Often, most people don't know what to do after you get a DUI, especially if it's their first charge. In Illinois, almost every drunk driving charge has two separate cases: your criminal charges, which include the DUI charges and other traffic tickets you have received, and your driver's license suspension or revocation. For the DUI criminal charges, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty and a DUI conviction won't appear on your criminal record until the end of your DUI case if you're found guilty or plea guilty.
The license suspension is different. In Illinois, a DUI offender is subject to automatic suspension 46 days after their drunk driving arrest. You're entitled to a hearing to fight the license suspension, and there's a time limit to do that. Not only that, the criminal defense attorneys at Dohman Law Group can file the petition to fight your suspension right away because this starts the clock running, which could be in your favor. Waiting to file this petition increases the odds of your driver's license being suspended. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us our criminal defense law firm today at (847) 616-9993, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.
Being arrested for and charged with a DUI offense can hurt your life. A DUI offender may have their driver's license suspended, if not completely revoked. They may face high court costs, hefty fines, and other criminal penalties. Further, they may even face jail time, and you may lose your job or, at the very least, your employability could be affected. Also, a DUI charge can cause your auto insurance rates to increase. Thus, don’t take a DUI charge lightly. Taking the right steps immediately after a driving under the influence arrest can protect your rights and ensure a favorable outcome during the trial.
This is a legal requirement in most states and refusal to take chemical tests is punishable under the law. A chemical test shows your current blood alcohol concentration. From this blood alcohol level, the arresting police officer can know the level of alcohol in your blood at the time of your arrest. If you have refused to take field sobriety tests, you have little to fear from this test and much to lose by refusing the chemical test.
Don’t use a general attorney for DUI court cases. DUI laws are complicated, and a thorough understanding of the legal system is very crucial. Although other attorneys may represent you in court, only a specialized DUI lawyer can help you gain a favorable outcome on your DUI case.
Based on how you plan to plead, different things will be required of you. If you plan to plead guilty, you just need to look your best and bring along any documentation request from you. However, if you plan to plead not guilty, you’ll need to do more prep work, and a skilled DUI criminal defense lawyer can help you. An experienced attorney can help you record recollections of what happened during your drunk driving arrest, and they can gather testimonies from people who were with you.
Even though your driver’s license is currently suspended, you must start learning about SR-22 car insurance now. Download an SR-22 form and contact your insurance company to learn what you should expect for your new insurance rates. It’s essential to note that after a DUI conviction, your insurance premiums are likely to increase significantly, and will remain high for some time.
There are many things you should do following a DUI charge, and also you must follow through with any substance abuse or alcohol classes, probationary periods, and other conditions given to you at the DUI hearing. If you feel you need professional legal guidance, contact a knowledgeable DUI attorney for help.
While most states consider a first DUI offense as a misdemeanor offense, don’t underestimate the severe consequences of your first drunk driving arrest or conviction. When you’re charged with a first DUI offense, you must understand the mandatory jail sentence and possible punishments and long-term consequences of a DUI charge.
Most first-time DUI offenders think they will get probation because it’s their first DUI offense. However, most first-time DUI offenders don’t get placed on some type of probation, the court orders them to serve time in county jail as a condition of their probation. Even for minor misdemeanor offenses, a first-time offender may serve jail time, depending on the laws in your state. Besides mandatory jail sentences, you may lose your driving privileges for a while, even for a first drunk driving offense.
Depending on your criminal history, you may be eligible for a restricted driving permit or a hardship license so that you can still drive to work, medical appointments, and school. Conditions of probation for driving under the influence of alcohol and drug convictions include hefty fines, court costs, probation fees, and urinalysis fees. Also, you may be required to attend and complete hours of community service and drug and alcohol counseling.
In Illinois, a first drunk driving conviction is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor charge, which carries a maximum jail sentence of 364 days in jail, and six months in jail if the DUI offender was transporting a child under the age of 16 years in their vehicle.
Even a first-time DUI conviction can affect your employability and auto insurance policy. Since a DUI conviction is part of your public driving record, most employers will run background checks and will know about your conviction. Some employers don’t employ people with DUI’s on their criminal records because they view them as a safety risk. Further, a DUI conviction may increase your insurance premiums because insurance companies view you as a threat to public safety.
If you were in a motor vehicle accident because of your DUI, and your DUI offense is elevated to a felony offense, your insurance provider won’t cover the costs of your car accident. Most insurance policies exclude damages that result from the commission of a felony, including drunk driving offenses.
Typically, a first DUI offense is a misdemeanor DUI offense, and most criminal courts hand out a standard sentence. However, if you were driving while intoxicated and there’s strong evidence to back that up, including elevated blood alcohol content, witnesses stating you were driving recklessly, failed sobriety tests, etc.-- most defendants choose to plead guilty. That’s because, in these circumstances, a DUI attorney won’t do much for you.
However, if there are specifics about your DUI case that may increase your criminal penalties, including an extremely high blood alcohol concentration, or aspects that may reduce your penalties, such as procedural issues during your DUI arrest, it’s essential to hire a DUI lawyer.
If you’re sure about your legal options, an experienced attorney can help you recognize these facts and come up with a solid plan of action, including representing you in court if necessary.
If there are reasonable doubts about your DUI case, you may want to plea bargain. A plea bargain allows you to plead guilty in exchange for lesser charges from the prosecutor. Typically, local DUI lawyers know how the prosecutor works and what defenses are likely to win a reduced plea.
In Illinois, the prosecutor can reduce DUI charges to wet reckless. A wet reckless is a reckless driving charge where alcohol was a factor. This charge results in a lesser sentence than a DUI charge.
You can win a plea bargain on your own, especially if the facts in your case are in your favor. However, if your case is complicated, a DUI attorney may have a better chance of success. If your DUI case is more than a misdemeanor DUI offense, having a DUI lawyer by your side is essential. The following situations can turn a first-time DUI into a felony:
The factors mentioned above are very serious and can lead to a year or more time in prison, among other severe criminal penalties. A DUI criminal defense lawyer will have a better chance of reducing your plea or sentence than you will on your own. Self-representation in a plea or sentence bargaining is daunting but not impossible.
However, if your DUI case is likely to go to trial, it’s in your best to hire a lawyer. That’s because trial procedures are more complex than plea bargaining procedures, and you’re expected to follow the procedures correctly. Judges won’t give you any breaks for not knowing the procedures.
If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, contact our experienced Chicago DUI defense attorneys for a free case review. Call our defense law firm today at (847) 616-9993 or complete the contact form on this page to discuss your DUI case with our skilled Chicago DUI defense firm.