DUI Timeline: What to Expect When Arrested for Drinking and Driving

St. Charles DUI charges attorneyIn 2017, there were 330 people killed in alcohol-related car crashes in the state of Illinois. Those 330 people represented about 30 percent of all car crash fatalities in Illinois in 2017. It is not unusual for a simple DUI case to turn deadly, which is why Illinois police take drunk driving cases so seriously. In 2017, there were 27,046 DUI arrests recorded throughout the state by the Secretary of State’s office. Though DUI arrests are common, many people do not know what to expect when they are arrested for driving under the influence. Here is a breakdown the of the process that a DUI case goes through when you are arrested in Illinois: 

Before the Arrest

Before you can be arrested for a DUI, an officer must have had a reason to pull you over. This can be called reasonable suspicion or unusual operation. For them to pull you over, you would have had to been driving erratically or given the officer another reason to suspect you were under the influence.

Once the officer has pulled you over, you will probably be asked to submit to field sobriety tests, which will give the officer probable cause to arrest you if you fail them. 

After the Arrest

At the police station, you will be asked to submit to chemical testing in order to determine your blood-alcohol content (BAC). If your BAC is determined to be more than .08%, you will be formally charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. In order to be released from police custody, you will probably have to post bond.


This is the first time you will appear before a judge. During your arraignment, you will be read the exact charges you are being charged with, and you will be asked if you need an attorney (if you do not already have one). During your arraignment, you will also be asked how you plead. If you plead guilty, you will not have to return to court. If you plead not guilty, you will move on with the process.

Preliminary Hearing

During a preliminary hearing, the judge will determine if there is enough evidence against you to hold a trial for your charges. The state prosecutor will attempt to get the judge to send your case to trial. The job of your attorney is to get the judge to dismiss your case, in which case you will not go to trial.


During the trial, the jury and the judge will determine whether or not you were guilty of driving under the influence when you were arrested. Opening statements will come from both the prosecutor and your attorney, and the prosecutor will have the burden of proof of proving that you are in fact guilty. Witness testimonies and cross-examination of witnesses will help the jury make their decision. After closing arguments are given, the jury will deliberate and make their decision, which must be unanimous. 


If you plead guilty or are found to be guilty after your trial, you will then be sentenced according to state law. Illinois law states that first-time DUI offenders will face up to a year in prison, at least a one-year revocation of driving privileges, and up to $2,500 in fines. The exact sentence you receive will depend on the judge, the circumstances surrounding your arrest, and your DUI history.

An Illinois DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You Throughout the Process

Being arrested for a DUI can be a very scary situation. A skilled Naperville DUI defense lawyer can help ease your uncertainties and guide you through the entire process. At Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC, we can help you with everything from representing you in court to helping you get your driving privileges back once you are eligible. Contact our office today to see how we can help you keep your record clean. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at 630-232-1780.