ramifications resulting in a mark on one’s criminal record, potential loss of driving privileges, and substantial fines. While any DUI charge should be taken seriously due to the punishments listed above, the charges can be even more significant if a driver is apprehended while a child is in the car. Below, we will take a deep dive into how a minor’s presence in your vehicle can increase the gravity of a DUI conviction

Driving With a Minor While Inebriated

According to Illinois law, there are a number of circumstances that can result in increased criminal punishment in a DUI case. For instance, if a driver is operating their vehicle recklessly (such as driving the wrong way on a one-way road), their DUI charge can be elevated to an aggravated DUI. One of the most common instances leading to more severe criminal punishment is a drunk driver traveling with a minor. 

While a first-time DUI offender’s charge will not be elevated from a Class A Misdemeanor if they are found with a minor (child under the age of 16) in their vehicle, they will face other consequences, including:

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The Benefits of Cooperating During a DUI Traffic Stop When a person is pulled over at night, it is common to feel a little panicked. Tensions can be escalated when a police officer asks whether or not you have been drinking. While many people are told that it is always best to deny that you have been drinking regardless of your alcohol consumption and refuse all chemical testing, we will examine some of the benefits of open cooperation with the law enforcement official. In the event that you are charged with driving under the influence, seek out the assistance of a legal professional immediately. 

Why Cooperation Can Help 

First and foremost, it is important to understand the ramifications of denying chemical testing. Many people carry a common misconception that if they simply do not blow, they will not face consequences. That assertion is incorrect. Yes, refusing chemical testing is not grounds for a DUI charge, but you will lose your driving privileges. In Illinois, a first-time chemical test refusal will result in a 12-month license suspension. A subsequent refusal to take part in chemical testing within a five year period of the first refusal will result in a license suspension of three years. 

Cooperating with an officer can also be critical in the event that you are charged with driving under the influence. If an officer testifies that you were friendly, cooperative, and polite, you may be looking at a less significant charge. In some cases, an officer may display signs of aggression towards a person that refuses to cooperate, leading to a drawn-out court process. Lastly, if you have not been drinking, your best option may be to cooperate, take a breath test if requested, and move forward. 

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