Our seasoned and experienced DuPage County DUI attorney at 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.
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.
We ready each case for trial, whether you have been accused of:
Being convicted of a DUI not only has legal and criminal consequences, but it could affect your future, relationships 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. Therefore, anyone facing DUI charges can benefit from an experienced impaired driving attorney who will provide guidance, walk you through the process and do everything possible to help you avoid conviction. This is especially important if you have had prior convictions or are experiencing your first time being charged, and even more so if you are truly innocent.
There are some situations where you will have to face major consequences even if you have a DuPage County DUI Lawyer. 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.
However, a DuPage County DUI attorney 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. A 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, a 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 making sure you complete any alcohol education or treatment programs required to regain your driving privileges.
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.
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.
Types of tests include:
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 interest 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
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.
When you face stiff penalties that can forever change your life, it is important to have a DuPage County DUI lawyer who you can trust. The experience of Wolfe & Stec will steer you through the process and give you the legal representation you need.
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.
A conviction for a DUI brings many administrative nuisances that may include:
If you are charged with a DUI, it is essential to retain the services of an experienced defense attorney. The seasoned 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 DuPage County area or the Chicago metro area, a DuPage DUI lawyer at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. Is your best bet.
Don’t delay — call 630-305-0222 today to schedule your free initial consultation with a DuPage County DUI Attorney.