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IL defense lawyerIn Illinois, being arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol can lead to a range of criminal consequences and administrative penalties. Most first-time DUIs are punishable by fines up to $2,500, community service, a six-month driver’s license suspension, and mandatory alcohol education classes. Second and subsequent DUIs or DUIs involving aggravating circumstances are punished more harshly. Some DUI offenses can even lead to lengthy jail sentences. If you have been charged with drunk driving in Illinois, it is crucial that you work with a skilled DUI defense lawyer.

Possible Defenses Against DUI Charges

If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, you are facing serious penalties and a permanent criminal record. However, it is important to remember that being charged with DUI is not the same thing as being convicted of DUI. In Illinois, criminal charges including drunk driving charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many different defenses that may be used to weaken the prosecution’s case against you, including:

  • Lack of probable cause for the traffic stop – Police cannot simply pull someone over for no reason. To initiate a traffic stop, police must have “probable cause.” There must be sufficient evidence to suggest that the driver is committing some type of crime or traffic violation. Speeding, running a red light, drifting between lanes, and erratic driving may all constitute probable cause. However, if police cannot prove that they had a good reason to pull you over, any evidence gathered during the police stop may be inadmissible in your DUI proceedings.
  • Problems with field sobriety tests - Horizontal gaze nystagmus tests, walk and turn tests, and other field sobriety tests are often used by police to evaluate a driver for signs of intoxication. However, many factors cause causes these tests to be inaccurate. Injuries, medical conditions, and even nerves can cause a sober person to fail these tests.
  • Inaccurate BAC readings – Breath alcohol tests such as breathalyzer tests are designed to measure a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, if the test is not properly maintained, cleaned, and calibrated, it will yield an inaccurate result. Even things like using mouthwash prior to the test or belching can lead to inaccurate results.

Contact a Naperville DUI Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one were charged with driving under the influence, contact Aurora defense attorney Patricia Magaña for help building a robust defense against the charges. Call the Law Office of Patricia Magaña, LLC at 630-448-2001 for a free, confidential consultation.

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IL DUI lawyerIf you were arrested on drunk driving charges for the first time in Illinois, it is essential to get up to speed right away on what to expect through the proceedings. Initially, you should understand that state laws are quite expansive on when a person is considered to be driving under the influence: Illinois’ DUI statute covers situations when a driver is legally drunk, impaired by the consumption of drugs, or a combination of the two. In addition, now that marijuana is legal for recreational purposes, the law was recently updated to include motorists who test positive for THC within two hours of driving.

However, beyond these basic concepts, there is probably a lot you do not know about a first offense for drunk driving. You can trust the details to an experienced Naperville first DUI defense lawyer, but there are a few things you may not yet know about the situation you are facing.

Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Is Not the Only Factor

As Illinois law applies to drunk driving, as separate from the presence of controlled substances, there are actually multiple ways you can be charged with DUI:

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IL DUI lawyerThere are many reasons a person might have their driver’s license suspended or revoked in Illinois, such as for DUI, accumulating points on your driving record, or being cited for specific traffic offenses. Because losing your driving privileges is an administrative matter, your case will proceed according to a very specific process: A formal or informal administrative hearing before the Illinois Secretary of State. The two proceedings are distinct and apply in different situations, the nature of which depends upon the traffic violation, your driving record, and many other factors.

The details involved with either type of proceeding are extremely complex, yet they can have very profound implications for your driver’s license. Therefore, it is wise to trust a Secretary of State hearings lawyer to represent you and protect your interests. You can also read on for some basics in comparing formal and informal administrative hearings in Illinois.

Informal SOS Hearings in Illinois

As the term suggests, the rules governing this type of administrative hearing are quite relaxed. You do not need to make an appointment, so you can walk into your nearest Driver Services facility and request an informal hearing. This proceeding is only available for first-time DUI and minor traffic offenses that resulted in a suspended or revoked license. Depending upon your specific circumstances, the informal hearing may result in:

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IL defense lawyerEven if you do not have a legal background and have never been arrested for DUI, you know that the sanctions for drunk driving in Illinois are harsh. A Secretary of State publication outlines the penalties for a first-time DUI, which is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. Plus, besides being a crime, driving while intoxicated can lead to a driver’s license suspension and/or revocation. As with other offenses, subsequent offenses mean stiffer penalties and possibly even felony charges.

However, when reviewing the criminal punishment and administrative sanctions for drunk driving, you may not consider other effects that can be extensive. Once you realize the far-reaching implications, you understand how important it is to retain a skilled Naperville DUI defense attorney for assistance. A few of the collateral consequences include:

Employment and Employability: A driver’s license suspension could affect your occupation if it directly involves driving or you need to travel to complete job-related tasks, such as for a position in sales. In addition, there are additional implications for your employment:

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IL defense lawyerIn Illinois, commercial drivers are held to a higher standard than most motorists. Similarly, commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders are also subject to more severe penalties when charged with a traffic violation, or when accused of driving under the influence. These penalties are notoriously harsh, so if you were recently arrested for driving under the influence in Illinois, it is important to speak with an Aurora CDL violations defense lawyer about your legal options as soon as possible.

Suspension of CDL Privileges

DUI cases in Illinois can be broken down into two separate phases: the Statutory Summary Suspension of a person’s license and the criminal proceedings for driving under the influence. Either one of these stages of a DUI case can impact a person’s CDL driving privileges. For instance, the Secretary of State imposes a minimum one-year disqualification of all CDL driving privileges if a driver submits to and fails a BAC test, or refuses testing altogether. The same penalty can be imposed on those who are actually found guilty of, or who plead guilty to, a criminal DUI charge, regardless of whether the judge convicted the defendant or ordered court supervision.

This is because an order of court supervision, which prevents license consequences for those with regular driving privileges, still results in a one-year disqualification for CDL holders. In fact, if a person receives a second DUI that results in a Statutory Summary Suspension or a finding of guilt, he or she will be disqualified from holding a CDL for life.

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Law Office of Patricia Magaña, LLC

1555 Bond Street, Suite 103A, Naperville, IL 60563

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