DUI in Illinois, or drunk driving, means driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of any amount of alcohol which impairs the driver or a blood alcohol level above 0.08. In Illinois, DUI also includes impairment due to cannabis or marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, other illegal drugs and even sometime the combination of prescription drugs and alcohol. Impairment is often broadly defined by courts, and is often a point of contention for the skilled Illinois DUI lawyer. DUI penalties in Illinois are tough, and getting tougher every year.
Fagan, Fagan & Davis is a law firm defending those facing Illinois DUI for decades in Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County. Our lawyers teach other attorneys how to defend DUI, and are nationally recognized as leading attorneys. We've been around a long time, and if you'd dialed 635-8200 nearly 40 years ago looking for a Chicago DUI lawyer, you'd have reached us then just like today.
DUI can also be charged if there is any amount of illegal controlled substance in the breath, blood or urine while driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. Current DUI cannabis law prohibits the presence of 5ng or more of THC in your blood as measured within two hours of actual physical control of a motor vehicle.
DUI attorneys must know how to address not only general criminal defense issues, but specific forensic science and special procedures even involving civil procedures that are special to DUI defense in Chicago and the surrounding areas. Additionally, DUI almost always involves a Statutory Summary Suspension of your Illinois driver license. We know that addressing that suspension is almost always a primary concern for clients, and that speed is a paramount issue.
DUI Defense Overview
Our attorneys have the experience, conviction, knowledge and training necessary for effective defense of driving under the influence in the Chicago area, as well as extensive trial experience in Cook County, DuPage County and Lake County Illinois DUI courts including jury trials. Here is more information related to DUI defense:
Breath & Blood Tests
A breath test or breathalyzer is administered arrest for drunk driving. A police officer will instruct the driver to blow into an approved breath machine, which attempts to estimate blood alcohol levels. A more accurate means of measuring blood alcohol content (BAC) is through GC/MS chemical analysis using a blood sample. GC/MS stands for Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry.
You need a Chicago DUI Lawyer Specifically
Just as you wouldn't have a gynecologist perform heart surgery, you need an attorney with specific experience and training in DUI defense. And that lawyer needs experience and knowledge specific to the courts where your case will be heard. You want a DUI lawyer to defend your case. And a Chicago DUI lawyer to help you if your case will be heard in Chicago. A lawyer that doesn't appear in your courthouse may be at a disadvantage. Because Fagan, Fagan & Davis focuses specifically on Illinois DUI defense throughout Cook county, Lake county and DuPage county courthouses, you can be assured we're the right lawyers to defend your DUI in those courts.
Consequences of a DUI
Penalties for a misdemeanor DUI in Illinois are serious, with up to $2500 in fines and 364 days in jail with mandatory drug and alcohol classes and treatment costing hundreds of dollars and a permanent criminal record that cannot be expunged. Felony DUI can be even more serious, often with mandatory prison time. Collateral consequences to a DUI can go beyond the sentence and affect CDL license holders, professionals like nurses or lawyers, military servicemen and women, aircraft pilots and others.
Drugs & DUI
Drunk driving is not the only way to find yourself facing an Illinois DUI. Driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with illegal drugs in your blood or urine is also a DUI in Illinois. Drugged driving is becoming even more common, and may even include prescription medications and over-the-counter medication when mixed with alcohol that causes impairment. DUI drugs often involves extensive forensic evidence which your Illinois DUI lawyer must know how to address.
Field Sobriety Tests
Standardized Field sobriety tests are essentially investigative tools used by police officers to assist in the determination of whether a motorist is impaired and may be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These tests include the walk and turn, the one leg stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Administration of these SFSTs involves several very specific requirements, from the instructions the officer is to give, to the way an officer evaluates your performance. Because your performance of these tests is then used in Court by prosecutors to prove your guilt, your DUI lawyer needs to know the NHTSA standards for the Field Sobriety Tests in and out, just like the attorneys at Fagan, Fagan & Davis.
Implied Consent & Statutory Summary Suspension
If you refuse to submit to any breath, blood or urine test after being arrested for DUI, your driving privileges may be suspended for between one and three years. If you submit and the results are above a 0.08 or demonstrate the presence of an illegal drug like cannabis, heroin or ecstasy, you face a statutory summary suspension of your driver's license for between six months and one year. In some cases, a driving permit called an MDDP is available, but if you have committed a prior violation of DUI or a DUI suspension within the past five years, no driving permit is available under current Illinois law.
Out of State Drivers
If you have been charged with DUI in Illinois, but are from another state, in addition to the penalties applied by Illinois, you face penalties from your home state. Illinois is a member of the Interstate Driver's License Compact, by which different States agree to share information regarding driving offenses, and DUI in particular. Handling out-of-state motorists requires special care, and our attorneys have a great deal of experience with addressing the problem.
Plea Bargain vs. Trial in a DUI Case
You always have the choice whether to proceed to trial by judge or jury or to engage in a plea bargain negotiation. A plea bargain involves the defendant pleading guilty without a trial in exchange for reducing the risk and consequences you may face at trial. A knowledgeable Chicago DUI attorney from our firm can help you make an intelligent decision about your realistic options.
Fight your DUI
Most people facing DUI simply decide to plead guilty from the start. Many don't even consult an experienced Illinois DUI attorney, mistakenly thinking their family attorney or business lawyer will understand the intricacies. They won't. They'll miss important issues, misunderstand the consequences and effects, miss negotiating opportunities and will be unable to effectively mount a defense at trial. Those mistakes will cost you. A well trained lawyer specifically focussing on DUI defense won't make those same mistakes.
There are many defense options available. Failing a chemical test or field sobriety test doesn't mean you are automatically guilty, or that the prosecution's evidence is irrefutable.
For instance, did the officer properly administer the breath test? Did the officer make sure you did not burp or vomited within twenty minutes of taking the breath test? If blood was drawn, was an alcohol swab used? Was the method used to draw or store the blood sample might affect the reliability of the testing process? Can the prosecution prove that the chain of custody for the sample was not broken and your sample was not mixed up with someone else's? Field sobriety test evidence can often be refuted, because the driver's results are based on the arresting officer's judgment, rather than provable facts. A Chicago criminal defense attorney from our team can thoroughly examine the evidence brought against you and the circumstances of your arrest to create a strong and detailed defense. Give yourself the best chance of success with lawyers that know what to look for and how to address potentially harmful evidence.
At Fagan, Fagan & Davis, we've successfully defended countless clients against DUI charges throughout the Chicago area including Cook county, DuPage county and Lake county courts. We understand the defense strategies that are most effective in court, and how to challenge evidence offered by the prosecution. Contact us now for a free consultation.