DUI Most frequent questions and answers
Is it illegal to drink alcoholic beverages and drive in Illinois?
In Illinois it is not illegal to drink alcohol and then drive. It is illegal to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater and to get behind a wheel. It is illegal to be drunk and drive a vehicle, but simply having a drink and then driving is not necessarily illegal.
Will my license be suspended because of my DUI arrest?
If you are stopped by a police officer for DUI and you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for a period of 12 months. If you are stopped by a police officer for DUI and you submit to a breathalyzer test and register a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater, your license will be suspended for six months. Furthermore, if you receive a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, the Secretary of State will revoke your driver’s license and you will have to have a hearing to receive your license back.
How can I get my license back after it has been suspended for DUI?
There are several ways to get your license back if you have lost your license because you were arrested for DUI. The first way is to petition the court to have a hearing. This hearing is commonly referred to as a petition to rescind statutory summary suspension and requires an evidentiary hearing in front of a judge. If your license is revoked you must have a hearing with the secretary of state in order to get your license back.
If I register over .08 on the Breathalyzer test, am I automatically guilty of DUI?
Under Illinois law, it is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if you have registered a .08 or above on a breathalyzer test. However, the prosecutor still must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to be convicted of DUI. A good defense attorney will be able to make sure that all the evidence was properly gathered and whether the prosecutor can prove that you were driving drunk.
Do I have to take the field sobriety tests?
In Illinois, a police officer cannot force you to take field sobriety tests. It is your right to refuse to take any tests that you do not wish to take. A refusal of tests however, can still lead to your arrest and to your license being suspended.
Do I have to take the breathalyzer test?
In Illinois, a police officer cannot force you to take a breathalyzer test. It is your right to refuse to take any tests that you do not wish to take. A refusal of tests however, can still lead to your arrest and to your license being suspended.
Do I have the right to remain silent when I am stopped or investigated for DUI?
In Illinois, when you are stopped or investigated for a DUI you must give the police officer your drivers license, proof of insurance and proof of registration if the officer requests those documents. You are not required to answer any further questions from the police officers or submit to any further tests that the officer may ask you to perform.
If I am stopped for DUI, am I being video and audio recorded?
In Illinois, police officers are not required to video and/or audio record your investigation. Some police departments have video and audio recording devices. If however, your arrest is being recorded, the police officers and prosecution are required to give you a copy of the recording.
What questions to ask DUI lawyers?
There are many questions that you should be asking in order to make sure that your attorney is experienced in DUI laws.
A good place to start is to ask the attorney about their background. How many DUI cases have they handled? What are some of the outcomes on cases they have handled? Here is a list of a few background questions you should be asking your attorney:
- How many cases have you been able to plea bargain to an amended charge or get a dismissal?
- How often do you take cases to trial?
- How long have you been representing DUI clients?
- What percentage of your caseloads is devoted to DUI defense?
- Are you a former DUI prosecutor?
Many experienced DUI attorneys may have specialized training in regard to the specifics of DUI laws. You may want to ask:
Are you certified by any DUI organization including NHTSA?
What types of organizations do you belong to?
Have you taken any classes in DUI training, such as the standardized field sobriety test courses?
Make sure you arrange a fee agreement with your attorney before you decide to hire them. Make sure that the agreement is completely spelled out. Some common questions to ask would be:
- Do you charge an hourly rate or a flat fee?
- What does that flat fee include?
- How much is your hourly rate?
- Is there an extra charge to get my license back?
- What types of payment do you accept?
Do not be afraid to ask your attorney what he believes is an appropriate outcome for this case when evaluating the attorney. Some questions you might want to ask are:
- Is this a case I am likely to win?
- Should we take a plea agreement?
- Can you get me my license back?
- Do you think I can get the charges amended?
- Should we go to trial?