Illinois law has very strict policies regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or some other impairing substances, and it’s important to fully understand these to deploy an adequate DUI defense.
A DUI could be issued when someone over the age of 21 is caught driving drunk with a blood-alcohol (BAC) level of 0.08 or above. Additionally, Illinois has added penalties for those whose blood-alcohol content is well above the legal limit. Specifically, if a blood-alcohol level is 0.16 or above, the driver will face additional consequences. This also applies to drunken drivers who are caught driving with a person under age 16 in the car at the time of arrest.
Even if not convicted, a driver can lose his or her license for one year if that person refuses to submit to a BAC test — or three years if you refuse the test a second time. And if you are convicted of DUI in Illinois, you may be sentenced to as much as one year in jail and a $2,500 fine for the first offense.
Illinois also allows for the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. However, a driver still may not operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis prescribed for medicinal purposes and may not transport medicinal cannabis in a vehicle unless it is contained in a tamper-proof container and is kept in an area that is inaccessible while the vehicle is in motion.
If a police officer stops a vehicle driven by a person with a registry card for medical cannabis and the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe the person is under the influence of cannabis, the driver must submit to field sobriety testing just like any alcohol test. Refusal to submit to testing or failure of the field sobriety tests will result in the suspension of the person’s driver’s license.
Understanding a DUI Arrest
Let’s start by understanding what a DUI arrest in Rockford and surrounding counties entails. You may assume you are facing one charge. However, there’s more to DUI defense than you may have considered, and an arrest for DUI actually starts three (3) cases in motion:
- First, you have a vehicle impoundment and in some circumstances, the arrest is a violation of your civil rights. It’s possible we can litigate the typically punitive amount that’s charged to retrieve your car from the tow yard.
- Second, if you are issued a Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension, you are either facing an immediate revocation OR a suspension that starts on the 46th day after receipt. That summary suspension is a civil issue where the criminal court effectively acts as the Illinois Secretary of State when we challenge the suspension. There are a number of legal arguments as well as statutory “outs” that we can make to fight your suspension. The primary or easiest path to winning a DUI based Summary Suspension case is filing a petition to rescind on all legal grounds available for your defense, and that filing itself, places a 30-day burden on the State to provide you with a timely hearing.If the police mess up filing their paperwork or if the Secretary of State doesn’t process that paperwork fast enough, you are free to continue driving after the court lifts the suspension. If the confirmation is processed in a timely manner, we still have the legal arguments available to try and convince a judge you should not be suspended. If these arguments fail, I provide the paperwork to obtain a BAIID (breath alcohol ignition interlock device) as well as the form to request the program from the Secretary of State. This device, if you are eligible, will allow you to drive on an MDDP (monitoring device driving permit) during the course of your suspension.
- The third part of your case is what you would traditionally think your case is comprised of. This requires the court appearances on the criminal side of the case (misdemeanor or felony). As a DUI defense and criminal attorney in Rockford, the Law Office of Paul M. Marriett has handled a large amount of these cases and will compare the facts of your case to seek all available defenses to your charge. If the traffic stop that led to your arrest was invalid, if you provided a breath sample at the jail but the logbook had errors or the machine had an error during the sample, or maybe the officer doesn’t administer field sobriety tests correctly, this can lead to inadmissible evidence. This makes it more difficult for the State to try and prove your guilt at trial. Each detainment has at least something at issue that may help your case. Despite how your arrest may have occurred no matter how bad it may have been, talk to an attorney now about your DUI defense.
An Attorney Will Greatly Assist Your DUI Defense
While some may think these cases are simple, they are anything but. There are constantly evolving regulations and driver protections as well. For instance, as of Jan. 1, 2017, a DUI guilty plea will not be accepted until all penalties have been explained, including the possible loss of driving privileges. The Secretary of State must notify the driver and the Illinois Department of Public Health will revoke a medical cannabis card for a driver convicted of a felony violation of the state.
And then there’s the issue of driver’s license reinstatement. Driving privileges may be reinstated at the end of the statutory summary suspension period, but all conditions must be met. An attorney can help keep a client on track to efficiently meet all of these requirements and restore a valid driver’s license.
By no means is this an exhaustive explanation of this topic, and there are always certain issues that individuals are facing in each case that are specific to only that situation, such as an out-of-state driver’s license being impacted from an Illinois DUI arrest or conviction, permits to drive for employment purposes, and a number of other issues that come up.
If you or a loved one is faced with a DUI charge it pays to at least discuss your case with an experienced DUI attorney, especially if you are handling it on your own (pro se). Call, email, or send a text message to discuss your case today. Payment plans are available for qualified individuals.