The holiday season is a happy time, filled with holiday parties, celebrations, and family gatherings, many of which involve alcohol and can go late into the night. Unfortunately, the holidays also lead to an increase in drinking and driving, and that means an increase in DUI arrests.
The law takes DUI violations seriously, but if you’ve been arrested on a drunk driving charge, a skilled attorney can help. Take the first step in protecting your rights by contacting the experienced DUI defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. We offer a free consultation to examine the issues in your case and determine what we can do to help.
DUI Laws in Illinois
Under Illinois law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol content is at or above 0.08 percent. For drivers under the age of 21, any amount of alcohol in the blood can lead to a DUI charge. 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, and a maximum punishment of one year in jail. A first-time offender faces a mandatory suspension of their driver’s license. Second- and third-time offenders may almost certainly face jail time 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. 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.
Driving under the influence does not only mean driving under the influence of alcohol. You can also be arrested for DUI if you are under the influence of any drug.
In Illinois in 2014, there were 924 fatalities from vehicle crashes, and 40% of these were alcohol related. End-of-the-year holidays produced the greatest percentage of alcohol-related fatalities, with Thanksgiving producing 4, or 26%; Christmas 3, or 42.9%; and New Year’s Day producing 5, or 50%. In contrast, on the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays, only 16.7% and 18.8% of fatalities were alcohol-related. (see https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/traffic_safety/DUI/stats.html)
In the U.S. overall, 10,076 lives were lost in alcohol-involved crashes in 2013. In 2014, there were 11,731 fatalities — 1 fatality every 53 minutes.
What Law Enforcement is Doing
Illinois law enforcement is increasing efforts to reduce traffic accidents during the holiday season. In 2015, for example, holiday roadblocks and checkpoints led to numerous traffic tickets and DUI charges being filed against drivers. Roadblocks serve as a deterrent to drinking and driving, since people know they may be stopped and checked. At these roadblocks, officers may ask basic questions and check the driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.
At a stop, an officer may administer field sobriety tests, where you are asked to touch your hand to your nose, stand on one leg stand, and walk along a straight line and turn. Officers may ask you to use a breathalyzer to determine whether you are too impaired to safely operate a car.
Under Illinois law, the refusal to submit to a breath test will automatically result in a driver’s license suspension for one year, or three years if it is not the driver’s first offense. However, if a driver fails a breathalyzer test, that is generally clear evidence of intoxication. The police officer may also request a blood or urine test.
Some local roadblocks were noted this year in Aurora, at N Lake St and Sullivan Rd, and in the Naperville city limits.
Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.
While the holidays are a particularly difficult time for getting a DUI, driving offenses happen all throughout the year. If you are charged with a DUI, it is essential to retain the services of an experienced defense attorney. The seasoned Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. have extensive experience and know that there are aspects of DUI charges that may lead to a dismissal or result in a lesser offense or penalty. We offer a free consultation to examine the issues in your case and determine what we can do to help.
We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense. We examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and work hand in hand with our clients to develop an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.
Don’t delay — contact us for help today at 630-305-0222. Our Illinois criminal defense lawyers represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, Illinois, and the greater Chicagoland area.