While every DUI carries the potential for severe consequences, you can expect the prosecutor in a third-offense DUI to pursue your case aggressively. But simply facing a DUI third-offense charge does not mean that you will be convicted. When you fight back with a Chicago DUI attorney by your side, you have a chance to avoid a conviction entirely. To discuss your case with a veteran Chicago DUI lawyer, contact The Law Office of Howard J. Wise & Associates today.
Illinois DUI Law
The State of Illinois outlaws driving while intoxicated pursuant to Illinois Statute 625 ILCS 5/11-501. Under this statute, the prosecutor in your case will have a number of legal theories to choose from in your case. The state needs only to convince a jury that one of these situations applies in your case to obtain a conviction. These theories include:
- 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?
Many Chicago DUI cases center around the blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of a driver. The BAC is a percentage of alcohol in a driver's bloodstream. Generally speaking, the higher the BAC level the more intoxicated a driver may be.
Alcohol can have a detrimental effect on the mental faculties of a driver. As a driver's BAC goes up, their motor function and cognitive ability typically go down. The effects of a high BAC can vary, however, depending on a few different factors. These factors include:
- History of drinking
- Medications taken
An experienced Chicago DUI lawyer may rely on a combination of legal and scientific knowledge in order to craft the strongest defense possible. Attorney Howard J. Wise has won acquittals on many Chicago DUI cases thanks to his thorough knowledge of the science behind alcohol consumption.
Consequences for a Third-Offense DUI
Every third-offense DUI arrest results in two distinct proceedings. The first is a criminal case that carries with it the threat of jail time. The second is an administrative hearing that could result in the loss of your driver's license. The potential penalties for a third-time offender are steep and are intended to deter repeat DUI offenders.
Third DUI Criminal Penalties
Unlike a first or second offense, a charge for third-offense DUI is a Class 2 felony in the State of Illinois. If convicted, you will face a potential prison sentence between 3 and 7 years. A conviction can also carry a fine of up to $25,000. A conviction will mean some time behind bars is inevitable, but your attorney may be able to convince the court to grant probation for the bulk of any sentence.
In addition to the penalties prescribed by law, it is important to understand there are also collateral consequences to a third DUI conviction. As a convicted felon, you may find it difficult to maintain housing or employment. What's more, you will lose certain rights like the right to own a gun or vote. If your Chicago DUI is successful at trial, you can avoid these collateral consequences.
Driver's License Suspension
In addition to the criminal penalties, you may also face a civil action against your driving privileges. Upon a third DUI conviction, you could face a potential license revocation of 10 years as well as the suspension of your vehicle registration. Just like with criminal proceedings, an attorney can help you fight back against a driver's license suspension.
Common DUI Defenses
While DUI charges frequently result in a conviction, it is worth noting that many cases are defensible. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you could have a valid defense to the charges laid against you. The defenses in a DUI case generally be separated into two different categories:
- Challenges to the Stop – Your constitutional rights protect you from illegal search and seizure by the government. This means the police need a valid reason to pull over your car or search you. If your rights are violated, any evidence collected at your arrest may be excluded from your trial.
- Challenges to the Test – With a driver's BAC often taking a central role in a DUI charge, it should come as no surprise that a common defense is to attack the accuracy of the BAC reading. A BAC test may not be reliable if the sample is collected or tested improperly.
Chicago DUI Lawyers You Can Count On
You deserve an experienced Chicago DUI lawyer to help you fight against your third DUI offense. Contact Attorney Howard J. Wise to get the legal counsel you need.