During a nine year span between 2003 and 2012, there were 3,866 deaths caused by drunk drivers in Illinois, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Across the United States, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or above. Even if you feel in control, alcohol and other substances can impact your judgment and reaction time, which endangers yourself and others who use the road. Whether you have been arrested on DUI charges for the first time or are a repeat offender, you should understand your rights, the processes that will be followed in your case, and your options for defense.
Anyone can get pulled over for a minor traffic violation, and that is where most DUI arrests take place. An officer may stop a driver who appears to be intoxicated, but in many cases, drivers are pulled over for a different reason, such as speeding, running a red light, or having a tail light out. After being pulled over, if the police officer suspects that you have been drinking, they may ask you to take field sobriety tests or measure your BAC using a preliminary breathalyzer test. However, these tests are voluntary, and you have the right to refuse them.
If you are arrested for DUI, you will be brought to the police station and held until you are sober enough to leave or until someone can pick you up. You will also be required to pay bail, which is a financial promise that you will show up for your trial. At the police station, you will be asked to take a chemical test to measure your blood alcohol, and this test is mandatory. Refusal to submit to this test will result in the suspension of your driver’s license for one year.
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, DUI may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. In most cases, a first-time DUI is a misdemeanor, and it can result in up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines. However, if you have multiple DUI convictions or if someone was injured as a result of your alleged drunk driving, this may be considered aggravated DUI and charged as a felony. Felony DUI can result in multiple years of jail time and fines up to $25,000.
Contact a Wheaton Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for DUI, you should not face these charges alone. Our experienced DuPage County DUI defense lawyers will help you understand your best options for defense, and we will work to protect your rights and help you regain your driving privileges. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.