It doesn't take much for a fun evening out to end badly when alcohol is involved. You might feel as though you are fine to drive home after a few drinks, only to find yourself placed under arrest for DUI shortly afterward. Chicago prosecutors aggressively pursue DUI convictions even against first-time offenders, and the consequences of a conviction can haunt you forever. The good news is that with aggressive representation, you can fight the DUI charge against you. To learn more, contact The Law Office of Howard J. Wise & Associates today.
Illinois DUI Law
Illinois DUI law is governed by Illinois Statute 625 ILCS 5/11-501. According to the statute, there are many ways that you can be found guilty of DUI in Illinois. The grounds for a DUI violation include driving or having actual physical control of a vehicle:
- With a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more;
- While under the influence of alcohol to the point your ability to drive safely is affected;
- Under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of alcohol and intoxicating compounds;
- With any amount of controlled substance in your system; or
- Impaired by medical marijuana.
What is Blood Alcohol Concentration?
Your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is the level of alcohol that has been absorbed into your bloodstream. Your BAC is reflected in the form of a percentage. The percentage of your BAC is the amount of alcohol for every 1,000 units of blood. For example, a BAC of 0.10% means your blood supply would contain one part alcohol for each 1,000 parts blood.
The effects of alcohol increase as it absorbs into your bloodstream. In other words, a higher BAC correlates to increased issues with motor skills and awareness common with alcohol consumption. The effects of alcohol differ with each person, depending on a number of factors:
- Body weight
- History of drinking
- Medications taken
In many Chicago DUI cases, a strong understanding of the science behind how alcohol interacts with your body is valuable. Attorney Howard J. Wise has extensive experience with Chicago DUI cases and the knowledge necessary to help you fight the charges against you.
Consequences for a First-Offense DUI
When you are arrested for DUI in Chicago, the state will initiate two separate proceedings against you. The first, your criminal charges, can result in jail time and fines. The second, an administrative proceeding, can cost you your driver's license. The consequences of losing in either setting are severe, and in the case of the administrative proceeding, you have a short window to contest the penalties.
First-Offense DUI Penalties
The consequences of a criminal conviction for a DUI first offense can vary, with the judge in your case having leeway in handing down your sentence. However, the judge is constrained by maximum penalties in your first offense. A first-offense DUI is a Class A misdemeanor under state law.
If convicted, you could face up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. There are some factors that can affect your sentence, though. For example, if your BAC at the time of your arrest is .16 or more, the court will assess a minimum fine of $500 and 100 hours of community service. To learn more about the consequences of a first-offense DUI conviction, contact attorney Howard J. Wise today.
Driver's License Suspension
In addition to your criminal case, you also face potential consequences to your ability to operate a motor vehicle. In fact, there are multiple license suspensions you could face. First, you will face an initial statutory license suspension that is triggered by your arrest. Your window to appeal this suspension is short, so there is no time to waste when considering a DUI attorney.
The second suspension is triggered upon a conviction for DUI. For a first offense, you will have a driver's license suspension of one year. Any time your license is suspended due to the statutory suspension will be applied to this suspension. In some cases, you might be eligible for a restricted driving permit to get to work, school, or the doctor's office.
Common DUI Defenses
The truth about a Chicago DUI case is that a conviction is not guaranteed. There are a variety of viable defenses in DUI cases, but they generally fit into one of two categories:
- Challenges to the Stop – If the police violate your rights in pulling you over, questioning you, or searching your car, you may have a viable defense against a DUI charge.
- Challenges to the Test – Most DUI cases center around the results of a BAC test. However, if the sample is contaminated or proper testing protocols are not followed; the results of the test are not reliable and should not be used in court.
Chicago DUI Lawyers You Can Count On
With the right DUI attorney, you have a chance to prevail in your DUI case. Attorney Howard Wise has a track record of success in Chicago DUI trials; call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.