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Answers from Chicago DUI lawyer

Were you arrested for a driving under the influence? It is important that you act quickly to retain the legal counsel of a trusted and highly experienced criminal defense attorney. Chicago DUI Attorney Fred Mark Dry stands ready to provide you with aggressive legal counsel in your time of need. He has more than 35 years of experience practicing law in Illinois and knows how to help you. If you have questions regarding your future that you do not find answered in this frequently asked questions section, then do not hesitate to contact Fred Mark Dry today and schedule a case evaluation as soon as possible.

Q. In an accident with a fatality in 2008 in Illinois the lawyer for the trucking company I drove for contacted me a few times over the next several months, finally called an told me that it was over I wasn’t at fault It was ruled an unavoidable accident he said. However well over two years later I was arrested an extradited during a routine traffic stop, I was informed Illinois had me charged with aggravated DUI (allegedly had small amount meth in blood and urine) I still lived where I had years before the accident and had my license pulled by Illinois soon after accident and then later re-instated even by Illinois yet for nearly three years wasn’t notified till I was extradited. My question is if the accident was unavoidable would the very small amount of (alleged) meth automatically make it an aggravated DUI?

A. In Illinois, having a detectable amount of a controlled substance in your blood while driving a motor vehicle is a misdemeanor violation of the law. Without an accident involving significant injury or death it would be charged as a misdemeanor. When those or other aggravating factors are present, it can be charged as a felony. To prove DUI/DWI Drugs, the government is only required to prove that you were operating a motor vehicle while you had any amount of a controlled substance in your system. It is not related to having an accident or being impaired in the operation of a vehicle. The accident was what prompted your contact with the police. Depending on other circumstances and recent Illinois case law (e.g.: People of Illinois v. Jake Armer), the results of testing may be successfully challenged and kept from being used against you (evidence suppression).

Q. I have a valid NJ driving license and I moved to Illinois a week back. I rented out a car and using it. Last night near Gurnee, Lake County I was caught for ‘No Red Tail Lights’ 12-201(b) and ‘Failure Yield Authorized emergency vehicle’ 11-907(a)(1)’. Initially I was in the left most lane, and after seeing the flashing lights I moved to the right most lane, thinking that he was chasing someone else. Since I was not over speeding and wearing the seat belt properly, and I yielded to my right lane, everything is good and I was driving slowly for few seconds. But even then the cop followed me behind and then I realized that he is chasing me and I pulled over, that’s why I got the second ticket. This is my first incident. What are the chances that I contest and overturn the second ticket?

A. You have every right to contest any traffic ticket regardless of where you live or where you got the ticket. If the case goes to trial, the judge will decide who is believable and rule accordingly.

It does not sound like you failed to yield.

Q. Got arrested for my second DUI I am 24 in Lake County, IL. I did the Breathalyzer and failed (I know I should of refused the test but I did it anyways) I got my first DUI at 16 and received court supervision/classes/fines/community service and lost my license for 3 months ! I just want to know what I’m looking at now I plan on hiring a good attorney to help me fight a conviction but I feel hopeless like there’s too much evidence ūüôĀ she marked down 2 different court houses at the same day and time on 2 different tickets ( I also received improper lane usage) and put 8:45 pm not am I know I was wrong but I just want to be prepared Because I’m probably gonna lose my license for a while ūüôĀ is there a chance it can get dropped down to Something else?

A. A failed breath test does not guarantee that a conviction will follow. Sometimes there are ways to effectively challenge the admissibility of a breath test or the result it provides. If convicted of DUI, your driver’s privilege will be revoked and there is a possible jail sentence of up to one year. The maximum possible fine is $2,500.00 plus court costs. A jail sentence is unlikely in your situation unless there is some aggravation beyond the offense itself. The breath test failure is subject to challenge. If the challenge is not successful, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months. If the breath test suspension is successfully challenged and you beat the DUI, your driver’s privilege should not be affected after the resolution of the case.

Q. All the details are found in my question, those were the final dispositions.

A. A DUI which is dismissed or beaten at trial can be expunged or sealed.

Q. I talked to a hearing officer 2 months ago. I found out the decision was unfavorable. What can I do?

A. You have a right to another hearing, if you lost your driver’s privilege because of a DUI conviction. In Illinois, it will likely need to be a formal hearing where the presence of an attorney can make a difference. If it was a first DUI and the disposition was Supervision, the driver’s license should not be revoked. You should consult with an attorney.

Q. Basically I was let go of a DUI and the officer didn’t even tell me what my BAC was. I went to jail and my car got towed. I’m only charged with unlawful consumption of alcohol by minor. Could it be changed to a DUI after a judge questions you? And what should I expect for the penalty for underage drinking?

A. New charges arising out of any situation may be added during the pendency of a case until the expiration of the statute of limitations. In Illinois, the statute of limitations is eighteen months for a misdemeanor. DUI can be misdemeanor or felony. As far as being questioned by the Judge, it is unlikely as you have the right to remain silent, unless you are entering a plea. The resolution of each case is dependent upon the specific circumstances and the nature of the person accused. Sometimes a Minor in Possession of Alcohol case is prosecuted under a village code and sometimes under state law. The possible penalties are not identical. If a lawyer is in court with you, your right to remain silent should be protected and a better outcome is more likely than if you represent yourself.

Q. I’ve completed everything the court has ordered me to complete years ago. I’ve found it impossible to get to an AA meeting or any other meeting of the soft since I am in a rural town without much support. I have a one year old and a second son on the way which requires their father to take work off for appointments resulting in us loosing days of work we can’t afford. The only option I have is a one on one counseling service I am able to walk to, is this an option? I’m not sure if my words makes a difference, but I have been sober for 2 years now , back in school and believe that my original evaluation misrepresented my relationship with alcohol. I forgot to add this is for reinstating my license or obtaining my permit. My case has been closed years ago.

A. If you completed everything the court asked of you, unless you were at Evaluation level 3 (Alcoholic), I do not understand why you need the AA meetings for reinstatement. However, assuming that AA is something you need, AA or a satisfactory substitute need to be found. If you feel there was some error in the original evaluation level, we can review it and see if the conclusion is supported by the facts they gathered, some of which you provided. Even if you are at Level 3, you may have a reasonable case for reinstatement, based on the things you mention. There are ways to try to corroborate a person’s claim of sobriety. The best way to proceed is to contact a skilled DUI defense attorney to review the facts and circumstances of your case. That attorney should evaluate whether or not your circumstances would satisfy the Secretary of State regulations for reinstatement. In this type of case, I always review those regulations in my office with my client.

A. If you are asked by an officer to submit to a field sobriety test or a portable breath test it is completely legal to refuse without consequence. There is much controversy over these tests and whether they actually prove intoxication. Refusing either the Portable Breath Test or Field Sobriety tests will deprive the officer of evidence to use against you. In the state of Illinois, you must adhere to a chemical test, if you have been arrested for DUI, even if you are sober. Breath and blood tests are designed to help determine how much alcohol is in your blood.

A. If you refuse a chemical test, your license will be suspended 46 days after your arrest. You may have the chance to contest your license suspension, however, by working with an attorney who can aggressively defend your driving privileges at a court hearing. If your license is revoked you need a DMV hearing.

A. After an arrest or a DUI charge, you will be able to defend your driving privileges at a DMV hearing. This hearing is separate from your criminal hearing and is simply an administrative hearing that will determine the status of your license.

A. If you are charged and convicted of a misdemeanor DUI, then you could be sent to jail to serve a maximum sentence of 364 days. With the help of an attorney, however, you may be able to get your charges and / or sentence greatly reduced.

A. Your car will be impounded after an arrest, depending on where you are arrested. This impounding can be expensive, but once it is paid, you will be able to receive your car again.

A. Depending on prior offenses, your license suspension based on the breath test may vary. First-time offenders will lose their license for a minimum of 6 months, while repeat offenders could lose their license for up to 3 years.

A. You are not required to speak with a police officer until you speak with an attorney. You are protected under the law, and if you refuse to speak with an officer, you will not be prosecuted for your silence. Just inform them that you will not speak until you get a chance to consult an attorney first. If you are being asked it is is likely because the officer smells alcohol; it is best not to lie.

A. The state of Illinois recognizes 0.08% blood alcohol content as being intoxicated. You can be charged with a DUI for anything equal to or above this level.

Q. I only have one other insurance offense on my record and would really like to remove this from my record.

A. No expungement or file sealing is allowed following a disposition of Supervision on a DUI, Reckless Driving except if it happened before age 25,and several other offenses, including, but not limited to most sex offenses, minor traffic violations, misdemeanor offenses against animals. However, Expungements may be obtained for felony charges reduced to misdemeanors, if the misdemeanor offense is one for which Expungements are otherwise allowed. 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(a)3(A); (B); (C); (D)

Q. I was convicted of a 3rd DUI in Boulder Co in April of 2005. I did an intensive rehab program and moved to Illinois when completed. I went through a complete assessment and formal re-instatement hearing and was granted a JDP in September 2011. I went in to be fully re-instated in 2012 and was informed by mail that due to 2 DWAI’s in Colorado that I was revoked for lifetime. I need help, it has been since 2005 that I drank alcohol and desperately need my license back as I have a growing family and profession that requires it. I am willing to move to a different state, but don’t know if that will help… I was told by legal council that I could travel to Colorado and seek representation for post conviction relief in each county, but it has been over 20 years and I don’t know!?

A. Drivers are generally unable to get an Illinois Driver’s License following the commission of four DUI offenses. This is true regardless of where they occurred. Most DUI sentences require counseling and/or treatment. This type of treatment is usually a necessary step in reinstating a driver’s privilege. The Secretary of State will consider whether all conditions of a DUI sentence were completed, including treatment and education. Most people will need to go through these programs to help them understand their own situation and how the Secretary of State perceives drivers with DUI issues. Thereafter, when working with their lawyer they can more easily understand how to present themselves when seeking reinstatement from the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State can issue a Restricted Driver’s Permit to allow driving for work purposes as an interim step to full reinstatement. 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b)4

Q. The police officer recognized me and thought I didn’t have my license. So he pulled me over. Can he do that? And what should I do considering I do not have a lot of money?

A. Driving on a Revoked License is usually a misdemeanor, but can be charged as a felony. Driving While Revoked is most often charged as a felony when the revocation is based on a DUI conviction. Jail sentences are the harshest possible penalty for Driving While Revoked, whether the case is a misdemeanor or felony. Supervision is available for first offenders.

Where Can I Get More Answers?

If you still have questions regarding your situation and how working with a dedicated Cook County defense lawyer can benefit you and your case, then contact Fred Mark Dry today. You future is important, and by scheduling a case evaluation, you can begin working on a path toward ensuring your freedom.