Boone County Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyers

Drunk Driving Car Accidents LawyersAlcohol-related car accidents are extremely serious. Driving while intoxicated is against the law, and the legal system is strict about punishing those who have been apprehended for drunk driving accidents. Unfortunately, this means if you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you face serious consequences without a lot of compassion or understanding.

Because there is so much at stake after a DUI arrest, it’s important to take action right away. If you don’t seek proper legal help, you could end up with maximum criminal charges, even when your actions didn’t warrant them.

Many people believe that being arrested on DUI or DWI charges means that they will be found guilty. This is not the case. Even when the situation seems grim, an experienced Boone County DUI lawyer can help to clear your name and restore your freedom.

Franks Gerkin Pointz & Greeley: Your Boone County DUI Law Firm

When you face a DUI charge, it is crucial to find a team of attorneys who trusts you and who are prepared to fight for your best interests. This time can be extremely delicate, and for many people, it’s one of the lowest points in their lives. It’s important to find criminal defense and auto accident attorneys who understand the entire situation and who can extend compassion to you during this time.

Our team at Franks Gerkin Pointz & Greeley has been defending drivers after DUI arrests for many years. We understand what is at stake in these cases, and we fight diligently for our clients. Traffic laws aim to enact harsh punishments in these cases, but we know that reality is often nuanced and complicated. We take the time to hear your story and make sure the court hears and sees your perspective.

We have a good track record when it comes to these cases because we take the time to understand each client’s unique situation. Our attention to detail, tenacity in the courtroom, and compassion for our clients have earned us the incredible record that we have today.

What Is a DUI Charge?

Driving under the influence (DUI) charges occur when a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. Engaging in either of these practices is illegal, as it puts other drivers, pedestrians, and passengers at risk of serious injury or death. Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs cannot react as quickly to changing traffic situations, nor can they make reliable driving decisions. Many times, individuals under the influence do not have the motor skills required to safely operate and maneuver a car on the road.

DUI charges occur when a police officer discovers a driver who has been operating their vehicle under the influence. There are specific reasons that a police officer can perform a traffic stop, and if they perform one of these stops and find the driver to be intoxicated, they can arrest them on DUI charges. Individuals who are arrested are processed at an area police station and then usually are released to a family member on bail or a promise to appear in court. The accused must then appear in court, where a judge determines the appropriate punishment based on the circumstances of the DUI.

Why Do I Need a DUI Attorney?

Some people believe that they can represent themselves in a DUI case, but this is not necessarily true. The state often tries to make DUI cases very cut and dry. However, in reality, they are full of nuance and detail. Without an attorney, it is extremely difficult to show the court the reality of your case. If you are unable to show them your side of the story, you are likely to be convicted of the crimes at hand.

Trying to argue your case yourself usually sends the wrong message. The arguments that are successful in DUI cases require precise support and evidence and usually only work with a complex argument behind them. If you don’t have legal experience and expertise in this specific area of law, you are unlikely to win your case. Investing in proper legal services shows the court that you are serious about your perspective and are taking the case seriously.

Potential Punishments for a DUI

DUI charges increase in severity depending upon different factors. The court considers whether you’ve had a DUI charge or conviction before to determine what should be done. They also consider any damage that you created when determining what your punishment should be. The lightest sentences are usually given to first-time offenders who didn’t cause any damage. In contrast, the most severe sentences are reserved for individuals with multiple DUI offenses or those who harmed someone.

Individual punishments, therefore, may vary from the standard depending upon the unique scenario. However, it can be helpful to know the general punishment guidelines so you can understand what you’re facing depending on your situation.

First Time Offense

For those who are facing a first-time DUI offense, charges are likely to be less severe compared to multiple offenders. However, the law does not take DUI cases lightly, and even a light DUI punishment is harsh in comparison to other crimes.

Jail time is a possibility for first-time offenders. The court may charge an offender with up to 364 days in jail for their first DUI. Many times, the court opts for community service instead of jail time, but this is up to the judge. If you had a passenger under 16 in the car at the time of your arrest, you can expect to receive at least six months in jail.

A first-time DUI offense also warrants fines. The maximum fine for a standard first-time DUI is $2,500. If your blood alcohol content was .16%,expect a minimum fine of $500. If you had a passenger under the age of 16 in the car, the minimum fine is $1,000.

When you are arrested for a DUI, you can expect to have your license revoked. This means you are unable to drive while the license revocation period is in effect, and you must rely on rides from friends and family or public transportation to get around. For a first-time offense, the standard license suspension period is one year. If you are under 21 years of age, you can expect a 2-year suspension period.

First-time DUI charges are usually classified as a Class A misdemeanor.

Second Time DUI Offense

If you are convicted of a DUI, serve your punishments, and are caught with a second DUI within ten years, you face more severe punishments.

Jail time for second offenses is between five days and 364 days. If you had a passenger under the age of 16, you can expect up to seven years in jail for a second offense. Some judges may opt for community service, but it’s less common with repeat offenses.

The maximum fine for a second DUI is still $2,500. However, if your BAC was .16% or higher, the minimum is $1,250. If you had a passenger under 16, the range begins at $2,500 and ends at $25,000.

You also get your license revoked for five years after your second DUI conviction. Second-time DUI offenses are still usually categorized as Class A misdemeanors.

Third Time DUI Offense

Punishments drastically increase in severity for third and subsequent DUI offenses. The most notable change is that a third or subsequent DUI is categorized as a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Felonies carry serious punishments and lasting consequences for those convicted.

The minimum prison time for a third DUI is ten days, and the maximum is seven years. If your BAC was over .19%, the minimum prison time is 90 days. It’s worth noting that you serve your time in a state prison rather than a county jail for a third DUI. The regulations and rules at these facilities are much stricter.

The maximum DUI fine for a third DUI is $25,000. If you had a passenger under the age of 16 when you were arrested, $25,000 is the minimum fine for a third DUI. If your BAC was .16% or higher, your minimum fine is $2,500.

Felonies carry lasting weight and unintentional consequences. Many people with felony records have a difficult time finding proper housing, as landlords tend to opt for tenants without felony records. You may be denied jobs, lose the respect of friends and family, and may lose custody of your children as well. Though these consequences are not put forth by the court, they are worth considering. There is a lot more at stake with a felony DUI charge than with a misdemeanor.

Felony DUIs

Third and subsequent DUI offenses are considered felonies. However, this is not the only situation in which a DUI may result in felony charges. No matter how many DUIs you have on your record, you are charged with a felony if someone was killed or seriously injured by your actions. This applies even if it’s your first DUI arrest. You may face other charges as well, such as vehicular manslaughter or murder, depending on your situation. These charges carry additional punishments beyond what is set forth by Illinois DUI law.

Implied Consent

Some people believe that they can avoid DUI charges if they simply refuse to submit to a breathalyzer or field sobriety test. This does not work. When you get a license in the state of Illinois, you agree to what is called “implied consent.” This means you agree to submit to a breathalyzer and/or field sobriety tests if an officer asks you to under reasonable circumstances. Technically speaking, you must submit to breath, urine, or blood tests if asked. Some of these tests are used to detect drugs, while others are used for alcohol.

Possible Arguments Against a DUI Charge

In DUI auto accident cases, many people don’t see how they can win their case. If a breathalyzer notes a high blood alcohol content, many people are unable to fathom how to refute the data at hand. Fortunately, there are several ways to argue a DUI charge. They include:

  • Faulty breathalyzer. Your attorney may argue that the breathalyzer used to obtain your BAC was not working properly.
  • Illegal arrest. Police officers cannot pull people over without cause. If you followed all traffic rules and a police officer still pulled you over, the charges must be dismissed.
  • Rising blood alcohol content. In some scenarios, a driver may argue that they would have reached their destination safely before their blood alcohol content reached .08% had the officer not pulled them over. This argument is reserved for individuals who have a BAC at .08% exactly and who were only driving a short distance.
  • Coercion. If you were coerced into driving drunk, your charges may be dropped.
  • Escaping danger. If you were leaving a location to avoid a guaranteed and time-sensitive threat, your charges may be minimized or dismissed.

Your attorney can help to determine which argument is appropriate in your case. There are also other angles that may be effective for your situation. When you have an experienced attorney, theylook at your case from all angles, enabling them to choose the argument that is most reliable and airtight in your situation.

Contact Franks Gerkin Pointz & Greeley

Our team at Franks Gerkin Pointz & Greeley has been fighting Boone County accident and DUI cases for many years. Our car accident attorneys know how to develop strong cases in your favor, giving you the very best chance of being found innocent of the crimes at hand. Car crashes and DUI arrests are extremely intimidating, but our team is confident in the face of extreme pressure. We can give you the very best chance of properly arguing your case and clearing your name.

For more information on what we do, how we can help, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us online today. Expect compassionate and experienced legal help when you work with us.

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