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The Life-Changing Impact of Multiple DUI Convictions According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, 26,386 DUI arrests were made throughout the state in 2018 alone. While a large percentage of those drivers were facing their first DUI charges, many of them were arrested for driving under the influence for the second or third time. A first-time DUI charge constitutes a Class A misdemeanor and can come with some significant financial consequences, as well as the loss of your driving privileges for one year. The consequences of a first-time conviction, though, pale in comparison to legal ramifications a repeat offender can face. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is time to seek out the assistance of a knowledgeable defense attorney.

How Another DUI Charge Can Impact You

If you are charged with your second DUI within a 20 year period, you will again face a Class A misdemeanor. The primary difference between one’s first and second DUI conviction is that the second one comes with a five-year license revocation period. A third DUI conviction is where the legal consequences of a conviction really become life-changing.

A third DUI conviction constitutes a Class 2 felony charge, which includes a loss of driving privileges for 10 years and likely jail time or significant community service hours. If a third time DUI offender is apprehended with a blood alcohol content that is twice the legal limit, they will face a minimum of 90 days in jail. The felony charge on your criminal record can impact your ability to secure employment and the way in which financial institutions will evaluate your loan eligibility. The impact of multiple DUI charges can go much further than the initial conviction.

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Is It Wise To Refuse Testing During a DUI Traffic Stop? When a driver is stopped by a law enforcement official and the officer suspects that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is easy to panic. Interactions with law enforcement can be generally uneasy, especially when it becomes apparent that the officer believes you may be inebriated. Despite the stresses of a DUI traffic stop, it is important to remain composed and understand how your actions can impact your future. In some instances, the best decision you can make during a DUI traffic stop is refusing chemical testing. 

Refusing Field Sobriety Testing

In the state of Illinois, it is perfectly legal to refuse a field sobriety test. If an officer requests that you take part in a field sobriety test, they are looking for evidence to back up an arrest. While refusal of a field sobriety test will likely result in an arrest, it will limit the evidence that can be used against you in the case. It is important to remain calm throughout this process and politely refuse field sobriety testing. Any aggressive behavior towards the officer can negatively impact you moving forward. 

Refusing Chemical Testing

Refusal to take part in chemical testing will come with some consequences, but not a criminal conviction. Refusal to submit to chemical testing is an administrative offense that will come with a one-year statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license. In the state of Illinois, drivers that refuse to submit to chemical testing are eligible to drive with a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). You will have to pay for installing a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) on your vehicle and follow the restrictions of the MDDP for the remainder of your suspension. If this is the second time you have refused chemical testing, it will result in a three-year license suspension. While refusing to submit will cost you money and a license suspension, it will not result in the Class A misdemeanor that accompanies a DUI conviction. 

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Posted on in DUI Defense

What Constitutes a Felony DUI Charge? Every year, thousands of drivers in the state of Illinois are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Due to the inherent risks of driving while intoxicated, DUI charges can come with severe legal ramifications. While the vast majority of DUI convictions constitute a Class A misdemeanor charge, some DUIs can be elevated to a felony charge. A misdemeanor DUI can result in temporary loss of driving privileges and fines but rarely leads to jail time. A felony DUI charge, on the other hand, can lead to life-changing consequences. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, speak with a skilled legal professional immediately. 

Why DUIs Are Elevated to Felony Charges

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, a DUI can be elevated to a felony charge for a number of reasons, most commonly for a repeat offense. A third DUI charge is elevated to a Class 2 felony charge and will come with a 10-year license revocation. A fourth conviction will result in a lifetime revocation of driving privileges. Once the charge has been elevated to a felony charge it is known as an aggravated DUI. 

Outside of multiple convictions, there are a number of aggravating factors that add to the severity of the crime in the eyes of law enforcement officials. These aggravating factors include:

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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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