DUI Defense Attorneys Bloomington Residents Trust
Thousands of people are arrested each year in Illinois for driving under the influence of alcohol. It’s one of the most common criminal offenses committed, and it can happen to anyone. Depending on a person’s weight, gender, and alcohol tolerance, even a few drinks can put someone over the legal limit of .08. Because Illinois has some of the toughest penalties for DUI, a DUI charge should not be taken lightly. The statute prohibiting driving under the influence is one of the more complicated and technical areas of criminal law, which is why it’s important to have a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney that will fight for you.
In order to be pulled over while driving, all the officer needs is a reasonable suspicion that the driver has committed a traffic violation. The officer will then approach the vehicle and may notice signs of impairment, many times including the smell of alcohol, red or glassy eyes, and/or slurred speech. It’s at this point that the officer will typically ask the driver to step out of the vehicle to perform standardized field sobriety tests. These field sobriety tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN), the Walk and Turn Test, and the One Leg Stand Test. Based on the driver’s performance on these tests, the officer will observe a certain number of “clues,” meaning alleged mistakes that the driver made during the tests.
Many times the officer will also ask the driver if they are willing to take a Portable Breath Test (PBT). Although the PBT cannot be used against you in criminal court and will not result in the suspension of your license, the officer can use the result as part of the probable cause that they need to make the DUI arrest.
Based on the initial signs of impairment, the driver’s performance on the standardized field sobriety tests, the PBT result (if there is one), and any other relevant factor, the officer will conclude that he/she has probable cause that the driver has committed the offense of DUI and will place him/her under arrest.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HIRING AN ATTORNEY
By hiring a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to help with your DUI charge, the attorney will be able to view the DVDs and the police reports from the night of your arrest, and could find possible inconsistencies between them. The officer’s credibility could also be called into question if his/her testimony on the stand is different than what he/she put in his police report or is inconsistent with his/her actions on the DVD.
After the arrest for DUI is made, the officer typically takes the driver to the police station and places him/her into a DUI processing room. It’s at this time that the officer reads to the driver the Warning to Motorist. After a twenty minute observation period, the officer will ask the driver if they are willing to take a Breathalyzer. This Breathalyzer differs from the PBT discussed above because this Breathalyzer can be used against the driver in court and will also determine the suspension of his/her license.
FIRST TIME OFFENDERS
Although still strict, the law fortunately tends to be more lenient towards first time DUI offenders. If you are a first time offender and you blow over a .08, your license will be suspended for 6 months. If you refuse to blow, your license will be suspended for one year. This suspension starts on the 46th day after receipt of your Notice of Summary Suspension.
Also as a first time offender you are eligible for a MDDP and BAIID. If requested, the Secretary of State will issue you an MDDP. You can then take this MDDP to a place where you can have the BAIID installed into your vehicle. The BAIID is a machine in your vehicle that will require you to blow into it to start the vehicle, and again throughout your trip to ensure that you are not driving under the influence of alcohol. With the BAIID, you can drive at anywhere, anytime throughout the period of your suspension.
First time DUI offenders are eligible for court supervision. If successfully completed, a sentence of court supervision will result in a non-conviction.
Despite this leniency, it is still important for people charged with DUI to know that it’s still a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by 364 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, completion of an alcohol program, possible community service work (if you blow a .16 or more, the law requires a minimum of 100 hours of community service work), and other potential collateral consequences depending on the circumstances of each unique case.
You are eligible for court supervision only once in your lifetime. Thus, if this is your second or subsequent DUI, you are not eligible for court supervision.
If this is your second DUI and you blow over a .08, your license will be suspended for one year. If you refuse to blow, your license will be suspended for three years.
If you receive a conviction for DUI, the Secretary of State will revoke your license for one year (or two years if you are under 21). If you receive a second conviction for DUI, your license will be revoked for five years. If your license is revoked because of a DUI conviction, you will need to attend a hearing at the Secretary of State’s office to try to get your license back. The Prior Law Firm can also help you with reinstatement of your Illinois driver’s license (hyperlink).
THE PRIOR LAW FIRM CAN HELP YOU
Regardless of whether this is your first or subsequent DUI charge, it’s important to have a skilled and experienced attorney fighting for you. Contact The Prior Law Firm for a free DUI consultation, where we can explain the ways in which we can fight for you.
In Illinois, (a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this state while:
(1) the alcohol concentration in the person’s blood, other bodily substance, or breath is 0.08 or more based on the definition of blood and breath units in Section 11-501.2;
(2) under the influence of alcohol;
(3) under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of driving safely;
(4) under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving;
(5) under the combined influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving; or
(6) there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person’s breath, blood, other bodily substance, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of a controlled substance listed in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, (720 ILCS 570), an intoxicating compound listed in the Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act (720 ILCS 690), or methamphetamine as listed in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act (720 ILCS 646); or
(7) the person has, within 2 hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle, a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration in the person’s whole blood or other bodily substance as defined in paragraph 6 of subsection (a) of Section 11-501.2 of this Code. Subject to all other requirements and provisions under this Section, this paragraph (7) does not apply to the lawful consunption of cannabis by a qualifing patient licensed under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act who is in possession of a valid registry card issued under that Act, unless that person is impaired by the use of cannabis.
(b) The fact that any person charged with violating this Section is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this Section.
Sentence: Except as otherwise provided, any person convicted of violating subsection (a) (DUI law) of this Section is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.