Chicago DUI Lawyer
You head out for a night on the town. You have a few drinks but do not feel intoxicated. While driving home, you get pulled over by the police. He says you were swerving on the road. He asks where you were coming from and if you have been drinking.
The next thing you know, the officer orders you out of your car and asks you to perform roadside field sobriety tests. Afterward, he asks you to take a breathalyzer test. You are shocked and confused when you are arrested, handcuffed and placed in the back of his squad car.
Driving under the influence is an incredibly common charge in Illinois. Any number of people have a drink or two and feel fine to drive, but a police officer spots them driving in a way that suggests impairment and pulls them over. If the officer claims to smell alcohol, that your eyes look bloodshot, and that your speech is slurred, you may soon find yourself facing an unexpected DUI charge.
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A DUI charge must be taken seriously. It is a criminal offense, and being found guilty can have many negative effects on your life, including:
- You may be sentenced to jail time
- You may be ordered to pay costly fines and fees
- Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked
- You’ll have a permanent stain on your driving record — and a permanent criminal record
- You may be required to complete alcohol education or substance abuse treatment
- Your vehicle may be impounded or you may be required to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device, or BAIID
- You may be required to purchase more expensive high-risk auto insurance
- You may lose your job if you can’t drive to work or if your DUI conviction causes your employer to believe you’re unreliable
- You may face liability in a civil lawsuit if you caused an accident or injuries while you were driving under the influence
However, you may be able to avoid many — and perhaps all — of these consequences with the help of a skilled Chicago criminal defense lawyer. An Illinois DUI lawyer can help you to:
- Get your charge dismissed or reduced
- Avoid or reduce jail time or fines
- Keep your driver’s license or obtain restricted driving privileges
Every case is unique — as is the possible outcome — but with the help of an experienced Chicago DUI lawyer, you may have a chance at beating your charge or lessening the consequences.
Client DUI Testimonial
“I retained Attorney Michael O’Meara for a DUI case. He charged one flat rate regardless of the number of times we went to court. I made my money back on the first court date by him filing immediately to have my license reinstated. I would recommend Attorney O’Meara, because he is not trying to get paid for every little thing he does. His passion is to win, and based on my experience, he will stay on the case until he achieves that objective!”
How Does Illinois Define DUI?
Most people know that you can get a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is over the Illinois .08 legal limit. However, you can get arrested for DUI in Illinois even if your BAC is under .08 but your driving was impaired. If you were weaving, swerving, speeding, driving too slow, or otherwise driving in a way that suggests impairment, you can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
You may be charged with DUI in Illinois when you:
- Drive in a way that demonstrates impairment — with any amount of alcohol in your body
- Drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above if you’re 21 or older
- Drive with any amount of alcohol in your body if you’re under 21
- Driving under the influence of drugs, including prescription drugs or medical marijuana
How Police Determine You’re Impaired
Police are trained to look for certain signs that indicate your driving might be impaired by the use of alcohol. Initially, they look for an “attention grabber” while your vehicle is in motion that will give them cause to make a stop. An officer might pull you over for a potential DUI for some of the following signs that might indicate impairment, although these are just a few of the potential indicators an officer might use.
- Straddling the centerline or lane marker
- Making a wide radius turn
- Weaving or swerving on the road
- Narrowly avoiding a collision with another vehicle or object
- Driving more than 10 mph over or under the speed limit
- “Appearing to be drunk” by slouching in your seat, tightly gripping your steering wheel, having your face close to the windshield, hanging your head outside your vehicle window, or gesturing erratically or obscenely
- The smell of alcohol is on your breath or person
- Your face is flushed
- Your eyes ares bloodshot
- Your speech is slurred
- You are having difficulty getting your driver’s license or registration from your wallet or glove compartment, showing that your coordination may be impaired
- The presence of alcoholic beverage containers, such as beer cans or bottles, are on your passenger seat or the floor of your vehicle
Experienced DUI Defense
If you’ve been charged with DUI in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs and counties, your best chance at avoiding the serious long-term consequences of a conviction is with the help of an experienced Chicago DUI lawyer.
Attorney Michael O’Meara has more than two decades of legal experience that includes having worked as a DUI prosecutor in Cook County and more than a decade of DUI defense work, which provides an invaluable perspective on all facets of how DUI cases are prosecuted in the area. Call O’Meara Law LLC at 312-909-0706 to schedule a free consultation today.
Illinois DUI Offenses
DUI laws in Illinois can be complicated. The penalties you face may vary depending on whether you have prior DUIs, the amount of alcohol in your body, and other factors. If you refused to take a breath test to measure your BAC, you may be subject to additional penalties in Illinois beyond the penalties for the underlying DUI.
A qualified Illinois DUI defense attorney can explain the nature of your individual DUI charge and what penalties you may incur based on the circumstances of your charge. We also offer information about different scenarios and what you may be able to expect.
- First DUI — Learn about the possible penalties for a first DUI offense in Illinois and how a Chicago DUI defense lawyer may be able to help.
- Second DUI — Repeat DUI offenses are taken very seriously in Illinois and the consequences are significantly worse than for a first offense. Learn how an experienced attorney can help you understand what you are up against and how you can achieve a positive resolution.
- Multiple DUIs — The possible penalties for an Illinois DUI increase with each subsequent offense. Learn more about the penalties you may face for a subsequent DUI offense.
- Felony DUI — DUI can be a serious felony charge under some circumstances. Learn when DUI is a felony in Illinois and the possible penalties for a felony DUI.
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs — It’s also a crime in Illinois to drive under the influence of drugs. Find out more about how Illinois treats this offense and the possible penalties for drugged driving.
- Underage DUI — Illinois has a “zero tolerance” approach to DUI committed by anyone under 21. Learn more about what to expect if you’re charged with DUI as a driver who is under 21.
Important Topics in Illinois DUI Defense
When you’re charged with a DUI in Illinois, it’s natural to have many questions about your charge, the court process, how to defend yourself, and what to expect in the future. O’Meara Law LLC offers information about some important topics and common questions related to Illinois DUI charges, but invites you to call at 312-909-0706 to schedule a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case.
- Illinois DUI Court Process — The court process can be confusing, especially if you’ve never been charged before with a criminal offense. Learn more about the steps taken in a criminal case, what you may be able to expect from the process, and how Chicago DUI lawyer Michael O’Meara can help.
- DUI Accidents — If you are accused of causing an accident that injured someone while you were driving under the influence, the penalties are more severe if you’re found guilty. Additionally, you may face liability for negligence if the injured person files a civil lawsuit.
- Effects of a DUI — A DUI offense can affect you in numerous ways beyond the statutory penalties for a conviction. Learn more about the potential effects a DUI may have on your life, including on your job or career.
- DUI Testing — There are multiple tests law enforcement may perform to obtain evidence that you were driving while impaired by alcohol. Those may include roadside field sobriety tests, breath test, blood test, or urine test. Learn more about these tests, how they’re administered, and how they may be used as evidence against you in your DUI case.
- DUI Warrants – According to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, officers are now generally required to obtain a warrant before forcing a suspect to provide a blood, urine, or breath sample in the context of a DUI investigation. Learn about your rights and how an experienced lawyer can defend you, if law enforcement overstepped their bounds
- Illinois Legal Limit — It’s illegal in Illinois to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. However, that limit is lower for drivers under 21. Learn more about how alcohol affects your body, the BAC legal limits in Illinois, and what happens if you refuse to take a BAC test.
- Common DUI Defenses — Learn more about common ways that a skilled Chicago DUI lawyer might build a defense strategy to fight your DUI charge.
- Your Driver’s License After a DUI — A DUI can result in the temporary or permanent loss of your Illinois driver’s license. Find out more about the consequences of a DUI offense and how you can get your license back.
- Out-of-State Drivers and DUI — If you’re a driver from another state, you may face consequences in your home state for an Illinois DUI. Learn more about how a DUI offense can cross state lines and how Illinois DUI defense attorney Michael O’Meara can help.
- Choosing Your DUI Defense Attorney — It’s important to find the right attorney to fight your DUI charge. Read some tips for selecting a qualified Chicago DUI defense lawyer and learn more about why Michael O’Meara may be the right attorney for you.
- DUI Expungement – A DUI charge can follow you for many years. While DUI record expungement is not a possibility in Illinois, there are alternatives available to make your life easier and assist you with furthering your career.
- DUI FAQ — Answers to frequently asked questions about DUI charges.
- Illinois Administrative License Hearings — When you’re charged with DUI, you also may be subject to an administrative suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. Learn more about the administrative process and how a lawyer can help.