5 Factors That May Affect Your DUI Case
Have you recently been charged with a DUI? If so, you likely want to be prepared for every possible outcome of your case. Several factors can significantly influence what happens in the courtroom. Knowing what to expect can help you feel prepared for the legal process ahead and more comfortable moving forward.
What Factors Could Affect My DUI?
If you are facing a DUI charge, here are five factors that could affect your case.
1. The Blood Alcohol Content Testing Reports (BAC)
The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in the United States and Illinois is 0.08%. However, several factors could affect the outcome of your DUI case, even if your BAC is below the legal limit. Law enforcement may still be able to charge you if they feel your abilities are impaired.
For example, if you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI and you fail a field sobriety test, the officer may arrest you even if your BAC is below 0.08%. The same applies when you cause an accident while allegedly under the influence. You may be charged with a DUI even if your BAC is below the legal limit.
Illinois has lower BAC limits for commercial drivers (0.04%). Drivers under the age of 21 cannot have any alcohol in their system and must test 0.00% BAC. Many wonder what would cause a regular man or woman to test over the legal limit of 0.08%. For a typical male over the age of 21 that is not a commercial driver, this means drinking at most four drinks per hour. For an average female, you would be limited to three drinks in one hour.
2. Previous Criminal History Or 2nd Offense DUI
If you have been arrested for a DUI and have a criminal record or prior offense, the consequences will be more extreme. This can work against you in two ways. First, let’s say you have a record of public intoxication. The prosecutor may use this to try to prove that you are a habitual offender and, therefore, more likely to be guilty of DUI. Second, the State of Illinois has increased penalties for those who are repeat offenders. For example, if you are charged with a first offense DUI, you may lose your license for a year. If you are charged with a third offense DUI, the penalty becomes revocation for ten years if convicted. You can find more information on the differences between first and secondary offenses on our criminal defense page.
3. Your Dealings with Police
It is no secret that the attitude or how you interact with the police officer who pulls you over for a DUI can play a big role in how your case plays out. For example, were you aggravated? Did you follow the directions of the police? Did you refuse a breath test? The bottom line is that you need to be on your best behavior when dealing with the police, even if you are feeling nervous or scared. If you are not, the prosecution could use it against you.
4. Accidents involving Fatalities
If you are involved in a DUI accident where someone is killed or injured, the penalties against you will be much more severe. Rather than just facing the penalties for a DUI, you are now facing the charges of vehicular homicide or manslaughter. If convicted, it’s considered a class 2 felony offense and is generally punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
5. Your Attorney
Your attorney can truly make or break the case. Many realize that they shouldn’t handle their criminal case by themselves but choose the first lawyer they come across as their defense. Criminal defense lawyers are not all equal. In selecting an attorney, it’s essential to look at experience level, resources at hand, how they communicate with you, what awards they have, what areas they serve, and their track record with your type of case.
An excellent criminal defense attorney will ensure they thoroughly investigate your arrest’s circumstances. They will look at the evidence against you, think about how the prosecution will use it, and create defenses centered around the case’s unique circumstances. When you choose someone to represent you, ask about their track record with your type of case.
When You’ve Been Charged with A DUI, Don’t Wait To Take Action.
This isn’t just another DUI case. This is your freedom. And it’s a serious situation that requires careful consideration of all the relevant factors. The five factors discussed in this article provide a helpful overview of what to expect when facing such a charge. This is not an all-inclusive list. Each case will be different, and there are no guarantees regarding the outcome. However, understanding these key components can help prepare you for your own unique circumstances. Taking action now may improve your chances of having your DUI charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Contact a DUI attorney today to see how we can help.