What is a Misdemeanor DUI in Illinois?
Criminal legislation takes DUI arrests seriously, and the state will always prosecute them aggressively. That is because drivers under the influence often cause accidents leading to severe or, in the worst cases, fatal injuries. A first or, in most cases, second-time DUI arrest is a class-one misdemeanor. If the court finds you guilty, you face many penalties, including jail time, drug and alcohol classes, an ignition interlock device, and steep fines.
Although the law does not require you to get an attorney after an arrest for a misdemeanor DUI in Illinois, it is always in your best interests. Many believe that there is no way to beat the charges and avoid penalties after driving under the influence. However, they are simply unaware of all the many potential defenses. For this reason, you need a qualified legal professional in your corner. An experienced Wolfe & Stec attorney would advocate on your behalf and fight aggressively for the best potential outcome.
Reach Out to an Experienced Misdemeanor DUI Attorney for the Best Potential Outcome
The criminal court process is complex, and a guilty conviction will negatively affect your life and future. You face driver’s license suspension and the costly automatic impounding of your vehicle following a DUI arrest in most cases.
If an officer arrests you under suspicion of driving under the influence, you must act quickly to protect your rights. It is never a wise decision to take on the criminal court system on your own. A skilled attorney understands the process and can help you navigate the DUI criminal court process.
Misdemeanor and Felony DUI Conviction Differences
When an officer arrests a driver and charges them with a DUI, the potential consequences vary significantly, depending on which type of DUI charges they face. A misdemeanor DUI has fewer severe repercussions than a felony conviction, and the penalties aren’t as harsh.
However, that does not mean a misdemeanor DUI will not have many adverse effects and consequences. You must take any arrest for driving under the influence seriously and begin preparing a powerful defense immediately.
Illinois Misdemeanor DUI Arrest Statute
In Illinois, it is unlawful to drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of any motorized vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of any substances. Physical control of a car can mean many things, including sleeping in the driver’s seat of your vehicle with the keys in the ignition.
According to 625 ILCS 5/ Illinois Vehicle Code, depending on the circumstances of an arrest, the driver faces either a misdemeanor or felony conviction on their permanent criminal record. However, misdemeanor DUIs are the most common type of conviction. If an officer stops a driver and completes a breathalyzer showing that the motorist is under the influence, they will arrest and charge the driver with a DUI.
The maximum allowable blood alcohol content, or BAC, for a driver over 21 years old is 0.08. Further, if the officer determines the driver is under the influence of an intoxicating compound, such as illegal or prescription drugs, they can place them under arrest.
Misdemeanor DUI Penalties
A first-time misdemeanor DUI conviction can lead to license revocation for one year, up to one year behind bars, and a maximum of $2,500 in fines plus court costs. There is no court-enforced minimum jail sentence after a first arrest. Unless aggravating factors are present, a second DUI arrest in Illinois is also a misdemeanor offense.
If a second conviction occurs within 20 years of the first DUI, the court will suspend the individual’s driver’s license for a minimum of five years. There is also a minimum jail sentence of five days or 240 hours of community service.
Zero-Tolerance Law for Underage Drivers in Misdemeanor DUI Cases
There is a zero-tolerance law in this state for underage drivers, meaning even a trace of alcohol can cause a misdemeanor DUI charge. An arrest will cause immediate severe consequences for young drivers after a DUI arrest.
If a driver under the legal drinking age receives a misdemeanor DUI in IL, they will automatically lose their driver’s license for a minimum of two years. A motorist under 18 with a DUI conviction will also have to complete a driver’s education course and retake the driving test to reinstate their license after the suspension period ends.
Potential Defenses Against Misdemeanor DUI Arrests
All drivers who fail breathalyzer testing must face DUI charges in this state. However, it is essential to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. Facing charges doesn’t mean there is no way to challenge the arrest. Some potential defenses for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs include:
- The lack of probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle
- Improper field sobriety tests, including breathalyzer inaccuracies
- Violation of constitutional rights at a DUI sobriety checkpoint
- Challenging the officer’s observation and testimony regarding the arrest.
There is no way to know a for sure that a defense against a DUI arrest will cause the court to drop the charges. Yet, there are many options to consider. A qualified misdemeanor Wolfe & Stec DUI lawyer would thoroughly investigate and review the arrest to collect the essential evidence needed to build a solid case in your defense.
Schedule a Consultation with a Skilled Misdemeanor DUI Attorney
Hard-working and aggressive Wolfe & Stec lawyers understand the challenging time you are going through after an arrest for a misdemeanor DUI. One of our skilled attorneys could make all the difference. Please know that you don’t have to face this difficult time alone.
We will help you review all of your potential options and fight for you inside and outside the courtroom. If you need legal assistance, call 630-305-0222 today to schedule a consultation. The sooner you begin strategizing your defense, the better chance you have at a favorable outcome.