If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Illinois, it is important to know your legal rights. Contact the DuPage County DUI lawyers at Ktenas Law today for a free consultation and learn about what we can do to help you.
Nearly 35,000 drivers are arrested for these criminal offenses in Illinois annually. This is the equivalent of one arrest every 45 seconds! It’s important to know that the effects of a drunk driving arrest – both immediate and long-term – are significant. Illinois estimates it costs a first-time DUI offender around $16,500 in court costs, elevated insurance premiums, attorney's fees, treatment programs, and other related costs. In the long term, it may be difficult for you to find employment, be approved for loans, or housing if DUI charges remain on your criminal record.
We understand how difficult this situation can be and want to help make it easier by providing knowledgeable representation so that you don't have anything else weighing on your mind while going through this process. Our goal is always the same - get charges reduced or dismissed altogether! Call us today for more information about how we can help build you a strong legal defense!
Probable Cause For a Traffic Stop and Common DUI Signs Officers Look For
Most DUI arrests come from traffic stops that fall under "probable cause." Probable cause means that the police have an objective reason that they suspect you of committing a crime This means they must be able to point out objective circumstances leading them to believe that your blood alcohol content was over the legal limit.
Generally, a law enforcement officer will cite probable cause to pull someone over for driving under the influence if they witness:
- Erratic driving
- Weaving between lanes
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Driving through stop signs or red lights
- Any other sign of inebriation.
After being pulled over the office will look for the following signs:
- Open alcohol containers
- Slurred speech
- Glassy eyes/pupil dilation
- The smell of alcohol
- Refusing to perform breath or field sobriety tests
Consequences for a DUI in Illinois
If you are convicted of a first-time misdemeanor DUI, your license will be suspended for one year. You'll have to pay fines up to $2500 as well as court costs and potentially 364 days in jail. If your BAC is over 0.16 it increase the minimum fines you will have to pay (though the maximum remains) and you face community service time.
If you get multiple DUI convictions you will face more severe punishments. There are also ways your first DUI can be more costly. Certain situations can result in you being charged with "aggravated DUI" which is a felony offense. Receiving a felony conviction comes with additional penalties, much steeper fines, a longer license suspension period, and a higher chance of a jail sentence.
You can face a DUI felony charge if:
- You caused a drunk driving accident that led to serious injury or death.
- You did not have a valid drivers license at the time of your arrest
- Your vehicle did not have a liability insurance policy at the time of your offense
Why Do I Need a Lawyer For a DUI?
A qualified DUI defense law firm is one that has been in business for at least five years and regularly takes cases for drunk driving defense. The best firms are those which have an established track record of not only winning cases but also obtaining the most favorable outcomes possible. A good defense attorney will be able to show you their past successes and will be able to demonstrate a firm understanding of the law.
A DUI lawyer is there to provide you with much-needed legal advice including, but not limited to, what harsh penalties you could face if convicted. It goes without saying that every case is different and should therefore be handled differently by an experienced trial lawyer who has defended a wide variety of DUI cases.
Most DUI lawyers have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline such as law, criminal justice or criminology. At this level, they will undertake the study of state and federal laws pertaining to driving under the influence including chemical testing procedures which are used for drunk driving cases.
You should work with a criminal trial lawyer who has experience in DUI cases and a record of getting charges for clients dropped. It is their job to be up-to-date with the advancements made in this area of law such as when the evidence could now be gathered from a breathalyzer machine, DNA testing, or blood tests that can locate drugs found within an individual's system.
Proven DUI Defense Methods
The first thing you should do after a DUI arrest is call a lawyer who specializes in defending people facing this type of charge. They will be able to tell you if there's any way your case can be won. Common defense methods to keep a DUI off an arrest record:
- Challenging breathalyzer machines
- Questioning the arresting officer's probable cause
- Improperly conducted field sobriety tests
- Not being made aware of your Miranda Rights
Even if you may not be able to get your charge completely dismissed you may be able to negotiate down from a DUI charge to something less serious like reckless driving or negligent driving may be possible, depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest.
How Officers Test Drivers For DUI
The Illinois State Police use a variety of tests to determine whether or not someone is intoxicated. These include blood, urine, and breath tests. All three are utilized by law enforcement officers who have probable cause to believe that an individual is operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Breathalyzers are also used when individuals are taken into police custody for DUI testing.
Breath testing devices are used to measure blood alcohol content (BAC) by analyzing a person's breath sample. They work by measuring the amount of alcohol vapor exhaled from the lungs and then calculating how much has been consumed based on factors such as weight, height, gender, and time elapsed since drinking began.
You have the right to refuse blood-alcohol tests without consequence but there are risks associated with this decision that must be considered before making up your mind about whether or not to take one. While refusing a breath test may make it more difficult for prosecutors to convict you, your drivers' license faces an automatic 12-month statutory summary suspension regardless of your case outcome.
Field Sobriety Tests
These are common cognitive testing methods that police officers use to determine whether or not someone is intoxicated. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test involves examining for signs of nystagmus, the involuntary jerking of the eyes that often occurs when someone is intoxicated. The walk-and-turn test and one-legged stand test both demonstrate balance and coordination.
Urine and Blood testing
For chemical tests, the arresting police officer will take your blood or urine sample and seal it in a box with their initials on the outside. This box must be photographed before being sent to a lab for testing. Your sample will then be analyzed by licensed medical professionals at a medical facility.
Contact Our Attorneys to Defend Your Driving Privileges
If you are facing a drunk driving charge, it is essential to retain the services of experienced DUI defense attorneys.
The hardworking defense attorneys at Naperville DUI Lawyer know the courts and the system and that there are aspects of DUI charges that may lead to a dismissal or result in a lesser offense or penalty. We are aggressive litigators and will work with you to fully understand the facts surrounding your case. We have helped hundreds of clients and will thoroughly investigate your case and be your strong advocate in the courtroom.
You deserve legal representation from one of DuPage County's most respected law firms when facing such serious allegations as driving under the influence. Contact our criminal defense lawyers today for more information about how we can help! Call (630) 425-0250 to schedule a free initial consultation.