A DUI arrest in Illinois is enough to change the trajectory of your life. The penalties are expensive, and you can even get prison time for driving under the influence (DUI). Getting arrested for drunk driving is enough to get you a criminal record, especially if you don’t have a good defense.
Have you ever been charged with driving under the influence? The state of Illinois takes DUI charges seriously, and the laws can be very complex. You may need an experienced DUI defense attorney to help you fight the DUI charges. Read on to learn how Illinois DUI lawyers can assist you.
DUI is not just restricted to driving under the influence of alcohol. It also includes driving under the influence of cocaine or other illegal drugs and controlled substances. When a police officer pulls you over for a suspected DUI, you will be likely asked to exit the vehicle and requested to perform a breath test.
If a driver over 21 submits to a breath test and their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds 0.08%, they can be charged with DUI.
The BAC limit for a commercial driver is capped at 0.04%.
Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21. The BAC limit for minors is 0%.
Prescription medicines, including benzodiazepines and opioids, can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and impair cognitive function (thinking, judgment, etc.). Driving while on such medicines can result in DUI charges.
The recreational use of marijuana has been legal in Illinois since January 1, 2020. Adults (21 years and above) can possess and use the substance within certain limitations.
Possession of cannabis flower is limited to 30 grams for residents and 15 grams for non-residents.
Cannabis-infused products like edibles are limited to 500 mg of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for residents and 250 mg of THC for non-residents.
THC is the active component in marijuana, causing its psychoactive effects. However, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in Illinois. You can be charged for DUI when you use marijuana if:
You are incapable of safely driving, according to the police officer’s observations.
You have an excess concentration of THC in your bloodstream or other bodily substances. The limits are five or more nanograms in your bloodstream and ten or more nanograms in your saliva or urine within two hours of driving.
Your first and second DUI convictions are classified as Class A misdemeanors in Illinois.
For a misdemeanor DUI conviction, you may face the following penalties:
Fines up to a maximum of $2,500.
Jail time of up to 1 year. A minimum sentence of 5 days is applicable for a second DUI offense.
A driver’s license is suspended for one year for first-time DUI offenders. For offenders under 21 years, the license suspension is for two years.
Other penalties include community service, probation, and alcohol/drug-related treatments. You can also get court supervision instead of a criminal conviction for a first-time offense.
When your driving record consists of three or more DUI convictions, the charge will be classified as a felony DUI. A misdemeanor DUI case may be elevated to a felony DUI due to certain factors. These aggravating factors include:
Not having a valid license or permit or vehicle liability insurance
Driving under the influence while operating a school bus with children under 18 or in a school zone
Having two previous DUI convictions
Causing an accident that resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement
Causing a death
When your DUI case is charged as a felony, you spend more than a year in jail with a higher fine. Felonies are grouped into classes with different levels of incarceration and fines.
Class 4 DUI felony – 1-3 years with to $25,000 fine
Class 3 DUI felony – 2-5 years with up to $25,000 fine
Class 2 DUI felony – 3-7 years with up to $25,000 fine
Class 1 DUI felony – 4-15 years with up to $25,000 fine
Class X DUI felony – 6-30 years with up to $25,000 fine
Illinois DUI attorneys can help you understand the strength of the prosecutor’s evidence. A DUI/ DWI lawyer in Chicago has the legal background to guide you through the different courses of action available for your case. Your DUI attorney can examine your case’s different aspects and develop strategies to help you get a plea bargain.
Some of the defense strategies that a DUI lawyer can use for your case include:
Absence of probable cause for the traffic stop. The police cannot pull you over without reasonable suspicion of a crime.
Your Miranda Rights were not read to you or, if read, were not read in its entirety.
The tests to determine the blood alcohol concentration levels were inaccurate. Medical conditions or faulty equipment can lead to errors.
The field sobriety test taken by the police officer was inaccurate.
While these errors might not be enough to dismiss your drunk driving case, these defense strategies can make the court view your case in a better light.
In addition to the above, a DUI lawyer can help collect evidence for your defense. They can also represent you in court as they have a sound understanding of the court procedures.
Are you wondering if you need a lawyer if you were arrested while driving? At Hirsch Law Group, our experienced DUI attorneys can get the DUI charges dropped or penalties reduced based on the circumstances of your case. While there are no guarantees, we have the skills to maneuver a favorable outcome for you.
We understand different DUI cases and can handle your case, no matter the circumstances. We have offices in different parts of Illinois, from Cook County to DuPage County, and can provide criminal defense for you anywhere in Illinois.
Get A Free Initial Meeting from DUI lawyers you can trust today!