Avoiding Common Mistakes After a DUI Arrest in Chicago

Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C.

Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Chicago can be a daunting experience, filled with uncertainty and potential for serious repercussions. Understanding how to navigate the aftermath of a DUI arrest is crucial in minimizing the negative impact it may have on your life. This comprehensive guide outlines the common mistakes individuals make after a DUI arrest and provides strategic advice on how to avoid them. 

Understanding DUI in Illinois

Under Illinois law, specifically under the Illinois Vehicle Code 625 ILCS 5/11-501, driving under the influence is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or any intoxicating compound. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08%, but drivers can be arrested with lower BAC levels if their ability to operate a vehicle safely is impaired.

Penalties for DUI

The penalties for a DUI conviction in Illinois can be severe and vary depending on the circumstances of the arrest, including the driver’s BAC level and previous DUI convictions:

First DUI Offense: Class A misdemeanor, potential for up to one year in jail, fines up to $2,500, and license suspension for up to one year.

Second DUI Offense: Increased fines, possible jail time of up to one year, and a minimum five-year license suspension for a conviction within 20 years of the first.

Aggravated DUI: Any DUI resulting in felony charges can carry harsher penalties, including longer jail time, higher fines, and longer license suspension periods.

The Arrest Process

The Initial Stop and Arrest

A typical DUI arrest begins with a traffic stop, where an officer may ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer test if they suspect alcohol or drug impairment. It’s crucial to understand that once arrested, the driver will be taken into custody and transported to a police station for booking.

Processing and Chemical Testing

During processing, personal information is recorded, and a more reliable chemical testing (typically a breathalyzer or blood test at the station) is conducted to determine the exact blood alcohol level. Illinois has an implied consent law, meaning that refusal to submit to chemical testing can result in automatic license suspension and other penalties.

The Criminal Case Process

Arraignment and Bail

The first court appearance after a DUI arrest is the arraignment, where charges are formally presented and pleas are entered. Bail may also be set during this initial appearance.

Discovery and Pre-Trial Motions

During the discovery phase, the defense has the opportunity to review all evidence against the defendant, including police reports and test results. This is also the time when your attorney can file motions to suppress evidence or dismiss the case based on procedural errors.


If the case goes to trial, both the prosecution and defense will present their evidence to a judge or jury. The defense will aim to highlight weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, such as issues with how the field sobriety tests and chemical tests were administered.

Common Mistakes to Avoid After a DUI Arrest

Admitting Guilt

One of the most critical mistakes to avoid is admitting guilt at any point during the arrest or subsequent processing. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court. It’s best to exercise your right to remain silent until you can speak with an attorney.

Assuming the Case Is Unwinnable

Many individuals mistakenly believe that failing a breathalyzer test automatically means a conviction. However, there are numerous defense strategies that can potentially lead to reduced charges or even a dismissal, depending on how the evidence was obtained and handled.

Neglecting the Importance of Legal Representation

Attempting to handle a DUI case without an experienced attorney can lead to unfavorable outcomes. DUI law is complex, involving intricate legal details that can significantly influence the case’s outcome.

Ignoring License Suspension Notices

After a DUI arrest, you may receive a notice of statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license. Ignoring this notice can lead to longer suspension periods and additional penalties. It’s crucial to respond appropriately and explore all options for license reinstatement.

Posting Details on Social Media

Sharing details about your DUI arrest or making comments on social media can harm your case. Prosecutors can use anything you post as evidence against you.

Navigating the aftermath of a DUI arrest in Chicago requires careful handling and an understanding of the legal system. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, it’s crucial to contact an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and help defend your rights.

Call Attorney Freidberg For Your Free Consultation

If you or someone you know is facing any criminal charges in Chicago, immediate action is necessary. The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg are here to help. With extensive experience in criminal defense and a proven track record of success, we are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for our clients. We offer free consultations 24/7, so do not hesitate to call us at (312) 560-7100 or toll-free at (800) 803-1442. We serve clients throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Will County, and Lake County. Let us stand by your side and fight for your rights and freedom.

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