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Will County DUI Lawyer

Defending DUI Cases in Will County with Our Experienced Legal Team and Proven Tactics

What does it mean to be charged with DUI? Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are the terms that are most commonly used to describe the offense of drunk driving. While most states use either DUI or DWI to identify the offense, other states may use terms like operating under the influence (OUI) or other similar terminology. Regardless of the specific words used, drunk driving is one of the most serious of all driving offenses. This is not surprising, as intoxicated driving accounts for a significant percentage of fatalities in traffic accidents. Because of the risks of drunk driving, DUI offenses carry severe penalties, and even tougher laws are likely to be put into place in the future.

Three Types of DUI Laws

  • Driving under the influence - Every state in the United States has laws making DUI or DWI a criminal offense. This crime involves driving a motor vehicle when a person's physical or mental facilities have been impaired due to drinking alcohol, using illegal drugs, or consuming any other substances that have affected their ability to control a vehicle.
  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent - Every state has also made it illegal to drive when a person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. A person can face criminal charges if they were found to have too much alcohol in their blood at the time they were driving, even if their ability to drive was not affected by their alcohol use.
  • Felony DUI - Felonies are serious crimes that usually result in a sentence of one year or more in prison. Certain "aggravating factors" may cause a DUI to be elevated to a felony offense.

What Is "Driving Under the Influence?"

DUI laws prohibit driving while a person is under the influence of alcohol, a drug that causes intoxication, and or the combination of any substances. This offense is not based on a person's blood-alcohol level, but rather on how the use of substances has affected their ability to drive safely.

To convict a person of the offense of driving under the influence, a prosecutor must show that:

  • The person was in control of a vehicle. Most of the time, this means that the vehicle was in motion, and the person was steering and controlling it.
  • While they were driving, the person's ability to safely control the vehicle was affected by the substance or substances they had consumed. It is important to note in some cases, a person's ability to drive may be affected even if they consumed a fairly small amount of alcohol or drugs. A person may also be considered to be under the influence if their ability to drive was affected by the use of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications.

Given these elements, a DUI defendant could argue that a fellow passenger was actually driving but forced the person to switch seats before the police officer arrived at the car. Another argument would be that although the defendant had been drinking that day, the alcohol either had not yet entered or had already left their bloodstream during the time the defendant was driving.

What Is "Driving With a BAC of 0.08 Percent or Higher?"

All states in the U.S. have made it illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. A driver is presumed to be under the influence of an intoxicating substance if their BAC is measured at this level. In fact, some states have lowered the legal limit, and they have also put legal limits in place allowing people to be charged with DUI after using marijuana.

To convict a person of the offense of driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher, a prosecutor must show that:

  • The person was in control of a vehicle.
  • The person had a BAC of 0.08 percent or more while they were in control of the vehicle.

During a criminal case, a defendant may be found guilty of driving under the influence, driving with a BAC that was over the legal limit, or both. Even if a person can demonstrate that their ability to drive was not impaired, they may still be found guilty of DUI if there is evidence showing that their BAC was at least 0.08% while they were driving. The penalties for a DUI conviction will generally be the same in situations where a person is convicted of either type of DUI.

What Is a Felony DUI?

Although first-time DUIs and certain other DUIs may be charged as misdemeanors, there are certain cases where an offense can be increased to a felony. Felonies are much more serious, and in some cases, they can result in prison sentences of multiple years and fines of thousands of dollars.

If a driver is accused of injuring or killing someone when driving under the influence of intoxicating substances, they will typically face felony charges. Prior DUI convictions may also result in felony DUI charges. In Illinois, a third or subsequent DUI is considered a felony.

Contact Our Will County DUI Attorney

If you have been arrested for DUI in Will County, you need a lawyer who understands the laws that apply to drivers in Illinois and who is experienced in defending clients against these types of charges. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., our attorney is a former prosecutor who can help you build a strong defense that will allow you to respond to the charges against you, protect your driver's license, and ensure that you will be able to move forward with your life. Contact us at 815-740-4025 to set up a free consultation and begin creating an effective DUI defense strategy.

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