Joliet DUI Attorney Neil Adams Will Fight Your Illinois DUI
The lawmakers in our state take great pride in the fact that our roads are some of the safest in the entire country. Because of this, they’ve written strict DUI laws and law enforcement officers are very active in searching for drunk drivers and getting them off the streets.
How active? Illinois averages more than 50,000 arrests for driving under the influence on a yearly basis. Perhaps even more importantly, the penalties that people have to face in Illinois are incredibly severe. Even if you’re just a first time offender, you can get up to 364 days of jail time and have to pay $2500 in fines.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI, you’re probably feeling confused, scared, and overwhelmed. How is this going to impact your job? Your family? Your scholarship? Your license? DUIs can and do happen to anyone, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been a model citizen up to this point. If a police officer pulls you over and charges you, it’s important that you act fast and contact Neil Adams so that he can delve into the facts of your case and come up with the best possible defense.
Things You Need to Know About Driving Under the Influence in Illinois
Whether you live in the greater Chicago area or elsewhere around our state, there are a number of things that you need to know about drinking and driving charges in Illinois.
The state bars people from pleading for a lesser offense. In many states, individuals who are charged with a DUI or DWI can plea bargain and take a conviction for “wet reckless,” which won’t impact them as negatively as a drunk driving conviction. Not in Illinois, though, because there is a specific state law preventing this.
- Driving under the influence includes more than just alcohol. When most people think about DUIs, they equate them with drinking too much, but that’s not always the case. Driving under the influence in Illinois includes any kind of impaired driving, which means that you can also face the charge for taking drugs and getting behind the wheel – even if you have a prescription for the drugs you took!
- You can automatically lose your license for 180 days. Illinois employs a Statutory Summary Suspension for anyone who is pulled over and has a BAC of .08 or higher. What this means is that as soon as the officer who tests you determines that your BAC exceeds the limit, they confiscate and immediately suspend your license.
- You can still get a DUI even if you’re under the legal limit. Most people know that they will be charged with a DUI if they have a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher. It’s not common knowledge, however, that you can still be charged even if your BAC is below that. If an officer pulls you over and your BAC is between .05 and .08, all the officer has to argue is that you showed “impaired” behavior in order to cite you.
- Refuse a test and you lose your license for a year. That’s right. Some people think that they can beat the system and minimize evidence by refusing to take a breath or blood test, but most of the time this is a mistake. Just saying no to this test will cost you your license for a year if it’s your first offense, and it just goes up from there.
- Field sobriety tests are voluntary. Translation: you can refuse them, and you absolutely should. Why? Because all they are is a way for officers to gather evidence to use against you in court. Moreover, the tests aren’t a particularly accurate way to gauge your sobriety, and the results are completely based on the officer’s subjective opinion.
- Rules are different for underage and commercial drivers. It may be .08 for the rest of us (most of the time), but commercial drivers can get a DUI if they blow a .04 or higher, and for anyone under 21 years of age there is a zero tolerance policy in our state – if you’re not of legal age and you’ve been drinking at all, you’re going to get a DUI.
What Happens in an Illinois DUI Arrest
There is a specific protocol that arrests for driving under the influence must follow in our state. Some of these things are probably very obvious, but others are less well-known.
- You are stopped by an officer who has probable cause to do so or because a roadside safety check has been set up.
- The officer asks for license, registration, and insurance while observing you.
- The driver is asked to participate in field sobriety tests because the officer suspects they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These tests, as mentioned above, are voluntary, and you should refuse them.
- The officer still believes that you are under the influence and makes an arrest.
- You are taken to the police station and asked to take a chemical test.
- You refuse the test and your license is automatically suspended for a year because you’re a first-time offender. Repeat offenders face longer penalties.
- You take the test and your BAC is between .05 and .08. Your license won’t be suspended, but you still have to deal with a DUI charge.
- You take the test and have a BAC that’s .08 or higher (or show traces of any illegal drug). This means that you’ll not only face a DUI charge, but also lose your license for 180 days.
- If you have a valid license, you can get a special receipt that lets you keep driving for 45 days.
- You can be detained by the police until you post bond. If you haven’t asked for a lawyer yet, this is the time.
- Your car might be seized, towed, or impounded.
DUI Defense Strategies from an Experienced Joliet Lawyer
One of the most important things to remember is that we give everyone in our country the opportunity to have a fair trial for a reason – because you aren’t actually convicted until you go through the process and the judge makes a ruling. Where DUIs are concerned, there are quite a few strategies and arguments that a good DUI attorney knows how to employ:
No probable cause. Sure, the officer says there was probable cause to pull you over, but where’s the proof? Neil Adams will pore over the incident report and any other paperwork to make sure that the officer’s story holds up.
Proper process wasn’t followed. Remember all those steps above? Well, if the arresting officer skipped over any of them it may be possible to get the charges thrown out. That’s why it’s so important to get an attorney as quickly as possible and tell them the details while they’re still fresh.
Testing device was wrong. People tend to think of chemical test results as the be-all end-all, but that’s not the case at all. There are any number of reasons why these machines can have incorrect results, from improper storage, use, and calibration to your body’s unique physiology and even false positives from counting something like mouthwash as “alcohol.”
Don’t Take Your Joliet DUI Lying Down
A DUI conviction can be something that negatively impacts your entire life. Many people are too embarrassed or upset when they get charged with a DUI to put up much of a fight, but this is a big mistake. Before you make a decision that can impact your entire future, call Neil Adams today and set up a free consultation to talk about your case and the options available to you. Mr. Adams prides himself on returning all phone calls promptly. He can be reached at 815.529.7000.