Category Archives: DUI

It may be counter-intuitive to understand a charge of driving under the influence for a driver who is not actually caught driving or operating a car by the arresting police officer. Nevertheless, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI in Illinois in certain circumstances, whether or not the police officers see you actually driving the car. In fact, the keys to the car do not have to be in the ignition, and the driver could be "sleeping it off" and still be convicted of a DUI.

Under Illinois law, a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle while his or her blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or more, or he or she is under the influence of intoxicating drugs. It is the phrase “actual physical control,” that often gives the police the basis to arrest you for a DUI, even when you are not actually driving a car.

What Constitutes Actual Physical Control?

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record, clear my record, criminal record, dui, expungement, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Illinois Criminal Identification Act, DUI in IllinoisWhen someone makes a big mistake, such as driving while intoxicated, he can find himself wishing he had a second chance, especially if he is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). There are some crimes for which that second chance is available through expunging or sealing a criminal record. Unfortunately, there is no such second chance for someone found guilty of, or who pled guilty to, DUI.

The consequences of having a DUI permanently on your record can be harsh. In addition to the criminal penalties, which may include losing your license or jail time, a DUI can have social consequences. It can affect your chances of getting a job or an apartment, or getting into college. You may also have to pay more for car insurance for several years after the DUI.

Expunging the Record

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car search, drug sniffing dogs, DUI charge, DUI checkpoints, field sobriety test, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Illinois DUI attorney, sobriety checkpointsPolice officers in Illinois have the authority to set up sobriety checkpoints to catch drunk drivers. Sobriety checkpoints are meant to allow police to provide safety to the public by conducting a brief investigation of stopped drivers. The police need to stop cars in a neutral manner and not target specific drivers. They can use a predetermined method of selecting cars to stop, or they can stop every car.

In addition, the police officers have to give some advanced warning of the checkpoint, usually by posting a sign before the checkpoint, and the police may only stop a driver for a reasonable time.

Sobriety Checkpoints Common on Holidays

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DUI charges, DUI defense, lawyer, attorney, DUI penaltiesWe are all aware that drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in all 50 United States, but not everybody is familiar with the specific consequences they will face if they have had a couple drinks before getting behind the wheel and spot those red and blue lights in the rearview mirror.

According to Illinois State Police, your first DUI conviction may result in a minimum of a one-year loss of full driving privileges, possible imprisonment for up to one year, and a maximum fine of $2,500. A first-offense DUI for a driver over 21 years of age is legally considered a Class A misdemeanor, unless bodily harm has occurred, in which case the offense may possibly become a felony. A second DUI conviction-for a driver over the age of 21-will result in much more serious consequences than the first conviction. If you are convicted a second time, you may face the following consequences:

  • Minimum five-year loss of full driving privileges;
  • Five days imprisonment or 240 hours of community service;
  • Possible imprisonment for up to one year;
  • Maximum fine of $2,500.

As you may imagine, consequences get progressively more severe as the number of convictions increases over time. Consequences can also be more severe in the event that a child under the age of 16 is present in the vehicle at the time of arrest, which can result in the addition of six months in jail and a $1,000 increase in fines (for first convictions).

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 DUI accident In early February three children and five adults “were injured in a two-car crash in the South Side’s Fuller Park community,” according to the Chicago Tribune. There was at least one car and one minivan involved in the crash, and 29-year-old Robin Sewell is being held in connection with the crash. She “was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor, driving without a license, driving without insurance, and disregarding a traffic control signal,” reports the Tribune. One of the children injured is seven years old; ages of other younger children have not yet been released. Sewell allegedly drove through a red light and crashed into a four-door sedan. Six ambulances were called to the scene to attend to the injured. Sewell was the only person in the van; “the other seven people injured were in the car,” according to the Tribune. In addition to the children, “a woman was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in serious-to-critical condition, along with two men to the same hospital I the same condition,” reports the Tribune. Two other adults were listed in fair-to-serious condition. A University of Michigan report that analyzed traffic deaths by vehicle type found that “minivans and import luxury cars have the safest records.” While the average car is “safer than the average SUV,” the sedan that Sewell slammed into did not stand a chance against her minivan. The data could be skewed, however, perhaps “due in part to the fact that minivans tend to be driven with special care, often being used for transporting a family’s children,” a qualifier definitely not the case in the accident caused by Sewell. If you have been charged with a DUI accident such as this in the Chicago area, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Contact Donahue, Sowa, & Magna Attorneys at Law today.

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