Naperville DUI Defense Lawyers
Former Prosecutors on Your Side When You’re Facing DUI Charges
If you are charged with drunk driving in Naperville, you are certainly not alone. Naperville police make far more DUI arrests than any jurisdiction in DuPage County. Cook County, the state’s most populous, leads the state in drunk driving arrests with 8,446, and DuPage County comes in second with 2,850, while Kane County comes in fifth, behind Lake and Will Counties, with 1,147. But the fact remains that you are facing a driver’s license suspension, steep fines, possible jail time, and the long-term impact on employment and other areas of your life.
Whatever the circumstances—whether this is your first offense or you have prior DUIs—you should promptly seek experienced defense representation. The criminal defense attorneys of Martin & Kent, L.L.C., are well-versed in Illinois DUI law and very familiar with law enforcement and the municipal prosecutor of Naperville. Contact us day or night for a FREE consultation so we can begin standing up for your rights.
Pulled Over In Naperville for Drunk Driving?
Naperville police make about 800 DUI arrests each year, not including cases handled by the Sheriff’s Department or State Patrol. (Outside of Chicago, only one other Illinois city issues more DUIs than Naperville.) This priority for drunk driving arrests typically takes the form of police officers camping out near local bars and restaurants waiting for any sign of impaired driving.
DUI cases in Naperville are handled directly by the city’s own prosecutor, often more quickly than the county docket. It is important to seek an attorney right away to protect your rights in the criminal case and fight for your driving privileges. Our Naperville DUI attorneys are former prosecutors with extensive experience and training in DUI defense. We have obtained dismissals, acquittals, reduced charges, and court supervisions, and we have successfully challenged license suspension in judicial hearings.
DUI Traffic Stops
To pull anyone over, police officers must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver has violated a law. This does not mean they must suspect a driver is drunk, but only that they failed to comply with ANY traffic law, such as using a signal or coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. Officers will often find any excuse to pull someone over, especially if they are driving at certain times, such as a Friday night, when many people tend to drive drunk.
When an officer approaches your car, you can be sure they will be observing you for any signs of impairment. If there are signs, the officer may request that you submit to field sobriety tests or a breath test, both of which they can conduct at the roadside. There are three standardized field sobriety tests, during which officers will look for certain factors that may indicate intoxication. A breath test involves blowing into a device, which then measures your blood alcohol content (BAC). If you “fail” either of these tests, the officer will likely arrest you on the spot. Authorities will likely have your car towed and impounded, and you will spend several hours in jail.
You do not have to fail a test for police to have probable cause to arrest you for DUI, however. Officers can base probable cause solely on their observations, including the following:
- The odor of alcohol on your breath or in the vehicle
- Open or empty alcoholic containers in the vehicle
- Red, glassy, or watery eyes
- Slurred speech
- Lack of balance or coordination
- Disorientation or confusion
Prosecutors regularly base DUI charges on an officer’s observations, to which the officer can testify in court.
Our defense lawyers will closely examine what happened before, during, and after your traffic stop to identify whether authorities violated your rights in any way. If an officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over, they violated your Fourth Amendment rights, and we can argue that the court should suppress all evidence stemming from the traffic stop. Typically, this leaves nothing for the prosecutor to prove your charges beyond a reasonable doubt, and they may drop your charges. Avoiding a conviction is always preferable since the consequences of a DUI conviction in Illinois can be severe.
Penalties Of DUI Convictions In Illinois
Maybe you know someone who had a DUI arrest, and they seemed to emerge from the case just fine. You may think that DUI charges are not a serious matter but, in reality, you may not realize all of the consequences that can stem from a DUI. The truth is that you should take even a first-time DUI case extremely seriously, and you should seek help from a skilled DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Penalties for a first DUI conviction in Illinois include:
- Class A misdemeanor conviction on your permanent record
- Up to one year in jail
- A fine of up to $2,500
- Suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year
The Collateral Consequences of an Illinois DUI Conviction
As the information above should make clear, a DUI conviction can result in significant legal penalties. What many people fail to consider, however, are the potential collateral consequences of a DUI on your record. These consequences can last far longer than the sentence imposed by the court and could very well affect your life more significantly. Some examples of the potential collateral consequences of a DUI conviction include the following:
- Employment difficulties – nearly all employers conduct background checks on people before they hire them, and a DUI conviction is almost certain to come up on even the most cursory investigation into someone’s past. Employers are often hesitant to hire a person that has been convicted of a crime and may be particularly worried about hiring someone that may have a problem with alcohol. What’s more, a DUI could even affect your current employment. Illinois is an “at-will” employment state, which means that your employer could fire you as a result of a DUI.
- Educational consequences – Many colleges and universities have student codes of conduct that generally prohibit students from engaging in any unlawful conduct. As a result, a DUI conviction could result in school-imposed sanctions, such as probation, suspension, the loss of a financial aid package or scholarship, or even dismissal.
- Professional consequences – If you currently hold or plan to apply for a professional license, a DUI could have significant professional consequences. Professional licensing boards may impose sanctions on members of the profession who are convicted of crimes, and a DUI in your past may lower your chances of obtaining a professional license in the first place. Some of the industries in which you may need a professional license include law, medicine, accounting, nursing, and financial planning and advising.
- Issues obtaining or keeping security clearances – Many government and government contractor jobs require a security clearance, and a DUI conviction could jeopardize an existing security clearance or your ability to obtain a security clearance in the future.
Because of these serious and often long-term collateral consequences, it’s important to avoid a conviction whenever possible. For this reason, anyone accused of DUI should explore all of their options with an experienced lawyer. A lawyer will thoroughly evaluate your case and determine whether any legal defenses could potentially get your case dismissed or result in an acquittal at trial. Even if there are no defenses available in your case, a lawyer may be able to help you avoid a DUI conviction by negotiating a plea deal that will result in the dismissal of your case provided that you successfully complete the terms of your probation.
Proven Defense by Local DUI Attorneys
The aggressive DUI enforcement of Naperville police and prosecutors demands skilled and strategic defense representation in every DUI case. At Martin & Kent, our firm defends ordinary people accused of drunk driving throughout DuPage, Kane, and Cook counties, with a law office in Naperville in addition to our Wheaton location. We regularly represent clients at hearings in Naperville and county and state courts, and we guide defendants throughout every step of the criminal process.
Our lawyers have 45 years of combined experience, including as former prosecutors. We understand every side of the criminal justice system, which helps us provide effective and zealous defenses for our clients. To arrange a free consultation, call (630) 474-8000 right away. We are available 24 hours a day to discuss your case.