What Happens During an Illinois DUI Arrest?

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You should never drink and drive--it is dangerous and it is reckless. According to the Illinois Secretary of State, 29,528 DUI arrests were made in Illinois in 2016. In the state of Illinois, driving under the influence includes many different types of impaired driving, from driving under the influence of alcohol to driving while intoxicated after using drugs, including prescription medications or illegal substances.

Before You Are Pulled Over

Many times, DUI arrests begin with the car being pulled over for other traffic offenses like speeding, swerving, improper lane changes, or driving too slowly--even something small, like a broken taillight, can serve as a means of being pulled over. In any case, the police officer must have reasonable cause to make a traffic stop, meaning the officer cannot just pull someone over for no reason.

Officer Observations and Questioning

After you are pulled over, the officer immediately begins his observations. The officer will always ask you to provide your license, registration, and proof of insurance. The officer might ask you where you are going or where you have been. From the beginning of the conversation, the officer has been looking for signs of impairment, such as bloodshot eyes, nervousness, slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol or illegal drugs. At this point, if he has reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he will ask you to get out of your vehicle. If he does not suspect intoxication, you will be free to go.

Field Sobriety Tests

Prior to performing an arrest, the officer will want to gather as much evidence pointing to intoxication as possible, so he might ask you to submit to a field sobriety test or to perform a breathalyzer test.

There are both standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests which allow officers to observe a person’s sense of balance, physical control, or ability to maintain attention. These tests can include tasks such as walking heel-to-toe in a straight line, standing on one foot and counting out loud, or reciting the alphabet beginning at a certain letter. These tests can all provide the officer with evidence to use to build a case against you in court.

Placing the Suspect Under Arrest

If the officer has gained enough evidence to qualify as probable cause, the driver will then be arrested for DUI and brought to the police station. The suspect will then be asked to take a chemical test of their blood, urine, or another bodily substance to test their blood alcohol content (BAC). If the results come back with a BAC higher than .05 but less than .08, no statutory summary suspension of their driver’s license will apply, but they will still face a DUI charge until they go to court. If the driver refuses to submit to chemical testing, they will face a statutory summary suspension of their license. This means that their license will be automatically taken away for at least one year, but you will have the opportunity to contest that suspension with your attorney in court.

If you agree to take the chemical test, commonly a breath test, and the results show that they have a BAC of .08 (the legal intoxication limit) or more, a report will be issued notifying them of a statutory summary suspension of their license for at least six months. Again, you will have the ability to contest your suspension in court with an attorney, even though you are above the legal limit.

After the Arrest

If a person arrested for DUI has a valid driver’s license, a receipt will be issued allowing the suspect to continue driving for 45 days to allow time to fight the arrest and suspension. The driver will also be required to post bond, and they may be detained until their bond has been posted.

Seek Counsel from an Experienced DUI Attorney

If you have been charged with a DUI or have had your license suspended, a skilled Will County DUI defense lawyer can help. Contact the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba to discuss your options and decide what course of action would be best for you. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.