DUI LawyersThursday, November 24, 2011 14:17
A first offense DUI is generally a misdemeanor punishable by jail or a fine. The Illinois DUI statute criminalizes all driving, of nearly any type of vehicle, while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any intoxicating compound. The Illinois DUI statute also criminalizes “actual physical control” of a vehicle while under the influence. Therefore the law does not require that a person actually drive the vehicle or have the engine running. A DUI conviction is a serious offense that will almost certainly affect a person’s liberty, driving privileges, employment, or automobile insurance adversely.
A person charged with a DUI may receive more than one DUI traffic ticket. This is because the statute currently criminalizes many different types of DUI. In most DUI traffic stops, more than one statutory subsection will apply. For example, a person may smell like alcohol and fail the field sobriety tests and that person may take the breathalyzer test and blow higher than the legal limit. Therefore the police will issue a DUI citation for driving with a breath alcohol concentration higher than the legal limit and the police will issue a DUI citation for driving while under the influence of alcohol.
DUI punishments vary depending on a number of factors. Typical first offender penalties generally include a period of court supervision, alcohol or substance abuse counseling and treatment, attendance at a victim impact panel, as well as statutory fines and court costs. A mandatory evaluation with an assessment agency sanctioned by the Circuit Court of venue generally determines the amount of treatment and counseling. However, the sentencing court always has the authority to increase these penalties within the statutory limits. Important to know, however, is that a conviction for a DUI will result in the Secretary of State revoking the offender’s driver’s license. A revocation, unlike a suspension, does not have a set termination date. Illinois law also has created a number of aggravating factors that trigger mandatory penalties such as mandatory jail, community service, fines, ignition interlock device installation, and revocations. These factors include, but are not limited to, the age of the offender, the age of the passenger, the concentration of alcohol in a person’s breath, whether the offender had insurance or whether the offender had a valid driver’s license.
A person charged with a DUI faces not only the criminal case, but will generally face an administrative driver’s license suspension. This administrative action can lead to unusual results in which a person defeats the DUI charge but still receives a driver’s license suspension. This suspension is known as the statutory summary suspension. This driver’s license suspension is separate from the criminal case and is the result of an administrative action by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. A person who agrees to take the breathalyzer test and fails will receive a suspension. A person who refuses to take the breathalyzer test will receive a longer suspension. Furthermore, the Secretary of State will not lift the suspension until the time expires and the person pays a reinstatement fee. Under some limited circumstances an attorney may be able to file a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension. An attorney must file the petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension within a specific time period or the offender will lose the right to challenge the suspension. If the court grants the petition, the Secretary of State will either not suspend the offender’s driver’s license or will lift the suspension. If the court denies the petition to rescind the statutory suspension, an attorney may still be able to obtain limited driving privileges for the client, sometimes referred to as an ignition interlock device or BAIID.
A DUI is a very serious offense. The many types of DUI charges and the circumstances surrounding each case are as diverse as the range of applicable penalties, revocations, and suspensions. Therefore, each case may present an opportunity for our experienced defense attorneys to attack the basis for the traffic stop, or to attack the results of a Breathalyzer test, or to suppress the results of the field sobriety exercises.
In Illinois , there are many different ways that a driver can be charged with a DUI (also known as drunk driving), including alcohol only, drugs only and a combination of alcohol and drugs. At the time this article was written, Section 625 ILCS 5/11 501 describes these alternatives as follows:
Driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds or any combination thereof.
(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while:
(1) the alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath is 0.08 or more based on the definition of blood and breath units in Section 11 501.2;
(2) under the influence of alcohol;
(3) under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of driving safely;
(4) under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving;
(5) under the combined influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving; or
(6) there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person’s breath, blood, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis listed in the Cannabis Control Act, a controlled substance listed in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, an intoxicating compound listed in the Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act, or methamphetamine as listed in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act. (b) The fact that any person charged with violating this Section is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this Section.
If, it is best to contact a Chicago Criminal Lawyer associated with a reputable and experienced law firm. Their skilled DUI attorneys will carefully evaluate the case and explain the legal options available at no charge.
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