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Joliet DUI Defense AttorneyStudies have shown that drinking and driving is a leading cause of motor vehicle crashes. The injuries sustained in these collisions are often devastating, and some even fatal. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is illegal in every state. In Illinois, the legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent. When a motorist exceeds this threshold, he or she can be arrested for DUI. The penalties for DUI range from losing driving privileges to lengthy prison sentences and steep fines. There are certain “aggravating” factors that increase the punishment for this type of criminal act. Understanding what actions could lead to a felony DUI is important for any Illinois driver to understand to avoid a criminal record. 

Aggravating Factors

According to Illinois law, first and second DUI offenders are typically charged as Class A misdemeanors. However, a DUI charge can be elevated to a felony in some situations. Here are a few aggravating factors that can turn a DUI into a felony: 

  • Three or more DUI offenses 

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Joliet DUI defense attorneysThere are many actions that can constitute a criminal offense in Illinois. The penalties can vary depending on the type of crime committed. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is one of the most serious offenses a motorist can make. If a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or higher, he or she can be charged with DUI. The consequences for this type of traffic violation vary depending on the circumstances. In certain situations, a drunk driver may not be alone and have one or several passengers. When the occupant of the vehicle is a child, the charges can be elevated. DUI with a child passenger can result in years behind bars and fines, not to mention loss of driving privileges. That is why it is important to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to represent you if you are facing these serious charges. 

Punishments for DUI With a Child Passenger

Anyone who is less than 16 years old is considered a child passenger in Illinois. Even a first offense of DUI with a child passenger can result in significant penalties. In some cases, supervision or probation may be possible. Here are the penalties based on the the number of offenses: 

  • First offense: Class A misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500
  • First offense that results in bodily harm to the child: Class 4 felony with a sentence of one to three years in prison; fines of $2,500 up to $25,000
  • Second offense: Class 2 felony with a possible sentence of 3-7 years prison with a minimum fine of $5,000 to a maximum fine of $25,000.

If a judge sentences an offender to jail time, then he or she is not eligible for supervision. If a defendant receives a sentence of supervision, the court oversees him or her, but the motorist’s driving privileges will remain intact. The Secretary of State will not revoke the motorist’s driver’s license since supervision is not the same as a conviction. If the defendant adheres to the supervision, the DUI charge will be dismissed without a conviction.

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Joliet DUI defense attorneysMost people understand the dangers associated with impaired driving, yet many car accidents with injuries are caused by driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that in 2018, more than 10,000 people died in drunk-driving crashes in the United States. The state of Illinois takes drinking and driving offenses seriously.

Any driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher may be arrested for DUI. Penalties can range from license suspension to fines to prison time. In certain cases, an offender may be ordered to attend an alcohol treatment program as part of his or her punishment as a form of rehabilitation.  

Evaluation and Hearing

In Illinois, any driver arrested for DUI who fails, refuses, or fails to complete chemical testing will automatically have his or her license suspended. If a person’s driver’s license is revoked due to a DUI conviction, he or she is required to attend a hearing with the Secretary of State before driving privileges are reinstated. Prior to the hearing, the offender must undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if the defendant’s alcohol and/or drug use poses a risk to public safety. Below are the main factors that are taken into account: 

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Joliet DUI defense attorneysThe state of Illinois passed a new law that made recreational marijuana legal as of January 1, 2020. However, citizens should understand the restrictions attached to it and how this relates to medicinal use, driving, and potential DUI charges. People aged 21 and over are allowed to purchase up to 30 grams (or 500 milligrams of THC-infused products) of the drug from licensed retailers. They can smoke the substance in their own homes and on the property of certain cannabis-related businesses. 

Regardless of the new law, motorists are not permitted to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Penalties for this criminal offense can range from fines, loss of driving privileges, and prison. It is important to know that you can be charged with DUI after using marijuana, even though the effects of it may be different than alcohol. 

Medical Marijuana

Illinois residents who are authorized to use cannabis for medicinal purposes must be 18 or older and register with the Department of Public Health. They must obtain a written certification from a doctor who is licensed in Illinois. If that criteria is met, they will receive a registry identification card with a note on their Illinois driving record.

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Joliet DUI defense attorneysLearning how to drive is a rite of passage for most people. A driver’s license comes with the responsibility to uphold the rules of the road and drive safely. However, that is not always the case, and a driver can face serious consequences for breaking the law. There are several reasons why a motorist may have his or her driver’s license taken away. Actions such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) or reckless driving can lead to a license suspension or revocation depending on the circumstances. Unfortunately, driver’s license reinstatement can be a long and complicated process. That is why it is best to seek professional legal counsel to represent you. 

Steps to Take to Get Your License Back

Reinstating your driver’s license after it was revoked is not as simple as paying a fine. The process for license reinstatement depends on why your license was revoked in the first place, in addition to other factors, such as your driving history. In Illinois, the Secretary of State’s office oversees vehicle registration and driver licensing authority, including reinstatements. The SOS Office will assess your case, and you will need to attend an SOS hearing and prove that you are not a danger to others on the road. 

Taking the following actions will help you recover your driving privileges in cases of a DUI:

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