If you have been accused of driving while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Illinois, it’s a serious offense. As a first-time offender, you may face the suspension of your license, fines and even a jail sentence. If this is not your first DUI/DWI arrest, you may be charged with felony DUI. There are other costs as well — your insurance premiums will rise, your family will face embarrassment, and it may affect your career.
This is not something you can fight on your own. You need the help of an effective DUI defense attorney who is a strong advocate in the courtroom to fight for your rights against zealous prosecutors and get you the best outcome possible.
The seasoned and experienced Woodridge DUI law firm of Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., offers a free consultation to examine your situation. Take the first step in protecting your rights by contacting us at 630-305-0222 so we can show you how we can help.
We ready each case for trial, whether you have been accused of:
The state defines “Driving Under the Influence” as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, other drugs including cannabis (marijuana) prescribed for medical purposes, or intoxicating compounds and methamphetamine.
In Illinois, you are considered to be under the influence if you have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more, or if you have used any illegal substance or are impaired by medication. Your BAC is based on the ratio of alcohol to blood or breath, but you may also be convicted of DUI with a BAC between .05 and .08 if additional evidence shows you were impaired. At a BAC of .08, a driver is 11 times more likely to be killed in a single-vehicle crash than a nondrinking driver.
For drivers under the age of 21, there is zero tolerance for alcohol — any amount in the blood can lead to a DUI. For drivers of commercial vehicles, such as buses, taxis or trucks, the limit is 0.04 percent.
The law takes offenses seriously because driving under the influence kills and maims. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2014 Illinois DUI Facts, 281 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, and there were 32,822 DUI arrests recorded by the Secretary of State’s office.
Although cannabis for medicinal purposes is allowed in Illinois for those certified by a licensed physician and registered with the Illinois Department of Public Health, even a medical cannabis ID card holder has to comply with DUI law. You may not operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis or transport medicinal cannabis in a vehicle unless it is contained in a tamper-evident container and inaccessible while the vehicle is in motion. If you are stopped by a police officer who has reasonable suspicion to believe you are impaired, you must submit to field sobriety testing and may lose driving privileges as well as revocation of the medical cannabis card.
An officer may stop a vehicle at a roadside safety check or for probable cause, reasonable suspicion or unusual operation. If the officer suspects the driver is under the influence, the driver is asked to submit to field sobriety tests. If the tests show the officer has probable cause, the driver is arrested for DUI and is taken to the police station and asked to submit to chemical testing of breath, urine or blood.
If the driver refuses to submit to or fails to complete testing, or if the test results show a BAC of .08 or more, or any trace of a drug, illegal substance or intoxicating compound, the driver will receive a statutory summary suspension which automatically suspends driving privileges. If someone is charged with DUI for marijuana, the THC now must be quantified. It can be no more than .05 dl if urine tested and .10 dl if tested by blood draw.
In Illinois, a DUI is a class A misdemeanor, and penalties for being convicted include the possibility of court supervision, a suspended license, fines of up to $2,500, and a maximum punishment of one year in jail. A first-time offender faces a mandatory suspension of their driver’s license. Illinois also requires first-time DUI offenders to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) with a camera unit installed on their vehicles.
Repeat offenders may almost certainly face jail time and fines and will also have driving privileges limited if not revoked. A DUI may become a felony punishable by more than a year in jail if you have past traffic convictions or if you were driving without a valid driver’s license. A Class 4 felony conviction may result in imprisonment of 1-3 years and fines of up to $25,000. If there have been injuries or deaths, the prison time increases – for an aggravated DUI with multiple deaths that is a class X felony, you could be imprisoned for 6-30 years and receive fines of up to $25,000. (see http://www.isp.state.il.us/traffic/drnkdriving.cfm for additional penalties.)
In addition, a DUI conviction results in a criminal record that stays with you and can make it more difficult to obtain jobs or housing.
If you are charged with a DUI, it is essential to retain the services of an experienced defense attorney. The seasoned Illinois DUI attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. know the courts and the system and that there are aspects of DUI charges that may lead to a dismissal or result in a lesser offense or penalty.
We are aggressive litigators, and will work with you to fully understand the facts surrounding your case. We will thoroughly investigate your case and be your strong advocate in the courtroom. Often, we are able to effectively defend our clients accused of DUI or DWI based on the individual circumstances of the case–for instance, there was a bad stop or a medical condition that affected the driver’s ability to metabolize alcohol, such as GIRD or diabetes.
If you have been arrested for violating drunk driving laws in the Chicago metro area, Cook County, DuPage County, or Will County, contact the DUI defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. in Woodridge, Illinois. We represent clients in such cities as Aurora, Naperville, Downers Grove, Wheaton and Bolingbrook.
Don’t delay — call 630-305-0222 today to schedule your free initial consultation.