Articles Tagged with Chicago DUI attorney

joris-v-541657-unsplash-copy-300x200“Drunk driving” does not always mean operating a car on the open road while intoxicated. Under Illinois law, a person may be found guilty of driving under the influence if he or she is in “actual physical control” of a vehicle, even if the car is parked and not moving. To illustrate, an Illinois appeals court recently upheld the conviction and eight-year prison sentence of a man who was found passed out behind the wheel of his parked car.

The Driver was Not Driving

The case arose from an April 2012 arrest in Chicago. A police officer, responding to an unrelated call, came across a parked car with the driver’s-side door open. The officer saw a man passed out behind the wheel. The officer observed the man had bloodshot eyes and his breath smelled of alcohol. The man subsequently failed a field sobriety test and declined a Breathalyzer test. The man had two prior convictions for driving under the influence.

3scbuulajgg-matthew-hamilton-300x200Though more than 250 laws went into effect on January 1, 2019, one in particular will affect all Illinois drivers. The Secretary of State’s Office announced in its “Illinois DUI Fact Book 2019” that driving the wrong way on any roadway is now an aggravated factor in sentencing for a DUI conviction.

The new law may have been inspired by multiple wrong way DUI crashes along Chicago area roads in recent years, including on I-57, Lake Shore Drive, I-80, and even in the Loop. One in September 2018 was especially disturbing: A woman was over three times the legal limit of .08% blood alcohol when she caused an accident by driving west in the eastbound lanes of I-90. Three people were killed and three children were critically injured. All were from the same family. The drunk driver also died from her injuries.

If you are charged with DUI while driving the wrong way of traffic, it is essential to retain an experienced Illinois DUI defense lawyer to represent you. An overview of the law and its harsh penalties may also be helpful.

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a very serious offense and is one of the most commonly committed criminal offenses across America. In 2014 over 1.1 million people were arrested for DUI in the United States.  The penalties for DUI can vary greatly from state to state and it is important to know what you are facing should you be arrested for DUI in Illinois. As always it is best to first consult an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible following your arrest.28412613255_7e6cedee01

What Constitutes DUI in Illinois

Illinois Compiled Statute 625 is the state’s controlling law for DUI.  It states that anyone who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle within the state with a blood alcohol content of over .08 or while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to the extent they are unable to drive safely is guilty of DUI.

Recently, the Illinois Medical Amnesty Law went into effect. The law, which grants immunity to underage drinkers who call 911 to report an alcohol-related injury, was partly inspired by a similar heroin exemption passed a few years ago. Both laws attempt to address the increasing number of tragic deaths caused by alcohol consumption, many of which could have been avoided but for a minor’s refusal to contact emergency personnel out of fear of prosecution.27610858980_e46bf5182e

Current Law

Under current Illinois law, the crime of possessing, consuming, purchasing, or receiving alcohol while under the age of 21 years old is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by  a driver’s license suspension or revocation for up to one year. The minor is also required to pay a minimum fine of $500 and complete 25 hours of community service. Transporting alcohol while underage is also illegal under Illinois law and any passenger in the car can be charged with a maximum fine of $1,000. The driver faces a one year mandatory driver’s license suspension for a first offense and a one year revocation for any subsequent offenses.