Why should I hire an Attorney to represent me in a Criminal Case?
No one can predict the outcome of a legal case. That decision will be made by a judge or jury after hearing all of the admissible facts in light of the relevant law. Keep in mind, however, what the prosecution has that you don’t – experienced attorneys specializing in Criminal Cases on its payroll; officers and breath analysis technicians in case of a DUI matter who have been trained as professional witnesses; a legislature that passes laws designed to make it tougher on you every step of the way; and plenty of funding to see to it that you are convicted. The only way you can begin to balance the odds is to hire an attorney who knows Illinois’ complex Criminal laws, understands your defenses, and who is willing to fight on your behalf.
What are the penalties for DUI?
If you are charged with misdemeanor DUI, and have never been found guilty of a DUI before, or have had a DUI reduced to reckless driving, then you are eligible for court supervision. A sentence of court supervision does not appear on your public driving record, nor does it affect your driving privileges. If you do not receive court supervision, and are instead convicted of a DUI, then your driver’s license will be revoked. Depending on your driving background and the facts of your case, you may be facing jail or penitentiary time, community service, forfeiture of your vehicle, and alcohol/substance abuse treatment. Depending upon your driving history and the facts of your case, your case may be upgraded from a misdemeanor DUI to a felony charge of aggravated DUI. This can occur even on a first offense DUI if at the time of the arrest you did not have a valid drivers license or you knew or should have known that the vehicle was not insured. Your case can also be upgraded to a felony charge if you have been alleged to have committed a DUI while your license was suspended or revoked because of a previous DUI; you have committed two or more previous DUIs; or there were serious or fatal injuries. A felony DUI can result in a lengthy prison sentence.
What is Statutory Summary Suspension?
A Statutory Summary Suspension is an automatic suspension that the Secretary of State places on your driver’s license because you either refused a blood, breath or urine test; or you took such a test and it revealed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater; or it revealed illegal drugs in your system. This suspension will go into effect on the 46th day after you were arrested. If you have not had a DUI suspension, supervision, or conviction within the last 5 years, you will be classified as a “first offender” for suspension purposes. (This does not mean that you are a “first offender” for DUI sentencing purposes.) A first offender will be suspended for: six months if you failed a blood, breath or urine test; one year if you refused to take a blood, breath or urine test. If you are a “first offender” then you are eligible for a Driving Permit. If you are not a “first offender” then you will be suspended for: one year if you failed a blood, breath or urine test; three years if you refused to take a blood, breath or urine test. Regardless of your eligibility for a driving permit, your summary suspension can be challenged by filing a “Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension” with the Court. The grounds on which the suspension may be challenged are limited by statute, See, 625 ILCS 5/2-118.1
I have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). What will happen to me if I am arrested for a DUI?
Under new laws, your CDL license will be affected even if you are arrested for DUI while driving a non-commercial vehicle.
- If you are arrested for DUI while driving a non-commercial vehicle and refuse to take a breath test, you will receive a one-year disqualification of your CDL if it is your first DUI.
- If you are arrested for DUI while driving a non-commercial vehicle and are found guilty, you will receive a one-year disqualification for a first offense, even if you received court supervision.
- If you are found guilty of a second offense of DUI, you will receive a lifetime disqualification of your CDL.
What is the difference between a suspension and a revocation of a Driver’s License?
A DUI suspension is set for a definite time — Six months, one year or three years. At the end of the suspension, your license can be reinstated simply by paying a reinstatement fee, so long as in the interim you have not been convicted for driving during your DUI suspension or had another suspension or revocation placed on your driving record. A revocation is indefinite — it has no automatic reinstatement date. This means that you will remain revoked until after the Secretary of State has determined that you are now responsible enough to have a driver’s license and that you won’t endanger the public. The reinstatement hearing process can be long and arduous. If you have already been revoked, contact us immediately.
What if I drive while suspended or revoked?
Driving while suspended or revoked for a DUI is a serious matter. There is mandatory jail and/or community service time for each conviction, and the length of your eligibility for reinstatement will be extended. You may also be faced with forfeiture of the vehicle you were driving. Depending on your background, the prosecution can seek to charge you with a felony and seek penitentiary time.
What is the Reinstatement of the Driver’s License Process?
A DUI-based revocation will be entered after you have received a DUI conviction. For most people, a conviction for DUI does not occur until the second offense. If that is you, then you will need to have a formal hearing before the Secretary of State. However, if you received a revocation after your first offense, then you will are eligible for a quicker and easier reinstatement process known as an informal hearing. For any license reinstatement, the burden will be on the revoked motorist to prove that he or she will not be a risk to the public safety and welfare and will drive responsibly. In order to prove this, you will, at a minimum, need to show that you have completed an alcohol evaluation, and complied with all recommended education or treatment. If your evaluator deems that you are dependant on alcohol or drugs, then you will also need to prove abstinence and involvement in a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. License reinstatement is not something that can be purchased or ordered. In fact, according to government statistics, for each time you were caught driving while under the influence, you drove while intoxicated another seventy times. So when its time to ask the Secretary of State to give you your license back, don’t be surprised to be confronted with skepticism and reluctance. Ultimately, however, the path to reinstatement starts with your commitment to a responsible lifestyle. Once you have been through alcohol treatment, you will be ready to start the process to regain your driver’s license. Unfortunately, even after altering your lifestyle, the Secretary of State can still turn you down. At the reinstatement hearing, the State will have its own attorney, who will cross-examine you about intimate details of your life. To ensure a fair shake, you must have an attorney with you, who will protect your rights and avoid the pitfalls that can prevent your license from being returned. That is why you need an experienced attorney each step of the way. To get started, please contact me.