SHOULD I BLOW? (TAKE A BREATHALYZER TEST)
NO, for numerous reasons— the most important is that a breath alcohol test helps police prove their case. There is no reason for you to help them meet their burden.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN ONCE I AM ARRESTED FOR A DUI?
Once a police officer determines there is probable cause to arrest you for DUI, you will be handcuffed, read your Miranda Rights and transported to a local police department for booking and processing. Once you are at the police station you will be fingerprinted, photographed, observed for a short period then asked to submit to a breath alcohol test (police always want you to submit at the police station as that machine is more likely to pass scrutiny in court compared to the mechanism police officers use in the field). If you did not blow at the time of being pulled over, do not blow at the station. If you did, please don’t at the station.
Once you are processed you will be assigned a bond amount to post and leave the jail immediately (assuming you have the money, a ride and are sober enough to be released). If you have no criminal background, and the matter is a misdemeanor, it is possible you will be released on a recognizance bond (I-Bond) where no money needs to be posted in exchange for your promise to appear in court. If your arrest leads to a felony charge (due to prior DUI’s, no valid license, great bodily harm, or any other reason), you will be transferred to a county facility and brought to bond court as soon as the following morning for the assignment of a much larger bond. In Illinois, most bonds are “D” bonds and only 10% needs to be posted by your loved ones to get you out of jail.
WHY DO I NEED TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY RIGHT AWAY?
- Your DUI attorney can help you reach immediate peace of mind, let you know exactly what to expect, and make you understand you are not in this process alone.
- Your license is going to be suspended for some period of time (suspension begins on the 46th day after your arrest). Your lawyer can work with you to either get your license back before it is ever suspended or help arrange to have a BAIID device (Breath Alcohol Interlocking Ignition Device).
ONCE I HIRE AN ATTORNEY, DO I NEED TO GO TO COURT?
YES, you need to attend court each and every time it is scheduled, on time and until your case is called. IF you do not appear, you face having your bond forfeited and a warrant being issued for your arrest.
WILL MY LICENSE BE SUSPENDED? IF SO WHEN AND FOR HOW LONG?
- If you refused to take a breath alcohol test at the time of your arrest or at the police station, your license will be suspended on the 46th day after your arrest for one year.
- If you submitted to a breath alcohol test, your license will be suspended on the 46th day after your arrest, for six months.
HOW CAN I STILL DRIVE IF MY ILLINOIS LICENSE IS SUSPENDED?
- Your attorney will review the case with you and the circumstances surrounding your arrest to determine if your suspension could be rescinded by filing a petition for a hearing to rescind the summary suspension. There are numerous factors that could lead to a successful hearing. The sooner your lawyer can review your tickets and talk to you about the arrest, the sooner you can try and get your license back.
- The Illinois Secretary of State offers (after one week of suspension) a mechanism called the BAIID device. This device allows you to blow into to show that you are not above the legal limit of alcohol, in order for your car ignition to unlock. This mechanism costs money to install, as well as maintain in your vehicle. The BAIID device only works in the vehicle in which it is installed.
HOW MUCH DOES AN ILLINOIS DUI COST?
- Your legal costs can be any where from $1,000 to significantly more depending on the nature of the charge and how it is resolved.
- You will likely face approximately $1,500 in fines and court costs if you plead or are found guilty.
- You will have nominal monthly charges as part of probation/supervision if you are convicted or plead guilty.
- Almost all DUI cases start with a drug and alcohol evaluation for the defendant, which costs approximately $150.
- You will be responsible for the costs of any treatment, therapy, classes, Victim Impact Panels, or other obligations that arise from your sentence.
HOW LONG WILL A DUI CASE TAKE?
It will take a minimum of a couple of months (each court appearance is usually 4-6 weeks apart). Your lawyer can not file his/her Appearance or receive Discovery (the evidence) until the first court date which is usually 45 days after your arrest date. However, if you are planning on making a plea agreement and pleading guilty, you will be required to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation through an organization called CSI (Central States Institute for Addiction). This is done before your attorney can negotiate a deal with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, meaning it will almost always take a minimum of three to four court appearances before a resolution is reached.
If you and your lawyer (after reviewing the Discovery and discussing the facts with you) determine to proceed to a trial to prove your innocence, this may take anywhere from 6 months to a year before you are able to find a date where the judge, the arresting and reporting police officers, your attorney and any witnesses are all available.
WHAT TYPE OF PUNISHMENT MIGHT I FACE FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE?
- If this is your first DUI offense, you did not blow or blow a high amount (over .15), and/or no-one was injured or any property was not significantly damaged, you will be eligible for supervision, pending an agreement between the judge, the State’s Attorney Office and your lawyer (representing your interests and only with your permission). Unlike almost all other criminal charges, while completion of supervision will lead to the dismissal of the charges against you, they can not be expunged and you will have a DUI for purposes of counting prior DUI’s if you ever receive one again. However, you will be able to answer any question about ever being convicted as “No”.
- If you have prior DUI convictions or other circumstances which lead to this DUI being treated as a more serious offense, you are facing a sentencing range anywhere from probation to possibly a short jail sentence. Any sentence will likely include community service, alcohol treatment and restitution if appropriate.