A Rosemont man faces up to seven years in prison after being charged with his fourth DUI, following a traffic stop in Cook County.
Officers claim they observed 56-year-old Paul Rojas driving well below the speed limit and swerving inside his lane. After pulling him over, officers claim that Mr. Rojas smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes. After failing field sobriety tests, he was arrested and subsequently refused to submit to a breath test, according to the report.
A series of bad decisions landed this man in a situation that many people can find themselves in. Even good people sometimes make mistakes and need the help of a qualified, experienced attorney to help them with those mistakes.
In most states, prior DUI convictions can no longer be used for sentencing enhancement purposes after a few years. But Illinois law has no lookback period, so a conviction from 1995 has the same legal effect as a conviction from 2015. Because of the Constitution’s full faith and credit clause, out-of-state DUI convictions count alongside in-state convictions, in most cases. Furthermore, most subsequent DUI offenses are not eligible for probation, but an attorney is often able to engineer a plea bargain to a lesser included offense, like reckless driving.
The state estimates the total monetary cost of a DUI, when considering both primary (fines, etc.) and secondary (increased insurance rates, etc.) costs, to be over $16,000. The maximum incarceration and license suspension periods for each subsequent offense are:
- Second Conviction: Class A misdemeanor; five year drivers’ license suspension
- Third: Class 2 felony; ten-year suspension
- Fourth: Class 2 felony; lifetime suspension
- Fifth: Class 1 felony; lifetime suspension
- Sixth or Subsequent: Class X felony; lifetime suspension
Aggressive prosecutors are eager to add enhancements, like passenger under 16, driving with a suspended license, and serious bodily injury.
The prosecutor must prove each element of the offense beyond any reasonable doubt, which is the highest evidentiary burden in the law. So, challenging the state’s evidence is one of the most effective DUI defenses.
Modern Breathalyzers are accurate, but they are not foolproof. An attorney will partner with an expert who will give testimony on the defendant’s behalf. Moreover, the more accurate the device is, the more complicated it is.
If the defendant refused a chemical test, the state must rely exclusively on circumstantial evidence. This evidence is not always as strong as it seems. For example, an odor of alcohol proves that the defendant had been drinking but does not prove intoxication, at least beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is more than one occupant in the car, the evidence is even weaker, because it may not be possible to link the odor to one specific person.
Reach Out to Experienced Lawyers
At Glasgow & Olsson, we use proven methods when handling DUI matters. Contact our Schaumburg office today for a confidential consultation. We have a track record of successful results.