Tag Archives: DUI defense

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. 

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Naperville DUI defense lawyer, DUI charge, plea bargain, DUI defense, reckless drivingSometimes, individuals facing criminal charges are offered plea bargains— opportunities to plead guilty to a less severe charge than the one they are actually facing. A plea bargain can benefit the defendant as well as the court and criminal justice system: while the defendant avoids the severe penalties associated with his or her charge, the court saves time and money by not having to go through the process of completing a criminal trial. Plea bargains can also prevent overcrowding in jails and prisons.

In Illinois, it is possible to “plead down” a DUI charge to a reckless driving charge. When an individual accepts an offer to plead guilty to reckless driving, he or she avoids having a DUI charge on his or her record and many of the penalties that accompany it, like a mandatory driver’s license revocation.

Who Gets Offered Plea Deals?

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DUI charge, Naperville DUI defense lawyers, DUI defense, wet reckless charge, plea bargainWhen an individual is facing one or more criminal charges, it is often possible for him or her to have one of the charges dismissed or the single charge reduced in exchange for a plea of “guilty” or “no contest” to a less severe charge. This is known as a plea bargain. In Illinois, it is possible to have a DUI charge reduced through a plea bargain. This reduced charge is known as a “wet reckless” and is a type of reckless driving charge. Moreover, the defendant faces the penalties associated with a reckless driving conviction instead of those associated with a DUI. These penalties are less severe than the penalties for a DUI conviction.

Along with avoiding the consequences for a DUI, the defendant also avoids having a DUI conviction on his or her record, which can provide an advantage later if he or she is charged with a subsequent DUI. It is also important to note that, in most cases, a DUI cannot be expunged in Illinois.

What to Consider if you are Offered a Plea for your DUI Charge

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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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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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