Your or your loved one was just arrested in Chicago for driving under the influence, or DUI. You’re scared and uncertain about your future or their future. Anyone can be arrested for driving drunk if they are in physical control of a motor vehicle at the time of a traffic stop or an arrest. Physical control means you or your loved one was sitting behind the wheel of the motor vehicle when stopped.
In Chicago 0.08 Percent BAC or Higher is Above the Legal Limit to Operate a Motor Vehicle
The moment a driver is placed under arrested in Chicago, they are taken to the police station. Police request the driver take a breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer test measures the amount of blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, in your system.
A driver has the legal right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test. However, the refusal will not work in their favor. The judge will take the arresting officer’s word during testimony that you were over the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle. Just because you take a breathalyzer test does not mean you will automatically lose your case.
The Driver is Released and Given a Date to Appear in Court
The driver is booked and processed in the Cook County jail. They will appear at a court hearing where bond is decided. Bond hearing is where you plead guilty or not guilty and a judge decide whether you are released on an OR bond or whether you must pay to be released from bail. Most people are released on an OR bond, or without paying money. However, they must promise to return to all future court dates.
During this hearing, they are also given a date to reappear in court. They are also give the notice of a 46-day driver’s license suspension. The amount of driver’s license suspension may vary according to circumstances. For instance, if your loved one was a first-time offender, the suspension will is for six months. If your loved one had a BAC higher than 0.08 percent or refused to take a breathalyzer test, the license suspension is for one year.
The suspension is not permanent. You are allowed to petition the court to stop the license suspension. This must be done within 90 days of your arrest. This is a separate hearing and the burden of proving you should have your license privileges restored is on you.
The Trial is Where Your Attorney Challenges Your Case
On your court date, you will appear again in criminal court. The driver may have to appear in court one to three times before the trial is resolved. Certain court dates involve exchanging information between attorneys, pretrial motions and conferences.
The prosecutor over you case as the burden of proving beyond all reasonable doubt of your guilt. They must use the elements outline in the Illinois DUI statute 625 ILCS 5/11-501. According to the statute, the driver must be found with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher because of a breath, blood or urine test. If they cannot prove that, they must show the police officer believed based on their experience and training that:
1. The driver operated a motor vehicle
2. The driver’s BAC was at or higher than 0.08 percent
3. The perceived impairment is based on the officer’s opinion and not a blood, breath or urine sample.
Outcome of a Chicago DUI Trial is Not Guilty, Guilty or Plea Deal
If a driver is found guilty of DUI or pleads guilty, their attorney will negotiate a sentence with the prosecutor. For instance, if this is your loved one’s first time offense, the attorney may try to obtain supervision instead of jail time. Majority of DUI sentences include alcohol education, fines, fees, treatment programs.
If the verdict is not guilty, the driver is free to go. The prosecutor did not prove their case.
The third outcome is a plea bargain. This is not trial verdict. Instead, the prosecutor and driver’s attorney decide on a lesser DUI charge such as wet reckless. In exchange for a lesser charge, the driver must plead guilty to the new criminal charge.
Contact Us for Help with Your Chicago DUI Charge
You or your loved one was just arrested for DUI. Do not panic. It may seem like everything is going wrong and a prison sentence will happen. DUI is a misdemeanor, not a felony. Yes, there is jail time involved, but only if you are found guilty.
Right now is the time to contact an attorney and start working on your defense. Contact us immediately for help. We are ready to assist you in challenging the prosecutor’s case against you and proving your innocence. It’s time to get this DUI charge resolved in your favor.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Learn more about DUI by reading this wikipedia page.