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DuPage County DUI defense attorneysWhen someone is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), one of their biggest fears is the possibility of spending time in jail. There are two ways you could spend time in jail. First, if you are arrested for a DUI and cannot make bail, or if you violate the conditions of your bail, you could be held in jail until your case is settled. Second, if you are convicted of DUI, part of your sentence could include jail time.

Fortunately, recent changes in Illinois law and the increased use of electronic monitoring devices have significantly reduced the likelihood that DUI offenders will have to spend time in jail.

Misdemeanor DUI Arrest: Usually No Jail, No Bail

When arrested for a misdemeanor DUI in Illinois, most people are processed and immediately released on their own recognizance without having to pay bail. This includes most first-time and second-time DUI arrestees charged with a misdemeanor offense.

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DuPage County DUI defense lawyersWith over 900,000 residents, heavy traffic is a fact of life for DuPage County drivers. It also means you have a good chance of being in a traffic accident. Whenever an accident involves significant vehicle damage or personal injury, Illinois law requires you to summon the police and file an accident report. Even if you were not at fault in causing the accident, you could still find yourself in serious trouble. If you consumed alcohol, marijuana, certain prescription drugs, or any other intoxicants before getting behind the wheel, you could be charged with driving under the influence.

Statistics on Vehicle Collisions and Children in DuPage County

DuPage County reported about 21,000 collisions involving over 42,000 vehicles in 2016, an increase of 16 percent from 2011. Given that 37 percent of DuPage County households have children, around one-third of collisions in the county likely involve children.

In other words, if you drive while intoxicated in DuPage County, there’s a strong probability that you will get into a collision that involves a child.

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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 lawyerImagine this scenario: You had a few drinks uptown, started driving home, and got into a car accident. Do you know the correct actions to take next? Do you understand what can happen if the police have reasonable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence (DUI)? It is important for every driver to know what to do in this type of situation, even if you just had one drink and were not legally intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Do You Have to Call the Police to an Accident Scene in Illinois?

If you have a single-car accident, you only need to call the police and file an accident report if there is over $1,500 worth of property damage.

If your car collides with another motor vehicle or person, Illinois law requires you to stop, render necessary aid, and exchange identification and insurance information. The police must be called to the scene if there is property damage over $1,500 or if anyone is injured or killed.

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DuPage County criminal defense attorneysIf you or a loved one are stopped for a traffic violation and suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol (or for any other criminal offense), you will have several opportunities to make it either easier or more difficult for the police to gather evidence and the District Attorney to nail you with a “guilty” verdict. Remember, the goal of the police is to find evidence of your guilt.

Here are some tips to protect yourself against common police tactics related to vehicle searches, which are purposely employed to intimidate, mislead, or lure you into self-incrimination.

If Police Ask to Search Your Car Without Probable Cause, You Can Refuse

If you are stopped on a traffic violation, that does not give the police an automatic right to search your car.

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Illinois DUI defense lawyersWhen a driver is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the police will do some preliminary tests, roadside. If the police believe they have probable cause for a DUI arrest, the driver will then be taken to a nearby police station (or sometimes to a hospital) for chemical testing. When the driver is finally released from police custody, yet another problem must be faced: what happened to their car?

Vehicles Used in DUI Typically End Up in an Impound Lot

Every police department has one or more authorized companies that can be summoned to tow and store vehicles that have been, for example, wrecked in an accident, illegally parked, or left at roadside following a DUI arrest. The police will inform a driver arrested for DUI where their car has been towed.

Towing and storage fees alone can easily add up to hundreds of dollars. The city or county where the DUI occurred may also charge an administrative fee since a city police officer or sheriff’s deputy had to take the time to arrange the towing.  In DuPage County, the administrative fee alone can be as high as $500.

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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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Illinois DUI defense lawyerIn Illinois, if a driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) measures .08 or higher, they are automatically deemed guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. Under the law, a driver is assumed to be too impaired to drive when their BAC is .08 or higher. However, you should be aware that, under certain circumstances, Illinois drivers can be penalized for drinking and driving with a BAC below .08.

Four Ways You Can Be Penalized for Driving with a BAC Below .08

Scientific studies have shown that alcohol begins to affects your judgment and reaction time starting from the first drink, well before your BAC reaches the .08 level. Therefore, some types of drivers are held to a stricter standard for highway safety reasons. Illinois law defines four ways you can be charged with DUI or otherwise penalized for driving with even a very low level of alcohol in your system.

While driving a personal vehicle, you could be charged with DUI if your BAC tests higher than .05 but less than .08. However, in this situation, in order for you to actually be convicted of DUI, the police must present other convincing evidence that you were actually too impaired to drive safely. The arresting officer would have to testify, for example, that you were driving erratically, failed field sobriety tests, and/or admitted to consuming other types of intoxicants in addition to alcohol.

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IL defense lawyerWhen someone is charged with driving under the influence, they are often cited for one or more petty traffic offenses as well. Why is that?

That happens in part because, as the latest driver safety campaign says, “If you feel different, you drive different.” You make poor decisions, like driving too fast.

But it also happens because the police need a valid legal reason for initiating a traffic stop. Typically, the reason stated for a traffic stop is that the driver committed a relatively minor infraction of the law such as speeding, running a stop sign, failing to wear a seatbelt, or even having a burnt-out tail light. After observing the stopped driver and vehicle up close, the officer may then determine that a DUI charge is merited. But by writing up the ticket for the original infraction as well, the officer documents “for the record” the reason for the traffic stop.

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IL defense lawyerThe Illinois courts have long upheld a doctrine known as the “one act, one crime” rule. This doctrine is regularly applied to criminal cases stemming from a single act of driving under the influence.

Illinois Law Defines Multiple Possible DUI Charges

When a person is arrested for DUI, they may be charged with multiple offenses. For example, someone who was impaired by alcohol may be written up on two charges for the same incident:

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Posted on in DUI Defense

IL defense lawyerIf you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you need to act quickly to mitigate the potential consequences, which can include losing your driver’s license, paying a fine of up to $2,500, and more.

But before a judge can hand down a sentence, the state must prove that you are guilty of the crime. Even if you failed a breathalyzer or drug test, a conviction is not 100% guaranteed. With the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyer and a comprehensive investigation of your case, it may be possible to get the charges against you reduced or even dismissed.

The better you understand the legal process, the better equipped you will be to work with your attorney to develop the best possible defense. Toward that end, here is a brief overview of the process.

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IL defense lawyerIf you are caught driving under the influence in Illinois, part of the punishment is the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. However, the state realizes that most people need to drive in order to earn a living and care for their families. The solution is the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID), also commonly known as an in-car breathalyzer, blow-and-drive lock, or blow-to-go device.

Driver’s License Suspension for First-Time DUI Offenders

If you are arrested for DUI in Illinois and you either fail the evidentiary test (that is, your blood-alcohol concentration, BAC, is at or above .08) or you refuse to be tested, your Illinois driver’s license will automatically be suspended.

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IL DUI lawyer“I got a ticket for DUI last night. Is there any way to get out of this?

“If I lose my driver’s license, I could lose my job. I have to be able to drive.”

“I admitted I had been drinking and I blew .08 on the breathalyzer. Is there anything you can do to help me?”

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IL DUI lawyerBefore the police can legally arrest someone for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI), the police must have “probable cause” to believe that the person actually committed the crime. Probable cause consists of specific facts or observations made by the police.

This is not the same as proving the person “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is the standard for actually convicting someone and punishing them for the crime.

Lack of Probable Cause for an Arrest Is a Common Defense Strategy

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IL DUI lawyerWith the legal drinking age set at 21 nationwide, you would not expect there to be many arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) among people under age 21. Yet over 2,000 Illinois youth received punishment for underage driving and driving in 2016. If you are suspected of drinking and driving, the penalties you may face are substantially tougher if you are under age 21 than if you are age 21 or older.

The Legal Limit for Blood Alcohol is Lower for Underage Drivers

If you are at least 21 years old, you are considered guilty of DUI when you have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. You can also be charged with DUI if your BAC is .05 or higher and there is additional evidence that your driving was impaired.

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IL defense lawyerImagine that you are driving down a suburban street at night, in a rush to get home. Flashing lights appear; you are being pulled over by the police for speeding. The officer stands at your window and asks for your license and registration. As you retrieve those items for inspection, the officer shines a flashlight into your car and spots a bottle of whiskey on the passenger seat. The officer is now wondering whether you are guilty of a more serious offense, such as driving under the influence (DUI).

This is when things get interesting. The officer casually asks, “You mind if I have a look in your car?”—intending to learn if that bottle is open and shows signs that you have been drinking out of it, which would help support a DUI charge. If you agree, you have just consented to a search of your entire car, and anything the police find can be used as evidence against you. Or you have the right to say, “No, I do not give consent for any searches.”

Let us assume that you do not give consent for a search. Can the police officer now legally search your car without your consent?

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IL DUI lawyerWhen someone is arrested for drunk driving in Illinois, they will typically be charged with one of two crimes, either driving under the influence (DUI) or aggravated DUI.

An aggravated DUI charge results from driver actions that the state legislature has deemed particularly harmful or risky to public safety.

Aggravated DUI Is a Felony

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Posted on in DUI Defense

IL DUI lawyerWhen you hear the term “driving under the influence,” you probably picture the driver in a standard sedan or perhaps a sports car. But a significant number of DUIs happen on motorcycles, and the results are often deadly.

More Motorcycles on the Road, More DUI Deaths on Motorcycles

About 8.7 million motorcycles were on American roadways in 2016, twice as many as there were in 2002. There were 5,414 motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents in 2016, and 25% of those drivers had a blood-alcohol concentration over the legal limit, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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IL defense lawyerWhen charged with driving under the influence, one of your first thoughts is likely to be, “How much is this going to cost?” The cost of hiring a defense attorney may be your most immediate concern. But that should not be your only concern. The total cost of a DUI conviction will be far higher than attorney fees alone. In the end, a strong DUI defense that keeps a drunk driving conviction off your record—and your wallet—will be worth far more than the attorney fees.

The Cost and Benefits of an Aggressive DUI Defense

For a first-time DUI offense, you can expect to pay several thousand dollars in legal fees. But you must weigh that against the total cost of a DUI conviction, estimated at over $15,000.

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IL defense lawyerImagine that you have been pulled over by a police officer for some relatively minor traffic violation. The officer approaches you in a friendly manner as if he is just making conversation. He asks about where you have been, where you are going, whether you have had any drinks today, and so on. He gets you to admit that you were at a bar and that, yes, you had a drink or two.

Did You Just Say Too Much?

Many people believe — incorrectly — that they are required to answer each and every question that a police officer asks. Their natural instinct is to be cooperative. They may even hope that the officer will let them off with just a warning because they were so polite.

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