DUI Defense Attorney Serving Chicago's West Suburbs
Drinking and driving are a lethal mix anywhere in the United States, and Illinois takes driving under the influence (DUI) seriously. If convicted, you can face some serious consequences, including jail time, fines, undergoing a drug/alcohol evaluation, along with a suspension of your driving privileges, and that’s just for a first-time offense. You will also have a criminal record and a stain on your driving record that can haunt you for the rest of your life.
Back in the 1950s, a DUI usually resulted from a visit to a bar where too much alcohol was consumed and the consumer was then impaired in his or her driving, though statistics show that two-thirds or more of all DUI drivers are male.
Nowadays, DUIs – or driving while impaired charges – can result from not only alcohol, but also from other drugs, including cannabis prescribed for medical purposes, intoxicating compounds, and methamphetamine.
If you have been pulled over and taken in on a DUI arrest in Chicago’s West Suburbs, contact me immediately at Mockaitis Law Group LLC. All evidence can be challenged, including breathalyzer and blood test results, and I will challenge everything as necessary to help you achieve the best result possible, perhaps a lesser charge or even a dropping of all charges.
I am a former Assistant State’s Attorney who knows how the judicial system operates from both sides of the aisle. I proudly serve clients throughout Chicago’s West Suburbs, including Kendall, Kane, DuPage, Grundy, and DeKalb counties. I will aggressively protect your rights and fight for your continued well-being.
DUI Charges in Illinois
In Illinois, driving under the influence – a DUI – is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Drivers can be considered to be driving under the influence if :
They have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher as shown through a breath, blood, saliva, or urine test.
They have a tetrahydrocannabinol content concentration (from cannabis) of 5 nanograms or more per millimeter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more per millimeter of another bodily substance.
They have used any other controlled substance.
They are impaired by medication, even prescription medications.
According to the Illinois Secretary of State, a male weighing 170 pounds will likely reach a BAC level of 0.08 percent by consuming four alcoholic beverages in one hour, although each person reacts differently. Also, the Secretary’s website warns that “an individual with a BAC below 0.08 may be convicted of DUI, regardless of how many drinks were consumed, if additional evidence shows the driver was impaired.”
Generally, it is assumed that drivers are pulled over for erratic behavior and then given a field sobriety test to weigh whether a DUI is warranted, but Illinois law requires only that the person have “physical control” of the vehicle, even if it is not being operated.
For instance, you may decide to pull over to the side of the road to sleep it off, but you can still be taken in and charged, especially if you’re sleeping in the driver’s seat and have the ignition keys in your possession. If you sleep it off in the back seat and put the keys in your trunk, you may be able to avoid the physical control statute.
Also, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, and even horses are considered to be vehicles for the purposes of DUI arrests.
Sobriety Tests and Your Rights
When it comes to a field sobriety test, which consists of a series of walking and physical challenges to determine whether you’re impaired, you can refuse to submit with no legal penalties, although it could lead to being taken in for a blood or breath test. Field sobriety tests consist of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one-leg-stand test, and the walk-and-turn test, often sarcastically referred to as Roadside Olympics.
However, when it comes to breath, chemical, urine, or other body sample tests, there is a penalty. The Secretary of State will automatically suspend your driver’s license for one year for a first-time offense, that is, when there’s no previous DUI conviction or test refusal. The suspension can be three years for a repeat offender.
Potential Penalties for a DUI
Penalties for a DUI in Illinois depend on a variety of factors, including the driver’s BAC level, whether there was a passenger under the age of 16, the driver’s age, and any previous DUI convictions. A first offense can result in jail time of up to 364 days, a fine of up to $2,500, and a driving privileges suspension of one year (two years if you’re under 21 years of age).
If your BAC level is 0.16 percent or higher, or if you’re carrying a passenger under 16, the penalties can increase and community service can be mandated as well. Most DUIs are misdemeanors, but an aggravated DUI charge can rise to the level of a felony.
For second and subsequent convictions, the driver will be placed on a restricted driving permit (RDP) status for five years, allowing that person to drive only to work, school, medical appointments, alcohol/drug treatment, and other limited circumstances.
They will also have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) and pay a fee of $30 for each month of the IID’s use. The IID requires the driver to take a breath test before starting the vehicle and then periodically while driving the vehicle.
The legal penalties for a DUI are serious enough, but on top of those, your auto insurance premium will no doubt skyrocket, if the insurer doesn’t cancel your policy altogether. Worse, you’ll have a criminal record that will make it hard to obtain employment, professional licensing, or even public assistance. These are all reasons you need to fight a DUI charge.
You may think that a blood, breath, or other test slams the door on your case and you may as well give up, but that’s not always true. A breathalyzer needs to be calibrated, and the person administering it must follow established procedures, so the test results can be challenged on those grounds. Even a blood or other test can be mishandled or misidentified, giving your defense attorney grounds to challenge the results.
DUI Defense Attorney Serving Chicago’s West Suburbs
If you’re facing a DUI charge in Chicago’s West Suburbs, reach out immediately to Mockaitis Law Group LLC. I will work with you on a strategy to reach the best possible result, whether that means bargaining for a lesser charge or even a dropping of the charge due to a violation of your rights or evidence that might not hold up. Remember, a guilty plea or conviction will stay with you for the rest of your life, so you need to act decisively to protect your future.