What to do when you're facing DUI charges in Illinois

If you or someone that you love has been stopped by law enforcement, either as part of a routine traffic stop or during a DUI enforcement checkpoint operation, it's important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It's important that you make a record, either written or recorded, of the events that transpired leading up to the arrest or citation, particularly if you believe that your civil rights were violated by law enforcement during the stop or checkpoint interaction.

DUI charges have serious consequences, and it's important that you take these charges as seriously as the state of Illinois will.

Are DUI checkpoints legal in Illinois?

The short answer is "yes." DUI checkpoints, also called roadblocks or sobriety checkpoints, are considered part of random law enforcement efforts to reduce driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and are legal in the state of Illinois. Law enforcement may stop and briefly speak to anyone who passes through a checkpoint. They may then detain and perform field sobriety tests on any individual drivers who present law enforcement with reasonable suspicion of intoxication.

Without that reasonable suspicion, law enforcement can not search your car. However, failure to cooperate with a roadblock may be sufficient suspicion for a short-term detainment.

What are the consequences for a DUI offense?

There are steep penalties for those who plead guilty or are convicted of a DUI offense in the state of Illinois. Even first time offenders face substantial punishment, in the form of as much as a year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and the possible loss of their driver's license. For those with previous DUI offenses or convictions on their records, the penalties are even more steep.

There are other factors that may increase the potential punishments and repercussions of a DUI charge, including operating the vehicle without a license or proper insurance or causing severe injury or death in an alcohol-related accident.

What should I do following a DUI arrest or citation?

As noted above, one of the first steps that you should take, following an arrest for a DUI offense, is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who has successfully defended those who have been charged with DUI offenses and similar crimes. You should not speak with law enforcement in detail prior to speaking with an attorney. You should also not confess to anything or accept a plea deal without first discussing your options with a criminal defense attorney.

Your attorney will be able to review the details of your case and determine what options are available for your defense, including asking the court to drop charges or to not accept as evidence the results of a field sobriety test.

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