I was Charged with DUI for the First Time. Should I Fight It?
There are certain traffic violations that you are better off accepting, paying your fine, and moving on with your life. DUI is not one of them. If you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or another drug, you will face criminal and administrative penalties. It is always in your best interest to work with an experienced lawyer to fight a DUI charge.
Penalties for a First Time DUI Conviction in Illinois
In Illinois, a first time DUI offense is a Class A misdemeanor. An individual convicted of this offense faces the following:
- Up to one year in jail. Generally, first time offenders are not actually sentenced to jail time, but this is a possibility;
- A six-month driver’s license suspension;
- Fines that can be as high as $2,500; and
- An alcohol education course.
In addition to these penalties, an individual convicted of DUI may be required to pay administrative and court fees and surcharges. Under certain circumstances, an individual with a suspended driver’s license may qualify for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP).
Another penalty for a DUI conviction is its permanence. In Illinois, it is impossible to expunge a DUI arrest from one’s record unless no charge is filed, which happens when the court dismisses the case or it rules that the defendant is not guilty. Having a DUI conviction on one’s record increases the penalties he or she faces if he or she is charged with DUI a second time, which is another motivation for many individuals arrested for DUI to fight their charges.
It is Possible to Fight a DUI Charge
If you think you cannot fight a DUI charge, think again. You have certain civil rights during interactions with law enforcement, and if one or more of these rights were violated during your arrest or subsequent questioning, the case could potentially be dismissed. These rights include:
- The right to remain silent during interactions;
- The right to refuse a field sobriety test. Do not confuse this with a breath test, which is mandatory; and
- The right to refuse to consent to a search of your vehicle if the officer does not have a valid search warrant.
Other DUI defense strategies include demonstrating that the officer did not have probable cause to stop the driver and showing that the Breathalyzer test used to sample the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was not calibrated properly or that the officer did not have the training to use it.
Work with an Experienced Naperville DUI Defense Lawyer
Contact our team of experienced Naperville DUI defense lawyers at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today to schedule your initial legal consultation in our office. During your consultation, we will discuss your case and its relevant factors to determine an appropriate defense strategy for you. The right defense strategy can reduce your sentence or even result in the charge being dismissed.