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What Are My Options For Driving After an Illinois DUI Arrest?If you are convicted of driving under the influence in Illinois, you will lose your driving privileges. In fact, you can lose your driving privileges before you are convicted if you fail a chemical sobriety test by having a blood-alcohol content (BAC) greater than 0.08 or if you refuse to take the test during your arrest. This is called the statutory summary suspension and is an administrative driver’s license revocation that is separate from your criminal case. The amount of time that your license is suspended for depends on the nature of your arrest. For example, if you refuse to take a chemical test, your license will be suspended for longer than if you had simply just failed the test.

The Illinois Secretary of State is the governing body that is responsible for the administrative driver’s license revocations. The Secretary of State understands that not being able to drive can create hardship for some people, which is why they have provided a way to allow those with suspended licenses to still be able to drive. If your license is suspended because of a DUI charge, you have two options: a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP) or a restricted driving permit (RPD).

Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP)

For most first-time DUI offenders, an MDDP is the favorable option. To receive an MDDP, you must have a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed onto your vehicle. A BAIID is a device that requires you to provide a breath sample before you can start your vehicle and periodically while you are driving. An MDDP allows you to drive anywhere at any time – as long as you are driving a vehicle that has a BAIID equipped. Only people without a previous DUI conviction are eligible to receive an MDDP, but not those who are under the age of 18 or caused death or great bodily harm during the DUI.

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Understanding Marijuana DUI Charges in IllinoisMany states across the country have legalized the use of recreational marijuana, with Illinois following suit. For Illinois, the beginning of the year brought the legalization of recreational marijuana, but it also brought concerns about marijuana-related DUI’s. Illinois now permits adults who are age 21 or older to purchase and consume cannabis, though the drug still remains highly controlled. Adults are only permitted to purchase and possess certain amounts of marijuana and are only permitted to ingest the drug in certain places. Like alcohol users, marijuana users are subject to charges if they are caught driving while under the influence.

Illinois’ Marijuana DUI Laws

The 2020 Illinois DUI Factbook states that drivers in Illinois are not permitted to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs such as cannabis, whether it was used for medical or recreational purposes. Like alcohol, the state has placed a limit for what is considered to be a legal amount of THC (the intoxicating compound in marijuana) in a driver’s blood. While the intoxication limit for alcohol is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, the intoxication limit for THC is no more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter of another bodily substance.

The issue with marijuana-related DUI’s is that they are not as clear cut as alcohol-related DUI’s. One of the reasons why marijuana-related DUI’s are a bit of a gray area is because there is no 100 percent accurate way of determining how intoxicated a person is when under the influence of cannabis. When it comes to alcohol, most people are impaired when their BAC is 0.08 or more. When it comes to the legal THC limit, some people can feel intoxicated with less than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood, while other people may sincerely not be intoxicated with more than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood. There is also the issue that traces of THC remain in a person’s body for weeks after using marijuana.

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How Do Consequences Change for DUI If There Is a Child in the Vehicle?If you have a child, you know that your first priority is making sure they are safe at all times. Even though we strive to keep our children out of harm’s way, sometimes things happen that cause our children to be put in danger, whether it is our fault or not. Having a child in the vehicle when you are arrested for driving under the influence is a serious situation. Not only do you face consequences if convicted for driving while under the influence, but that could be just the beginning of your worries. Illinois law has provisions for what happens when a person is arrested and convicted of DUI when there is a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle with them.

Consequences for First-Offense DUI with a Child in the Vehicle

Consequences of being convicted of a DUI for a first offense can vary depending on the judge, but there is a good chance that you can receive court supervision as a sentence, which could keep a conviction off your criminal record. As long as you follow the rules of your court supervision, which typically include attending drug/alcohol counseling and/or community service, your case will be dismissed at the end of the supervision period. However, if a child was with you in your car during your first DUI, you face a minimum fine of $1,000 and at least 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

Consequences of Felony DUI with a Child in the Vehicle

There are some situations in which you could be charged with a felony because you were carrying a child in the vehicle when you were arrested for DUI. If you got into a car crash while driving under the influence and a child was injured, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony, which comes with the possibility of up to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. In addition to that, you face a mandatory fine of $2,500 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children. Penalties increase for second or subsequent offenses.

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Defending Against DUI Charges in IllinoisWhen it comes to criminal laws and punishments, each state creates its own. When it comes to driving under the influence, the legal BAC limit for almost all states is 0.08 (Utah recently lowered its limit to 0.05), but the consequences of breaking that law differ greatly between states. Some states, like South Dakota, have no minimum jail sentence or fines for first or second-time DUI offenders. Illinois has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country, with a first offense resulting in an administrative driver’s license suspension, fines and possible jail time.  

Defense Strategies

Being accused of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a very serious matter. Even if you are not convicted, you can face a driver’s license suspension and the arrest may appear on your criminal record during a background search. It is crucial that you have help from an experienced DUI defense attorney if you are facing DUI charges. Your attorney will be able to examine your situation and determine what the best defense strategy would be for your case. Common defenses to DUI charges include:

  • You Were Not Read Your Miranda Rights: Since the Miranda v. Arizona decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, every American citizen must be read their constitutional rights before they are questioned by police. These rights include your right to remain silent and your right to not speak until you have talked to an attorney. If you did not have your rights read to you before you answered questions or your rights were not completely read, your attorney can use this as a defense to bar evidence from after your arrest. 
  • You Were Unlawfully Pulled Over: Police cannot just pull you over for no reason – they have to have what is called “reasonable suspicion,” which means they must have a legitimate reason to believe that you have done or are doing something illegal.
  • Your Chemical BAC Test Was Inaccurate: Nothing is perfect, not even chemical BAC tests. During traffic stops, portable breathalyzer tests are often used to establish a suspect's BAC. Medical conditions like acid reflux or diabetes, as well as improperly maintained equipment, can produce inaccurate results.

Hire a Will County DUI Defense Lawyer to Help With Your Case

If you have been arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should immediately contact a knowledgeable Joliet, IL, DUI defense attorney. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we understand how a DUI conviction can affect your life. We will do everything in our power to avoid a conviction. Call our office today at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Understanding Field Sobriety Tests During Illinois DUI StopsBefore police even pull you over for a DUI stop, they will be watching your actions and the way you are driving to determine if a traffic stop is needed. The police officer will be looking for signs of alcohol impairment, such as failing to maintain proper lane position, speeding and braking problems, poor judgment and lack of vigilance. Once the officer believes they have enough evidence to initiate a traffic stop, they will pull you over and may ask you to step out of the vehicle. If the officer suspects that you might be under the influence of alcohol, they will ask you to complete a series of tests, which are called field sobriety tests. These can be standardized or non-standardized, although standardized field sobriety tests tend to hold up better in court because they have been extensively studied. 

Standardized Tests

Standardized field sobriety tests have been studied and determined to be fairly accurate in determining if someone is impaired by alcohol. An officer will ask you to perform these tests during almost every traffic stop for suspicion of DUI. There are three types of field sobriety tests that are considered to be standard:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN): During this test, the officer will be looking at the involuntary shaking of your eyeball as you gaze to the side, following the motion of the officer’s finger or pen. This is a phenomenon that occurs when people rotate their eyes at high peripheral angles but is exaggerated and occurs at lesser angles when a person is impaired by alcohol. 
  • Walk-and-turn: This test involves you walking along a line on the ground while maintaining your balance and focus. The officer will ask you to take nine heel-to-toe steps, turn on one foot and return in the same manner. The officer will be watching to see if you can follow directions and how intact your balance is.
  • One-leg stand: During this test, you will be instructed to stand with one of your feet about six inches off of the ground, during which you will be asked to count out loud until the officer tells you that you can stop after about 30 seconds. The officer will be looking to see if you can balance without swaying, putting your foot down or using your arms to keep balanced.

Non-Standardized Tests

The type of tests that officers use typically depends on the specific police department they work for and that department’s policies. Illinois police have been known to use other non-standardized tests during DUI traffic stops, which you may be able to challenge in court. These tests include:

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