The leading Illinois DUI lawyers at Ferris, Thompson & Zweig are dedicated to helping you achieve the most favorable result in your DUI case. We have offices conveniently located in Chicago, Gurnee, Waukegan, and Deerfield to represent victims and drivers in DUI-related offenses.
DUI refers to the crime of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. DUI is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $2500 fine. Because DUI is a jailable offense, Illinois requires you to have an attorney represent you. That is the first question the judge will ask you in court. If you have no income and no assets, a public defender should be appointed to represent you at no cost. If you are working, you typically will not qualify for the public defender.
Illinois law prohibits drivers from being “in actual physical control” of any vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or more. DUI is “presumed” if the person’s BAC is .10 or higher and he or she is in physical control of a motor vehicle. The State will still attempt to prove a DUI even if the defendant refused to take the breathalyzer based upon the officer’s observations of the defendant. In this instance, the legal standard is whether the alcohol caused impairment so as to reduce the driver’s ability to think and act with “ordinary care.”
On the road, patrolling police officers might look for the following signs of DUI:
- Abrupt turns
- Erratic driving
- Frequent braking
- Stopping without cause
- Driving outside the lane lines
- Delayed response to traffic signals
While police officers have discretion to stop suspected drunk drivers, they cannot improperly subject drivers to breathalyzer tests or arrest them without probable cause. If you are stopped by police for drunk driving, you do not have to answer any questions. You have the right to speak to an attorney first. You are also not required to perform field sobriety tests examining your agility or coordination. These call for a very subjective determination of your “impairment” and can be used as incriminating evidence later on. You can decline to take these tests.
You are also not required to take a breathalyzer test. You should not take the breathalyzer test unless you are absolutely certain you will pass. While refusal of the breathalyzer test will result in a one year suspension of your driver’s license, you are not potentially incriminating yourself by voluntarily providing the police conclusive evidence of your guilt. Since taking the breathalyzer which results in a blood alcohol content over .08 still results in a six month driver’s license suspension, taking the test is not worth the risk. This is especially true since every first time DUI offender is entitled to a permit which allows you to drive during the suspension, except for the first 30 days, so long as you have a BAIID (breathalyzer) device installed in the vehicle you are driving.
Pursuant to Illinois Implied Consent Laws, drivers can only be forced to submit to chemical testing of their blood alcohol levels by blood, breath or urine if they cause great bodily injury or death to another.
If you have been charged with DUI, contact a trusted DUI attorney immediately. Mr. Ferris is a former prosecutor who has defended DUI drivers for over 25 years. There is no substitute for experience. Mr. Ferris has been successful winning DUI cases before judges and juries. Mr. Ferris has also obtained dismissals of DUI charges based upon lack of probable cause to stop the vehicle or lack of jurisdiction. We understand that being charged with DUI is traumatic and are committed to providing you with the highest quality representation. To schedule a confidential consultation, call (866) 602-3000 or Contact Us online. We look forward to hearing from you.