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IL defense lawyerAccording to national statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, July 4 is one of the most dangerous days of the year for fatal car accidents involving alcohol. Drinking is a part of many Fourth of July celebrations, and understandably, law enforcement officers in Illinois and throughout the U.S. are always on high alert for drivers who show signs of impairment. A DUI arrest could easily ruin your holiday weekend, especially if you are in an accident resulting in injury or death. You should be careful to avoid putting yourself in a situation in which you could face serious criminal charges.

Refrain From Drunk Driving

Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are all holidays where family and friends enjoy getting together and celebrating. The best way to avoid DUI charges is to avoid driving altogether if your abilities may be impaired by alcohol. Here are some suggestions that can help keep you and others safe on holidays:

  • Celebrate at home. Hosting a celebration at your own home, even just for your own family or close friends, means that you will not have to figure out how to get home afterward. If guests are driving to your gathering and planning on drinking, you might even consider asking them for their car keys to prevent them from driving home drunk.
  • Understand the effects of buzzed driving. One of the most costly mistakes for drivers is underestimating the effects that even a small amount of alcohol can have on their driving abilities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that even with a BAC of 0.02, well below the legal limit, a driver’s attention, judgment, and visual functions may be impaired. If you plan to drink at all, staying off the road is your safest bet.
  • Arrange for a designated driver. As you make your plans for the holiday, try to identify someone in your party who will stay sober. A designated driver who abstains from drinking is a safer option than a driver who tries to monitor their alcohol consumption and driving abilities.
  • Use a rideshare service. If you cannot find a designated driver, or if the night does not turn out as expected, you can always hire a rideshare driver to help you get home safely. This may come with a cost, but it is far less expensive than the consequences of a DUI conviction.

Contact a Chicago, IL DUI Defense Attorney

If you are pulled over or arrested for driving under the influence, it is important to understand your rights, including your right to consult with a Cook County criminal defense lawyer. At Luisi Legal Group, we represent clients who are facing DUI charges and help them present the best possible defense. If you need experienced legal representation, contact us at 773-276-5541 and schedule a free consultation.

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IL DUI lawyerDriving after consumption of alcohol or drugs is a dangerous action. It can put the driver and those around him or her at risk of injuries or even death. This is why Illinois has strict penalties for those who choose to drive intoxicated.

Illinois State Police officers have the right to pull over any vehicle they suspect is being driven by a drunk driver. Signs that they look for are the car swerving across the road, braking and/or speeding suddenly for no reason, and misuse of car indicator lights.

The DUI Traffic Stop Process

Like any other traffic stop, the police officer will ask for the driver’s license and proof of insurance. They can also ask the driver if they are aware of what they have been stopped for. All the while, the officer is observing the condition of the driver. They are looking for signs that the driver is intoxicated:

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IL DUI attorneyWhile we have seen national campaigns designed to combat driving under the influence of alcohol for decades, the concept of drug DUIs is fairly new in the public consciousness. Since the legalization of medical marijuana and recreational cannabis in a growing number of states, law enforcement has been forced to adjust.

That includes in Illinois, where medical cannabis was legalized in 2013. There are now approximately 40,000 medicinal users registered through the Illinois Department of Public Health, in addition to thousands of unregistered recreational users throughout the state. Like alcohol, there are strict rules in place to limit the frequency of marijuana DUI.

Cannabis DUI in Illinois

Illinois law states medical marijuana users may not drive under the influence of cannabis, and they must transport it in a sealed container that is not accessible while the automobile is moving. If a licensed patient or any citizen is pulled over, and the officer believes the driver is impaired by cannabis, they must submit to field sobriety testing. Refusal or test failure results in a driver’s license suspension and possible revocation of their medical marijuana card.

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IL defense lawyerIn recent years, police officers have been more strict on how they handle DUI cases -- and for good reason. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 10,874 people who died in alcohol-related car crashes in 2017. Because of this, penalties for DUI convictions and even arrests can be quite severe.

If an officer pulls you over because he or she thinks you may be under the influence, the officer will probably ask you to step out of your vehicle. They will also probably ask you to submit to a number of field sobriety tests, which is how they gain sufficient evidence to arrest you for DUI. If you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, you will be asked to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Refusing to submit to the chemical test can mean you will be subject to penalties.

Illinois Implied Consent

Most states have an implied consent law and Illinois is no exception. According to Illinois law, any person who is in actual physical control of a vehicle on Illinois roads has been deemed to have consented to give a sample of blood, breath or urine to test for their BAC or traces of drugs if they have been arrested for DUI. The arresting officer must have had probable cause to arrest the person.

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IL DUI lawyerThere are many ways that you can lose your driving privileges in Illinois -- not paying child support, not taking care of parking tickets and not paying toll fees. However, the most common way Illinoisans lose their driving privileges is by being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or related charges. In Illinois, you are subject to an administrative license suspension, in addition to any criminal suspensions you may face. Failing a chemical test to measure your blood-alcohol content (BAC) and refusing to take a chemical test are two common DUI-related charges that result in a loss of driving privileges. In order to get your driving privileges back, you will have to attend an informal or formal hearing at the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

Informal Hearings

If your driver’s license was suspended or revoked due to a DUI-related charge or conviction that did not involve a fatality and this was your first DUI, you do not have to attend a formal hearing and can attend an informal hearing. Informal hearings are held at certain driver services facilities throughout the state on a walk-in basis. You will provide the hearing office with all applicable documentation, which will then be sent to the main office in Springfield. The main office will mail you a letter stating the outcome of the hearing, which can be either a denial, a restricted driving permit or a full reinstatement of your driving privileges.

Formal Hearings

If this is not your first DUI disposition or your DUI charge involved a fatality, you will be required to attend a formal administrative hearing. You must mail in a written request for a hearing, which will take place at administrative buildings in either Springfield, Chicago, Joliet, or Mt. Vernon. During the hearing, a hearing officer will listen to all testimony, review all documentation and examine all evidence and witnesses. The hearing officer will then issue a recommendation based on all of that information.

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