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Answers to Common DWI Questions

Posted on behalf of Donahue & Walsh, P.C. | February 18, 2022

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a very common charge in Illinois that exposes defendants to criminal penalties such as jail time and fines as well as administrative consequences such as the loss of their driver’s license.

Unfortunately, misinformation abounds when it comes to DUI laws in Illinois. Please continue reading for accurate answers to questions we are commonly asked about this crucial area of our criminal defense practice.

“What are the penalties of a DUI?”

DUI is a class A misdemeanor punishable up to a year in county jail, $2500 fine or both. A person charged with a first time DUI is eligible for court supervision which requires the Defendant to complete drug and alcohol classes, a victim impact panel and pay fines and court costs, but no conviction enters on their record. Subsequent DUI charges however result in harsher penalties. The collateral consequences of having a criminal record can also lead to difficulties finding employment and housing.

“Do you have to take the breath test?”

No, you don’t have to. However, if you refuse the roadside test, the officer can seek a subpoena for a blood test and it could result in a longer suspension of your license.

“Does DUI apply to marijuana?”

Yes, even though marijuana is legal in Illinois, just like alcohol, you can be arrested for a marijuana DUI if you have a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of five nanograms or more in your blood or 10 nanograms or more in another bodily substance. A blood test to confirm must be conducted within two hours of driving or being in physical control of a vehicle.

“Can I just pay the fines and move on?”

You can, but you’ll be relying on your feet and public transportation for the foreseeable future. There is no such thing as “just a DUI”; it is crucial to fight the charges with the help of an experienced defense lawyer to protect your rights, your freedom, and your driver’s license.

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