Why Hire a DUI Attorney?

  • If you have been arrested for a DUI in Illinois, the legal and criminal consequences can be severe. If you are convicted, you will have a criminal record that is almost impossible to remove and which could affect your future, your relationships and your opportunities for housing, education, and employment. In addition, sentencing guidelines for DUI convictions have grown progressively harsher over the last few decades. A DuPage County DUI Attorney can help you overcome your charges.

    With so much to lose, people facing DUI charges should not attempt to go it alone. It makes sense to hire an experienced impaired driving attorney who will provide guidance, walk you through the legal and court processes and do everything possible to help you avoid conviction. It is especially important to hire an attorney if you have tested with a high blood alcohol count (BAC), if you have had prior DUI convictions, if you have been involved in an accident with severe personal injuries and/or property damage, if it is your first time being charged or if you are truly innocent.

     

    What are Illinois DUI laws?

    In Illinois, DUIs can be either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances.

     

    Misdemeanor DUI

    If this is your first offense, the DUI typically is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor, with punishment of up to one year in the county jail and a maximum fine of up to $2,500 plus court costs. There are also mandatory minimum sentences for certain misdemeanor DUI offenses, including:

    1. DUI with a BAC (blood alcohol count) of .16 or more:
    • First DUI offense: Minimum 100 hours of community service and $500 fine
    • Second DUI offense: Minimum 2 days in jail and $1,250 fine
    • Third or subsequent offense is charged  as a felony.
    1. DUI involving transport of a child less than age 16:
    • First DUI offense: Possible 6 months in jail, mandatory minimum $1,000 fine and 25 days of community service in a program benefitting children.
    • Second or subsequent DUI offense is charged as a felony.

     

    Felony DUI

    DUI offenses become felonies for multiple convictions and under certain circumstances, such as driving without a valid license or being involved in an accident that resulted in death. Depending on the felony class, punishments range from 1-3 years and up to a $25,000 fine for a Class 4 Felony DUI to 6-30 years and up to a $25,000 fine for a Class X Felony DUI. A Class 2 Felony (for a 4th DU), a Class 1 Felony (for a 5th DUI) and a Class X Felony (for a 6th or subsequent DUI) are non-probationable offenses.

    Under Illinois law, there are also minimum penalties if you are convicted of:

    • DUI when involved in a motor vehicle accident where there was great bodily harm or disfigurement to another -- up to 12 years of imprisonment.
    • DUI when involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in death -- up to 28 years of imprisonment.

     

    How an Attorney Can Help

    There are some situations, such as if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit of 0.08 by breath test or blood test, where you will have to face major consequences even if you have an attorney; but in many instances an attorney can make a major difference. This is especially true where there are “aggravating circumstances” -- factors such as repeat offenses, property damages, injuries, or endangerment of a child, where punishments are severe.

    An experienced DUI attorney can often help get you off if you weren’t drinking but somehow failed the field sobriety test or the breath test. For example, attorneys are aware that blood tests given on an emergency basis after an accident involving an injury often show a higher BAC, and this factor must be considered in determining if you were impaired.  If it isn’t, or if your attorney can show an irregularity in the chain of custody or of the sample box, the test may not be used as evidence.

    In all situations, having a DUI attorney at your side can help by making sure you are prepared to go to court, complete requirements prior to your court appearance, file proper forms with the department of motor vehicles, and complete any alcohol education or treatment programs required to regain your driving privileges.