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Arrested For a DUI in Illinois? Now You Have Questions
What is DUI?
A: “DUI” refers to that section in the Illinois Vehicle Code located at 625 ILCS 5/11-501, et. seq., which makes it a crime to drive a motor vehicle or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, or any other drug, which renders one incapable of driving safely.
Q: What are the potential consequences of a DUI?
A: If a person is charged with a misdemeanor, a person can be sentenced to up to 364 days in jail, a fine of $2,500.00, or both. One can be sentenced to probation or court supervision. A judge may require you to attend Victim Impact Programs, be evaluated and complete any alcohol counseling that is required, perform community service. If charged as a felony, all of the above consequences may apply, but there may be a period of imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Q: Will my driver’s license be suspended?
A: Yes. Because of the “Implied Consent” law and statute, your driver’s license can be suspended for 6 months to two years, depending on the breathalyzer and your previous driving record. (See 625 ILCS 5/11-501 & 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1) “Implied consent” refers to your agreement to take a breathalyzer, when requested by the police, while driving on a public road.
Q: Has DUI law changed recently?
A: Yes, major changes were made by the Illinois Legislature changing the Judicial Driving Permits. Individuals are now required to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed on their vehicle if they wish to drive while subject to the summary suspension. Individuals can now apply for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). The total cost of the MDDP permit can be very expensive.
Q: What is a “statutory summary suspension”?
A: The law requires that your privilege to drive be summarily suspended after your failure or refusal to take a breathalyzer test, until the expiration of the time determined by law. This suspension takes effect on the 46th day after someone’s arrest.
Q: Can one avoid a statutory summary suspension?
A: Yes, by winning a petition to revoke the statutory summary suspension. You must file a petition to revoke the statutory summary suspension
Q: What is meant by “the difficult thirty days”?
A: That even if you get an MDDP, you still cannot drive for the first thirty days after the 46th day, after the arrest.
Q: What is a summary suspension hearing?
A: A judge hears the evidence to determine whether the Police complied with the law. There are four grounds for contesting the suspension. If the police have breached any of these grounds, the suspension can be revoked.
Q: How is a summary suspension hearing different from a trial?
A: On a petition to recall the summary suspension hearing, the defendant has the burden of proof. It’s easier for the state to win a statutory suspension hearing, and there can’t be a jury. But there are tactical reasons for conducting hearings.
Q: What is meant by a “motion to quesh” hearing?
A: Similar to a mistrial petition, this is an opportunity to “destroy” or suppress certain evidence from a subsequent trial. This can provide other tactical advantages to the defense.
Q: How is the motion to quash trial different from a summary suspension hearing or a trial?
A: The issues are very similar, but the probable cause investigation stops at the time of the arrest.
Q: What is meant by “implied consent”?
A: Found at 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1, the law says that if you drive, you allow the government to take a blood, breath or urine sample to determine alcohol content. Failure to submit to these samples results in the loss of one’s driving privileges.
Q: What is the legal blood/alcohol content limit in Illinois?
A: 0.08% blood alcohol concentration.
Q: What kinds of things do the police look for when they are on DUI patrol?
A: Simply put, they look for unusual driving, such as weaving, speeding, wide turns, quick stops, and dozens of other inappropriate driving patterns.
Q: After the police make a traffic stop, what behavior do they look for in the driver of a motor vehicle?
A: They will ask you for your driver’s license and proof of insurance, and they will monitor your motor skills and your ability to retrieve these items. They will look for a smell of alcohol, observe your eyes and note any redness or glassy quality. The officer will engage in conversation to determine whether you have slurred speech. The officer may ask where you are going, and where you came from and will ask if you have had anything to drink.
Q: What are “field sobriety tests”?
A: Physical “exercises” designed to test one’s motor skills, coordination, balance, and ability to follow directions.
Q: Can I refuse to submit to field sobriety tests?
Q: What is a “portable breath test” or PBT?
A: A handheld device, into which the officer can ask a driver to blow, that measures a person’s alcohol content.
Q: Can I refuse to submit to a portable breath test?
Q: Is a portable breathalyzer admissible in a criminal trial?
A: No, these tests are inadmissible because they are unreliable. However, they may be admissible at an SSS hearing
Q: If I am arrested for DUI, what next?
A: You will be transported to the police station, a number of questions, fingerprints, photographs and an opportunity to blow into a breathalyzer.
Q: Can a person be arrested for DUI even if they are not drunk?
A: Yes, the standard is whether a person is “impaired” by alcohol, and it is the officer’s reasonable belief that is tested for probable cause.
Q: Can a person be arrested for a DUI even if they are not driving?
A: Yes, a person need only be in “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle. For example, you can be behind the wheel in park, with the engine off and the radio on, and the law may consider you to be in “physical control” of the car, even though you are not driving.
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