DUI/Drunk Driving

What is Considered a DUI in Illinois?

The DUI Attorneys at The Legal Defenders are trained and experienced in representing clients charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases throughout the State of Illinois.  In Illinois, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  In Illinois a driver is considered to be Under the Influence of Alcohol if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater or has used any illegal substance, or is impaired by medication.  A driver's BAC is based on the ratio of alcohol to blood or breath.  This is typically measured by a breathalyzer test which is usually administered at a police station after a driver is arrested for suspicion of DUI of Alcohol.  Even if a breathalyzer test measures an individual's BAC level to be between .05 and .08, they may still be charged with DUI of Alcohol if additional evidence obtained by the police is able to establish that the driver was impaired.

The DUI Lawyers at The Legal Defenders have been trained to understand how alcohol can affect different people in various ways.  The effect of alcohol on a particular individual is determined primarily by two factors: the amount of alcohol consumed and the rate at which it is absorbed by the body. Other factors that determine the effect that alcohol can have on a particular person is gender, weight, alcohol tolerance, mood, environment and the amount of food consumed.

With the first drink, alcohol immediately affects coordination and judgment. With the first drink a person's reaction time slows and the more alcohol is consumed, the greater the chance of a crash. By the time a driver's BAC reaches .08, they are 11 times more likely to be involved in a crash than a non-drinking driver.  The only way to get rid of alcohol from the body is time.  It takes about one hour for one drink to work its way through the human body and not affect the person's coordination and judgment.

What are the Penalties for Drunk Driving/DUI?

The DUI Lawyers at The Legal Defenders are trained to thoroughly understand the Illinois DUI laws and their penalties.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor drunk driving (DUI), and have never been found guilty of a DUI before, or have had a DUI reduced to reckless driving, then you may be eligible for court supervision.  Court supervision is not a criminal conviction but will appear on your driving record with the Secretary of State and it will not cause your license to be suspended or revoked.  If a person is injured or if you didn't have insurance, the case may be upgraded to a felony.

What Are the Penalties If You Have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL)?

Under new laws, your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) will be affected even if you are arrested for drunk driving while driving a non-commercial vehicle.  If you are arrested for a DUI while driving a non-commercial vehicle and refuse to take a breath test, you will receive a one-year suspension of your CDL if it is your first DUI.  If you are arrested for a DUI while driving a non-commercial vehicle and are found guilty of drunk driving, you will receive a one-year suspension of your CDL for a first offense, even if you receive court supervision.  If you are found guilty of a second offense of DUI, you will receive a lifetime suspension of your CDL.

What is a Statutory Summary Suspension?

The Legal Defenders DUI lawyers have a deep understanding of the Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension process.  A Statutory Summary Suspension is the way the Illinois Secretary of State begins the process of suspending the driver's license of someone arrested for a DUI who fails chemical testing (breathalyzer) or who refuses to submit to or fails to complete testing. You are deemed to have failed a breathalyzer test if it shows a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or 5 nanograms of THC (the active ingredient of marijuana) in your blood, or 10 nanograms or more in your saliva.

If you complete a breathalyzer test and you fail, you will be looking at a 6 month license suspension if it's your 1st DUI.  If it's your 2nd DUI you will be looking at a 12 month suspension of your license.  If you refuse to submit to a chemical test and it's your 1sr DUI offense, you will be facing a mandatory 12 month driver's license suspension.  And if you refuse to submit to a chemical test and it's your 2nd DUI offense, you will be facing a mandatory 36 month suspension of your license.  What is considered a "first offender" needs to be explained.  As long as you have no convictions, court supervision, or a DUI reduced to Reckless Driving within five years from the date of the current DUI, you will be considered a first offenders even though you may not be eligible for court supervision for the DUI.  The Statutory Summary Suspension proceeding is civil in nature and is separate and distinct from the criminal proceeding.

The DUI Lawyers at The Legal Defenders know how the license suspension process works and understand how and when the Statutory Summary Suspensions goes into effect and how to stop it.  Your license will be automatically suspended on the 46th day from the notice date on the suspension. When you leave the police station, you will be given a document entitled, "Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension.".  This case is between you and the Illinois Secretary of State. This case is separate from the criminal DUI case. The DUI Lawyers at The Legal Defenders are trained to challenge the legality of a suspension of your license.  The DUI Lawyers at Legal Defenders will challenged the suspension of your license by filing, within 90 days of your arrest, a Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension so you can continue driving.

What is a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP)?

The Illinois DUI law changed on January 1, 2009.  Right from the beginning, let's be clear that this new law does not change the statutory summary suspension hearings and procedures, nor does it change the DUI criminal law in Illinois.  The criminal defense lawyers at Legal Defenders have had an opportunity to review this new law and want to inform our readers of the changes and highlights.

First, this new law changes the period of statutory summary suspensions for DUI offenders. The period of statutory summary suspension for first time DUI offenders has been extended from three months to six months.  The period of statutory summary suspension for second time DUI offenders has been extended from six months to 12 months.  This period of suspension is in addition to any criminal penalties which may be imposed by the Court.  Previously, first time DUI offenders had been eligible for a Judicial Driving Permit (JDP) allowing for limited driving during a period of suspension.  Second, this new law has gotten rid of the JDP and replaced it with the Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP).  The criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders have determined what the conditions are for an MDDP to be issued:

Possession of valid driving privileges except for the Summary Suspension. Death or great bodily harm did not occur during the DUI leading to the suspension.  No prior conviction for Reckless Homicide or Aggravated DUI which resulted in death.  No previous Summary Suspension within the 5 years preceding the suspension from the current arrest.  The driver is over 18 years of age. A "first time offender" is essentially defined as someone who had had no DUI suspensions or findings of guilty in the past 5 years.

Soon after you are arrested and charged with a DUI, the Illinois Secretary of State will mail you an application for an MDDP permit.  Once you receive this application you need to fill it out completely and mail it in.  The Secretary of State will review your application and determine if you are eligible to receive the MDDP device.  You will not be denied an MDDP permit so long as you meet the criteria set forth above.  Once you are given the right to have an MDDP device you have 14 days to arrange to have the device installed in your car.  The MDDP will not take effect until the 31st day after the suspension.  So no matter what, any driver arrested for a DUI will not be allowed to drive for at least 30 days.  A $30 Secretary of State monthly fee must be paid in advance for the Secretary of State to issue a permit.  This monthly fee is solely for the Illinois Secretary of State and is in addition to the monthly fee paid for the device.  For a 6 month suspension, this Secretary of State fee comes out to $150.  For a 12 month suspension the Secretary of State fee will be $330.  Once the MDDP is issued, the driver will only have 14 days to have a Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device (BAIID) installed in their car.  The MDDP holder will only be allowed to drive the vehicle equipped with the BAIID device. There is a one time installation fee of $150 and a monthly fee of $115 for the device.  The Cook County criminal defense lawyers at Legal Defenders have estimated the total costs to be as follows:

For a six month suspension, $875. For a twelve month suspension, $1,745.00. The BAIID device will require a test of the driver's breath before the vehicle can be started and will require periodic tests while the car is running.  If the driver fails a test while the vehicle is running, the vehicle will continue running but the horn will start blowing and lights will start flashing so as to alert police officers of the situation.

Unlike with the JDP, there are no restrictions on driving with an MDDP as to specific times and routes.  When it comes to employment, drivers cannot operate commercial vehicles during the period of suspension.  However, there is an exception for employer owned vehicles.  The suspended driver will be allowed to drive an employer owned vehicle during the period of employment provided that the employer provide documentation to the Secretary of State. However, the vehicle and company cannot be owned by the driver.

Finally, a violation of the terms of the MDDP is now a Class 4 felony.

Why Hire The Legal Defenders as Your Lawyer for Your DUI/Drunk Driving Case?

The DUI Attorneys at Legal Defenders are highly experienced at handling Illinois DUI cases in Cook, Lake, DuPage and Kane County.

The DUI Lawyers at The Legal Defenders understand the procedures throughout the various courthouses in Cook, Lake, DuPage and Kane County and stay up to date with the constant changes to the Illinois DUI law.

The DUI Lawyers at The Legal Defenders work on each case together as a legal team and are constantly reviewing the law to find new ways to ensure that our clients get the best possible results in their case.  We understand how important it is for you to not lose your license and be able to drive to and from work.

The DUI Attorneys at The Legal Defenders work hard to keep their clients on the road so they may be able to go on with their lives.

If you are facing DUI charges in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County or Kane Countygive us a call. We Can Help.

Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyers Blog - DUI