What You Should Know About DUI in Illinois
An arrest and charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is very serious regardless of the state where the violation occurs. Illinois is no exception and has some of the strictest penalties in the United States. First time DUI offenders can expect to face a one-year license suspension, a fine of up to $2,500, and the possibility of one year in jail. This is why it is so important to have your DUI case evaluated as soon as possible after being pulled over, arrested, and charged for DUI.
At DUIRights.com, we take the time to review and evaluate each client’s case and the specifics surrounding the evidence against them. It is a little known fact that an individual’s rights are almost always violated during a DUI arrest – while this does not mean the individual is innocent, it does give legal professionals some leverage to have their client’s case dismissed.
Knowing Your DUI Rights
Whether the arrest occurred in Chicago, Springfield, Peoria, or any other city in Illinois, an individual’s rights regarding DUI are the same across the state. When reviewing your Illinois DUI case, a legal professional will ask you a series of questions to help them better determine what rights were upheld and which ones were violated during the traffic stop and subsequent arrest. Some of the questions that may be asked during the case review include:
- What was the officer’s initial reason for making the traffic stop?
- Was the vehicle in operation when the traffic stop was made?
- What did the officer observe? Were these observations the same as other witnesses?
- Was a Breathalyzer test administered? What was the time-frame it was administered in?
- Was a field sobriety test administered? Was it administered properly? Did inclement weather affect the outcome of any of the testing that was done?
- Was the individual made aware of his or her Miranda Rights?
The answers to these questions will help the attorney paint a picture of what happened during the traffic stop and arrest and will help them determine what rights were violated and what can be used in the client’s defense. Again, this does not mean the client is innocent, it is simply leverage to help them secure a better, less impactful outcome for the DUI case.
Your Illinois DUI arrest may have occurred in one of the highest DUI offender areas in the country. This area is in the counties surrounding Chicago. Whether your arrest was in Kane, McHenry, Cook, or Lake county then you have some very tough obstacles to overcome. These counties have been inflicting stronger laws against first time DUI offenders. Do you know how to challenge all the arresting officers judgements against you?
Protect your rights and learn how to get your Illinois DUI charges dismissed. Get Started Now by filling out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation form to get the answers you need.
No matter how guilty you may think you were at the time of the arrest, we want you to know one important thing: There is ALWAYS an aggressive and effective defense that will help you fight for the best possible outcome. In our experience, many officers do not follow proper field sobriety test procedures. In fact, challenging probable cause and the way field sobriety tests, blood tests and breath tests were administered is often a successful strategy to reduce or drop the charges. Also, many people plead guilty prematurely based on a breath test with a result above the legal limit. This is a common and costly mistake, as there are a variety of ways in having the breath test suppressed as we will show you how to do.
DUI Laws in Illinois
Illinois strives to set a national example with its DUI prevention efforts so drunken drivers should beware. All it takes to receive a DUI conviction is one incident of driving with blood-alcohol content (BAC) exceeding 0.08 percent. Even drivers with lower BAC can be charged with DUI if they were clearly impaired while driving.
One area where Illinois differs from other states is in the term of license suspensions. The state has minimum sentences that meet or exceed most other states maximum suspensions while at the same time having no absolute maximum. In other words, if you drink and drive in Illinois, you could lose your license indefinitely, even on the first offense.
Consequences for Refusing to Take Chemical Tests
Illinois is an implied consent state. While you can refuse to take chemical tests, there are mandatory penalties in place for doing so. In the state of Illinois, chemical test refusals will result in penalties of:
- First offense – one year license suspension
- Second offense – three year license suspension
- Third offense – three year license suspension
Challenging BAC Levels in Court
Illinois has standard blood alcohol content levels for 21 and older as well as commercial drivers, but it is a zero-tolerance state for underage drivers:
- Drivers that are 21 years or older, .00 percent, zero tolerance state
- Drivers under the age of 21, .02 percent
- Commercial drivers, .04 percent
Is There Mandatory Jail Time Required for a DUI in Illinois?
Illinois does have a maximum sentence in place, but the actual term (up to that maximum) is left to the judge. All mandatory sentences are posted below:
- First time offenders – up to one year
- Second time offenders – up to one year
- Third time offenders – minimum of three years and a maximum sentence of seven years
Illinois does not have a washout period at this time.
Monetary Fines and Penalties for DUI in Illinois
While not mandating a minimum penalty, maximum fines can be significant in Illinois:
- First offense – fines up to $2,500
- Second offense – fines up to $2,500
- Third offense – fines up to $2,500
*There is a mandatory ignition interlock device installation required for all offenders.
License Suspension for DUI in Illinois
Unlike most states, there is no maximum sentence dictated by the law. However, there are minimums in place and these sentences are far longer than most states:
- First offense – minimum one year suspension
- Second offense – minimum five year suspension
- Third offense – minimum ten year suspension
Reasons to Hire an Illinois DUI Attorney
The court may appoint a public defender to represent a DUI offender who has limited money available for legal counsel. This type of lawyer may not have handled a DUI case in the past and may have little or no experience with the court system. Putting one’s fate in the hands of a public defender may save money in the immediate term but may wind up costing the individual more money and loss of freedom in the end.
A DUI attorney is a type of private legal counsel who specializes in drunk driving cases. Whether the driver injured someone, damaged property, or managed to avoid doing both, a DUI lawyer can help. Specializing in DUI matters puts this attorney in a stronger position than a public defender because he or she is familiar with common DUI arrest errors and oversights, knows experts who will testify, and understands how the Illinois legal system handles DUI cases.
Illinois DUI offenders could lose driving privileges for a year if convicted. A DUI lawyer will help a client petition the court for driving relief in lieu of this extended license suspension period. If granted, driving relief permits the individual to drive to and from work or school, limiting the impact that a DUI charge has on the ability to earn a living or advance in life.
How to Find an Illinois DUI Attorney
Illinois DUI laws are among some of the tougher laws in the country. If you are arrested and charged with a DUI in Illinois, you will need an attorney if you have any chance of winning your case in court. There are lawyers practicing all over Illinois and many of them are eager for new clients. However, only a select number specialize in DUI cases and these attorneys can be difficult to find. The quickest way to locate a DUI lawyer is to complete an online request for a DUI arrest evaluation.
Our advocates will identify an Illinois DUI attorney willing to review the case and provide general recommendations at no charge. This initial consultation will include discussion of fees should the individual wish to hire the attorney. Once retained, the lawyer will begin helping the client build a strong defense against the DUI charge.
To get more information about local attorneys and/or to obtain a free case evaluation, please fill out the Free DUI Arrest Form Now.