1620 w 18th Street Chicago, IL 60608
VA banner
schedule a free consultation: 312-666-9982
There are multiple issues when someone is charged with Driving Under the Influence. Villalobos & Associates handles hundreds or DUI cases per year and knows that every step, from before you get pulled over all the way through trial and summary suspension hearing, is extremely important. Many inexperienced or timid attorneys will not take the time to challenge the validity of the police stop and will jump at the chance to enter a plea and be done with it. Villalobos & Associates knows that DUI convictions should not be taken lightly and can have long-term consequences.

In Illinois, a person who has a blood alcohol content (BAC)of .08 or above is considered legally impaired and driving under the influence. However, a person whose BAC is between .05 and .08 may also be considered legally driving under the influence if other evidence shows that the person's ability to operate a vehicle was impaired by alcohol or another substance. Two common ways of showing this are with field sobriety tests and blood alcohol detectors (breathalyzers).

Officers will almost always ask drivers suspected of DUI to submit to blood alcohol detector tests (breathalyzers). The blood alcohol detector test gives results instantly and the results will be admissible in court to show that your blood alcohol content was over the legal limit. A driver may refuse to take a breathalyzer test but should know that if he does refuse, his driver's license will automatically be suspended for a year (for a first offender). This is called summary suspension. If a driver does blow over the limit, it is one of the most damaging pieces of evidence for a driver and can easily lead to a conviction with almost no other evidence. Before a driver takes a breathalyzer, the officer must have probable cause to believe the driver is impaired. In order to find probable cause, the officer may ask the driver to perform a set of physical tests called field sobriety tests.

Statutory Summary Suspension
Read about statutory summary suspension here.

Field Sobriety Tests
Before an officer can ask a driver to take a breathalyzer test, the officer may ask a driver to perform a set of physical tests to determine if the driver is impaired. This set of tests is commonly called the field sobriety tests, or "fields." This set of tests was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and consists of 3 main tests: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test; the Walk and Turn test; and the One Leg-Stand test. Officers ask drivers to perform the 3 tests and record the driver's performance according to standards and procedures developed by NHTSA.

Read more about the field sobriety tests here.

Types of DUI
Depending on the circumstances, a DUI can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. After a driver has 3 convictions for DUI, a driver cannot receive probation for any subsequent DUI convictions. In addition, some Felony DUIs are classified as Aggravated DUI due to the presence of at least one aggravating factor.

Misdemeanor DUI
A driver who does not have a prior DUI conviction may be charged with misdemeanor DUI. A conviction for misdemeanor DUI is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail. In addition, a court may order supervision for up to 2 years and also order the driver to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation.

Felony DUI
Felony DUIs can be either simple Felony DUI or Aggravated DUI. A DUI that could be charged as a misdemeanor may be charged as a felony for a number of reasons, such as if a passenger in the car is under the age of 16 and suffered bodily harm at the time of the incident or if the driver's license was suspended at the time. Felony DUI convictions can range from a Class 4 Felony, with a potential sentence of probation or 1-3 years in prison, to a Class 2 Felony with a possible sentence of 3-7 years in prison. Each Felony DUI is unique and requires experienced representation.

Aggravated DUI
A person can be charged with Aggravated DUI if he would be charged with DUI but there is an additional factor that "aggravates" the offense. Some of the aggravating factors are: the driver does not have a valid driver's license; the driver is involved in an accident that causes great bodily harm or death to another; and several more. If convicted of Aggravated DUI, the driver must serve ten days in jail or do 480 hours of community service.

Other Issues
Some people mistakenly believe that you cannot be charged for DUI if you are private property. This is incorrect as the Illinois prohibition on driving while under the influence applies to private property, such as a store parking lot or even your driveway.

Before pleading guilty to DUI, a person charged with DUI must complete an alcohol and drug evaluation, also known as an ADAS eval or CSI eval. Read more about alcohol and drug evaluations here.