“Driving Under the Influence” is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, other drugs or intoxicating compounds.
Over 48,000 people are arrested for drunken driving in Illinois each year. Of those Illinois DUI arrests, almost 40,000 are first-time offenders.
In Illinois, a driver is legally considered to be under the influence if he or she has a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, has used any illegal substance, or is impaired by medication. A driver’s BAC is based on the ratio of alcohol to breath or blood. However, an individual with a BAC between .05 and .08 may be convicted of DUI if additional evidence determines that the driver was impaired.
DUI offenders can range in background and age, but according to Illinois state data, most are young men who have been caught driving in the early morning. In 2011, men between the ages of 21 – 24 had the highest DUI arrest rate in Illinois, while about a quarter of DUI arrests were women, and nearly 2/3 of the state’s DUI arrests were under the age of 35.
Law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois and the United States have developed a no-tolerance policy toward the connection between drinking and driving. From state to state, penalties have become harsher and blood alcohol content minimums required for arrests have lowered considerably.
The DUI process begins the moment the police officer suspects impaired driving. This is usually after observing a traffic violation or responding to a traffic accident. The police officer observes the driver’s demeanor, behavior and physical appearance, leading to a suspicion of intoxication. If the officer suspects that the driver is intoxicated, he/she will ask the driver to perform a series of standard field sobriety tests.
The driver may also be asked to take a portable breath test. This test is not admissible at trial.
In a recent case decided in the spring of 2017, the Supreme Court found that those stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated have the right to consult with an attorney before submitting to chemical testing. Anyone stopped by law enforcement and accused of potentially driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol has the right to request an attorney’s advice as does anyone else accused of a serious criminal offense.
Schedule a consultation today
Being charged with a DUI is not a light matter — it is a serious crime that can severely impact yourself and others. Most drivers who are arrested in Illinois for a DUI not only can face the loss of driving privileges but also fines and possible jail time.
Being convicted of driving under the influence can also impact your life in many ways you may not be aware of, including loss of employment, higher insurance rates, prevention of employment in certain jobs, severe financial setbacks, personal and family embarrassment, and having that conviction on your driving records for years―perhaps even forever.
Because you are dealing with high stakes when you are charged with a DUI, it is important that you contact a Chicago DUI defense lawyer today.