Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous. Alcohol and drugs impair judgement, making you a safety hazard to yourself, your passengers, and anyone else on the road. For this reason, Illinois has strict DUI laws that make an arrest for DUI something you need to take seriously. If arrested for DUI, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately. The following are a few tips to keep in mind.
1. Know the Law.
In Illinois, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal. However, you can still be convicted of a DUI if your BAC is .05 or higher if your driving can be proven to be impaired. It is also illegal to drive after using any type of illegal drug, medical marijuana, or prescription medication that can impair driving. How long it takes your body to metabolize a drink will depend on your size, tolerance, and how much you have eaten. Typically it takes the body one hour to metabolize one drink. If you choose to drink, then it is important to make arrangements for safe transportation.
2. Don’t Incriminate Yourself.
Law enforcement officers need to have probable cause to pull you over for driving under the influence, unless it is part of a DUI checkpoint. When they pull you over, they will be looking for evidence of drinking to use against you if you are arrested for DUI. They may ask you to do field sobriety tests or use a portable breathalyzer (PBT) to find cause for an arrest. While you should always be polite and cooperative when dealing with law enforcement, you can calmly decline participating in field sobriety tests and the PBT. If you are arrested for DUI they will most likely ask you to complete chemical testing at the police station. With any DUI arrest, you will receive an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. If you refuse to complete the chemical testing, your suspension will be longer.
3. Understand the Penalties.
A DUI is not a minor offense. Even a first time DUI is a class A misdemeanor that could possibly result in up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,500. Each subsequent DUI carries a higher penalty. Every DUI conviction has serious penalties that are extensive, such as:
- Possible Jail Time
- Possible Fines
- Driver’s License Revocation
- Vehicle Registration Suspended
- Increased Insurance Costs
- Required Completion of Drug Alcohol Treatment
- Meet Requirements of Secretary of State’s Department of Administrative Hearing
- Becomes Part of Permanent Driving Record
- Loss of Work Time
4. Always Secure a Good Attorney.
Though no outcome can be guaranteed, an experienced DUI attorney can offer valuable guidance and help secure the best outcome possible. An experienced DUI attorney could possibly mean the difference between a conviction or a dismissal. If you are arrested for DUI, it is in your best interest to seek out a DUI attorney as quickly as possible.
5. Make Changes for Yourself.
Despite the negative effects of a DUI arrest and conviction, it doesn’t have to mean you can’t move on or overcome. If you lose your driving privileges, your attorney can help you obtain either a restricted driver’s permit (RDP) or a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP) so that you can still travel to work and attend important commitments. These permits will allow you to drive with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed on your car. The BAIID will prevent you from driving if you have consumed alcohol. You must follow any restrictions as stated on the permit. Use the arrest as a wake up call, and make changes to your life so that alcohol won’t hold you back. Remember, each subsequent DUI conviction will result in increased penalties.
In Illinois, drunk driving is a serious crime with high penalties. Make sure you understand the law so that you can avoid drunk driving charges. However, if you are charged with DUI, contact Gilmartin Legal immediately, so we can start your defense of the charges. Michael Gilmartin is an experienced Illinois DUI attorney known for providing his clients with effective, focused service.