Don’t defend a DUI accusation alone
A DUI charge is serious. In Illinois punishment is getting more severe all the time. You may face losing your license and your ability to earn a living. To make matters worse, if you merely have a previous DUI arrest, you could risk prison. If you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges, please don’t wait to seek counsel. Early intervention can be a tremendous asset. Kent Dean has a winning track record in the Chicago area for stopping DUI charges from derailing someone’s life. He can thoroughly investigate your case and prepare the best defenses possible. The DUI process is complex. Take some time to explore our DUI infographic to get a sense of what you’re dealing with and why it’s critical to hire counsel to help you navigate the road ahead.
See Generally- Vehicles 625 ILCS 5/11-501 – DUI
A police officer observes what he/she thinks is a traffic violation or comes upon a crash/accident. The police officer upon speaking to the driver has suspicion the driver is under the influence if there is evidence of:
2. Preliminary Testing
Police offer requests that the driver “step out of the car,” to conduct what are commonly referred to as Field Sobriety Testing (FST):
Sometimes the physical/performance tests are supplemented with a preliminary or portable breath test (PBT) • While the PBT test is generally not admissible at the trial, because these small unsophisticated devices have not been deemed “sufficiently reliable” for proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” (the legal standard at any criminal trial) they are likely admissible for probable cause to make the arrest. • Some police departments rely on the PBT more than FSTs. But a driver may refuse this mechanical/chemical test.
If the driver fails the FSTs or blows over the legal limit on a PBT, he or she is arrested. Refusing to do any testing can still result in an arrest if the driver appears to struggle with simple walking and talking. In practice refusal to do any testing whatsoever will likely result in an arrest regardless and a police report written to reflect “driver refused all testing but was unable (or struggled) to simply walk and talk.” To add insult to injury, an arrest, even if later deemed to be without basis or successfully defeated in court, will result in:
4. Formal Testing
Provided there is probable cause, the machine is in proper working order and the operator of the machine has followed the appropriate procedures – this result will likely be the primary evidence in the subsequent trial.
5. Results of Refusing Formal Testing
By law a driver can refuse to submit to this test. Illinois, like all other states has created a system to “encourage” suspected DUI drivers to take this test. As it is common knowledge that this test is often the nail in the coffin for a DUI suspect, refusal to take the test will result in a much longer suspension of the driver’s license. Current Illinois law provides for the following sanctions:
For a first offender the driver is then released on bond (after a waiting period) and given a court date as well as notice that their driver’s license will be suspended on the 45th day from the date of arrest.
6. Restoring Rights
The well-informed DUI arrestee will now need to move quickly to preserve a number of rights and opportunities for his or her attorney to preserve the records to mount an effective defense. One critical component is that independent of the criminal charge, the DUI arrestee can preserve the right to drive in one of two ways.
7. Addressing Criminal Charges in Court
Issues related to the statutory suspension will also be at issue if the driver did not do so before this first appearance. Even non-contested matters (guilty plea) will take at least 2-3 appearances in court.
The trial itself may be before a jury, but for a variety of reasons the typical DUI trial in Illinois is a “bench” trial, ie- before a judge.At the trial the state has the burden of proving the driver was DUI by “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” This standard applies whether the matter is a misdemeanor or felony charge.
- At the trial the officer and any other witnesses will testify to what he/she observed and the results of any testing will be entered into evidence.
- The state will then rest and the defense attorney may put on favorable evidence. Sometimes that evidence is testimony from the defendant, but only after serious consideration by the defendant and defense attorney, as it is not a requirement the defendant testify under our system of law.
- If the driver is either found guilty or pleads guilty the subsequent process and penalties also require the assistance of a skilled attorney.
8. Ramifications of Repeat Offenses
A second DUI will almost certainly be charged as a felony. Many people are still adjusting to this reality as felony penalties are vastly more punitive than a mere “traffic” violation. Simply put – potential sentencing for a misdemeanor DUI entails fines, costs, DUI education and (rarely) a few days in county jail.On the other hand – a felony conviction will likely result in 1– 3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections – i.e. prison and a lifelong record as a “convicted felon.”I cannot stress enough the crippling, lifetime damage a felony conviction can have individuals and their families.
You need an attorney to safely walk you through even an uncontested matter and a fighter if you are innocent or your rights have been violated. Either way you need assisstance to back on the road as soon as possible. Call the Law Office of Kent Dean at 708-948-7690 or email at email@example.com