A pleasant night out can change in an instant. A nice dinner, a few drinks, maybe even a Bears game, can easily turn into driving home with the police due to a DUI. And it doesn’t take drunkenness to get pulled over. Driving too fast or swerving on the highway can signal a trooper to stop your car, even if you’re not feeling intoxicated. You may be asked to blow into a breathalyzer or even to undergo a roadside sobriety test. Next thing you know, the officer is driving you to the police station. As you sit in back of the cruiser, he informs you that you were driving under the influence.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Illinois, you’re not alone. Nearly 35,000 arrests occurred in 2013. Many people can enjoy a drink or two and feel fine; but a police officer will pull a driver over for her driving regardless of how many drinks she has had. Probable cause, reasonable suspicion, or unusual operation are all reasons an officer can stop your vehicle. If he then claims to have smelled alcohol on your breath, or to have seen inflammation in your eyes, you may soon face an unexpected DUI.
DUI charges can have a profoundly negative impact. From requiring you to serve jail time to costing thousands of dollars, they can haunt you for life. But mitigating DUI penalties is possible with the right Chicago DUI lawyer. O’Meara Law LLC can help you to avoid or reduce jail time or fines, and may even get your charge dismissed.
Getting your first DUI can be a shocking experience. You may have heard stories of people losing their driver’s license or even having to go to jail. A Chicago criminal defense attorney can help you avoid these outcomes. With a good Chicago DUI lawyer, you have the best chance of keeping your driving record clean.
In Illinois, you may be charged with a DUI if you:
- Drive in a way that demonstrates impairment—with any amount of alcohol in your body
- Drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above, if you’re 21 or older
- Drive with any amount of alcohol in your body, if you’re under 21
- Drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or above if you hold a commercial driver’s license
- Drive under the influence of drugs, including prescription drugs, or medical marijuana
First-Time DUI Penalties
If your BAC is over .08 (the Illinois legal limit), you could face:
- A Class A misdemeanor
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- Suspension of vehicle registration
- Possible imprisonment for up to one year
- Fines of up to $2500
Additional factors that could enhance your penalty are:
- If your BAC is over .16 — a mandatory minimum $500 fine, and a mandatory minimum 100 hours of community service
- If a child under the age of 16 is in your vehicle — imprisonment for up to six months; mandatory minimum $1000 fine; plus 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children
- If a child under the age of 16 is involved in a crash resulting in bodily harm due to your driving — a mandatory fine of $2500; 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children; a Class 4 Felony involving possible imprisonment of 1-12 years and up to $25,000 in fines.
Under Illinois law, DUI penalties worsen as convictions compound a driver’s record. Therefore, it is imperative to fight your first DUI. O’Meara Law LLC will fight to keep your driving record clean.
Your Defense for First DUI Charges
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Chicago or the surrounding area, you will want to seek the help of a Chicago criminal defense attorney. O’Meara Law LLC will work with you to negotiate a plea in a number of ways and strive to help you reduce or even dismiss your charges.
Attorney Michael O’Meara brings more than two decades of legal experience and more than a decade of DUI defense work to the DUI cases he takes on. He knows how evidence is legally supposed to be gathered and what strategies are most effective for getting a DUI case dismissed. He will consider whether you were actually impaired, whether your field sobriety test was faulty, and whether an officer had probable cause to stop you—and he’ll fight to demonstrate that the evidence brought against you should be partly or wholly eliminated to get the best possible result for your case.