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Three Things You Did Not Know About a First-Time DUI Offense in Illinois

Posted on in DUI

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:

  • Operating a vehicle with a BAC in excess of .08 percent
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol to a degree that makes you incapable of safely operating the vehicle

In other words, there is the objective standard of DUI as measured by your BAC, as well as a subjective standard that is based upon the observations of police officers.

The Criminal DUI Case Is Separate from Proceedings Involving Your Driver’s License

A DUI arrest triggers two legal proceedings, one of which affects your driving privileges. If you fail or refuse a chemical test, your license could be suspended by the Secretary of State through the administrative process. However, DUI is also a crime, as a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine. As with other criminal cases, the standard is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

You Can Be a First-Time and Subsequent Offender at the Same Time

It may seem crazy, but the separation between the administrative and criminal DUI cases could lead to this result. The bar is lower for a driver’s license suspension: Either you took the chemical test and failed, or you refused. With the higher burden of proof in a criminal case, you might be acquitted or have the charges dismissed. As such, you could be a first-time DUI offender when it comes to sentencing after a conviction, even if you had your driving privileges suspended in the past. The criminal penalties for a first-time offense are lower, and you could take advantage of court supervision.

Trust a Knowledgeable Kane County DUI Defense Lawyer

For additional details on the process and your options after being arrested for drunk driving, please contact the Law Office of Patricia Magana, LLC. You can call 630-448-2001 to schedule a no-cost initial consultation with an Aurora first-time DUI attorney. Once we review your circumstances, we can get started on a strategy to fight the charges or obtain other relief.




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Law Office of Patricia Magaña, LLC

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

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