DUI: To Blow or Not to Blow. FOR ILLINOIS ONLY!  FOR OVER 21 ONLY!

The answer varies from lawyer to lawyer, though some things are pretty straightforward. The most obvious one is that you shouldn’t drink and drive.  I mean it don’t do it. Ever.   Nothing spells the loss of a job faster than not being able to get to it because you can’t get a ride because you don’t drive anymore.  Some police departments take the car when you get arrested, too.  If you are not a US citizen, DUIs can help get you kicked out of the country.  If you like to fish or hunt in Canada, they can say we don’t want you, when you try to go.  A DUI arrest, let alone a conviction or supervision, can have a devastating effect on your life.  Don’t forget the obvious: you could get killed, kill someone else, or cause property to get damaged.  So, don’t drink if there is a chance that you will have to drive before it is out of your system.   Okay, I got that out of the way.

This is for the in-station breath alcohol testing.  It is also written for people over 21 years of age.  Beyond that, you have to look at the situation. One big question is: How bad do you need to drive?

If you are above a .08 you will lose your license for at least 6 months if you are over 21 and a first time dui arrestee, if you take the test and flunk.  If you take the test, and you are dirty, you will only lose your license via a suspension for 6 months.  You might have a chance at your summary suspension hearing, but by that point you will already have your license suspended.   You could also lose that hearing anyhow.  But, if you have a private lawyer, that hearing gives the lawyer a chance to cross examine the police person on all the things they did, and maybe that build a better case for you at the trial.  This can make a huge difference in a borderline case.

If you refuse the breath test they will take your license via a suspension for 12 months if you are over 21 and first time dui arrestee. You might have a chance at your summary suspension hearing, but by that point you will already have your license suspended.   You could also lose that hearing anyhow.   For people who badly need to drive, AND they are a first time dui arrestee, this consequence is overwhelming makes it a bad idea to refuse.

You should not blow if there is an injury to another person, or a death.  In that case, the consequences of a high BAC reading on the machine is usually having really bad evidence for a case that will likely send you to prison.   For most of us, that is a lot worse than having a suspended license.

If you are already suspended or revoked, you should not blow unless you KNOW you will pass (like maybe 1 or no drinks).  It will only make real bad evidence for you in a case that will send you to jail or prison.

Obviously, don’t drink and drive.  Ever (as they say on Mythbusters).  If you are going to drink, designate a driver who does not drink.   Everyone should put at least one cab company on their cell phone.  I really like American Taxi if you are in northern Illinois.  No, I don’t use them for drinking bouts.  But I’ve used them to get me and my family to the Airport and home from a car breakdown. They are really polite and they take plastic.   847-253-4411. http://www.americantaxi.com/


What to do when your mentally ill friend, sibling, child, or ward gets into criminal trouble?

Find out what county the person is in and if they are in custody.
Find out what the arresting agency is.
Find out what they are charged with and what the bond amount is.
Find out if they have been appointed counsel.
Find out where their case has been assigned.

B. Contact the jail’s medical section and let them know what medication the person regular takes and ask to help them by getting the necessary documents. They will allow you to talk to them regardless of whether or not there is a signed consent.

C. Contact the Appointed Counsel if there is one or find a good criminal defense lawyer, if one has not been appointed, and vet them for their experience with mentally ill defendants. If they are good, they will know the resources that the system has available.
Even so, it never hurts to make suggestions.
Resources: Mental Health Probation,
Mental Health Diversion,
Insanity Provisions,
Fitness Provisions,
Mental Illness as a Sentencing Mitigating Factor.

D. Remember, very rarely if ever, are charges just dropped because you want them dropped. Don’t look like a fool or you will lose credibility with the prosecutor, defense lawyer, or judge.

E. Go to Court if you can to help to reassure your loved one. Even the most stable person will feel abandoned if in custody. Seeing you in court will help them not feel lost. They may need you as a character witness.

F. Visit them. Learn the rules of the institution before you go, then go. You don’t need to create a fuss when you go or get busted. Report to the Lawyer any changes in their affect or mental status.

G. Help the person with their post-jail plan. They will need help on deciding where to live and what programs to go to. Even if they are acquitted, they will need your help afterwards or they will end up in crisis or in the criminal justice system again.