Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Drunk driving is one of the most prosecuted crimes in Illinois. Drugged driving, its lesser-known counterpart, is equally as dangerous—and it’s on the rise. Dealing with the consequences of drunk or drugged driving charge, whether you were driving under the influence or not, can be a time-consuming and complicated process requiring help from a Chicago DUI lawyer.

If you’re found guilty, you may experience stiff penalties and long-lasting effects on your life, including:

  • You may be sentenced to jail or prison
  • You may be ordered to pay costly fines and fees
  • Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked
  • You’ll have a permanent criminal record
  • You may be required to complete alcohol education or substance abuse treatment
  • Your vehicle may be impounded or you may be required to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device, or BAIID
  • You may be required to purchase more expensive high-risk auto insurance
  • You may lose your job if you can’t drive to work or if your DUI offense causes your employer to believe you’re unreliable
  • You may face liability in a civil lawsuit if you caused an accident or injuries while you were driving under the influence

But knowing your facts — and hiring a good Chicago DUI lawyer — can relieve months of worry and may result in getting your drugged driving charge dismissed or your penalties reduced. Chicago DUI defense lawyer Michael O’Meara will fight to keep your driving record clean and may possibly even save you from having to go to jail.

What is Drugged Driving?

In Illinois, a person is not only guilty of a DUI if driving under the influence of alcohol. You can also be charged for a DUI simply for having prescription or non-prescription controlled substances in your system.

That includes marijuana, even though Illinois law allows people to use cannabis for medical reasons. You just can’t drive while under its influence.

The laws regarding driving under the influence of marijuana are strict. Any amount of cannabis in your body — even if that cannabis was taken for medical reasons days or weeks earlier — is illegal.

Drugged Driving DUI Penalties

Illinois’s system for punishing those who drive under the influence of drugs depends on a number of factors, including a driver’s background and other enhancers. The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are severe — including fines and possible imprisonment — and they can have significant impact on your work, health, and life.

  • First Offense — This is a Class A misdemeanor. Possible penalties include up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • Second Offense — This is a Class A misdemeanor. Possible penalties include up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • Third Offense — This is a Class 2 felony. Possible penalties include up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

You also may lose your driving privileges for a period of time if you’re found guilty of DUI.

Your penalties for a drugged driving offense may be enhanced if you are caught driving under the influence of drugs while also:

  • Carrying a passenger who is under 16 years of age,
  • Injuring another person while driving under the influence, or
  • Knowingly driving a car that is not covered by liability insurance

However, a great Chicago DUI defense lawyer may be able to negotiate to have these enhanced penalties reduced.

Your Defense for DUI Charges

If this is your first time being charged with drugged driving, or even your second or subsequent charge, hiring a Chicago DUI lawyer will greatly benefit your case. Attorney Michael O’Meara can help you to fight your charge or negotiate a plea

Some common strategies O’Meara uses to defend drugged driving charges include arguing that:

  • The police did not have a legal reason to stop you
  • Your field sobriety or breath and blood tests were faulty
  • Testing procedures were not followed correctly or were administered by an unauthorized person
  • You weren’t actually driving

If the police who stopped you didn’t administer your test correctly, or lacked a legal reason for stopping you, O’Meara may be able to demonstrate that the evidence brought against you should not be used in court.

A DUI in Chicago can be devastating — but with the help of a skilled Chicago DUI lawyer such as Michael O’Meara, the stress and uncertainty of your charge may soon be behind you. Call O’Meara Law LLC at for a consultation about your drugged driving charge today.