FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

COUNSEL FROM A DUPAGE, COOK, AND KANE COUNTY CRIMINAL LAWYER

If you were recently charged with a DUI offense, you may have questions about the conviction process or what penalties you could be facing. Fortunately, you are not alone! A DuPage County DUI lawyer from our firm can guide you through the process. Take a look at some of our frequently asked questions below or give Martin & Kent, L.L.C. a call at (630) 474-8000 for more information. Our firm is happy to provide you with personalized legal counsel through a free consultation.

What Does Illinois’s DUI Statute Prohibit?

Illinois law prohibits people from driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 0.08. It also prohibits driving under the following circumstances:

  • While you are under the influence of alcohol
  • While you are under the influence of any intoxicating compound to a degree that renders you unable to drive safely
  • While you are under the influence of any other drug that renders you incapable of driving safely
  • While you are under the combined influence of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders you incapable of driving safely
  • While you have an amount of a substance in your blood, breath, or urine that results from the unlawful use or consumption of a controlled substance listed in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, the Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act, or methamphetamine
  • While you have more than 5 ng of THC per ml of whole blood or more than 10 ng of THC per ml of any other bodily substance

What is blood alcohol level?

Blood alcohol level (BAC) refers to the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. In Illinois, the legal BAC is 0.08. The amount of alcohol it takes to get to this level varies from person to person, based on things like body weight and the time period in which the alcohol is consumed.

Can You Get a DUI with a BAC of Less Than 0.08?

Many people are surprised to learn that you can be charged with DUI with a BAC of less than 0.08. This means that moderating your drinking or waiting a few hours before getting behind the wheel will not necessarily keep you safe from arrest. If you are pulled over and a police officer believes that you are under the influence of alcohol, he or she will likely arrest you.

Can I refuse to take a Breathalyzer?

Refusing to take a Breathalyzer will automatically result in a one-year license suspension. Unfortunately, if your DUI charge is proven, refusal to take the test could result in further penalties.

If I am charged with a DUI, will I lose my license?

The minimum license suspension for a DUI offense is one year. However, if this is your second or third offense, driving privileges are revoked for a minimum of five years. Fortunately, you may be able to drive for limited purposes by getting a hardship license.

I am under 21 and was charged with a DUI. Now what?

This depends on how many offenses you’ve been charged with. If it is your first offense, you will lose driving privileges for a minimum of two years, receive a maximum fine of $2,500, and be charged with possible imprisonment for up to one year. After a first offense, the charges become much more severe. As a person younger than 21, you should also be aware of the fact that many colleges and universities consider an applicant’s criminal history when making admission decisions. In addition, if you violated your school’s code of conduct, you may be facing serious sanctions such as probation, suspension, loss of a financial aid package or scholarship, and even dismissal from your program.

What happens if I transport an alcoholic beverage illegally?

If you’ve been found illegally transporting alcoholic beverages, it is still considered a serious offense. You may be fined a maximum of $1,000, a violation will be entered on your record, and a second conviction within the year will result in suspension of your driver’s license.

I think I am going to simply plead guilty. Do I still need a lawyer?

Yes. It is never a bad thing to have a lawyer on your side. A lawyer representing your case can work to reduce your sentence and help guide your future decisions. It is important to keep in mind that the vast majority of DUI cases are resolved through the plea bargain process. This means that most defendants accused of drunk or drugged driving agree to plead guilty in return for a lesser sentence than the court would have likely imposed had the case gone to trial. An attorney can be instrumental in negotiating favorable plea bargain terms, so even if you plan to plead guilty, you should speak to an attorney about your options.

Are there Diversionary Programs Available?

Yes. In Illinois, court supervision is the best outcome most DUI defendants can hope to obtain short of the state dropping the charges or an acquittal at trial. Court supervision requires you to comply with certain conditions for a set period of time. If you complete the program successfully, the court will dismiss your case. This means that no conviction will appear on your criminal record. Importantly, court supervision is only available for first-time DUI offenders in Illinois. Also, it is entirely up to the judge presiding over your case as to whether you will be sentenced to court supervision. For this reason, if you would like to seek court supervision, you should retain an attorney immediately.

What will happen to my insurance after being charged with a DUI?

It is more than likely that your insurance rates will increase significantly after a DUI charge. If your insurer does decide to drop you because of the conviction, you will need to look for a new insurance company willing to offer you insurance.

If you want legal help on your side in fighting your DUI conviction, give us a call at (630) 474-8000 today!