Articles Posted in DUI

The DUI defense attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. often represent clients who were trying to be responsible and “sleep it off.” Unfortunately, this area of Illinois law is complex. In Illinois, it is unlawful for a person to be driving OR in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence.

Under Illinois law, the phrase “actual physical control” means that a person was in the vehicle with the ignition key and able to exercise physical control over the vehicle by starting the engine and causing the vehicle to move. It is not necessary that you be actually driving the vehicle.

This means if you are in your car and have the “ability” to start the car and cause it to move, you can be charged with DUI. If the car is parked, the engine is off, the keys are on the floorboard, and you are asleep, you still may be considered to have the “ability” to start the engine and cause the car to move.

Have you ever wondered what happens during a DUI arrest? While every DUI is different and varies based on a variety of factors, the following is a typical scenario for a DUI stop in Illinois:

  1. First, a police officer requests that the driver pulls over their vehicle. This can be a part of a DUI checkpoint, roadside safety check, response to a reported accident, traffic violation or if the officer has other reasonable cause or suspicion that the driver is under the influence (for more info, see our article Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause).

  2. The driver is asked to produce a valid driver’s license, car registration, and proof of insurance.


A DUI arrest can be a frightening experience. Criminal penalties, high fines and a loss a driving privileges can have a devastating effect on your personal and professional life.

The Davis Law Group, P.C. is recognized as a leading Illinois DUI defense firm. Our attorneys will analyze the facts of your case and determine the most appropriate strategy to ensure the best possible result. Our legal team’s unique and personalized approach focuses on our clients’ specific needs. We are here to help.

The DUI defense attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. represent clients facing DUI charges throughout Illinois and the Chicagoland area. We primarily accept DUI cases in Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County. This includes Skokie Courthouse, Rolling Meadows Courthouse, The Daley Center, Bridgeview Courthouse, Markham Courthouse, Maywood Courthouse, Leighton Criminal Courts Building at 26th & California, the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton, and the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan.

Effective January 1, 2016, the Secretary of State began to enforce a new law requiring that revoked drivers with 2 or more DUI convictions who were granted a restricted driving permit (RDP) after an administrative hearing, drive on a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) for a period of 5-years before applying for full reinstatement.

Unfortunately, the Secretary of State made the decision to apply this law retroactively. As a result, applicants whose DUIs occurred before the effective date of the new law and, in many cases years, decades earlier, are subject to the new law, only because they failed to apply before the change in the law went into effect.

Many of our clients have asked for the reasoning is behind the law. The law was proposed by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM), which claimed that a study they had found demonstrated that until a person drives successfully for at least 5-years on a BAIID device, the chances that the person will return to abusive drinking is unacceptably high. However, further investigation demonstrates that the study relied on by AAIM says nothing of the sort.

In May 2015, Conor Vesper, a 20-year old college student, was arrested and charged with DUI. After his arrest, although he was still intoxicated, he posted bond and was released. Following his release, he was able to get behind the wheel of a friend’s car. When the police tried to pull him over again, he drove to his house where he took his own life.

In response, Illinois has now passed “Conor’s Law” which will take effect June 1, 2018. This new law provides that when a police officer arrests a person under the age of 21, who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including DUI, the officer is required to make a reasonable attempt to contact a responsible adult who is willing to take custody of the person before his or her release.

The new law also requires the officer to impound the car for a full 12 hours if the officer reasonably believes that a person under arrest for DUI is likely, upon release, to commit another DUI. Presumably, this will apply to a highly intoxicated person under arrest for DUI who has the means to post bond and be released while still intoxicated.

There are a number of DUI and traffic-related proposals currently pending in the 2018 Illinois legislature. These are a few highlights of those bills, which deserve close attention:

Traffic Ticket Fine Waiver Program

Fines, fees and costs for minor traffic offenses could be excused for a defendant who is unable to pay. Upon application, the court may convert all of the obligation to community service or partially excuse payment without condition.

Under the Illinois summary suspension law, a driver who is arrested for DUI and has not had a prior DUI disposition within 5-years is considered a ‘first offender’. This is significant because if the driver is considered a first offender, he or she faces a shorter driver’s license suspension based on whether chemical testing is failed or refused (6-months vs. 12-months). Furthermore, a first offender is automatically eligible for driving privileges during the period of the suspension through use of an MDDP.

The Secretary of State’s office is behind a new proposal now pending in the Illinois legislature that will drastically change the definition of a first offender under the Illinois DUI summary suspension law.

The new legislation would triple what has been called the 5-year look-back to a period of 15-years. This means that if the prior DUI disposition occurred within 15-years, the driver would be considered a second (or subsequent) offender and would be subject to a substantially longer period of driver’s license suspension based on whether chemical testing is failed or refused (6-months vs. 1-year for failed testing and 1-year vs. 3-years for refused testing) and would be barred from receiving automatic driving privileges during the period of suspension.

In addition to losing driving privileges and facing potential jail time, DUI offenders in Illinois may also have their vehicle seized through a procedure known as civil forfeiture.

Under Illinois law (see 720 ILCS 5/36-1), any vehicle may be seized and impounded by a law enforcement agency if the vehicle was driven by someone who was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and/or an intoxicating compound(s), with the knowledge and consent of the owner of the vehicle, and at the time of the offense one of the following is true:

  • the driver’s driving privileges were revoked or suspended for either:

Court supervision is a sentence available once in a person’s lifetime for driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois. It is the best possible result aside from dismissal or a finding on ‘not guilty’ after trial on a misdemeanor offense. Court supervision is not an available sentencing option for felony offenses.

If completed successfully, court supervision will prevent the entry of a conviction on the defendant’s public record. Under Illinois law, 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1, “At the conclusion of the period of supervision, if the court determines that the defendant has successfully complied with all of the conditions of supervision, the court shall discharge the defendant and enter a judgment dismissing the charges.”

Of course, DUI can also be punished by a conviction (i.e. conditional discharge, probation, and jail time). It is important to understand that a sentence of court supervision is at the discretion of the Judge and/or prosecutor and is not guaranteed by any means simply because you are eligible.

In our previous post we explained that there are two main parts of Illinois DUI law: the Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension and the criminal charge of DUI. This post addresses the basics of the second part of a DUI case, the criminal charge for Driving Under the Influence. For more information on the Summary Suspension law, please visit our previous post.

The criminal portion of an Illinois DUI case is the DUI charge itself. Generally, if a person has submitted to, and failed testing, there will be 2 tickets (or counts) issued for DUI; one based on the test failure and the other based on the officer’s observations of the person. If testing was refused, there will typically only be one count, based on the officer’s observations of the person.

DUI is most commonly charged as a misdemeanor, but in certain situations the offense can be charged as a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, DUI carries a maximum sentence of up to 12-months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.00 plus court costs. This offense may be charged as a felony (an offense that carries a potential sentence of more than a year of incarceration) under certain circumstances, including: when the driver does not have valid driving privileges or valid insurance; the driver has two or more prior DUI offenses; or the offense involves death or serious personal injury.

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