Regardless of the circumstances, if you've been charged with driving under the influence in Illinois, the penalties that you can face if found guilty of your charge are substantial. These punishments can be further enhanced if, during your arrest, you were caught illegally transporting alcohol or possessing an open container of alcohol in your vehicle. If you find yourself in a similar situation, Dolci & Weiland's team of DUI defense attorneys is standing by to provide you with the help you need to defend against your charge.
Penalties for DUI Involving Open Container/Illegal Transport in Illinois
Illinois statute 625 ILCS 5/11-502 states that "no driver may transport, carry, possess or have any alcoholic liquor within the passenger area of any motor vehicle upon a highway in this State except in the original container and with the seal unbroken." In other words, a person is forbidden from transporting an open container of alcohol in their vehicle, whether in a bottle, can, or other container.
If you are found to be illegally transporting an open container of alcohol in your vehicle at the time of your DUI arrest, you can receive two separate charges--one for driving under the influence, and one for transporting an open container.
In addition to the penalties you will face for your DUI charge, you can also face a fine of up to $1,000.00. Minors and individuals who have been charged with open container previously within the same year face additional license suspensions on top of the suspension which follows a DUI conviction.
DUI Charges and the Fourth Amendment
One of the most common defenses to a DUI charge involving illegal transport of drugs or an open container of alcohol in the vehicle is a violation of the accused's constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment. This amendment provides that "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated . . . ."
Put another way, an officer cannot simply search you or your belongings for no reason--he or she must reasonably believe that you committed a crime and that evidence of the crime can be obtained by searching you or your possessions.
A Fourth Amendment defense can be devastating to a prosecutor's case against you because it prevents the prosecutor from introducing any evidence of your alleged crime. In some cases, the remaining argument from the state may be so weak that your charge may be dropped altogether.
Facing a DUI Charge with Illegal Transport or an Open Container? We're Here to Help
If you've been charged with driving under the influence in Illinois, it's important to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. You should never try to fight your DUI charge alone; luckily, with Dolci & Weiland on your side, you never have to. Don't wait until it is too late to receive the legal representation you need to defend against your DUI charge--to speak with a member of our DUI defense team about your charge, fill out an online case evaluation form or call the office closest to you today--for our DuPage office, call (630) 261-9098, or for our downtown Chicago location, contact (312) 238-9007.