DuPage County DUI Lawyer
1. If the breathalyzer result is below .08, can I still be convicted of DUI?
Yes. In Illinois, you can be convicted if the State can prove that you were above .08 or by showing that you were unable to safely operate your vehicle after you had consumed alcohol, drugs, or a combination thereof.
2. Can I be arrested for DUI if the police don’t actually see me driving?
Yes. All the State has to do is show that you were driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated. So you could be charged with DUI even if you were sleeping and in the backseat of your vehicle.
3. If I was over .08, can I still fight my DUI?
Yes. There are many ways to challenge the breath test results. For example, a hearing can be requested to challenge whether the stop or arrest was justified. If they were not, the court will most likely not allow the State to use the breath test results at trial.
4. Do I have to take field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer test?
No. The police cannot force you to do either, unless you were in a car accident which caused serious injuries to yourself or someone else. In that situation, an officer can usually order blood to be drawn without your consent.
5. Do I have to answer if a police officer asks if I have been drinking?
No. You have a right to refuse questioning which may incriminate you. Admitting to any alcohol consumption is evidence the State will undoubtedly use in its case against you. Therefore, it is usually advisable to politely decline to answer questions about this topic.
6. If I refuse to answer questions and take field sobriety tests, will I be arrested?
Probably. In most cases, you will be taken back to the police station, processed and given a court appearance date. In court however, the State will have to prove that you were intoxicated beyond a reasonable doubt. It is much more difficult for the State to do this when it lacks field sobriety tests, a breathalyzer test or admissions of alcohol consumption.
7. Why is it advisable to refuse to do field sobriety tests?
Usually by the time you are asked to do these, the officer has already made the decision to arrest you for DUI. He or she is only looking for evidence to use against you in court. Again, you have the right to refuse.
8. I did not take the breathalyzer (or I did and the results were above .08). Can I get my license back?
In some cases, yes. Attorney Timothy J. Fiscella can challenge the suspension of your license with a “Petition to Rescind Summary Suspension.” If Mr. Fiscella is successful at the petition hearing, the suspension will be cleared from your driving record.
9. Is every DUI a felony?
No. Most first (and second) DUIs in Illinois are Class A misdemeanors. The charge and resulting penalties though, are still very serious. A first or second DUI is a Class A misdemeanor and therefore potentially punishable by up to a year in prison, a $2,500 fine or both.
10. Should I hire a lawyer for a first time DUI?
Yes. In fact, most courts require you to do so. As discussed above, even a first time DUI is punishable by up to a year in prison. Because a conviction can negatively affect your driving record, employability, and freedom, it is advisable to seek the counsel of an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable regarding DUI offenses.
11. What will happen to me if I am found guilty of driving under the influence?
It depends. For a first time DUI offense where there are no injuries or aggravating factors, the court can impose court supervision or conditional discharge. Under these sentences, you are usually required to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation and some alcohol education classes. You will probably also have to pay court costs and fines which typically range from $1,000 – $2,500 depending on the particulars of your case. In certain cases you may have to perform community service.
For multiple offenses, the court’s sentence can vary significantly and can include jail time, alcohol treatment and community service.
12. What is the difference between court supervision and a conviction?
Court supervision is not a “conviction” on your record. So, if you are ever asked on a job application if you have been convicted of a crime you can say that you have not. In contrast, an actual DUI conviction not only gets reported to your insurance company, but also results in the revocation of your driver’s license for a minimum of one year.
13. Will my DUI conviction/supervision stay on my criminal record?
Probably so. In Illinois, the legislature has specifically excluded DUIs from the expungement and sealing statutes.
14. Do I have to get a breathalyzer device installed in my car for a first time DUI?
No. If you are arrested for a first time drunk driving offense and your license is suspended (and you meet other specified criteria), you can have that device installed in your car if you want to drive during the suspension period. However, it is optional and will only be in your vehicle during your suspension.
15. Is there a charge to discuss my case?
No. The Law Office of Timothy J. Fiscella provides free consultations.