DUI Accidents

If you’ve been in a collision, you know the shock, pain, and remorse an accident can cause, especially when someone else’s personal property is damaged or — even worse — when someone is injured. If you’re suspected of causing an auto accident while driving under the influence, you can face serious consequences. You may be charged with a felony DUI if police believe you caused an accident after consuming alcohol.

If you’re charged with a DUI involving an accident, the possible consequences if you’re found guilty may include:

  • Possible incarceration for up to 28 years
  • Up to $25,000 in fines
  • Acquiring a permanent criminal record
  • Loss of your driver’s license — maybe forever
  • Being required to complete an alcohol/drug evaluation and attend a substance abuse treatment program
  • Having a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in your vehicle as a condition of driving
  • Losing time from family and work

Additionally, you may be sued in a civil court by anyone injured in the crash — and your criminal charge may give them more ammunition against you since a guilty finding could be used as evidence of your negligence.

A DUI accident can have an extremely negative impact on your life, particularly if you’re found guilty of a criminal DUI charge. However, a guilty finding isn’t necessarily inevitable. You may have options for fighting your charge, and getting it dismissed or being found not guilty, with the help of a skilled Chicago DUI lawyer.

Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC) and DUI Accidents

Under Illinois law, a driver is deemed to be above the legal driving limit if his or her Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC) is .08 or higher. If the driver is under 21, Illinois takes a zero tolerance approach and any level of alcohol in his or her blood is illegal.

However, even though the legal limit is .08, a drivers’ reaction time may begin to slow well below that level of intoxication. With a BAC of just .04 to .05, the risks of being in a crash rise — and they rapidly increase after that:

  • With a BAC of .06, a driver is more than twice as likely as a non-drinking driver to be involved in a fatal crash
  • With a BAC of .08, a driver is more than 11 times as likely as a non-drinking driver to be involved in a fatal crash

For these reasons, Illinois takes a harsh approach toward accidents caused by drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Penalties for an Illinois DUI Accident

DUI accidents are serious under any circumstance—and all the more so when there is property damage or an injured person involved. If your DUI charge included an accident that caused bodily injury, serious injury, death, or damage to someone else’s vehicle or other property, you could face an aggravated DUI charge and possibly even liability for negligence.

If an injured party files a civil lawsuit, you may be held responsible for any harm caused to other motorists, pedestrians, and even your own passengers. A Chicago DUI defense attorney can help you avoid the worst of these charges.

If you’re charged with a DUI offense that involved an accident causing serious injury or death, you may face stiff penalties if you’re found guilty.

If your crash involved serious personal injury, you risk:

  • Possible imprisonment for 1 to 12 years
  • Fines of up to $25,000
  • Revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of 2 years
  • Class 4 felony on your record

If your crash involved 1 death, you risk:

  • Possible imprisonment for 3 to 14 years
  • Fines of up to $25,000
  • Class 2 felony on your record

If your crash involved multiple deaths, you risk:

  • Possible imprisonment for 6 to 28 years
  • Fines of up to $25,000
  • Class 2 felony on your record

Other factors that can enhance penalties for a DUI accident include:

  • Driving a school bus while under the influence that is carrying a person aged 18 or younger on board
  • Driving under the influence in a school zone
  • Driving under the influence without a valid driver’s license or permit
  • Driving under the influence without vehicle liability insurance
  • Bodily harm of a child under 16 years of age as a result of an accident while you were driving under the influence

Your Defense for Chicago DUI Accident Charges

If you’ve been charged with a DUI accident in Chicago or the surrounding area, you’ll want to seek the help of a skilled Chicago DUI lawyer. A great lawyer may be able to get your case dismissed or secure an acquittal, or may help you avoid jail time or loss of your driver’s license, depending on the facts and circumstances.

Chicago DUI defense attorney Michael O’Meara brings more than two decades of legal experience and more than a decade of DUI defense work to your defense. He also worked for several years as a prosecutor in Cook County and has an intricate understanding of how DUI cases work in and around Chicago. This gives him a knowledgeable perspective from which to build a strong defense on your behalf.

He knows how evidence is gathered, and what strategies are most effective for getting a DUI accident case dismissed. He will evaluate every aspect of your charge and the evidence against you to find the arguments and strategies to obtain the best possible result for you.

O’Meara offers a free consultation and straightforward assessment of your case and your legal options. Contact O’Meara Law LLC today at 312-909-0706 to schedule your appointment and to start fighting your DUI charge.