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Posted on in DUI

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 are convicted of driving under the influence in Illinois, a number of factors will determine the sentence you serve. One of the biggest factors the court will consider is your criminal history and whether you have previous DUIs on your record. If you do have previous DUI convictions on your records, the court may consider how long it has been between convictions.

Many states place a lookback period on DUI cases and that timeframe is typically five to ten years. If a conviction occurred before the lookback period, the courts cannot consider it. After being charged with a DUI, you may wonder if Illinois has a lookback period if you have prior convictions. Unfortunately, Illinois does not have such a law on the books.

Prior DUI Convictions Matter in Illinois

Due to the fact that Illinois does not have a lookback period for DUIs, any prior conviction of a DUI can be considered when a judge is determining a sentence for a subsequent offense. DUI convictions, like all traffic violation convictions, are also permanent, which means the prosecution can seek a harsher penalty for you even if your last DUI was over ten years ago.

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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 defense lawyerDrivers whose licenses have been suspended due to multiple DUI convictions are required to attend a formal Secretary of State hearing before their license can be reinstated. Preparation is key to the outcome of these types of hearings, as petitioners will be required to comply with a host of complicated legal rules, so if your license was recently suspended after being arrested for a DUI, it is important to speak with an experienced Naperville driver’s license suspension lawyer who is well-versed in these rules and procedures and can give your claim the best possible chance of success.

Formal Secretary of State Hearings

The Secretary of State’s office conducts two types of hearings for those seeking reinstatement of their driving privileges after revocation or suspension arising from a DUI conviction: informal hearings and formal hearings. While some petitioners are able to resolve their cases through informal proceedings, most are required to go through the formal hearing process, especially if they have multiple DUI convictions on their record.

Formal hearings must be requested by petitioners, and once scheduled, are conducted by a hearing officer and a representative, both of whom act on behalf of the Secretary of State. These individuals are tasked with deciding whether a petitioner is a risk to the public, or whether he or she is suffering an undue hardship as a result of the loss of his or her driving privileges.

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Posted on in DUI

IL defense lawyerIllinois drivers whose licenses have been revoked are required to attend a Secretary of State (SOS) hearing before their driver’s licenses can be reinstated. The process of reinstating a license can be complicated, so if your own license has been revoked or you want to obtain a restricted driving permit, it is important to speak with an experienced Aurora driver’s license suspension lawyer who can improve your chances of success.

Informal Hearings

When an Illinois driver’s license is revoked because of a DUI charge, the motorist in question will be required to attend an informal hearing overseen by a hearing officer who will ask for a wide range of information, including:

  • Why the driver’s license was revoked
  • Details about the person’s driving and criminal records
  • Why the motorist needs his or her license back
  • What the petitioner has done to improve his or her behavior
  • Whether the petitioner has obtained treatment for drug or alcohol abuse

The petitioner should also be prepared to provide copies of related documentation, which could include everything from an Alcohol/Drug Evaluation Uniform Report to letters written and signed by family members and friends verifying the petitioner’s abstinence.

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Law Office of Patricia Magaña, LLC

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

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