When you're charged with DUI (DWI or drunk driving, as it is also called), you face a difficult battle to clear yourself of the charges and return your life to normal. A DUI charge can drastically alter the course of your life and the future you planned for yourself. A Class A misdemeanor DUI charge could result in a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. A felony DUI charge could carry a higher fine and a lengthy prison term. Subsequent convictions for DUI are punished more harshly than a first offense.
In addition to criminal penalties, you might face a civil lawsuit from victims of a drunk driving crash. Shame at home and at work may cloud your future prospects. A criminal conviction, or revocation or suspension of a driver's license, could result in loss of your livelihood. Court costs and the court-mandated costs for treatment programs or ignition interlock devices could add to your burden.
To protect your future, your record, and your right to drive, you need to contact an experienced and knowledgeable Chicago DWI Defense Attorney immediately following your arrest to look into the individual facts and circumstances of your case and preserve your available defenses. Time is of the essence. The skillful work of a concerned Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer could help you achieve a successful case outcome and provide the key to protecting your rights and future.
You might have been arrested for DUI when you were not actually driving a vehicle. You might have been asleep in your vehicle, taking shelter there, or you might have switched seats with the actual driver for some reason. In some car accident cases, a vehicle's occupants are ejected are tossed about to the extent that an officer might not be able to accurately determine who was driving. That doesn't necessarily mean that the officer won't make a determination as to who was driving - just that he might be wrong.
You might be shocked to learn that you could be arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) when you weren't actually driving. Chicago DWI Defense Attorneys realize that many states like Illinois take the position that you don't have to be driving to be arrested for DUI or DWI. You just need to be in control of the vehicle.
Illinois DUI Defense Lawyers acknowledge that some dispute exists as to what constitutes "control" of a vehicle. Cases where a driver has passed out at a light with a car still on generally will be found to constitute control. Where a person has taken shelter in his parked car in a parking lot after getting drunk and the car is not on, the person might not be found to be in control of the vehicle. But if he puts the key in the ignition to turn on the A/C or the radio, or to roll down the windows, the question of control rears its ugly head once again.
Some courts have held that your control of the vehicle has nothing to do with your intention to move or operate the car, but rather with the imminent danger you might present to yourself or to others. For instance, if the key is in the ignition or the car is on, even if you are sleeping in the car in a parking lot, there might be some concern that you could accidentally apply the accelerator pedal and hurt someone.
And teens in Illinois do not have to be driving, or even in their vehicles, to lose their driver's licenses. The Illinois Supreme Court in The People of the State of Illinois v. Zachary Boeckmann, vs. Chelsey Maschoff, ruled that suspension of the driver's license of a teen caught drinking does not constitute "punishment." Since the intent of the suspension is to provide for the public safety, based on the premise that someone illegally drinking lacks the good judgment not to get behind the wheel, the court held that the law does not violate the teens' Constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the law.
The Illinois law at issue in the case provides a 6-month suspension of the driver's license of a minor on a first conviction for unlawful possession or consumption of alcohol, a 12-month suspension of the license upon a second conviction, and a revocation of the license upon a third conviction.
So you might see that not being the driver of a vehicle won't necessarily help you in the event of a DUI charge. You need an experienced Chicago DWI Defense Attorney to review your case, accurately apply Illinois law to the specific facts and circumstances of your case, and build an effective defense. In cases where your due process, equal protection, or other Constitutional rights are violated, your Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer might even get your case dismissed or a conviction overturned on appeal.
The facts and circumstances of each DUI case are unique. The availability of any defense will depend on how the law applies to the facts in your specific case. It requires a knowledgeable and experienced Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer to accurately develop the arguments that will prove to the court that you were not the driver of or in control of the vehicle at the time of your DUI arrest.
In cases where officers were out of bounds and had no probable cause to arrest you, Chicago DWI Defense Attorney Michael Schmiege could file a Motion on your behalf to dismiss the charges against you.
Maybe you refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test. Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer Mr. Schmiege could challenge police officers' accounts of the arrest to win dismissal or your charge or a not guilty verdict.
Chicago DWI Defense Attorney Michael P. Schmiege might also challenge the results of a Breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test if you did submit to one. Such tests have been repeatedly shown to be unreliable in many instances, and there are several ways to challenge test results.
Even if you do receive a conviction on your DUI charge, a skilled Chicago DWI Defense Attorney like Michael Schmiege might apply for court supervision for you in some cases. First-time offenders remain eligible for court supervision and might obtain dismissal of their case after successful completion of a supervised program involving alcohol rehabilitation treatment, attending a victim impact panel, and meeting other court requirements. Your arrest remains on your record, but it is not listed as a "conviction."
In addition, if you are found not guilty after trial and you have no previous arrests on record, Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer Michael Schmiege could apply to get your record expunged. This would remove the DUI arrest from your permanent record.
Experienced Chicago DWI Defense Attorney Michael P. Schmiege will provide you with a free initial case evaluation and legal consultation appointment in order to discuss the specific facts of your case and answer your questions regarding possible defenses you might have. Contact dedicated Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer Michael Schmiege today for your free consultation/case evaluation.
NOT GUILTY – Possession of a Controlled Substance w/ Intent to Deliver
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol – NOT GUILTY
"Michael Schmiege is an excellent attorney. He is honest, diligent and gets great results. If you find yourself in need of a lawyer, he is great at what he does. Never over-promises, but definitely delivered more than we had hoped for. His team will help you all the way. Answers all your questions promptly and clearly states what to expect. I highly recommend Michael and his team. They CAN and will help!"
"I am so appreciative of the help and support that I received from Michael and his team members! They truly helped me figure out my case and I got outstanding results. If anyone can help you get great results, it’s Michael. I had an immigration issue as well and he worked with my immigration lawyer to help find the best solution. He understood that I made a mistake but it didn’t define who I was. I definitely don’t want to go through any of this again but I’m glad that I had the support to get through this."
"Mr. Schmiege is well respected by the court because he is a very honest man. He was very kind and respectful to me. His fees were reasonable. His office is very easy to find, and his staff is very helpful."