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Wheaton DUI defense lawyerMost people are familiar with the handheld alcohol breath tests used by police officers to check for drunk driving. However, many people do not fully understand how, when, and why these devices may be used. Whether you or a loved one are facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI), or you simply want to be well-informed of your rights, understanding breathalyzers is crucial.

Portable Breath Tests Are Not the Same as Evidentiary Breath Tests

Illinois police officers carry portable breath testing devices in their patrol vehicles. These are called “preliminary tests” because they occur before an individual is charged with DUI. The purpose of a preliminary breath alcohol test is to provide justification for a drunk driving arrest. A police officer may ask a driver to breathe into the machine if the driver is slurring his or her words or smells like alcohol. The preliminary test will show a result. If the result is 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration or greater, the driver is arrested for drunk driving.

Once someone is arrested, they are taken to the police station and asked to breathe into a second breath testing device. This evidentiary test is larger and more accurate than the preliminary tests officers carry around with them. Only the results of the evidentiary breath test may be used as evidence during a DUI trial. The preliminary test results are not admissible.

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Posted on in DUI

Wheaton DUI Defense LawyerDrunk driving charges are some of the most common criminal offenses for which people are arrested in Illinois. Usually, driving under the influence (DUI) is a misdemeanor offense in Illinois. People charged with a first or second DUI are often able to avoid jail. They still face driver’s license revocation, steep fines, and other penalties if convicted, but they may be able to regain driving privileges through a special permit. The consequences of a misdemeanor DUI are nothing to scoff at. However, felony DUI charges are much worse.

Felony DUI offenders often face significant jail time and other harsh consequences. Regaining driving privileges and restoring normalcy in your life after a felony DUI can be extremely difficult. If you or a loved one are facing felony DUI charges, make sure to work with a skilled DUI defense attorney.  

Felony Drunk Driving Charges in Illinois

DUI is a Class A misdemeanor in many cases. However, certain aggravating circumstances greatly increase the impact of a DUI charge.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_dupage-county-dui-defense-lawyer.jpgDriving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is penalized by criminal and administrative consequences in Illinois. If you are convicted of DUI, your driver’s license will be revoked and you will not be allowed to drive for the duration of the revocation period. You will also face steep fines and, in some cases, even imprisonment.

However, individuals accused of drunk driving have Constitutional rights, including the right to defend themselves against the charges. One potential defense strategy is to question the validity of blood alcohol test results.

Blood Testing to Determine Blood Alcohol Content

In Illinois, blood testing is frequently used to assess a driver’s intoxication level. Blood testing is not infallible, however. Many different issues can cause blood test results to be inaccurate.

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DuPage County Criminal Defense LawyerMost people are familiar with the blood alcohol content (BAC) “legal limit.” In Illinois and 48 other U.S. states, the blood alcohol limit is 0.08 percent. However, few really understand what that means. You may ask yourself, “Does having a BAC over the legal limit mean I will be convicted of drunk driving?” or “Can I beat DUI charges even if I fail a breathalyzer?”

Understanding Breath Alcohol Tests

There are two main types of breath tests or “breathalyzers” used in Illinois. Usually, when a police officer stops someone and recognizes signs of potential intoxication, the officer will ask the driver to blow into a breathalyzer machine. This roadside breath test is different from the breath tests conducted at the police station. Roadside tests are preliminary tests used to justify a drunk driving arrest. However, these tests are not foolproof, and preliminary BAC test results are not admissible as evidence in a DUI case.

The breath test at the police station is an evidentiary test. The results of this test are admissible in court. However, blowing above 0.08 percent does not automatically mean you will be convicted of driving under the influence.

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IL DUI lawyer Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and other drugs is a danger to all, including the driver, others on the road, and any passengers in the driver’s vehicle. Any DUI charges in Illinois can result in serious consequences, but certain factors make the charges more severe. For example, Illinois recognizes that children under the age of 16 often have little choice but to get into a vehicle with an intoxicated driver, such as a parent who has authority over them. Drivers who abuse their authority by putting minor children at risk are thus subject to additional consequences when they are convicted on DUI charges.

Additional Penalties for DUI With Passengers Under the Age of 16

In Illinois, a first conviction on DUI charges is a Class A misdemeanor. While state law allows a jail sentence of less than one year for a crime of this magnitude, the court will often issue a more lenient sentence for first offenders, perhaps including fines and court supervision in lieu of imprisonment. However, leniency is much less likely if there was a passenger under the age of 16 in the driver’s vehicle at the time of their arrest. In this case, a first conviction will likely include six months of imprisonment, and the offender will also be ordered to pay an additional $1,000 fine and complete 25 days of community service that benefits children.

The penalties only increase with subsequent convictions. A second DUI conviction in Illinois is usually still a Class A misdemeanor, albeit with increased administrative penalties and community service requirements. However, if the second conviction involves a minor passenger, it will instead be charged as a Class 2 felony. This means that conviction can include a sentence of up to seven years in prison, along with fines and community service requirements.

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