Don't let a Lake County DUI charge become a conviction -- there are options available to you if you are facing a DUI charges in Illinois. We are committed to quality, personalized attention at the Law Office of Steven R. Hunter. Contact our criminal defense firm's office today to discuss your DUI case at (312) 466-9466.
A DUI charge can result in many challenges for you and your loved one. If you are convicted, the State can revoke your license, slap you with large fines, or even sentence you to jail. The penalties vary based on various factors, which include criminal history as well as the details of your case.
Don't wait to hire a lawyer in your Lake County DUI case. To avoid a license suspension, to avoid jail, to get supervision, to be found not guilty -- you need to move quickly. Unlike other types of criminal cases in Illinois, the state does not have to maintain every piece of evidence that may ultimately help you win your case. Our Lake County DUI attorney is well-versed in your rights and will move quickly to make sure that any evidence helpful to your side is preserved.
If you are facing DUI charges, you may feel overwhelmed. But rest assured that jail and a conviction is not inevitable. If the circumstances are right, you can increase your odds of winning and beat the DUI charges. We can help you understand your situation and avenues to remedy it. We have defended Illinois residents charged with DUI for 30 years, and we have a rock-solid understanding of the ins and outs of Illinois DUI law, as well as the nuances of the Lake County criminal court processes and personnel.
According to a survey conducted by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, the Lake County Police department ranked first in DUI arrests out of all county police offices in 2015, the most recent year data was collected. Topping the charts in Illinois, the Lake County Police department made 367 DUI arrests.
If you are facing DUI charges in Lake County, you are not alone. Total DUI arrests in 2015 in Lake County was 2,225, which includes all arrests made by municipal police departments. Lake County is third in the state for total DUI arrests, trailing only Cook and DuPage counties.
Given the high frequency of DUI arrests in Lake County, judges and prosecutors argue these cases frequently. The State's Attorney is accustomed to prosecuting these types of cases aggressively. For this reason, it is all the more important to come to court prepared to fight you case. As the Law Office of Steven R. Hunter, we know the ropes and can advocate on your behalf with a smart, strategic defense.
Illinois law defines the legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limit as .08. If you have been charged with DUI in Lake County, and the breathalyzer test used by police gave a result above .08, the prosecutor has a strong argument for conviction.
Drivers under the age of 21 face a different set of rules. Like other states across the country, Illinois has adopted a "zero-tolerance" policy for underage drinkers. A BAC of any level above zero can be justification for arrest and prosecution.
There are two types of DUI charges: misdemeanor DUI charges or felony DUI charges. The latter is also referred to as Aggravated DUI. A misdemeanor DUI can be elevated to a felony charge if, for example, the driver was driving with a suspended or revoked license. In addition, if the defendant has previously been convicted of DUI, the prosecutors can bring charges of Aggravated DUI.
When you hear the phrase "Driving Under the Influence," your mind probably jumps to drunk driving. However, alcohol is not the only substance drivers may be prosecuted for using while operating a vehicle.
Illinois law also criminalizes usage of drugs while driving. The State may charge you with DUI's lesser-known sister crime, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID), if you are caught operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs.
What does this mean? The law states that DUID charges are warranted if "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)).
In other words, if you consume illegal drugs and then drive, you can be charged with DUID. It doesn't matter how much or how little you consumed.
Additionally, if a driver operates a vehicle under the influence of any drug to such a degree that renders that person incapable of driving, he or she may be charged with DUID. In this case, even legal prescription drugs count. However, the State must prove that the defendant's ability to drive was, in fact, impaired due to the drug.
DUI convictions carry a range of sentences. They can include alcohol and drug counseling, fines, and in the most extreme cases, imprisonment. It all depends on the seriousness of the incident and whether it is the defendant's first, second, or even third time in court.
It would be reassuring to know just exactly what sentence your potential DUI conviction could carry, but sentencing always depends on the circumstances of the arrest. It also depends on the discretion of the judge. This ambiguity can actually work in the defendant's favor, because with an effective legal defense strategy, you and your criminal defense lawyer can argue for dismissal or at least downgrade of charges if there is legal basis.
Illinois Criminal Code lists several criteria that affect how a DUI charge is classified and whether it is considered a misdemeanor or a felony. These include whether the incident a first-time offense, the defendant's Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) at the time of arrest, or whether children were being transported in the vehicle. Additionally, a defendant who was caught driving under the influence on a suspended or revoked license will face more extreme penalties.
The most important step you can take to avoid the most serious penalties is to hire a knowledgeable, aggressive Lake County criminal defense attorney who has the experience under his belt to make compelling arguments to the court that result in acquittal or dropped charges.
Unlike other types of criminal charges in Illinois, DUI sentences often include rehabilitative prescriptions such as counseling or substance abuse treatment. Lake County recognizes that imprisonment isn't the most effective way to prevent future drunk driving. Instead, the goal is to tackle DUI at the root, which is usually alcoholism or substance abuse issues.
Anyone convicted of DUI in Illinois is required to undergo a Drug and Alcohol Evaluation, which seeks to determine whether a defendant has any issues of alcohol addiction or substance. Based on a defendant's performance, a recommendation for treatment will be made to the court.
There are four classifications describing the extent of a defendant's dependence on alcohol: Minimum Risk, Moderate Risk, Significant Risk, and High Risk. The classification that a defendant receives will determine the type and extent of mandated treatment. Ultimately, the judge decides whether or not to approve the evaluator's suggestion, but they usually accept the recommendation and use it to determine the sentence.
In Lake County, substance abuse treatment resulting from a DUI conviction is overseen and monitored by the Specialized DUI Unit of Adult Probation Services. The office makes treatment referrals and monitors offenders to ensure they complete the treatment required by the court. Individuals in DUI treatment programs are often subject to regular alcohol or drug testing. According to the 19th Circuit Court, the DUI unit regularly has the highest caseload out of all probation services in Lake County.
Avoiding a DUI conviction is critically important, regardless of the unique aspects of your case. 1st DUI? Second DUI? Third DUI? It doesn't matter. Our Lake County DUI lawyers can handle any DUI case.
Just because Lake County has a high rate of DUI prosecution and conviction doesn't mean you need to be the next person to become part of the statistics. The best way to avoid the potentially heavy consequences a DUI conviction could bring is hire the best Lake County DUI lawyer for your case, an experienced DUI attorney who has the skills and experience to craft a smart and aggressive defense.
We are well-versed in your rights as a criminal defendant, and we are committed to defending them in court. Our attorneys have a long history of defending people accused of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). From beginning to end of your case, we will make every effort to have the charges dropped, fines reduced, and penalties decreased. Call us today at (312) 466-9466 to schedule an in-office consultation.