Bloomington DUI Attorney
A DUI conviction can have a lifelong impact on the accused’s life. If you are convicted of a DUI, you may face jail or prison time and fines up to $25,000. In some cases, the fallout from a DUI charge can lead to difficulty retaining or obtaining employment, car insurance, or housing. Even if you were guilty of driving while impaired, working with an experienced attorney can help in getting your charges dismissed, reduced, or in securing a more favorable outcome for your DUI case. The DWI/DUI attorneys at Dodds Law Office, PC, can help you protect your livelihood and fight a conviction.
For a legal team with an extensive background in criminal law, Call a Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer at Dodds Law Office. (309) 829-9300. FREE consultation.
Table of Contents
Get the Facts About DWI/DUI Charges in Illinois
What Counts as a DUI in Illinois?
A DUI charge applies when a person operates a vehicle while impaired by the consumption of drugs or alcohol. To measure impairment in an alcohol related charge of DUI/DWI, your blood alcohol concentration will be considered. This can be done by testing breath, blood, or urine. For a drug related DUI, law enforcement will need a blood sample, which the police can secure through a warrant issued by a judge.
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than or equal to .08. Your BAC is determined by your body weight, food intake, the amount of drinks you have, or the type of alcohol you consume. Individuals caught driving with a BAC of at least .08 typically face DUI charges in Illinois.
Alcohol isn’t the only type of impairment considered in DUI/DWI cases. The consumption of recreational or prescription drugs (including cannabis), either combined with or independent of alcohol, can also impair a person’s ability to drive and lead to a charge of DUI. This type of impairment is typically assessed through field sobriety testing. Blood is also often drawn to identify the presence of these drugs in the body and possibly the amount of these drugs.
Will a DUI Cost Me My Job?
For many DUI clients, a conviction will not impact a person’s employment status. However, your job may be affected by a DUI if it involves the operation of a vehicle, such as a driver required to maintain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), delivery driving, or transport-related services. Additionally, if your employment contract includes a morality clause specifying against DUI or other criminal convictions, you may face termination as a result of your charges. However, it may be specified that termination of employment applies only if you are convicted of your charges, rather than simply being arrested for suspicion of a crime.
Some positions involving professional licensure may be at risk when facing a DUI. If an applicable professional licensing board upholds a policy against criminal convictions, you may lose your professional license after your DUI conviction.
Even in DUI cases where a conviction itself doesn’t affect your job, the consequences of your charges may impact your ability to maintain employment. Mandatory court appearances, community service hours, and jail time may also lead to you missing enough work to lose your job after a DUI.
Will Previous DUI Convictions Affect My Case?
DUI convictions are a permanent blemish affecting a defendant’s driving record. There is no lookback period for DUI charges in Illinois. This means each subsequent DUI the accused faces will take previous convictions into consideration. Typically, the result is harsher penalties for new or subsequent DUI charges if the accused has previously been convicted of DUI. Prior convictions for other types of crimes and serious traffic offenses will also be considered. However, the amount of time that has passed since a person’s last conviction will be a factor considered by the Illinois Judge at sentencing. Obviously the more time that has lapsed between offenses the better.
The permanence of DUI convictions is just one reason why you should work with a DUI lawyer in Bloomington, IL to reduce or fight your charges.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI Charge in Illinois?
The disciplinary action the courts impose for a DUI in Illinois will vary depending on the circumstances of the crime and the accused’s prior criminal record. A DUI charge can range from a low-impact misdemeanor offense to a felony that affects a defendant for life. Crimes that cause no harm to others will typically carry lesser penalties. Additionally, if no accident occurred, the accused cooperated with law enforcement, or if it was the defendant’s first offense, charges are likely to be less severe.
If a charge involves severe impairment while driving, the endangerment of a child, or harm to another person, the consequences are likely to be higher. Convictions involving a higher BAC, repeat offenses, a suspended license or revocation of driving privileges, invalid insurance, death, or the transport of a child younger than 16 will also carry more significant consequences.
Lesser DUI offenses may carry consequences such as court supervision, conditional discharge and probation.Fines will also be imposed, the amount of which will depend on the accused’s prior criminal record and his or her BAC at the time of the offense. In some cases, a misdemeanor DUI offense can result in a short jail sentence. More severe DUI convictions will result in longer jail sentences, and fines up to $25,000.
Do You Need a DUI Lawyer?
Defendants who face DUI charges alone or with a court appointed public defender are less likely to achieve a better outcome in their criminal case. Those defendants are also less likely to receive the information they need to help them get their license and driving privileges back. Retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between small fines or community service and a jail sentence. A Bloomington DUI lawyer with Dodds law office will review the circumstances of your case during your free consultation to determine if any defenses to your DUI exist and build a strong case against your charges if they do.
Common Defenses Against DUI Charges
Even if your BAC was above the legal limit at the time of your arrest, mistakes made by your arresting officers, or the circumstances of your arrest, can help you to reduce your conviction to lesser charges. Your DUI lawyer will review all the evidence to determine the best defense against your legal issue. Common defenses against DUI charges in Illinois include:
- Accepting a reckless driving charge as a plea bargain
- Lack of reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop
- Lack of evidence proving that the accused was operating a vehicle
- Lack of probable cause for the arrest
- Not providing the accused with the opportunity to retain an attorney during the investigation
- Inaccurate or unreliable field sobriety tests
- Breathalyzer test errors
Frequently Asked Questions About DWI/DUI Charges in Bloomington
Do Most People Arrested for DUI Have High Blood Alcohol Levels, or Are They Close to The Legal Limit of .08%?
The general public in Bloomington, IL has the misconception that people who have been found to have violated the Illinois DUI statutes are people who are usually intoxicated or are people who drink a lot. Nothing could be further from the truth. Experience dictates that anyone who drinks outside their home is at risk of being found guilty of driving while intoxicated, and that most DUI convictions are committed by ordinary people. Ordinary people means people like your co-workers, neighbors, or family members. Anyone can be found guilty of DUI. Actors, famous athletes, clergy, congregation members, police officers, people with money and people without. People from all walks of life like to drink and when people drink, often times, they drive when they likely should not.
Is There a Typical DUI Client Seen by DUI Lawyers? Is There Really a Typical DUI Arrestee?
Statistics seem to show that most people convicted of drunk driving are in their twenties. See Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014.
That being said, DUI lawyer Terry Dodds has represented people of all demographics. That is because people of all demographics decide to drive when they likely should not.
What Are the Top Misconceptions People Have About Getting Arrested for DUI when They Speak with a DUI Lawyer About Their Case?
A common misconception witnessed by a Bloomington DUI Lawyer is that a lot of people arrested for DUI in Illinois seem to think that the attorney can somehow get the prosecution to agree to let them plead to something other than a DUI or some lesser offense rather than the DUI. Nothing is further from the truth, and if another attorney tells them differently, it is likely that the other attorney is lying to their face. The reason it is unlikely that the prosecutor is going to amend their DUI/DWI charge to a lesser offense is because there are two types of offenses that prosecutors statistically worship. These two offenses are DUI and domestic battery.
The reason prosecutors are much less amenable to amending these two types of offenses is because they have strong lobbying groups. State’s Attorneys are elected. Individuals belonging to DUI or domestic violence lobbying groups vote; and they tend to vote more so than other demographics. This means that not too many prosecutors are going to amend too many DUI’s or domestic violence cases and upset members of these two lobbying groups–;it is just not going to happen. Amending too many DUI’s and domestic violence charges will also upset another lobbying group that tends to vote heavily. They are the law enforcement officers who arrest people for these two offenses.
How Public Is Someone’s Situation Going to Be? Will Their Work, Family or Friends Find Out?
Unless people read the newspapers, check the DUI arrests daily on the internet, or are running a background check on a particular individual, it is unlikely that people are going to find out that someone has been charged with DUI or convicted of DUI. Of course, the most likely way people are going to find out that someone has been charged with or convicted of DUI is by the defendant telling people about it. Just like anything else, the more someone says something to others, the more likely it is that people are going to find out; it is just human nature.
One of the sad facts about DUI’s is that they are not presently expungeable or sealable in Illinois. If a defendant receives supervision, it is technically not a conviction. Avoiding a conviction is important, so that:
When Someone’s Arrested for DUI, Is Their Driver’s License Immediately Taken? Are Hardship, Occupational, or Work Licenses Available?
When someone is arrested for DUI in Illinois, their license will indeed be taken away. On the forty-sixth day is when the defendant’s suspension will begin.
As of January 1st 2016, any person who is a first time offender or who has previously been found guilty of DUI will not ever lose the ability to drive. However, in order to be able to drive, they will have to have what is called a breathalyzer equipped in their motor vehicle. Driving without the breathalyzer is actually a felony, so it is very important that the defendant not drive without that breathalyzer during the time of their suspension.
There are really no such things as hardship occupational or work licenses. There are certain hardship licenses that are available, but it is very rare that the defendant is going to qualify for this hardship license. The only instances where such a hardship license would be granted is if that person had a severe medical condition, and they did not have other means available to get to their doctor’s appointments.
What Happens if Someone Refuses a Breath or Blood Test in Illinois?
If they refuse, a statutory summary suspension is going to be automatically entered on their license. That suspension will take effect on the forty-sixth day following the arrest. If there are no defenses to that statutory summary suspension, someone who refuses to provide a blood, breath, or urine sample will immediately receive a one-year suspension of their driver’s license. If they submit to the testing, their license will only be suspended for six months, provided they are a first-time offender.
What Is an Interlock Ignition Device? Is Everyone Accused and/or Convicted of a DUI Required to Have One?
A Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID Device) is a statutorily required breathalyzer that must be installed on any vehicle being driven by someone suspended or revoked for the offense of driving while intoxicated (DUI). The BAIID device will not allow the engine of the vehicle to start until the driver submits a breath sample that does not have alcohol in it. Once a person’s license is suspended or revoked for DUI, and they are caught driving without an interlock device, that person can be charged with a Class 4 Felony. Allowing someone else to provide a breath sample to start the vehicle is also a criminal offense.
The installation of the ignition interlock device is typically about $85 that is paid to the installer. There is also a monthly rental fee of approximately $80, which has to be paid to the vendor. There is also a monthly monitoring fee of $30 payable to the Secretary of State office prior to the issuance of the MDDP or ignition interlock device. That $30 is paid upfront and is non-refundable. So it is kind of costly. If someone is in a lower income bracket, they may have difficulty being able to afford to drive while they are suspended or revoked for DUI.
What Should Someone Do if They Just Want to Give up And Plead Guilty to Get it Over With Quickly?
The biggest issue with someone pleading guilty and giving up is that they are going to get a conviction. Without a DUI lawyer, it is possible that the prosecution is going to try to convince them to merely plead guilty. The accused does not want to do this for many reasons. First, having a conviction for a DUI results in a revocation of one’s driver’s license versus a supervision, which is considered a non-conviction. A conviction is going to result in a revocation of the driver’s license, which makes it much more difficult to get back after the period of revocation.
Another reason they want to avoid that conviction is because they are going to be required to carry SR-22 insurance. Therefore, it is never a good idea to simply decide to plead guilty. The best DUI lawyers may be able to get the individual out of the situation, avoid that conviction, and even possibly avoid having to plead guilty. Sometimes, the police officers do something wrong and hiring a lawyer who has been trained to spot those mistakes, makes it possible for the person charged with DUI to convince the prosecution they should dismiss the case or get a not guilty verdict at trial.
What Is the Benefit of Going with Criminal Defense Lawyers vs. Self Defense?
Hiring a DUI lawyer is going to cause the individual to feel more confident in the fact that they did everything they could to avoid the conviction or having to plead guilty to a DUI.
Bloomington DUI Lawyer Terry Dodds explains that the biggest pitfall he sees for people who want to represent themselves when charged with driving under the influence is the failure to understand the procedures involved in getting their license back. A good DUI lawyer will explain these procedures to their client. The best DUI lawyers will also ensure that there is no way to beat the case.
One of the differences between Attorney Terry Dodds and some of the other DUI lawyers in Bloomington and Central Illinois is that he watches all of his clients’ DUI videos himself. So, if there is the possibility of beating the charge, there is a better chance that he will find it. Someone reading this should not be fooled, though. DUI/DWI charges are hard to beat in most instances.
I highly recommend Dodds Law Office to anyone that needs help with a case.
Terry fought for me for the last two years on my workmen’s compensation case. Terry will be my to go to guy if I have anything come up in the future. Couldn’t ask for a better attorney to fight for you.
Thanks again Terry, you are the best.!!
Does the Court Show Mercy Towards Offenders, or Are the Courts Generally Unsympathetic? What if The Person Has a Clean Record?
Whether someone charged with drunk driving is a good person, has a family, and has never been in trouble before are all factors related to sentencing more than anything else. These factors are also relevant in negotiations with the assistant state’s attorney handling the case, but this is usually only true in instances where the defendant is facing a jail sentence as a result of their DUI. More times than not, someone will only be looking at going to jail if there is an accident, the defendant has a criminal background or the defendant has had multiple DUI’s.
What Percentage of Cases Are Seen Due to Illegal Prescription Drugs vs. Alcohol? Is a Drug DUI Harder or More Complicated to Defend?
It is uncertain if data exists identifying the percentage of DUI arrests made in Illinois that are drug related, but generally, driving under the influence of alcohol is much more common than DUI drugs. That is what is seen by Terry Dodds as a DUI attorney in Bloomington, Illinois over the years. People arrested for driving under the influence after taking prescription medication is the least common.
DUI cases involving cannabis or controlled substances are interesting. The best advice that can be given to someone if they are pulled over after smoking cannabis or after using any form of controlled substance, is to invoke their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. This means not to say anything and refuse to provide a blood or urine sample. The reason for this is that the State must prove that the THC levels in defendant’s body exceeded the statutorily prescribed limits or that a controlled substance was present in the defendant’s blood or urine at the time they were stopped.
Attorney Terry Dodds once had an interesting case that he blogged about a few years ago that holds that the State must prove the presence of cannabis or the controlled substance at the time of the traffic stop. The case is State of Illinois vs. McPeak. In McPeak, the Second District of the Illinois Appellate Court held that “the State provided no evidence that cannabis remained in McPeak’s breath, blood, or urine while he was driving.”
How Often Can a DUI Attorney Have Charges, Fines, Jail Sentences, or Other Punishments Reduced?
Typically, a good outcome in a DUI is ensuring that the Defendant receives a sentence of supervision for their DUI. It is important to remember that a sentence of supervision is not a conviction. Moreover, a conviction for a DUI results in a revocation of one’s driver’s license, not just a suspension. It is much more difficult for a person to get their license back after a revocation than it is a suspension. A conviction is also likely to raise the defendant’s insurance premium and may trigger the necessity of carrying SR-22 insurance. There are occasions when it is possible to beat a DUI case, but doing so is often very difficult. The reason why it often proves difficult to beat a DUI case is because police officers have been very well-trained in how to secure convictions in DUI cases. As a drunk driving attorney in Bloomington, Illinois, Attorney Terry Dodds will find out every possible way to get someone out of a DUI.
Are There Alternative Punishments or Diversion Programs Available for First Time DUI Offenders Such as Home Detention, Community Service and Ignition Interlocks?
In Bloomington, IL, some of the alternative sentencing options available for people who have been found guilty of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are not available. No County in the State of Illinois is offering any type of diversion program for drunk driving offenders; there is just too much for a prosecutor to risk to allow DUI offenders a diversion. Other counties such as Champaign County allow jail sentences to be served through electronic monitoring or an ankle bracelet. Community service is a mandatory part of some sentences for driving under the influence. In fact, it is required for people who blow above a 0.16% or are repeat offenders. Other times, a prosecutor may simply want the offender to do some community service hours as part of an agreed plea. The reasons a prosecutor may want the defendant to do community service work varies.
Anyone who has been found guilty of violating the Illinois DUI statute and also had a BAC above a 0.16% is going to be required to complete one hundred hours of community service work. A second DUI with a blow above a 0.16% will trigger a two-day mandatory jail sentence. A second DUI will also cause the offender to either have to spend five days in jail or have to complete two hundred and forty hours of community service work. If you are convicted of committing a 2nd DUI and you have a BAC above a 0.16%, you are going to do some jail time no matter what, as there is no way to avoid it. The penalties continue to increase if someone is found guilty of violating the Illinois DUI statute three or more times. A third time will also be upgraded to aggravated DUI and is a Class 4 felony. The penalties are also much stiffer for those who may be operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated when their license is also suspended or revoked.
What Type of Attorney Do You Need?
In addition to providing defense against drunk driving charges in Illinois, the attorneys at Dodds Law Office, PC, represent victims of a variety of injury accident types.
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