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arlington heights dui lawyerHave you found yourself facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI)? Drunk driving is taken very seriously in Illinois and a conviction for DUI can result in life-changing penalties. Secondary and subsequent DUI convictions are penalized even more harshly than first-time DUIs. Aggravating factors, such as having a child in the vehicle can also increase the penalties associated with a drunk driving conviction. 

What is a DUI? 

With a DUI, the person being charged was found to be driving while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both. You might have also come across the terms DWI and OWI. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated or impaired, whereas OWI refers to operating while intoxicated. 

Now, some state governments differentiate between a DUI, a DWI, and an OWI. As such, in those parts of the country, there is a difference between a DUI charge vs a DWI charge or an OWI charge. 

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arlington heights dui defense lawyerGetting pulled over is hardly ever a pleasant experience. Most people experience some level of anxiety when getting stopped by the police even if they do not think they were doing anything wrong. If you have had a few drinks, being pulled over can be even more frightening. In this case, you run the risk of being arrested and being charged with a DUI, whether you feel drink or not. If this has happened to you, it is important that you speak with a well-qualified defense attorney as soon as possible. You may have defenses available that a lawyer can help spot. 

What Should I Expect if I Get Pulled Over After a Few Drinks? 

If the officer who pulled you over suspects that you have been drinking, he is likely to try a few tests that could later help him prove you were under the influence. Refusing these tests in Illinois will result in a license suspension and you could still get a DUI even if you do not cooperate with testing. If you get stopped by police after drinking, a sobriety assessment might include: 

  • Straight line - You may be asked to walk a straight line, placing one foot in front of the other. Stumbling or swaying could be interpreted as a sign of intoxication.

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Posted on in DUI

arlington heights dui defense lawyerBreath tests like breathalyzers are used by law enforcement to estimate a driver’s blood alcohol content. Refusing to submit to field sobriety or chemical testing when you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) carries administrative consequences, including a one-year license suspension. Some people would be willing to lose their license for a year if it means getting out of a DUI. Unfortunately, however, you can still be charged with - and convicted of - DUI without ever going through any formal testing. Other forms of evidence can still be used to prove that you were intoxicated. If you have been accused of a DUI, you will need a strong legal defense even if you never submitted to testing. 

If I Refuse Testing, What Evidence Can Be Used Against Me?

There are many ways for the police - and later the prosecution - to prove that a person was intoxicated. Formal tests are helpful but not necessary for a DUI charge. You can probably tell when a person you are talking to or even observing is inebriated without asking them to close their eyes and touch their nose or drawing their blood. Police officers are trained to look for other signs of drug or alcohol intoxication during the stop that can later be used to prove impairment, including: 

  • Slurred speech - Even if you said nothing during the stop except to identify yourself and request a lawyer, an officer could later testify that your speech was slurred. 

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arlington heights dui defense lawyerYou complied with a breathalyzer test after being pulled over, and it showed that you were over .08. Now you are facing DUI charges and it feels as if you have no hope of avoiding a conviction. This situation may feel insurmountable, but it is not. Even if you failed a breathalyzer, there are still ways an experienced attorney can defend you. Successfully challenging the results of a breath test is not only possible, it is one of the most common DUI defense strategies. Like other medical testing equipment, breathalyzers are sensitive devices that must be used correctly to produce accurate results. If you are facing a potential DUI conviction, securing strong legal representation should be your top priority. 

How Can Breathalyzer Results be Challenged? 

Breathalyzer results are not infallible, although prosecutors sometimes act as if they are. These devices must be maintained, used, and calibrated correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions to produce accurate and reliable results. If the police department you were arrested by failed to do so, there is a strong possibility that your breath test results will be inadmissible. Common defects in breath test maintenance and procedures include: 

  • User error - Not all police officers are appropriately trained to administer breathalyzer tests. There are procedures that must be followed to avoid an inaccurate result, such as a mandatory observation period where the arrestee must be monitored to make sure they do not put anything in their mouth that could affect the test. The results could be invalid if any part of the tests device’s instructions for use were not followed. 

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Posted on in DUI

waukegan defense lawyerMake no mistake - even a first DUI is serious business in Illinois. But a second, third, or subsequent DUI is even more so. On a first DUI, some defendants are able to take a plea deal and complete a period of court supervision to avoid a finding of guilt and harsh criminal penalties. This is no longer an option after the first DUI - this time, you would be facing a conviction, a criminal record, and potentially harsh penalties. If you have been charged with a DUI, and it is not the first time, it is critical that you be represented by a strong legal advocate. When your freedom, driving privileges, and future prospects are at stake, this is no time to take chances. 

What are the Penalties for a Second DUI? 

A second DUI is still a misdemeanor, but the penalties are harsher. You could face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. But those are just the basics. Your license will be revoked for at least a year, possibly three years if your first DUI was within the last five years, and you will have to appear at a hearing before the Secretary of State’s office before you will be eligible for even a hardship permit. 

On a second DUI, the court is likely to impose additional requirements. You could be ordered to perform time-consuming community service or attend substance abuse treatment if the court feels that you need it. If you caused an accident or hurt someone, there will be additional penalties. While the court may be understanding of a first and only DUI, it will not be so understanding of a second. 

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