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 and opportunities for housing and employment. Once a DUI is on your record, it is almost impossible to get it removed, no matter how much time has passed.
At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd, our DUI attorneys know how the system works and can look for weakness and errors in the prosecutor’s case to help combat these charges and have them lowered or dismissed. DUI circumstances vary greatly, depending on factors such as your blood alcohol level and the number of previous offenses, so we provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your individual situation and determine the best way to proceed with your case. We will handle all the legal aspects of your case and aggressively fight for your rights and your freedom.
Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call Wolfe & Stec at 630-305-0222 today so we can determine the best way to help.
There are some situations where you will have to face major consequences even if you have a DUI attorney. That’s why you need an attorney who understands DUI laws and has deep experience with DUI cases.
All states, including, Illinois, have laws known as “per se” that make it mandatory for intoxicated drivers to be judged on DUI charges. These laws say that if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit of 0.08 by breath test or blood test, you can be found guilty of DUI and lose your license, be fined, and have your insurance go up. In addition, there are administrative license suspension laws that allow confiscation and suspension of your driver’s license immediately if you fail a field sobriety test, record a BAC level over the legal limit, or refuse to take a breath test — and this is independent from criminal court proceedings. In many Illinois counties, drivers who refuse to take breath tests are subject to having their blood drawn if they won’t submit to a breath screen.
Our DUI lawyer at Wolfe & Stec can make a major difference in many DUI situations, especially where there are “aggravating circumstances” — factors such as repeat offenses, property damages, injuries, or endangerment of a child. Our defense attorney can help get you off if you weren’t drinking but somehow failed the field sobriety test or the breath test.
In all situations, our DUI/DWI attorney 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 that you complete any alcohol education or treatment programs required to regain your driving privileges.
We know the courts, the prosecutors and the system, and can thoroughly prepare you for court appearances. We know when and how to plea bargain, and what type of offer to accept based on the facts of your DUI. We know what to look for in terms of finding police and prosecutor errors and problems with handling of evidence that can get your case thrown out of court.
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 ased 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 than a nondrinking driver to be killed in a single-vehicle crash.
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.
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 the Illinois State Police information on influenced driving for additional penalties.
Anyone driving on a public highway in Illinois is considered to have given consent to providing a blood, urine, or breath sample when a police officer has probable cause to believe they are intoxicated. The purpose of DUI tests is to determine whether you are intoxicated and over the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). Since tests must be given as soon as possible, many are given right in the field. Others may be given if you are taken into police custody.
You have the right to refuse to take a roadside sobriety or preliminary breath test, but if you refuse to give a blood, urine, or breath sample once you’re in police custody, you will face an automatic administrative license suspension.
Preliminary breath testing devices take a sample of your breath and read your BAC. Results over .08 allow police officers reasonable cause to place you under DUI arrest and to make you take a more accurate chemical test at a medical facility. However, the results cannot be used to prove that your BAC was actually over the legal limit, so there are times it may be in your best interests to refuse a preliminary breath test.
There are three field sobriety tests that police officers may use to gauge whether a person is intoxicated:
These tests are not 100 percent accurate, so if they are not administered or interpreted properly in the correct, standardized way, your DUI defense attorney can have the results of these tests excluded from the prosecutor’s case. Also, there may be additional reasons these results can be excluded, such as if you failed them due to slippery road conditions, your age, weight, or an illness, or disorientation from flashing police lights.
After being taken into custody for a DUI, you will be faced with taking a blood and/or urine test administered by licensed medical professionals at a medical facility. Your sample must be collected, labeled, sealed, and authenticated in the presence of a law enforcement officer. Before the sample is analyzed, the sealed sample box with the arresting officer’s initials must be photographed.
If you decline these tests, your license will be automatically suspended; and if the DUI involved an accident resulting in injury, you will not be able to refuse, and the sample may be taken forcefully if necessary.
There are blood tests given on an emergency basis after an accident involving an injury. These often show a higher BAC, and this factor must be considered in the determination of whether 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.
We understand that you may feel a lot of fear and uncertainty if you are facing DUI charges. Our Woodridge DUI attorneys can help. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we can help get you there. For a free initial consultation, call us at 630-305-0222.
When hit with a DUI charge, it’s natural to have questions and concerns. While these are best addressed at your free consultation, to get you started, here are some answers to questions our attorneys are often asked:
Illinois has a law (625 ILCS 5/11-501) for implied consent for drivers. This means that if you are driving and stopped by an officer who has probable cause to believe you are impaired, you are considered to have agreed to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample. You will be deemed under the influence if:
There is zero tolerance for alcohol for drivers under the age of 21, so you can be charged with a DUI with any amount in the blood, with some exceptions.
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.
A DUI becomes an aggravated DUI if you:
An aggravated DUI with multiple deaths is a class X felony, and brings penalties that may include prison for 6-30 years and fines of up to $25,000. The penalties get higher for multiple DUI convictions.
Our Wolfe & Stec DUI lawyers know how important your DUI defense is to you, and we are available to answer your questions as they arise. We will be there for you throughout the entire legal process, fighting for the best possible outcome of your case.
In addition to legal consequences such as a suspended or revoked driver’s license, fees, and criminal penalties including jail time, probation and fines, a DUI conviction can affect many areas of your life. These include:
Before you start to think that being arrested for DUI is no big deal, consider how just one arrest could impact your future for years to come.
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.
After the police broke into our client’s house, we successfully suppressed the evidence and the case was subsequently dismissed.
We have tried many aggravated battery and domestic batter cases. Our most recent success was our client was charged with attacking and stabbing the victim in their home. After conducting extensive discovery, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing all the factors contained in the case, we were able to get the cause dismissed.
We handle numerous first and repeat DUIs and have excellent success in acquittals or reductions of charges with minimum impact for our clients. As members of the NACDL, we have numerous expert witnesses available to rebut the vast resources of the prosecution and receive favorable rulings.