Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI)
Act fast if you want to better your chances of saving your Illinois Driver’s License:
If the state charges you with a DUI offense, the sooner you take action in defending yourself, the better your chances of preventing the suspension of your driver’s license and winning your case.
A DUI case has two separate parts:
A DUI in Illinois has two separate parts that I need to fight. The first, and the more important in the beginning of the case, is the Statutory Summary Suspension. This is the automatic suspension of a person’s driver’s license forty six days after the day of arrest.
The length of the suspension depends on whether a person has submitted to a breath (or blood or urine) test. It also depends on whether the offense is a first or second DUI. A person’s first DUI (in other words, the person has not had a DUI within the past five year) will result in a six-month suspension if the person provided a breath sample. If the person did not provide a breath sample, the suspension will be for one year. A person’s second or subsequent DUI within the past five years results in a one-year suspension if the person provided a breath sample and a three-year suspension if they did not provide a breath sample.
Because the suspension of a license automatically begins forty six days after your arrest, I would begin protecting you then.
Asking a Judge to review your pending license:
Once you retain me as your attorney, I immediately file a petition to have a Judge review whether the suspension should take effect. The Court must conduct a hearing within thirty days after I file the petition. Therefore, the sooner I file, the sooner you will have a hearing. It is possible to have a hearing before the suspension takes effect, as there are forty six days before the suspension begins and your hearing will take place thirty days after I file the petition. The Court must provide us an opportunity to prove that the state should not suspend your license.
I will not discuss Statutory Summary Suspension law in detail here. It is complex and requires a solid understanding of the laws and depends on the facts specific to each case. These specific facts are important to determine what actions I should take to win the case. Equally important are the Court and the Judge before whom the case is tried. During my review of your case, I will learn the Court location and the Judge. Then I can give you more specific information.
If your driver’s license is suspended, you can still drive:
The Secretary of State will also allow you to drive for a part of the suspension if you apply and pay for participation in the BAIID (Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devise) Program. In this program, you have to install in your vehicle a breath-alcohol detection machine, and you will have to blow into the device before starting the vehicle and while you are driving. BAIID is expensive, embarrassing, and degrading. By challenging the Statutory Summary Suspension early, you may not need to have the device.
One benefit to having the Statutory Summary Suspension rescinded is that you do not have to pay the reinstatement fee of $250 for a first offense and $500 for a second offense.
Addressing the DUI charge:
After we address the Statutory Summary Suspension, we focus on the actual charge of DUI. The work done on the Statutory Summary Suspension assists us greatly in handling the DUI charge. The same set of facts applies for both parts of the case. And because the arresting officer testifies under oath during the Statutory Summary Suspension hearing, the officer is locked into his or her story. As your attorney, I will order the transcript of the officer’s testimony. There is a real benefit to having the police officer’s testimony locked in–the officer cannot remember things differently at trial.
Once we address the Statutory Summary Suspension, we turn to the actual DUI charge. Because it is a criminal charge, you are innocent until proven guilty.
The first step in fighting the DUI charge is to prove to the Judge that the police officer had no reason to stop your vehicle. The second is to prove the arresting officer didn’t have adequate reasons to ask you to perform field sobriety tests.
Step three is to prove you performed the tests correctly or that the officer failed to conduct the tests correctly. In many cases, officers do not perform the tests as instructed in the officers’ student manual. (I have a copy of the manual, which all Illinois police officers used at the Police Academy.) In Court, I use the manual to prove that the test was done incorrectly and should not be considered. For example, during the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus) eye test, the police should not have flashing Mars Lights on, as these may cause eyes to show nystagmus (jerking).
Scheduling a free consultation:
A person charged with DUI faces high stakes, much higher in the long run than for many other crimes. DUI laws are geared towards facilitating a conviction and are always changing to ensure a conviction. Yet there are legal measures that we can take to considerably improve your chances of winning the case. Call to schedule a free consultation, and I can review your case with you. My office number is (708) 410-0090.
DUI is a Criminal Charge:
Defending someone accused of breaking other laws employs the same skill set needed in defending someone charged with DUI. I have to prove that you did not commit the crime or that there are circumstances that the court needs to know about so that the court will find you not guilty.
By simply filing motions and beginning to fight the charges, I can be in a better position to have some or all of the case dismissed or the charges reduced.
I often file a Motion to Quash the Arrest and Suppress Evidence. This is relevant when the arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds for making the initial stop or conducting a search. If the court determines that the arresting officer did not base the stop/search on reasonable grounds, the prosecutor cannot introduce any evidence found during the search.
Each case presents its own set of facts that I need to review. I offer a free consultation in which I will spend time reviewing your case with you in person or on the phone. I will not use our time to persuade you to hire me. Instead, I will give you a frank review of your case, pointing out the strengths and the weaknesses. I will tell you what my fee will be and the direction I feel the case will head. No pressure–you may be under enough already–just honest, accurate advice.