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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 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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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 lawyerWhen the police see someone driving erratically, they often jump to the conclusion that the person must be driving drunk or high. In such cases, a police officer may be predisposed to find reasons to request a breathalyzer test and make a DUI arrest. By the time they are done with you, you may feel like you have already been convicted. But breathalyzer tests can be wrong and there are many ways to challenge the results.

Reasons a Breathalyzer Result Could Be Wrong

You will want to let your attorney know about any possible grounds on which the breathalyzer result could be challenged. Here are some examples.  

Waiting period. To ensure that you have not consumed anything that could cause a false reading, the police are supposed to observe you for 20 minutes prior to running an evidentiary breathalyzer test (the one done at the police station). Police procedural error is a common DUI defense strategy.

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