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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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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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