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Joliet DUI defense attorneyIn general, getting pulled over can cause a great deal of tension and anxiety. It is not uncommon for drivers in these situations to be nervous and make mistakes or say the wrong thing as a result. Getting pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) should be taken very seriously, and drivers should be prepared for what is expected of them and how best to handle the situation. Even if you act with the utmost respect and rationale, you could face serious consequences, and it is in your best interest to connect with a lawyer who can approach your DUI defense vigorously.

What Should I Do If I am Pulled Over For DUI?

If you believe you are being pulled over due to an officer’s suspicion that you are driving under the influence, you should first and foremost find a safe place to pull over. Because the officer already suspects you of DUI, they are going to be hypervigilant of your behavior. Therefore, any odd or erratic behavior will only bolster their suspicion. On a similar note, it is important for drivers to understand that officers are trained to protect themselves and be incredibly cautious. Thus, it is essential that drivers do not make any sudden movements once parked.

It is also highly recommended to be polite to police officers. This has been shown to lower your chances of being arrested. Additionally, if you are rude to an officer, they are more likely to put more effort into ensuring your conviction.

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Joliet IL DUI defense attorneyDrunk driving can lead to very dangerous situations, and Illinois has laws in place to curb drunk driving as much as possible. The rules regarding DUIs for underaged drivers are especially strict, and it is important to be aware of the possible consequences if an officer has probable cause to suspect you have been drinking. Even if you are below the legal limit for the typical DUI requirements, you may still face severe punishments as an underage driver.

The Illinois Zero Tolerance Law

Unfortunately, many alcohol-related car accidents involve underage drivers, and Illinois has implemented a Zero Tolerance Law in an effort to minimize the risk. The Zero Tolerance Law states that a driver under the age of 21 who is caught with any trace of alcohol in their system can have their driver’s license suspended. If the officer has probable cause to suspect the driver has consumed alcohol, the law requires the underage driver to consent to chemical testing. If the driver is found to have a BAC of more than 0.00, their license will be suspended for three months for a first offense. If an underage driver refuses to be tested, their driving privileges will be suspended for six months for a first offense.

Further Consequences for an Underage DUI

In addition to a suspension under the Zero Tolerance Law, underage drivers can also face more severe penalties if they are convicted of DUI. A first-time offender can face a driver’s license revocation for a minimum of two years, which is twice the length of the minimum revocation for a driver who is of legal drinking age. If an underage driver is facing their second DUI conviction, their driving privileges could be revoked for a minimum of five years. Additional punishments for a DUI conviction include possible jail time and heavy fines. If there are any passengers in the vehicle under the age of 16, these penalties will likely increase.

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Joliet DUI defense attorneyDriving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is strictly prohibited in the United States. Research has shown the negative effect that controlled substances have on a motorist’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. In addition, studies prove the correlation between impaired driving and car accidents with serious injuries. In Illinois, the legal limit for intoxication is a .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). There are several factors that can affect the results of DUI testing, so that is why it is crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney who can provide the skilled representation needed when facing these serious charges.

Inaccuracies in Testing

When someone is pulled over for suspicion of DUI, the police typically ask the driver to submit to a series of tests. The standard field sobriety test (SFST) includes three tests performed during a traffic stop in order to determine if a driver is impaired. These tests involve evaluating a driver’s balance and coordination, and they are known as the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the walk-and-turn, and the one-leg stand. 

Developed in the 1970s, these tests are scientifically validated and admissible as evidence in court in most states. However, they can be somewhat subjective depending on the officer administering the test. For example, if it is a new officer, he or she may not accurately recognize the signs of impairment or intoxication. In other words, the officer might be quick to declare that a driver is indeed drunk when he or she simply has balance issues due to vertigo or other inner ear issues. Age, injury, or disease could also affect the ability to perform any of these tests successfully.

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Joliet DUI defense attorneyAlthough this Thanksgiving may look a bit different as a result of the restrictions put in place to fight COVID-19, many people will still be celebrating the holiday. Small gatherings may still include alcoholic beverages, which can unfortunately lead to intoxicated driving. That is why local law enforcement agencies step up their patrols in anticipation of partygoers possibly getting behind the wheel after a few too many. Traffic-related fatalities usually increase during the long holiday weekends. The National Safety Council (NSC) has estimated that approximately 500 people will lose their lives between Wednesday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. Police will be on the lookout for impaired drivers, and they can arrest those who are suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. 

Illinois Drunk Driving Laws

According to Illinois law, a driver may be charged with DUI if he or she is found to be operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .08 percent. If the police suspect a driver is driving drunk, they will pull the motorist over and ask him or her to take a breathalyzer test. In some scenarios, they may also ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests. These can include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, the Walk and Turn Test, and the One-Leg Stand Test. If the driver fails any of these, law enforcement can arrest him or her. Although Illinois drivers are allowed to refuse these tests, doing so may give an officer probable cause to make an arrest.

It is important to note that Illinois drivers can also face DUI charges if he or she uses other controlled substances, such as marijuana or prescription drugs, before getting behind the wheel. The legal limit for THC is 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms per milliliter of other bodily fluids, like urine or saliva. Even the use of prescription or over-the-counter medicines combined with alcohol can lead to a DUI arrest if the driver cannot operate his or her vehicle safely.

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Joliet DUI defense lawyerDriving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can result in a multitude of consequences, including an accident with serious injuries, vehicle damage, driver’s license suspension, not to mention criminal charges in most cases. Illinois penalties for a DUI conviction are stiff and a misdemeanor crime can remain on your permanent driving record. The punishments are enhanced if you are under 21 or have a child passenger in the car at the time of the traffic stop. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, you may qualify for alternative sentencing, which is typically not as harsh. A skilled criminal defense attorney can explain your legal options and the best course of action to take following a DUI arrest. 

Illinois Deferred Prosecution Programs 

Whether a defendant is eligible for alternative sentencing in Illinois depends on prior criminal history and the severity of those convictions. Those who have a long criminal record are less likely than first-time offenders to receive probation, a lenient sentence, or alternative sentences to jail. Certain criminal offenses in Illinois require incarceration by statute, and probation is not an option. Aggravating factors are also taken into account, including whether a person was injured as a result of the crime, whether a weapon was used, and whether the crime was committed against a mentally disabled or elderly person.

According to Illinois law, alternative sentencing is a way for the state to:

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