What to Look for When Hiring a Chicago DUI Lawyer

Over the last 30 years, Illinois DUI law has become increasingly complex and fraught with numerous pitfalls for the inexperienced attorney. Therefore, if you are arrested for DUI, choosing an experienced DUI Defense attorney is extremely important. Choose the wrong Chicago drunk driving lawyers to represent you in such an important matter with such far-reaching consequences to your freedom, ability to drive, and financial well-being and you could pay the price for years to come.

Your Cook cheap DUI lawyer chicago should be experienced not only in the field of DUI defense but also in the area of driver’s license law. That is why you should consider contacting The Davis Law Group, P.C. These practice areas are our legal team’s primary focus. Our Chicago DUI lawyers are not general practitioners and only accept cases within our fields of concentration. We believe that this strategy best serves the interests of our clients.

Illinois has some of the most stringent DUI laws in the country. A DUI arrest can result in:

  • Severe criminal penalties, including incarceration
  • Loss of driving privileges
  • Job security concerns
  • Financial hardship due to fines, court costs, alcohol/drug counseling, ignition interlock device installation and monitoring, permit fees, reinstatement fees, and increased insurance premiums. 

Below are 2021 statistics for DUI arrests in Illinois:

  • The Secretary of State’s office recorded 21,735 DUI arrests.
  • In 91% of DUI cases, eligible drivers lost their licenses.
  • Zero Tolerance violations resulted in the loss of driving privileges for 207 underage (under 21) drivers.
  • Female drivers, who account for 50% of all licensed drivers, accounted for 26% of those arrested for DUI.
  • The highest DUI arrest rate was among males ages 25-34 (about 7 per 1,000 licensed drivers).
  • First-time DUI offenders made up 86% of all arrests.

First DUI Conviction

A first DUI conviction is a Class A misdemeanor that revokes your driving privileges for a minimum of one year (minimum two years if you are under 21) and results in vehicle registration suspension. Second DUI Conviction

A second DUI conviction is a Class A misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service. Other penalties include vehicle registration suspension and revocation of driving privileges for five years if the second conviction results in an arrest within 20 years of the first one.Third DUI Conviction

A third DUI may be prosecuted as an aggravated DUI in Illinois. If convicted of this Class 2 felony, you can be sentenced to a period of incarceration ranging from 3-7 years and a fine of up to $10,000.00. A third conviction will result in a revocation for at least 10 years, among other criminal and administrative sanctions.

With each conviction, the penalties become progressively more severe. A sixth or subsequent DUI may be prosecuted as a Class X felony which carries a sentence of incarceration of 6-30 years, which is the most serious felony offense in Illinois. 

If convicted of 4 or more DUIs, your license will be revoked for life. Aggravating Factors

With all DUIs, you face enhanced penalties if circumstances like the following apply to your case:

  • Your BAC was .16 or more
  • You were driving without a valid license or permit and/or vehicle liability insurance
  • You were transporting a child under 16 at the time of your arrest
  • You were transporting a child under 16 and involved in a crash that injured the child
  • You were driving a school bus carrying young people 
  • You were driving a vehicle for hire carrying one or more passengers
  • You caused an accident resulting in bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement
  • You were previously convicted of reckless homicide while DUI or aggravated DUI involving a death
  • Your DUI occurred in a school zone and involved an accident resulting in any personal injury
  • Your DUI was the cause of death

DUI Offenses

Although DUI is commonly associated with driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, it actually covers a variety of offenses, including marijuana DUI, other drug-based DUIs, snowmobile DUIs and boating DUI.

Although recreational cannabis became legal in Illinois in January 2020, you can be charged with marijuana DUI under one or both of the following circumstances:

  • You drive while under the influence of marijuana alone or in combination with other drugs and don’t appear to be capable of operating your motor vehicle safely.
  • You drive with a THC concentration of five or more nanograms per milliliter of blood or 10 or more nanograms in your urine or saliva within two hours of either driving or being in control of a motor vehicle.
  • Cannabis-based DUI penalties are essentially the same as those for alcohol-based DUIs.

Boating DUI

It is illegal to operate a watercraft while under the influence of intoxicating substances. In this instance, watercraft refers to motorized craft like fishing boats, motorboats, pontoons, and jet skis. If your BAC is .08 or higher (lower if you’re under 21 or hold a commercial driver’s license) or you have five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood (or 10 nanograms in other bodily substances), you can be charged with boating DUI.

Other situations where a boating DUI charge may apply include:

  • A controlled substance, such as methamphetamine, is present in your blood or body fluids
  • You took a prescription or over-the-counter medications that impaired your ability to operate your boat safely.

BUI convictions may also result in a suspension of your watercraft operating privileges by the Department of Natural Resources, in addition to possible imprisonment, fines, and court costs.

FAQSWill I Lose My License if I’m Arrested for DUI?

As a first offender, if you refuse to take a breath or other chemical test (blood or urine) when stopped by a police officer for DUI, your license will be suspended for 12 months. When you submit to a breath test after being stopped for DUI and register a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, your license will be suspended for six months. Additionally, if you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, the Secretary of State will revoke your driver’s license

If you lose your license after a DUI arrest, there may be a way to regain driving privileges. You may be eligible for a driving permit (MDDP) and/or your DUI attorney may be able to challenge the suspension during a hearing, commonly referred to as a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension. Getting your license back after it has been revoked, however, requires a hearing with the Secretary of State. A Chicago DUI lawyer with experience in license reinstatement can help you prepare a compelling case for the return of your driving privileges and represent you during any necessary hearings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *