A misdemeanor offense is a criminal act that is more serious than an infraction, but less serious than a felony. Misdemeanor offenses in Chicago are typically punishable by fines, probation, and imprisonment for a period of up to one year. The specific penalties can differ based on the nature and severity of the offense, your criminal record, and a wide range of other factors.
Driving under the influence (DUI) – also referred to as drunk driving – is one of the most common misdemeanor crimes in Chicago. Every year, thousands of people are arrested and charged with misdemeanor DUI. Due to the destabilizing impact drunk driving can have on families and communities, DUI offenses are taken very seriously in Chicago.
If you are facing misdemeanor DUI charges in Chicago, you need to get legal representation as soon as you can. Attorney Purav Bhatt has decades of experience in helping individuals accused of drunk driving and can provide you with compassionate and result-oriented legal representation to achieve the best outcome possible. Contact our firm today to discuss your misdemeanor charges with one of our experienced Chicago, IL DUI attorneys.
Penalties for Misdemeanor in Chicago
Illinois law classifies misdemeanor criminal offenses into three categories – Class A misdemeanors, Class B misdemeanors, and Class C misdemeanors.
- Class A misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor offenses in Illinois. They are punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in county jail.
- Class B misdemeanors are less serious than Class A misdemeanors. They are punishable by a fine of up to $1,500 and up to six months in county jail.
- Class C misdemeanors are the least serious misdemeanor offenses in Illinois. They are punishable by a fine of up to $1,500 and up to 30 days in county jail.
Most Common Misdemeanor Offenses in Chicago
The most common offenses that are charged as misdemeanors in Chicago are:
- Reckless driving
- Retail theft
- Simple assault
- Disorderly conduct
- Damage to property
- Possession of a controlled substance in small quantities for personal use
Consequences of a Misdemeanor Conviction in Chicago
Apart from fines and possible jail time, a misdemeanor conviction in Chicago can leave you with a crime record, which can affect your life in many ways. These include:
- It can make it harder for you to get a job – particularly in positions that require criminal background checks. Certain professions like education, healthcare, and law enforcement have strict regulations regarding criminal convictions, which can potentially limit your career options.
- It can make it harder for you to find stable accommodation.
- It can affect your eligibility for student loans, scholarships, and admission to reputable educational institutions.
- It can cause your auto insurance rate to increase significantly.
- It can make it difficult to obtain or renew professional licenses.
- Misdemeanor convictions related to domestic violence and certain other offenses can affect your right to own firearms.
Importance of Choosing a Seasoned Chicago Drunk Driving Lawyer for Your DUI Case
Having a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in DUI cases on your side can make a huge difference to your case’s outcome. Attorney Purav Bhatt has successfully defended countless Chicago residents against drunk driving charges and other misdemeanor offenses over the years. Here is how his expertise can help you.
- Attorney Purav Bhatt has a deep understanding of Illinois DUI laws. Having handled a wide range of DUI and other related cases over the years, he knows how local prosecutors handle DUI prosecutions. He’s familiar with common prosecution tactics and knows how to counter them effectively. He can anticipate the strategies that the prosecution might use and prepare effective defenses accordingly.
- DUI cases involve technical aspects like breathalyzer and blood tests. Attorney Purav Bhatt understands the scientific principles behind these tests and can challenge their administration, accuracy, and interpretation of results effectively.
- Attorney Purav Bhatt is known for his exceptional negotiation skills and has a good working relationship with state prosecutors. He can effectively negotiate with the prosecution for a favorable plea bargain, reduced charges, or alternative sentencing options.
How Experienced Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Purav Bhatt Can Build a Strong Defense for Your DUI Case
Reviewing Police Procedure
Attorney Purav Bhatt will review the details of your case – including traffic stop – to determine whether the police had a legitimate reason (commonly referred to as probable cause) to stop your vehicle. If not, the arrest can be challenged as unlawful.
Attorney Purav Bhatt will also assess the procedures followed by the police during field sobriety tests and determine whether the tests were administered incorrectly or whether a medical condition or any external factors caused you to fail the tests.
Analysis of Chemical Tests
Attorney Purav Bhatt will evaluate the accuracy and maintenance records of the breathalyzer device used. Improper calibration or usage can lead to unreliable blood alcohol content (BAC) results, based on which the charges against you can be challenged.
Witness Statements and Surveillance Footage
Attorney Purav Bhatt will try to get statements from witnesses who might challenge the arresting officer’s observations. He will also try to obtain footage from surveillance cameras at the DUI arrest scene, which might provide evidence that contradicts the police report.
Challenging the Arresting Officer’s Testimony
Attorney Purav Bhatt will try to identify errors or inconsistencies in the arresting officer’s report and testimony. Depending on the circumstances, he might also question the arresting officer’s training and experience in DUI detection and arrest experience.
Medical Conditions and Prescription Medications
Some medical conditions and prescription medications can cause symptoms that can mimic signs of intoxication. If you have a similar problem, attorney Purav Bhatt will use your medical records to defend you against the charges.
Attorney Purav Bhatt will find out if your constitutional rights were violated at any time during or after your DUI arrest – including unlawful search and seizures, getting confession statements without reading your Miranda Rights, and so on. In case of any constitutional violation, attorney Purav Bhatt will challenge the validity of your arrest and prevent the unlawfully obtained evidence from being used against you.
How Do Plea Bargains and Negotiations Work in Misdemeanor Cases?
A plea bargain is an arrangement wherein the defendant (the accused individual) agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a concession from the prosecutor – which might include reducing the number of charges, reducing the severity of a charge, or recommending reduced sentences for the defendant.
In a DUI case, a plea bargain might involve reducing the charge from DUI to a lesser offense like wet reckless, which carries less severe penalties than DUI and has no impact on future DUI arrests.
Negotiations are a key part of any misdemeanor case. They involve discussions between your criminal defense attorney and the prosecutor. Your attorney might present evidence to challenge the prosecution’s charges against you and point out potential weaknesses in their case, which might cause the prosecutor to offer you a favorable deal.
In a DUI case, negotiations can lead to positive outcomes like reduced charges, lighter sentencing recommendations, or agreements on alternative sentencing options like probation, community service, and alcohol education programs.
Choose a Dedicated Chicago Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer to Fight Your Charges
If you are facing DUI charges or any other misdemeanor charges, it is important to take steps to protect your rights, freedom, and future. At the Law Office of Purav Bhatt, we have a team of experienced criminal defense lawyers who have decades of experience in handling misdemeanor cases. Our founder – Purav Bhatt – is a former prosecutor who knows the Chicago legal system inside and out and has firsthand knowledge of what it takes to achieve the best possible outcome for his clients.
As concerned as you might be about your future, you do not have to fight this battle alone. We can strongly represent you, build a robust defense to challenge the prosecution’s case and fight aggressively to protect your freedom. Call us today at 773-791-9682 or get in touch with us online to schedule a consultation with a top-rated Chicago, IL misdemeanor lawyer.