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Posted on in DUI Defense

How to React to a DUI Traffic Stop It is never an enjoyable experience to look in your rearview mirror and see the flashing lights of a law enforcement officer behind your vehicle. The experience is markedly less enjoyable if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Still, when it comes to DUI cases, your actions during the traffic stop can make all the difference in whether you are ultimately convicted or not. With that in mind, it is important to understand how to react to a DUI traffic stop. 

Safety First

When you see police lights behind your vehicle, you are instructed to pull over to the right shoulder of the lane as soon as possible. Unfortunately, things are not always that simple. It is important to avoid pulling your vehicle over on bridges, sharp turns in the roadway, up against guard rails with limited shoulder space, or in any location where it may be possible to be struck by passing traffic. As the officer approaches the vehicle, remain calm and keep your hands on the wheel. Any sudden movement (such as exiting the vehicle) could be viewed as an act of aggression. Willingness to adhere to the safety principles of a traffic stop will not only decrease any chance of injury but also showcase your ability to cognitively react to the situation, potentially helping your case. 

Understand Your Rights

Once the law enforcement officer begins speaking with you, it is important to maintain a balance between cooperation and exercising your rights. If the acting officer believes there is probable cause that you may be intoxicated, they are mandated to request chemical testing. The officer will likely tell you that refusing to take part in the test will result in a loss of driving privileges, but refusal may, in fact, be your best option. A DUI conviction is at the bare minimum a Class A misdemeanor and will result in significant fines. While refusing to take part in chemical testing will result in a license revocation of one year, it is not a criminal offense and thus will not show up on your permanent record. Recognizing your rights in a DUI traffic stop can be paramount to avoiding a criminal conviction. 

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Exploring Common DUI Defenses If you are charged with driving under the influence, it is important to understand the legal ramifications of a conviction. In Illinois, over 26,000 DUI arrests were made throughout 2018, and the consequences of a DUI can be significant. A first conviction constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, which includes a one-year license revocation period. It should be noted that there are a number of aggravating factors that can result in an increase in the severity of the charges. Fortunately, there are several ways in which a skilled attorney can fight against a DUI charge

Common DUI Defenses

After you have been arrested on DUI charges, it is important to act quickly. The most important step you can take is hiring an attorney with experience in handling DUI cases. Once your attorney is hired, the two of you should review the events that lead up to the arrest process. One of the strongest defenses an attorney can use is an improper stop defense, which essentially argues that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to warrant a traffic stop. For instance, if an officer pulled you over simply due to the fact that it was late at night, an improper stop defense would likely be utilized. 

In other instances, an attorney will pursue a defense based on a field sobriety test or Breathalyzer test. A field sobriety test could indicate that a sober person is intoxicated if the person has medical conditions related to their balance or motor skills. A horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which looks at the eyes for signs of inebriation, could be inaccurate if the person has a medical condition related to eye function or appearance. In cases in which a breath test is used, it is possible that the Breathalyzer could have malfunctioned, leading to an inaccurate test. 

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Fighting Against an Aggravated DUI Charge Here in the state of Illinois, a DUI conviction can come with serious legal ramifications. Not only will the convicted party face a Class A misdemeanor charge, but they will also lose their driving privileges, face significant fines, and even potentially spend time in jail. Due to the fact that some crimes are blatantly worse than others, not all DUI charges are equal. There are a number of offenses that can elevate a DUI to an aggravated DUI, leading to even more potential punishment. Below we will discuss how to respond to an aggravated DUI charge

What Is an Aggravated DUI?

An aggravated DUI can simply be defined as a DUI with specific aggravating acts. For instance, if a person is charged with their third DUI, the charge will be elevated to an aggravated DUI. If the driver is apprehended while driving without a license or driving with a minor under the age of 15, the charge will be elevated. The most common aggravating factor is having a blood alcohol concentration over .16%. 

It is important to understand that an aggravated DUI can come with life-changing legal consequences. Even the most minor forms of aggravated DUIs constitute a Class 4 felony charge. If convicted, the driver could face as many as three years in prison. It should be noted that some aggravating factors, such as a DUI in which someone was injured, can lead to more severe punishments. 

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The Penalties for Violating Driving Restrictions After DUIMillions of Americans lose their driving privileges every year. A driver can lose their driving privileges for a number of reasons, but the most common cause is a DUI conviction. While a DUI conviction will likely lead to a license suspension, it does not mean that the person will necessarily be unable to drive. There are a number of ways in which a person can regain their driving privileges after a DUI conviction, including a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) and a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP). While both MDDPs and RDPs can represent great options for DUI offenders to regain their ability to drive, it is important to understand the legal consequences of breaking the rules and regulations of both permits. Below we will discuss the legal ramifications of illegally driving with a suspended license

The Legal Ramifications

First and foremost, if a driver with a suspended license does not take the necessary steps to gain a permit such as those mentioned above, they are not permitted to drive in any scenario. If they are apprehended while driving, they will likely be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and face fines as high as $2,500. While those consequences seem severe, the legal consequences of breaking the rules of an MDDP or RDP come with significant and potentially life-changing ramifications.

An MDDP will allow a driver to drive freely as long as their vehicle is equipped with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID). That being said, if the driver is apprehended while driving a vehicle without a BAIID, they will face a Class 4 felony charge. A driver with two or more intoxicated driving offenses can apply for an RDP, which essentially allows a driver to drive to and from critical locations such as work, the grocery store, and their child’s school. Breaking the well-documented rules of the RDP will lead to loss of the permit and potential jail-time. For more information on suspensions, reinstatement, and your permit options, speak with a knowledgeable attorney today. 

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Posted on in DUI Defense

The Consequences of a Second DUI ChargeGetting pulled over and accused of driving under the influence of alcohol is a uniquely stressful experience. This is especially true when the driver has previously been convicted of a DUI. While all DUI charges should be taken seriously, a second DUI conviction can come with incredibly severe legal ramifications. A driver will face not only a significant increase in fines, but they will also face more difficulty regaining their driving privileges and a higher likelihood of time in prison. In order to give yourself the greatest chance to fight a DUI charge, it is important to act quickly. Most importantly, you need to hire a DUI defense attorney that will aggressively represent your best interest. 

Understanding the Legal Consequences

In order to approach your DUI case with the urgency it rightfully warrants, you need to gain an understanding of the consequences of a second DUI conviction. In Illinois, a second DUI conviction will constitute a Class A misdemeanor and come with fines of up to $2,500. While on the surface the criminal charges are the same as a first offense, the offender will face increased difficulty avoiding the full force of the law. For instance, both a first-time and second DUI conviction can result in up to one year in prison, but a judge is much more likely to sentence you to significant prison time for a second offense. 

Where the real difference comes between a first offense and a second charge is in the offender’s ability to regain their driving privileges. While a first time DUI offense leads to a six-month license suspension, a second offense can lead to a license suspension of five years. It should also be noted that there is no lookback period in Illinois, meaning a DUI will remain on your permanent record no matter when you were charged. So if you are ultimately convicted, your next charge would result in felony charges and potentially years behind bars. 

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