Understanding the Consequences of a DUI in Illinois
DUI offenders in Illinois must deal with the lasting consequences of a conviction. Because driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offense, offenders are subject to criminal penalties if convicted. The consequences of a criminal conviction in Illinois are harsh, and a criminal record will last for a lifetime.
Most people do not understand the severe consequences of getting a DUI and expect it to blow over after a few years. However, this is quite the opposite in Illinois, and a DUI conviction will haunt you for a long time. The criminal justice system is tough on DUI offenders, and the only way to protect yourself is by hiring a DUI criminal defense attorney.
At Hirsch Law Group, we specialize in providing aggressive criminal defense to our clients in Illinois. Our criminal defense law firm has been helping citizens fight against the criminal legal system for over 20 years, and we have learned the art of criminal defense during this time.
On our team, we have lawyers who have worked as former prosecutors. They have direct experience with the unfairness of the criminal system, and they use their experience to build unique defense strategies for their clients. Our criminal defense attorneys want to do everything we can to protect your future against a criminal DUI conviction.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 815-880-1134.
Illinois DUI Laws
Illinois law is strict on driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. For regular drivers, Illinois DUI laws provide that the legal limit for alcohol is 0.08%. If you are a commercial driver, the blood alcohol level is 0.04%.
Driving under the influence of a controlled substance is strictly prohibited, and any amount of an illegal drug in your blood could lead to a conviction. For marijuana, the limit is five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood or ten nanograms per milliliter of your other bodily substance.
Underage drivers in Illinois are subject to even stricter rules. If you are under the age of 21, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI offense if you have any amount of alcohol in your system. The state takes a no-tolerance approach and you will face automatic license suspension for two years for a first DUI offense.
Actual Physical Control
To be convicted of a DUI in Illinois, the prosecutor must prove that you had actual physical control (APC) of the vehicle. Often, people assume that you must be driving the vehicle to be arrested for a DUI. However, the law does not explicitly require this. APC of a vehicle can mean sitting in the driver’s seat of the car, being in the vehicle with the key in the ignition, or resting in the car with the keys on your person.
Illinois’s Implied Consent Law
Illinois’s implied consent law provides that all drivers must submit to a blood or breathalyzer test at a DUI traffic stop. Your constitutional rights allow you to refuse the test, however, there are harsh penalties imposed for test refusal.
First-time DUI offenders that refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test will face a statutory summary suspension of their driver’s license for one year. For a second offense, this suspension period increases to three years.
Aggravated DUI in Illinois
Aggravated DUI charges are all felony DUIs. A felony DUI charge is brought against a person convicted of a DUI with prior DUI convictions. If you are convicted of DUI three times, you will face an aggravated felony DUI charge. Subsequent DUI offenses will also result in a felony aggravated charge.
A person can also receive an aggravated DUI charge for a first-time DUI conviction if their blood alcohol content is higher than 0.15% or if there was a passenger under the age of 16 at the time of the DUI arrest. The consequences of an aggravated DUI are more severe than standard first-offense DUI penalties. You could face a minimum fine, a mandatory minimum sentence, and mandatory minimum hours of community service.
Penalties Imposed For a DUI Offense
The penalties for DUI convictions in Illinois are severe. The more convictions that you receive, the harsher the penalties get. Repeat offenders will face mandatory minimum penalties, including jail time, community service, and minimum fines. Even first-time DUI offenders are subject to Illinois’ harsh DUI laws and will receive a permanent criminal record if convicted.
First DUI Conviction
A first DUI in Illinois is a class A misdemeanor. The penalties imposed for a misdemeanor DUI include fines of up to $2,500, one year of jail time, and statutory summary suspension periods of six months.
Second DUI Conviction
A second DUI is also considered a misdemeanor charge. The penalties imposed for a second DUI conviction include a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days or ten days of community service, fines of up to $2,500, and automatic license suspension for one year.
Third DUI Conviction
A third DUI is a class 2 felony. If convicted of a class 2 felony DUI, you could receive from three to seven years in prison, fines of up to $25,000, and 480 hours of community service. You will also lose your driving privileges for three years. It may be possible to get a restricted driving permit or an alcohol ignition interlock device installed to shorten the suspension period.
Subsequent DUI Convictions
After a third DUI, the penalties for a conviction increase substantially. Repeat offenders are subject to many hours of community service, lengthy prison sentences, and huge fines. If you are convicted of six or more DUIs, you can be charged with a class X felony. The penalties imposed for a class X include up to thirty years in prison and fines of up $25,000. You also risk a permanent revocation of your driving privileges.
Further Consequences of Getting a DUI in Illinois
Compounding the criminal penalties of Illinois DUI convictions is the consequences of a criminal record. Life with a criminal record in Illinois is tough, even for DUI convictions. Convictions for driving under the influence can never be expunged from your record, so you must deal with the consequences forever.
Some of the major consequences of getting a DUI stem from getting a criminal record. With a criminal record, you are subject to background checks from employers, banks, other financial institutions, schools, and housing officers. Some employers will not hire you because of your criminal history, and you are barred from applying to certain jobs, including public office.
Those with a criminal history are restricted from applying for public housing and do not get the same protections under the Fair Housing Act. If you are convicted of a felony DUI, you also risk losing certain constitutional rights, including the right to bear arms and the right to vote.
There are also financial consequences of DUI convictions. First, you will probably have to pay huge fines if you are convicted of a DUI. On top of this, you must pay for the court costs, the costs of a mandatory alcohol and drug program, and the costs of getting an ignition interlock device installed. If you lose your license, you will have to pay a reinstatement fee.
There are also long-term financial consequences of receiving a criminal conviction. Insurance companies often increase the premium for those with DUI convictions. A conviction can affect your insurance premium for up to ten years, which can add up to a significant amount. If you rely on your license to drive to work, you will also have the financial burden of using public transport or a taxi service.
If you are a commercial driver, you will be unable to work without your driver’s license and will lose out on income. You may also face difficulties getting further employment as a commercial driver with a criminal conviction for DUI.
How to Avoid Harsh Consequences of DUI in Illinois
The only sure way to avoid the consequences of a criminal conviction for DUI is not to drive under the influence. However, if you have been charged with a DUI, it is crucial to contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible. An experienced DUI lawyer will know how to build a strong defense and may be able to negotiate lesser charges or penalties for you.
If you have been charged with DUI in Illinois, take the time to research your options and understand the potential consequences. The more knowledge you have about DUI laws in Illinois, the better equipped you will be to make informed decisions throughout your case.
Remember, even if this is your first DUI, the consequences can be severe and long-lasting. Do not take any chances; seek legal representation to protect yourself and your future.
Contact An Illinois DUI Attorney at Hirsch Law Group
DUI convictions can seriously affect your life and your future prospects. Society has a negative opinion of people with criminal convictions, and life is substantially more difficult when you have a criminal record. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system does not make it easy for people to get back on track after they’ve been convicted of DUI.
The best way to prevent the harsh consequences of a DUI is by hiring a DUI lawyer to help you with your case. The criminal defense attorneys at Hirsch Law Group have significant experience with Illinois laws on drunk driving. We have helped hundreds of clients fight against criminal charges and we have a proven track record of getting the best results possible.
At Hirsch Law Group, we care about your future. For this reason, we prioritize getting your charges reduced substantially or dropped completely. We will fight for a case dismissal to prevent you from receiving a criminal record. Our DUI lawyers will do everything in their power to protect your future and fight aggressively on your behalf.
Call 815-880-1134 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced DUI attorney at Hirsch Law Group today.