Areas of Practice
DUI Defense Lawyer in McHenry County
Driving Under the Influence, or DUI, is a serious and complex charge that carries with it harsh penalties. Under no circumstances should you try to defend yourself on a DUI charge. Since a sentence for the charge of DUI could include jail time, the Judge will be very reluctant to permit you to defend yourself. Even if you think you can’t afford the services of an experienced McHenry County DUI lawyer, stop and consider the alternatives – loss of driving privileges, hefty fines, and possible jail time.
The odds of beating a DUI charge in McHenry County without experienced and competent legal representation are slim and not worth the risk of losing your freedom. A charge of DUI involves two parallel but separate proceedings brought against you by law enforcement and the Illinois Secretary of State (SOS). Although your DUI defense attorney can handle both the administrative and criminal side of things, it is important to understand the basics of both processes.
The Administrative Component of DUI
The administrative, or civil, component of a DUI matter is enforced by the Illinois Secretary of State and involves the statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license. If you are arrested for the offense of DUI in Illinois, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for a period of 6 months if you submitted to a breath, blood or urine test, and the test results indicated a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or greater, or showed the presence of drugs in your system. If you refuse to submit to chemical testing, then the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend your driver’s license for 12 months. The Illinois Secretary of State suspends your driver’s license 46 days after your charge for DUI.
The reinstatement of your driver’s license is not automatic, even if the Prosecutor dismisses your DUI charge, or you are found “Not Guilty” of DUI after Trial. In order to have your driver’s license reinstated, you must pay a reinstatement fee of either $250.00, or $500.00, depending on how many times you have been charged with a DUI offense. If you are not sentenced to a period of Court Supervision, and are convicted of the offense of DUI, then the Illinois Secretary of State will revoke your driver’s license for a minimum of one year, at least five years for a second DUI conviction (in any 20-year period), at least 10 years for a third DUI conviction, and a lifetime revocation for a fourth DUI conviction. All of these scenarios presume that DUI is the only charge that you are facing. Other criminal charges and traffic offenses commonly associated with the charge of DUI include reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, improper lane usage, and failure to obey a traffic control signal.
The Criminal Component of DUI
The criminal component of DUI involves the criminal charge of DUI against the motorist by the law enforcement officer. An arrest involves, in part, the police officer administering Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, the police officer requesting that you submit to a Preliminary Breathalyzer Test (PBT), and handcuffing and transporting you to the police department for processing. A first or second charge for the offense of DUI is classified as a Class “A” Misdemeanor, though under certain circumstances a first-time DUI charge could be a Felony offense. For example, committing DUI while operating an uninsured motor vehicle, or committing DUI while not maintaining a valid driver’s license, or committing a DUI and involvement in an accident which causes bodily harm or death could result in law enforcement officials charging a first-time DUI offender with a Felony DUI. A third conviction for a DUI charge is a Felony offense, as is every conviction for the charge of DUI after that. Any DUI conviction carries with it the possibility of jail time.
Other Consequences of DUI
A DUI conviction in Illinois becomes a permanent part of your driving record; the record of a DUI charge cannot be sealed or expunged. Because a DUI conviction is a criminal conviction, it can be a source of embarrassment. A DUI conviction can harm your current and future employment opportunities. A DUI conviction could cause you to lose any security clearances you may have. If you maintain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), the Illinois Secretary of State will disqualify you from maintaining a CDL as a result of a DUI conviction. A DUI conviction may make it difficult for you to rent an apartment, or even cause damage to relationships and marriages. As a result of a DUI conviction, you will be required to carry high-risk auto insurance for at least 3 years, which can be very expensive. The list of unintended, and collateral, consequences goes on and on.
The State of Illinois has recently issued a booklet on the dangers of driving under the influence, click on this link to download your copy: https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf