In Chicago, prosecutors are aggressive in their prosecution of repeat DUI offenders. Every second-offense DUI carries with it severe consequences, but with the right defense attorney, you have an opportunity to fight back. To discuss your options, contact The Law Office of Howard J. Wise & Associates today.
Illinois DUI Law
In Illinois, driving under the influence is outlawed by Illinois Statute 625 ILCS 5/11-501. The law provides for more than one theory in which a prosecutor can obtain a DUI conviction. These theories include drivers
- 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?
An important part of many DUI cases is the driver's blood alcohol concentration. Blood alcohol concentration, also known as BAC, is reflected as a percentage of the amount of alcohol in a driver's bloodstream. Specifically, a driver's BAC is the amount of alcohol for every 1,000 units of blood.
As alcohol absorbs into a driver's bloodstream, it can have detrimental effects on reaction time and decision-making abilities. Essentially, a driver's BAC correlates strongly with the symptoms of alcohol use that make drunken driving dangerous in the first place. The effects of alcohol differ from person to person, based on factors that include:
- Body weight
- History of drinking
- Medications taken
Seasoned Chicago DUI defense attorneys rely on a strong understanding of the science behind the relationship between alcohol and the human body. Attorney Howard J. Wise has extensive experience defending clients from DUI charges based on these arguments.
Consequences for a Second-Offense DUI
If you have been arrested for a second DUI in Chicago, you will face two separate proceedings against you: a criminal case that could result in jail time, and an administrative case that could cost you your driver's license. As a repeat offender, the consequences can be serious in either instance.
Second DUI Criminal Penalties
Illinois law does not look favorably on multiple DUI offenses. That is why the potential sentence for a second DUI conviction is much tougher than for first-time offenders. In Illinois, a second DUI is treated as a Class A misdemeanor. The conviction carries a minimum jail sentence of either five days behind bars or 240 hours of community service. At the other end of the spectrum, a conviction could result in up to 364 days in jail as well as a maximum fine of up to $2,500.
It is up to the court to determine your sentence. However, there are additional factors that can increase the penalties you face. For instance, if your BAC is .16 or more you will be required to face mandatory jail time. To discuss all of the factors that could impact your case, call attorney Howard J. Wise today.
Driver's License Suspension
At the same time, your criminal case is proceeding, the state of Illinois will also be pursuing your driver's license. This administrative suspension differs from the potential driver's license suspension you face if you are convicted at your criminal trial. But long before your trial date, you could also face an administrative license suspension. The window to appeal an administrative suspension is short, and the suspension will automatically go into effect if an appeal is not timely filed.
For a second-DUI charge, the length of the suspension is one year. That suspension will extend to three years if the driver refuses to complete a breath test.
Common DUI Defenses
Even though the odds may seem against you, it is possible to win a Chicago DUI trial. Even if you have a prior conviction, your attorney will work diligently to develop the strongest defense possible. Generally speaking, defenses in a DUI case will fit into one of two categories:
- Challenges to the Stop – If your rights are violated by the police at any point during or after your traffic stop and DUI arrest, you may have a viable defense in your case.
- Challenges to the Test – Most Chicago DUI cases turn on the results of the chemical test involved. However, the results of those tests are not reliable if the sample was contaminated or unreliable.
Chicago DUI Lawyers You Can Count On
A DUI charge doesn't mean you a conviction is guaranteed. Attorney Howard J. Wise is a seasoned Chicago DUI lawyer with a history of courtroom victories. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation.