Driving Under the Influence Defense in Chicago
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to serious disruptions in all parts of your life if you’re charged and convicted. A conviction for a basic DUI charge will result in heavy fines, increased insurance costs, possible jail time, the suspension of your driver’s license, and perhaps the loss of your job. In cases where an accident takes place resulting in injuries or death, the penalties can be even harsher and impact your life permanently.
As one of the top DUI lawyers in the greater Chicago and Cook County areas, I understand these consequences and how devastating they can be. My goal is to try and minimize the damage to your personal and professional life, either by attaining an innocent verdict or working with the courts to reduce charges against you, so that you can recover from any penalties and resume your life in the shortest amount of time possible.
Each DUI case is unique, and so my approach to each case demands individual attention to earn the best possible outcome. It’s imperative that I form a close bond with my clients, making sure they understand the process of a DUI case each step of the way so that together we can mount an effective defense.
In most cases, driving under the influence may be charged as a misdemeanor if it is the first offense in Illinois. However, certain circumstances may elevate one or more charges to a felony. When this happens, it is called an aggravated DUI. While misdemeanor charges can result in no more than one year in jail in a worst case scenario, felony charges have a sentence of one year or more upon conviction.
Mounting an effective defense against a DUI charge is imperative in all cases, but especially so in an aggravated DUI situation.
It’s important to understand there are certain facts that trigger the more serious charge of felony DUI. Some of these aggravating factors can include:
- Not having a valid driver’s license while driving under the influence, which is defined as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
- Being charged with a third DUI offense. This can result in a prison sentence of up to 7 years in some cases.
- Driving a school bus while under the influence with passengers under 18 years old.
- Being involved in an accident resulting in somebody other than the driver suffering great bodily harm or death. If a single person dies, the prison sentence can be up to 12 years. If two or more people die, the sentence can be up to 28 years.
- Driving under the influence without valid auto insurance.
- Driving in a school zone and being involved in an accident that causes bodily harm to another.
Each of these situations and many others can result in serious charges and penalties. That’s why retaining an attorney as soon as possible is crucial to forming a defense that will minimize the damage to a defendant’s life.
First and Up DUI
If you’ve been charged for the first time with a DUI offense in Illinois, you’re going to be rattled, with lots of unanswered questions, as you prepare to enter the court system, possibly for the very first time in your life.
Having an experienced DUI defense attorney by your side as you go through the process is essential to maintaining your peace of mind as you fight the charges against you.
Unless there are aggravating circumstances, there is a fairly standard set of procedures you will undergo. Because of my familiarity with these procedures, I can work more effectively on your behalf to maintain the status quo in your life, up to and including the final outcome of your case.
For example, under state law, your license will be suspended by the Secretary of State. However, in some cases, I can file a petition to preserve your driving rights while your case is adjudicated. When this isn’t possible, I may be able to preserve your driving rights if you agree to submit to a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device being installed on your vehicle.
After reviewing the evidence in your case, I can then best advise you if there is an effective defense strategy we can undertake, or if my efforts are best served by trying to negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf. Plea bargains can often just result in a fine, alcohol classes and possibly community service.
Depending on whether or not you decide to fight a charge, a DUI case can drag on for months. During this time, it’s my job to try and allow you to lead as normal of a life as possible. It does take time, but working together, we can do the best possible job of protecting your future.