How to Avoid the Harshest DUI Penalties

Published: Jan 20, 2017, by admin in DUI, Legal Blog

After being arrested for a DUI, you immediately have to face the consequences of the incident, whether or not you were actually over the legal limit. Once you are arrested and booked for the DUI, you have to obtain bail to get out of jail. Your car may have been impounded, which means you need a ride and funds to get your car back. If you didn’t receive notice of the statutory summary suspension upon arrest, within days or a couple weeks of the arrest, you may receive a letter in the mail telling you your license will be suspended in 45 days. There are a plethora of harsh penalties associated with a DUI.

After a DUI, there is no time to waste in getting legal help. There are both immediate and long-term penalties you need to address. An experienced Chicago DUI attorney from O’Meara Law will represent you in court and help you avoid the harshest DUI penalties.

Call us today at 312-909-0706 to find out how we can start to help right away.

Avoid Losing Your License

One of the harshest consequences of a DUI arrest is that you can lose your license soon after the incident and before being convicted. Upon being arrested for a DUI, you may have been provided notice by the police of a statutory summary suspension of your license. You can also receive notice in the mail a little while later. This is an automatic civil driver’s license suspension that takes place if:

  • You failed a chemical test by having a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above .08 percent
  • Refused to take a chemical test at the time of your arrest

For a first DUI, you will lose your license for six months for failing a breath, urine, or blood test and for one year if you refuse to submit to a chemical test. A second or subsequent failed test leads to a one-year suspension, while a second or subsequent refusal is punished with a three-year suspension.

Unless you fight this summary suspension, you will not be able to drive starting the 46th day after you received notice. To keep your license or at least some of your driving privileges while your DUI is adjudicated, contact an experienced Chicago DUI attorney right away. You have 90 days from the notice date to request a judicial hearing challenging this automatic suspension. Your attorney will file for a hearing immediately to hopefully prevent you having to go days or weeks without a license.

During this hearing, your attorney may argue a number of factors that make the summary suspension inappropriate, including whether you were properly arrested, actually failed the test, or did not refuse to take a chemical test. If there is little basis to argue against the suspension on procedural facts, your attorney may argue that losing your driving privileges entirely will create an undue hardship and that you should have a monitoring device driving permit or a restricted driving permit. Once a breath alcohol ignition interlock device is installed in your vehicle, this permit enables you to get to and from work, school, and necessary appointments.

Avoid Jail Time

You are probably terrified of being sent to jail for a single mistake. Unfortunately, jail time may look like a real possibility if you have a previous DUI on your record or if the prosecutor takes a tough stance on drunk driving. Jail time is rare for a first-time DUI unless there is a mitigating factor, such as having a child in the car at the time. Then you may face up to six months in jail. For a second DUI, the court can either sentence you to a mandatory minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service. Subsequent DUIs, particularly with the presence of other factors, are known as aggravated DUIs and charged as felonies. These may have a mandatory minimum length of imprisonment or more readily be punished with time in prison.

To avoid imprisonment, work with a Chicago DUI attorney. An experienced lawyer will aggressively seek an acquittal in your case. However, if the prosecutor has a strong case against you, your lawyer can discuss with you the best options for a plea agreement. During a plea arrangement, you plead guilty based on certain terms. A skilled lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea that does not include any jail, and instead requires you to complete alcohol or drug rehabilitation and community service.

Contact a Chicago DUI Attorney Right Away

The best way to avoid harsh DUI penalties is to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney like those at O’Meara Law. Upon analyzing your situation, we can offer you insight into the best and worst case scenarios. We will explain the administrative and legal processes for attempting to keep your driving privileges and proving your innocence. If a plea agreement is in your best interests, we will work to obtain you the most advantageous terms possible for your situation.

Call O’Meara Law today at 312-909-0706 to schedule an initial case consultation.