Should you get an attorney for a DUI?

Should you get an attorney for a DUI?

Being charged with a DUI is a stressful event. This is especially true if you are based in Illinois, where DUI charges and the associated penalties are severe. It may leave you pondering an important question:

Should you get an attorney for a DUI?

Sometimes a DUI attorney is exactly what you need. Read on to learn more about the benefits of hiring a DUI lawyer in Illinois and the risks associated with proceeding without one.

About DUIs in Illinois

In Illinois, you can be charged with a DUI if you are operating a motor vehicle while impaired by:

  • Alcohol,
  • Intoxicating compounds and methamphetamines, or
  • Other medically prescribed drugs, including marijuana.

You are considered under the influence if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • You have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more
  • You have a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration (THC) of at least five nanograms per milliliter of whole blood
  • You have a THC of at least ten nanograms per milliliter of other substance
  • You have used any other controlled substance
  • You are impaired by medication.

The Average DUI Offender in Illinois

According to research and statistics, the average DUI offender in Illinois is:

  • Male (75 percent)
  • 34 years old or younger (52 percent are under 35 years of age)
  • Caught with a BAC of 0.17
  • Arrested on a weekend between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Benefits of Hiring a DUI Lawyer in Illinois

If you have been charged with a DUI, you may feel helpless to do anything about the charges. But a DUI isn’t a minor criminal offense. You should take it very seriously and do everything you can to reduce the potential exorbitant fees, license suspension, and other consequences.

A DUI Lawyer Understands the Illinois Legal System

A good DUI lawyer will know the local law and legal system and be ready to fight for your rights. They can analyze your case and play off its strengths while minimizing its weaknesses. They can lay out the top legal strategies for your case and walk you through each option step-by-step. This allows you to understand the pros and cons associated with your choices, so you are armed with the knowledge to make a wise decision guided by insightful legal counsel.

Your DUI Lawyer Is Trained in Negotiations

Negotiations can become a key role if you are convicted of a DUI in Illinois. You may take a plea bargain if you and your attorney decide that is the wisest course of action. You will want a strong negotiator who takes your case seriously on your side during the bargaining stage.

Your Lawyer May Get Your DUI Removed from Your Record

DUIs are serious offenses in Illinois. Numerous penalties may be imposed upon you if you are found guilty, from imprisonment to excessive fines. DUIs can impact your reputation, ability to drive yourself, and future job opportunities. DUIs also become a part of your permanent driving record. However, sometimes a good DUI attorney can help you get your DUI removed from your record. If you have the chance to remove a DUI, it is worth exploring your options.

A DUI Lawyer can Handle the Legal Paperwork

There is no need to take on the Illinois legal system alone. A skilled DUI lawyer will support you throughout the process. They can handle the legal paperwork and stay on top of various deadlines. An experienced DUI attorney will keep you abreast of the vital details of your case and ensure you are informed of all critical decisions and your legal options.

While you can handle your legal paperwork and other administrative tasks, many non-lawyers find the process overwhelming when faced on their own. Hiring the right lawyer can help you get the support you need. You can rest easy knowing that the paperwork is in good hands and everything is submitted promptly and professionally.

The Dangers of Not Hiring a DUI Attorney

The dangers of not hiring a DUI attorney include more risks than imprisonment and soaring fines. You could lose your vehicle and your job. Your reputation can be negatively impacted by the permanent addition of a DUI to your driving record. You may have to disclose the offense to future employers or worry about future background checks. You may even be disqualified from certain professions.

Penalties for DUIs in Illinois

Illinois takes DUIs seriously, especially if you have prior convictions. Here are the penalties associated with DUIs in Illinois:

DUI Conviction — Class A Misdemeanor

First Offense:

  • If BAC is 0.16 or higher: Minimum fine of $500, 100 hours minimum of community service, and other potential penalties
  • If transporting a child under 16: Minimum fine of $1,000, 25 days of community service, possible imprisonment of up to six months, and other potential penalties
  • If involved in a crash while transporting a child under 16 (Aggravated DUI; Class 4 felony): Minimum fine of $2,500, 25 days of community service, and other potential criminal or administrative penalties.

Subsequent offenses see stiffer penalties on the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth or subsequent convictions, with minimum mandatory fines reaching as high as $25,000 and potential imprisonment of up to 30 years.

Failing a Chemical Test

  • First offense: Six-month suspension of driving privileges
  • Subsequent offenses within five years: 12-month suspension of driving privileges

Refusing a Chemical Test

  • First offense: 12-month suspension of driving privileges
  • Subsequent offenses within five years: Three-year suspension of driving privileges

Refusing or Failing a Field Sobriety Test

  • 12-month suspension of driving privileges

Field Sobriety Test Discloses Impairment

  • Six-month suspension of driving privileges

Other Consequences of Illinois DUIs

Aside from lengthy imprisonment and fees, there are other negative consequences associated with a DUI conviction, including:

  • DUI convictions are part of your permanent driving record
  • You are required to carry high-risk automobile insurance for three years
  • Your vehicle registration may be suspended
  • Your vehicle may be seized or impounded

If you believe you have been wrongfully charged with a DUI, it is essential to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. A high-quality Illinois DUI lawyer may be able to help you fight the charges or reduce your penalties.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, you likely have questions that need answering. Below are commonly asked questions about DUIs in Illinois. However, if you need answers about the details of your case, it is best to schedule a consultation with a skilled Illinois DUI lawyer.

  • Do you need a lawyer for a DUI in Illinois?
    There is no legal requirement for you to hire a DUI lawyer in Illinois; however, it can be an intelligent decision. A DUI lawyer may be able to help you reduce the charges and the penalties. Sometimes they can help you remove a DUI from your record after you have been convicted.
  • Can you go to jail for a DUI in Illinois?
    Yes. Under certain conditions, there may be minimum imprisonment penalties associated with Illinois DUIs.
  • Do I need a lawyer for my first DUI?
    If this is your first DUI, it is crucial that you hire the right Illinois DUI lawyer. They may be able to help you keep the DUI off your record.
  • How do you get a DUI dismissed in Illinois?
    It is possible to dismiss an Illinois DUI charge, but the most effective way to do this is through legal motions and technicalities. An experienced DUI lawyer is your strongest course of action if you are seeking to get your DUI charge dismissed.

How an Experienced Illinois DUI Attorney Can Help

A strong Illinois DUI attorney can help analyze your case and explain your legal options. It may be possible for your charges to be reduced or even dismissed in some instances. Whether this is your first offense or a subsequent offense, it is crucial that you have a skilled advocate on your side as you move through the legal system. The right lawyer may be able to help you avoid expensive fines and lengthy imprisonment sentences that courts may otherwise place upon you.

At Wolfe & Stec, we understand the challenges of combating DUI charges and are prepared to fight passionately for your rights. We will carefully analyze the facts of your case and present you with the available legal options. We will ensure your questions are answered and you are heard throughout the process. Call us today at 630-305-0222 to schedule your consultation.

Attorney Marc Wolfe

Marc Wolfe has been representing clients in criminal matters in Chicago and the entire State of Illinois for over 30 years. Mr. Wolfe has tried over 300 cases to verdict and represents clients facing investigation or prosecution for a broad range of state and federal criminal offenses, including murder, embezzlement, sexual abuse, drugs, marijuana and white collar crimes. [ Attorney Bio ]