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DuPage County fourth DUI lawyerIf you are facing drunk driving charges, and you have previous DUI arrests, you are probably overwhelmed with the thoughts about what will happen to you. Am I going to the county jail, or is it the Illinois Department of Corrections for me this time? Will I ever be able to drive a car again in my lifetime? Will I ever regain my sobriety?

The first step you should take is to consult with Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C., LLC. Do not obsess over “what ifs” or try to figure out your options through a Google search. What you are dealing with is a felony, not a misdemeanor, and things will seem more intimidating, by design. The judge will be more experienced, and the prosecution team will be the best available.

At a free, no-obligation consultation with our attorneys, we will answer your most likely panicked questions and address your concerns, helping you focus productively on your defense. Our clients have told us that they began to feel much less anxiety and became more confident about their options after speaking to Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C.. 

With all that in mind, here are some basic guideposts for what you can expect in a fourth-time DUI case in Illinois. 

  1. After arrest and booking, you will be transported from a local police department to the county jail. Instead of a bond that is set rather informally at the police station, you will have to remain in the county jail until you can have a bond hearing in front of a bona fide circuit court judge, and you will not be released until you can post that bond.
  2. Most likely you or a family member will not be able to reach out to us until after you have had your bond hearing, but we can immediately jump in and file a motion to reduce your bond both in terms of monetary and non-monetary conditions.  
  3. If you are convicted of DUI for a fourth time, this is a mandatory minimum of three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. It is possible you may have time you spent pending release on bond from the county jail that can be deducted from any ultimate sentence. This is a frequently overlooked detail, but the professionals at Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C. can counsel you on this, so you get all the credit you have coming. Many defendants have spent more time in prison than is necessary because they hired an inexperienced lawyer or agreed to the services of the public defender. 
  4. As for your driving privileges, if you are convicted a fourth time for DUI, your driving privileges will be revoked for the remainder of your lifetime. Moreover, the registration on your motor vehicle will be suspended. 
  5. Beyond the large amount of mandatory minimum prison time upon a fourth conviction, the other penalties are enhanced as well. If you are convicted with a BAC of .16 or more, you will have a minimum fine of $5,000, plus additional court costs and mandatory fees. If you had a child under the age of 16 in the car at the time of arrest, you are looking at a mandatory fine of $25,000 AND 25 days of community services benefitting children. 

Do not hesitate. Contact a DuPage County DUI defense lawyer today at 630-665-8780 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

What Happens When I Get My 3rd DUI in Illinois?

Posted on Wednesday, 20 February 2019 in DUI

DuPage County multiple DUI defense attorneyGenerally, if a person is arrested for a DUI in Illinois for the third time in their lifetime, they can expect the following:

DUI #3 is a Class 2 Felony, punishable by:

  • 3-7 years in prison
  • Probation up to 48 months
  • Mandatory minimum 10 days in jail or 480 hours of community service
  • DUI Technology Fee of $1,000
  • $50 Roadside Memorial Fund Fee
  • Up to $25,000 in fines
  • If the Blood Alcohol Concentration in someone’s breath or blood is .16 or more, mandatory 90 days jail AND mandatory minimum fine of $2,500
  • If there was a passenger in the vehicle under 16 years old, mandatory minimum fine of $25,000 AND mandatory 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children
  • If the DUI involved great bodily harm, disability, or disfigurement, it is still a Class 2 Felony, from 480 hours of community service to 1-12 years in prison for which 85% of the sentence must be served.

A good DUI lawyer can help often avoid some or all of these penalties!

There are two parts to every DUI in Illinois:

The first part of every DUI in Illinois deals with something called a Statutory Summary Suspension. A Statutory Summary Suspension is an up front driver’s license suspension mandated by Illinois’ Implied Consent Law and the Secretary of State. If someone is arrested under suspicion of DUI, Illinois’ Implied Consent Law says that if you are driving on a public road, you have already given consent to the cops to do chemical testing. A chemical test is most frequently a breathalyzer at the police station, though sometimes can be a blood and/or urine test. If you have not had a DUI or Statutory Summary Suspension within the past five years, the Secretary of State will view you as a “First Offender” for the first part of the case ONLY. If you are a “First Offender,” you are eligible for a permit from the Secretary of State to drive during this suspension. The terms of this permit include you having a breathalyzer installed in your car. You will have to blow into the breathalyzer to start the car, and every 15 minutes or so, the breathalyzer will make a loud noise at you. That loud noise means you need to blow in the breathalyzer again to keep your car on. While the breathalyzer is annoying, the permit itself does not have time, place, or location restrictions on where you can go. You can go to the grocery store, go to work, and essentially wherever you want.

If you take a chemical test, and the reading is .08 or more of alcohol OR if you have any amount of a controlled substance in your blood or urine OR more than 5 nanograms of delta 9 THC in your blood or 10 nanograms of delta 9 THC in any other bodily substance, the length of this suspension will be six months IF you are a “First Offender.” If you refuse chemical testing, your license will be suspended for 12 months. If you are NOT a “First Offender” and the reading is .08 or more of alcohol OR if you have any amount of a controlled substance in your blood or urine OR more than 5 nanograms of delta 9 THC in your blood or 10 nanograms of delta 9 THC in any other bodily substance, the length of this suspension will be one year with no eligibility for that special permit. If you refuse chemical testing and you are NOT a “First Offender,” your driver’s license will be suspended for 3 years with no eligibility for that special permit.

You are entitled to have a hearing in front of a judge challenging this suspension. The challenge to the driver’s license suspension is viewed as a civil law proceeding, although it is tied directly to a criminal case. There are many legal ways to avoid this suspension entirely. A good DUI attorney will always file a challenge to your driver’s license suspension and do what it takes to protect your ability to drive without restrictions.

The second part of every DUI in Illinois is the criminal aspect of the case. A third lifetime DUI, whether the prior cases occurred in Illinois, another state, or some combination of the two, is quite serious. The State has the burden of proving you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of 6 or 12 people from the community, like in TV and the movies. Or, you can waive that right and have what is called a bench trial. A bench trial is where a judge will be the one and only one deciding if the State has met their burden of proof on each and every part of the charge. The criminal charge of a third lifetime DUI happens in the same courtroom with the same judge as who was on the first part of the case. 

The State must disclose all the evidence against you. The State discloses all evidence against you in a process called discovery. Discovery means that both sides to a case get to see all the evidence. There are no surprises. While the discovery process may be long and frustrating, it is important that a DUI lawyer reviews every possible part of discovery to look for issues since the stakes are so high!

If you are accused of a third lifetime DUI in Illinois, DO NOT go to court alone! Get an experienced DuPage County DUI attorney to go to court with you to protect your rights!

What to Expect When Arrested For Your Second DUI

Posted on Monday, 18 February 2019 in DUI

Wheaton 2nd DUI defense lawyerSo you were arrested for your second DUI. Unfortunately, things change dramatically from your first DUI. Now, more than ever, You will need a skilled and component DUI attorney not only to navigate you through the complexity, but to save your driver’s license from being revoked and from going to jail. A good lawyer can often get both accomplished.

Similar to your first, there is still a civil side and a criminal side. We will discuss both briefly.

The Civil Side of a DUI – The Statutory Summary Suspension

If you refused all testing (i.e., breath, blood, and/or urine), then you are facing a 12-month suspension of your driver's license that is scheduled to start on the 46th day from your arrest. If you submitted to chemical testing and it came back with an illegal substance or a blood alcohol amount above .08, then your license is scheduled to be suspended for six months. In either circumstance, you are eligible to receive a BAIID, which will allow you to drive during your suspension.

However, if you had a prior DUI in the past five years, then you are no longer a first offender for summary suspension purposes. In this scenario, you are entitled to NO driving relief in the form of a BAIID. Also, if you refused testing, your license is scheduled to be suspended for three years. If you submitted to testing and it comes back positive or above a .08, then your license is scheduled to be suspended for one year.

In either scenario, a good DUI lawyer can often avoid any suspension at all. By quickly filing your paperwork, we can sometimes catch the state’s attorney off guard and get a suspension thrown out for something that easy. We have won countless suspensions just by ensuring that our clients act right away.

The Criminal Side of a DUI

While the summary suspension is going on, you still have the criminal portion to deal with. It is still a class A misdemeanor. The maximum you can receive on ANY class A misdemeanor is 364 days in the county jail and a $2,500 fine. The minimum you can receive will depend on the facts of the case. For example, if you refused testing, then the minimum is either five days in jail or 240 hours of community service. If you submitted to a breathalyzer, and you blew above a .16, then it is a minimum two days in jail in addition to the above.

The biggest problem for a second offender is that if you are found guilty, a conviction will enter onto your record. When that happens, the Illinois Secretary of State will receive notice. Once they receive notice, then your driver’s license will be revoked. A driver’s license revocation is like an indefinite suspension. There are no guaranteed end dates (like in a suspension). In many cases, it takes years to regain your normal driving privileges. 

This all can be avoided or minimized. You will need a component DuPage County DUI defense attorney to fight for you. Police officers make mistakes. Prosecutors will sometime reduce charges to something lower, like reckless driving. Please do not wait, and contact Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C. immediately to get started.

What Happens When I Get My First DUI in Illinois?

Posted on Thursday, 14 February 2019 in DUI

Wheaton first time DUI attorneyIf you have been arrested for DUI, you probably have a million thoughts racing through your mind. Will I go to jail? Can I ever drive a car again? Will this be a permanent black mark on my history?

The first thing you should do is consult with, at no cost or obligation, Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C., LLC. Don’t scare yourself to death with “what ifs” or your ideas about what the law may be from a Google search. 

Also, do not settle for "Johnny come lately" lawyers that only occasionally handle DUI defense matters. Mr. Ramsell pioneered and popularized the concept of a DUI defense attorney in the 1980s and has literally even written the scholarly book most judges, prosecutors, and other defense attorneys rely upon as the most up to date statement of Illinois DUI law. 

At your no cost, no obligation attorney consultation, we can answer your questions and concerns and focus your thoughts productively. Most clients say they started feeling much less nervous and more confident after Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C. became their attorneys of record. 

With all that said, here are some rough guideposts for what happens in a first time DUI in the state of Illinois:

  1. After arrest, booking, and release on bond, you will be given a mandatory court appearance. This is a criminal matter, and you must appear, or a warrant will likely be issued for your arrest. As a condition of that bond, you are also typically barred from leaving the state of Illinois without prior permission from the judge assigned to your case. 
  2. After arrest, immediately call Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C. at 630-256-8001 for a free, no obligation consultation. Time is of the essence, as your rights can be diminished or in some instances forfeited if you wait too long to start the legal challenges to your arrest and the probable summary suspension of your driving privileges. Once you retain our team, we will generate a flurry of court documents for immediate filing in your case so we can be ready to defend you to the fullest extent possible AT THE VERY FIRST COURT DATE. 
  3. At that first court date, we will have you arraigned, which is the formal process by which we acknowledge the charges against you and plead not guilty to those charges. We should also get the all or most of the discovery in your case (police reports, 911 calls, dash cam videos etc.) if you quickly retained us, and therefore, the prosecution loses the excuse that they need more time to respond to what we lawfully demand to fully mount your defense. 
  4. Your driving privileges in the state of Illinois are now most likely set to be suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State 45 days after you received a notice or warning to motorist, which is typically given to you as part of the arrest process. We will have already filed a legal challenge to that summary suspension, and we can talk about strategies to win that hearing on the merits or by default. In the worst case scenario, we will determine what temporary relief measures you may be eligible to receive for your period of summary suspension. This suspension will last either a minimum of six months or 12 months, depending on how you responded to the police request to give a breath sample at the police station, or if they obtained blood or urine samples from you either voluntarily or by search warrant signed by a circuit court judge in the county in which you will be prosecuted. 
  5. After this first court appearance is concluded, we can then better counsel you on the advisability of seeking a jury or bench trial (trial by judge only) or working towards a plea arrangement. 
  6. Law is not a do yourself project or something you can learn over the weekend at a big box store seminar. Do not waste time; contact the DuPage County DUI defense lawyers at Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C. and get the right team for your unique case involved. You will be glad you did! 
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