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Do Not Get Caught Driving With a Suspended or Revoked LicenseIllinois law provides for a variety of ways that you could lose your driving privileges, some of which may not even be related to driving at all. Fleeing from a police officer, incurring too many traffic violations, not paying traffic tickets or even not paying child support can result in a driver’s license suspension or revocation. Perhaps one of the most common reasons why a person loses their license is because they were arrested or convicted of driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Illinois, DUI convictions are serious and the penalties are too. Not only do you face jail time and expensive fines, but you also face losing your driving privileges. What can be just as serious, however, is driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license.

Criminal Charges for Driving With a Suspension or Revocation

Many people believe that driving while your license has been suspended or revoked is punished simply as a traffic ticket. In reality, if you are caught driving with a suspended or revoked license, you will be charged with a criminal offense, which is much more serious than just getting a ticket. If your license is suspended or revoked because of a DUI charge, the following penalties apply:

  1. First Offense: This is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and requires offenders to serve a minimum of 10 days in jail or 30 days of community service. Offenders can face up to $2,500 in fines and mandatory court costs, and their driver’s license will be subject to a suspension that is double the original suspension period or an additional year of revocation if their license was originally revoked.
  2. Second Offense: A second conviction is charged as a Class 4 felony unless the original suspension or revocation was due to DUI, reckless homicide, refusing a chemical test or leaving the scene of a crash involving personal injury or death, in which case a second offense is charged as a Class 2 felony. Fines can be up to $25,000 and the offender must serve a minimum of 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service.
  3. Third Offense: A third offense is charged similarly to a second offense; it is a Class 4 felony carrying a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service. If the original suspension or revocation was due to DUI, reckless homicide, refusing a chemical test or leaving the scene of a crash involving personal injury or death, it will be charged as a Class 1 felony.

Avoid a Criminal Charge by Contacting an Orland Park, IL, Driver’s License Reinstatement Attorney

Having your driver’s license suspended or revoked because of a DUI charge can be frustrating, but the worst thing you could do is to keep driving without getting a driving permit. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we can help you apply for a monitoring device driving permit or a restricted driving permit. When you are eligible, we can also work to have your driver’s license reinstated. Contact our Cook County driver’s license reinstatement attorney today by calling the office at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Exploring Illinois DUI and Statutory Summary SuspensionsBeing convicted of driving under the influence means you might have to face some rather daunting penalties. Even a run-of-the-mill DUI conviction in Illinois can carry lengthy jail time, hefty fines and a loss of driving privileges. These are all criminal penalties, but unbeknownst to some people, you can also face civil penalties for violations of Illinois’ DUI laws that can affect your day-to-day life in many ways. One of these civil penalties of DUI is a statutory summary suspension, which can cause you to temporarily lose your driving privileges.

What is a Statutory Summary Suspension?

Like all states, Illinois has an implied consent law, which states that all those who are driving on Illinois roads or hold an Illinois driver’s license have given their implicit consent that police may perform a chemical test on their blood, breath or urine if police have reason to suspect that the person was driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. The statutory summary suspension policy allows the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office to suspend the driver’s license of any person who fails a chemical test, refuses to take a chemical test or does not finish a chemical test.

Consequences for Failed or Refused Chemical Tests

Failing a chemical test means that you were found to have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more, a THC concentration of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or a trace of any other type of drug, legal or illegal. Failing a chemical test a first time will result in a six-month driving suspension. Failing a chemical test a second or subsequent time within five years of the first means you will face a one-year driving suspension. 

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Cook County DUI defense lawyer underage drinking and drivingWhen examining traffic offenses or crimes that can be committed while driving, a DUI is one of the most serious charges one can face. The state of Illinois has cracked down on drunk driving in recent years for both underage drivers and adult drivers. Underage DUI is a very serious crime in Illinois. Not only is an offender violating DUI laws, but they are also violating the minimum drinking age laws. Having a teenage child who gets caught drinking and driving can be a nerve-wracking experience, but understanding the laws and the consequences for breaking them can help ease some of the uncertainty.

Zero Tolerance Laws

In an effort to reduce the number of teenagers who drink and drive, Illinois has adopted zero tolerance laws for drivers under the age of 21. Under these laws, any blood alcohol content (BAC) over .00 will result in charges. A first-time offender will lose their driving privileges for three months for any BAC that is over .00. They will lose their driving privileges for six months if they refuse to take a chemical test.

A second-time offender can expect to face much more serious consequences if he or she is caught drinking and driving while under the age of 21. A second offense under the zero tolerance laws will result in the loss of driving privileges for one year for a BAC over .00 or a loss of driving privileges for two years for refusing to take a chemical test.

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Orland Park DUI defense lawyerPolice officers are tasked with protecting our communities. However, as with any person of authority, laws exist to direct how and when police officers can use their power. One of these constraints involves the concept of “probable cause.” In order to pull over a motorist, a police officer must have a good reason for doing so. If you are facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI), and the officer who arrested you did not have probable cause to pull you over, your case may be dismissed.

Reasonable Suspicion of a Crime

To legally pull someone over, a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that the person has broken the law or soon will. The term “reasonable” in this context means that most officers of average training and experience would conclude that illegal activity has occurred or is about to occur. In order for a DUI arrest to be legally warranted, it must be reinforced by probable cause. Put another way, there must be some type of evidence that justifies the belief that the driver was intoxicated.

Some of the common reasons police officers pull over motorists and make DUI arrests include:

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Orland Park criminal defense attorney, DUI charge, field sobriety testWhen an Illinois police officer suspects you of DUI, you may be asked to take one or more field sobriety tests. By law you do not have to agree to such tests. Moreover, if you take a test and “fail,” based on the officer's judgment, it may be used against you as evidence in court.

Court Rejects Peoria Officer's Arrest Based on HGN Test

However, not all field sobriety tests are afforded the same weight by judges. Nor does failure necessarily prove that you were intoxicated above the legal limit in Illinois. Therefore, it is important to challenge any test result that may be inaccurate or improperly administered by the police.

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Orland Park criminal defense attorney, DUI, marijuanaWhen it comes to DUI, there is a critical difference between alcohol and illegal drugs such as marijuana. You probably know that drunk driving is only a criminal offense if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or higher. This means that most people can have one or two beers in their system and not worry about legal liability.

However, when it comes to illegal drugs, Illinois law states that “any amount” in a person's system is unacceptable. In other words, if police find any amount of THC—the active ingredient in marijuana and cannabis products—in your system, you are guilty of DUI even if there is no evidence that you were impaired. Additionally, if you are arrested for a DUI where someone else is seriously injured, you can be charged with an “aggravated” DUI which carries stiffer criminal penalties.

Illinois Supreme Court Rejects “Medical Condition” Defense in Aggravated DUI Case

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Orland Park criminal defense attorney, prescription drugsAlthough DUI is usually associated with drunk driving, Illinois law actually prohibits operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug or controlled substance. This can even include a legal prescription drug. To avoid a DUI conviction, a defendant must prove not only that he or she had a valid prescription, but he or she also used the drug in a manner that did not prevent him or her from driving safely.

Driver Must Prove Xanax Did Not Impair His Driving

In a recent Illinois case, police arrested a man for DUI after blood and urine tests revealed the presence of alprazolam in his system. Alprazolam, better known as Xanax, is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety disorders. The defendant held a lawful prescription for Xanax, with instructions to take two pills per day.

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