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Wheaton DUI defense lawyerThe legal blood alcohol content limit for anyone operating a motor vehicle is 0.08 percent. Consequently, many motorists assume that an individual may only be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) if their blood alcohol content is above this limit. However, it is possible to be arrested for DUI even if you pass a breathalyzer test or refuse to take the test. If you have been arrested for DUI, knowing your rights regarding DUI-related traffic stops, breathalyzers, and blood tests is key to forming a strong defense against the charges.

Illinois Law Does Not Require a Failed Breath Test for a DUI Arrest

In Illinois, 0.08 percent BAC or higher is considered intoxicated “per se” or intoxicated by law. However, Illinois law does not require per se intoxication for a DUI arrest. The law states that it is illegal to be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of alcohol

  • Under the influence of an intoxicating compound that makes the driver unable to drive safely

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DuPage County criminal defense attorney felony DUI

All DUI charges are serious, and a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs can lead to the revocation of your driver’s license, the requirement to use an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, significant fines and legal fees, and even a prison sentence. However, you may face even more serious charges if you are accused of committing aggravated DUI, which is a felony offense.

Aggravating Factors in DUI Cases

In most cases, a first-time DUI or a second DUI will be charged as a misdemeanor. A third or subsequent DUI will be charged as a felony. A conviction will result in a 10-year driver’s license revocation for a third offense and a lifetime revocation for any subsequent offenses.

Felony DUI charges will also apply in cases involving aggravating factors such as:

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DuPage County criminal defense attorney DUI

There are multiple ways that you could lose your driver’s license. Drunk driving is one of the most common reasons for the loss of driving privileges. A first-time DUI conviction will result in a one-year driver’s license revocation, and longer revocations will apply to second or subsequent DUI convictions. However, even if you are not convicted of DUI, you will be subject to a statutory summary suspension of your license if a chemical test performed after being arrested showed that you had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or more or if you refused to take a chemical test. Other potential reasons for license suspension or revocation include receiving three traffic violations within a single year or failing to pay child support.

Losing your driver’s license can create a great deal of difficulty in your life, so you will want to make sure you can regain your driving privileges as soon as possible. This means that you will need to take the necessary steps for driver’s license reinstatement as soon as your period of suspension or revocation has been completed.

The Illinois Driver’s License Reinstatement Process

In most cases involving driver’s license suspension, you will be able to have your license reinstated by paying a reinstatement fee. However, if your license has been revoked, you will need to complete additional requirements and demonstrate that you will be able to drive safely and responsibly once you regain your driving privileges.

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DuPage County criminal defense attorney DUI

Typically, Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous times of the year on our nation’s roadways. Those who get together with family and friends during the holiday often drink alcohol, and when combined with increased amounts of travel, this can lead to car accidents caused by drunk driving. Things may be somewhat different in 2020 since concerns about COVID-19 are leading many to stay at home and avoid large gatherings. However, a large number of people will still be engaging in holiday travel and get-togethers, and because of this, Illinois law enforcement officials will be on the lookout for drunk driving, and they will be prepared to arrest those who are suspected of driving under the influence (DUI).

Law Enforcement Efforts to Reduce Drunk Driving Deaths

Hundreds of traffic fatalities occur during the Thanksgiving holiday every year in the United States. Even with the extraordinary circumstances that have affected people’s lives in 2020, the National Safety Council (NSC) has estimated that nearly 500 people will lose their lives between Wednesday evening and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. To help prevent car accidents, the Illinois State Police and other local law enforcement agencies will be conducting increased safety patrols. These patrols will continue through Monday, November 30, and they are likely to lead to high numbers of DUI arrests.

A driver may be charged with DUI if he or she is found to be driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of .08 percent. In many cases, when police pull a driver over on suspicion of drunk driving, they will ask the driver to submit to field sobriety tests or take a portable breath alcohol test. Motorists are allowed to refuse these tests, although doing so may give an officer probable cause to make an arrest.

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DuPage County criminal defense attorney DUI

If you have taken a driver’s education course in the state of Illinois, you have likely seen informational videos about the dangers of driving intoxicated. They often show graphic car accident scenes, emotional testimonies from family members who have lost loved ones, and a dramatic moment when the police officer asks the driver to blow into their gun-like device, commonly known as a breathalyzer. Rightfully so, these videos are meant to scare Illinois drivers into driving sober at all times. While it is never a good idea to drive after multiple drinks, many motorists will still get behind the wheel after a few too many. You may think that you will never find yourself in this situation, but it is important to be aware of the laws surrounding chemical testing if you are ever stopped by an officer.

Implied Consent in Illinois

As a teenager sitting in your driver’s ed class, you may not have been paying as close attention to every detail as you should have. Many Illinois drivers are unaware of the state’s implied consent law and find themselves in hot water as a result. According to Illinois law, anyone with a state driver’s license has given their consent for law enforcement to conduct chemical testing of breath, blood, and/or urine to determine your state of intoxication. Typically, an officer will ask drivers to submit to a breath test before moving ahead with any other blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing. If asked to blow into a breathalyzer for such testing, Illinois residents must comply or face an automatic license suspension. Your actual BAC has no weight on this suspension. In other words, if you are completely sober or know that you are well under the 0.08 percent BAC limit and refuse the test on principal, you will still face this license suspension.

Are Breathalyzers Always Accurate?

Even if you have submitted to a breath test and the results label your BAC as being 0.08 percent or higher, an experienced DUI defense lawyer can still defend your case. Breath tests are not the most accurate testing for BAC since there are a number of factors that can impact the results. Particular substances in the mouth can produce inaccurate results depending on the amount of alcohol vapor that they emit. Traces of alcohol found in mouthwashes, breath fresheners, and medication can skew the readings from the test. Like any form of technology, there is room for errors with the software, calibration, or device altogether. The officer should perform more than one breathalyzer test to ensure that the results are consistent. If only one test was performed, an attorney can use this to his or her advantage in formulating your defense. These are just two examples of possible errors that may occur during breathalyzer testing. If you are asked to blow into a breathalyzer, be sure to remember the exact details of the situation so you can provide your attorney with a detailed account if your BAC is found to be greater than 0.08 percent.

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