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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Driving Under the Influence in Illinois: Questions and Consequences

Posted on in DUI

drivingMany of us have personal experiences with the detrimental effect drinking and driving-related accidents, deaths, and injuries can have on our lives. On the other side of that, however, are the thousands of people convicted of DUI offenses in Illinois each year. Illinois laws are designed to protect law-abiding drivers and pedestrians from those driving under the influence by establishing steep penalties for driving under the influence, but also to protect the rights of the accused.

Just before Labor Day weekend, the Illinois State Police Department and the Illinois Department of Transportation ran a campaign to encourage responsible driving. The state legislature continues to support increases in drinking and driving penalties, even for first-time offenders. Despite these campaigns and laws, police apprehend thousands of drivers suspected of drinking and driving annually, and hundreds of lives are lost as a result of driving under the influence. It is important to know what your rights are during and after a DUI charge in Illinois.

Illinois Implied Consent Laws

In exchange for the privilege of driving on state-funded roads, Illinois law states that all drivers consent to a chemical or blood, breath or urine test in order to determine blood alcohol content. This law applies once a police officer has probable cause. Probable cause is the standard used before officers can make an arrest. Officers must have gathered sufficient information from a drunk driver’s behavior, admissions, or possibly from preliminary alcohol tests before requiring such tests.

If an officer determines he has probable cause to make an arrest, the arrestee is required to submit to a chemical or blood, breath or urine test. Refusal of such tests at this point in the arrest will lead to automatic license suspension. A first-time offender that refuses to submit to a test may have his or her license automatically suspended for twelve months.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are often used by an officer to assist in making an initial determination of whether there is probable cause to make an arrest. This may include use of a preliminary breath test, which is generally not admissible at trial. It will usually, however, include a field sobriety test—the colloquial name for the series of physical assessments officers use to test the reaction speed, balance, and attention of suspected DUI drivers. The test, designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is recognized under Illinois law as a method of determining an individual’s level of intoxication.

Criminal Defense Attorneys You Can Trust

We understand the possible long-term effects of having a DUI on your record. We also understand the inconvenience and embarrassment of losing your license or having to be away from your family to serve jail time. The DuPage County DUI attorneys at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. have intricate knowledge of the Illinois judicial system and will provide you with zealous representation at all stages of litigation to ensure your rights are protected. Whether you submitted to a Breathalyzer, failed a field sobriety test, or simply have questions about the legal process, please do not hesitate to contact our office today at 630-472-9700. We have two convenient office locations in Oak Brook and Naperville, Illinois that may also serve you if have already been convicted of an offense, by expunging, vacating, or sealing your criminal records.

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