From loss of license to jail time, a DUI charge in DuPage County can have a more serious outcome than you might expect. If you are facing a DUI or DUID case, there are many options available to you. For a free legal consultation, contact our criminal defense firm's office to discuss your DuPage County DUI case at (312) 466-9466.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is the crime of operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs to a level that renders the driver incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely.
A DUI charge originates with an arrest, usually after police observe a car engaging in erratic behavior, such as swerving or committing other traffic violations. First the police will observe a driver's behavior -- their demeanor, smell, or physical appearance -- to determine if alcohol intoxication could be a factor. If the officer suspects this, he will ask the driver to submit to a field sobriety test or ultimately a breathalyzer test.
If the driver's blood alcohol level (BAC) rises above the legal limit, the authorities can bring charges of DUI. From there, a defendant is usually released on bond and notified of a court date. The driver's license will also be suspended for a period of time, depending on the severity of the offense.
When it comes time to appear in court, the driver will go before a judge. The prosecutors and defense attorney will put forth evidence and file pre-trial motions. With the advice of an attorney, the driver will either plead Guilty or Not Guilty. If a defendant pleads Not Guilty, the case will go to trial, where both sides will have the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence. Finally, a judge or jury will make a finding of either Guilty or Not Guilty.
Throughout this process, a defendant relies on the advice of their defense lawyer. At our offices, we have defended clients in DUI cases for more than 30 years. If you are looking for an experienced DuPage County criminal defense lawyer, we will be happy to represent you.
The same Illinois DUI laws apply in every county in Illinois. But they are especially enforced in DuPage County compared to other counties.
DuPage County has the highest number of DUI arrests in the entire state besides Cook County. In 2015 alone, Illinois State police arrested 2,935 people for DUI in the county, and an additional 47 under the zero-tolerance law.
According to the Illinois Secretary of State, the average DUI offender is:
Whether you fit the profile of the average DUI offender does not matter. But what does matter is access to a knowledgeable DuPage County criminal defense attorney who has the understanding of the law necessary to fight your case.
If you find yourself facing DUI charges in DuPage County, seek help from an experienced DuPage County DUI attorney. A DUI conviction can have serious, long-lasting consequences, and it's simply not worth it to try to fight your case without the expertise of a lawyer.
In DuPage County, Illinois state law is the law of the land. In 1997, Illinois lowered the legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content from .10 to .08, and that value remains the threshold today for being charged with Driving Under the Influence.
However, the .08 value does not apply to drivers under the age of 21. For those drivers, Illinois has a zero-tolerance law, which is exactly what it sounds like: if any alcohol is detected above a level of 0.00, the State can arrest the driver for DUI. This law attempts to deter underage drinking as well as stop any underage drinkers from getting behind the wheel.
If a driver is pulled over by police, but does not take a breathalyzer test, he can still be arrested. If the police believe there is evidence that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the authorities can still make an arrest. If the driver refuses the test, he will face license suspension. But refusing the test does not guarantee that the driver will not eventually be convicted of DUI as well. In fact, the prosecution can use it as damning evidence that a driver would not agree to take a breathalyzer test, implying that he knew he was intoxicated and guilty of DUI.
Alcohol isn't the only substance one can be arrested for driving under the influence of. Illinois criminal statute also outlaws Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID).
If someone is caught operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, other drugs, or a combination of substances, they can be prosecuted for DUID.
The statute states that if there was "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, an intoxicating compound listed in the Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act, or methamphetamine as listed in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act" (625 ILCS 5/11(a)(6)), then a DUID charge may be in order.
If a driver operated a vehicle under the influence of any drugs to such a degree that rendered that person incapable of driving, he or she may be charged with DUID. In this case, even legal prescription drugs count.
Enforcement of this law was made more complicated in 2014 when Illinois legalized medical marijuana. Illinois permits the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes for individuals who secure a written prescription from a licensed physician and register with the Illinois Department of Public Health. However, even if you have a medical license for marijuana, it is still illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired by the drug.
If you are convicted of DUI, revocation of your driver's license is likely. In 2015, 91% of all drivers arrested for DUI in Illinois lost their driving privileges.
A first DUI conviction is usually charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in revocation of driving privileges for one year and possible suspension of vehicle registration.
For repeat offenders, the punishment is more severe. In addition to the components listed above, a DuPage County second DUI conviction can result in mandatory community service or minimum imprisonment of five days.
Any DUI offense committed after two convictions is considered Aggravated DUI. This charge simply means that a defendant has been charged with a felony, not a misdemeanor. Aggravated DUI is a Class 2 felony at the least but can qualify as a Class X felony.
In all of these cases, the court will consider additional factors that could push a misdemeanor charge across the line into a felony. These circumstances include the defendant's BAC at the time of arrest, whether he or she was already driving with a revoked or suspended license, or if children were in the vehicle. Whether or not these situations apply to your case will affect the length or severity of sentence, if the charge becomes a conviction.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, the rate of alcohol impairment among driver involved in fatal crashes is four times higher at night than it is during the day.
DuPage County law enforcement takes this fact into consideration and uses various enforcement tactics to apprehend drivers under the influence, especially on weekend nights. Law enforcement is particularly vigilant on holiday weekends, such as Labor Day and New Years, and they often make use of DUI checkpoints which cast a wide net in hopes of snaring culpable drivers.
Cities in DuPage County take DUI seriously. According to a survey performed yearly by Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, Naperville came in second in the state for yearly drunk driving arrests in the years 2011-2014. In 2013 alone, Naperville police logged 553 DUI arrests. Other DuPage County cities, including Carol Stream with 392, Elmhurst with 300, and Aurora at 256, were also listed in the top ten. In the past, Naperville police Chief Bob Marshall has called drunk driving enforcement "a very high priority," and the statistics go to show it.
Fortunately, counties across the state recognize that harsh punishment isn't as effective at preventing future DUIs as substance abuse treatment or alcohol counseling. If you have been arrested for DUI in DuPage County, some of the following resources can inform you about various case outcomes that focus more on rehabilitation and prevention.
In 2015, 31% of DUI defendants in Illinois were convicted. Don't let your case become a part of that statistic. We have a long history of fighting DUI cases using a various of defense strategies geared to optimize the outcome for our client. Call us today at (312) 466-9466 to schedule an in-office consultation.