The state of Illinois is tough on those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police officers and prosecutors want to take drunk drivers off the road and convict people quickly. What they do not consider, however, is the personal lives of people who are accused of DUI offenses. They do not think about how much a DUI conviction will affect a person’s life and create significant barriers for them.
If you are facing DUI charges and must come up against Illinois DUI laws, contacting a lawyer is the only way to protect your legal rights. At Hirsch Law Group, we have a team of DUI attorneys who are ready to help you fight against the serious consequences of a DUI. Our law firm has been serving Illinois citizens for over 20 years, and we have the skills necessary to get a favorable outcome for your case.
Our attorneys have worked as former prosecutors, and we have seen firsthand how unfair the criminal justice system can be toward the accused. For this reason, we dedicate our careers to protecting the rights of defendants and fighting against injustice. We have successfully handled hundreds of DUI cases in Illinois, and we want to help you as best as we can.
Call our law firm today for a free consultation with a DUI lawyer at 815-880-1134.
Illinois DUI Laws
Driving privileges in Illinois come with certain rights and responsibilities. The law expects drivers to always drive while sober and to not engage in reckless or negligent behavior while driving. This includes no distracted driving, texting while driving, breaking traffic laws, or committing other traffic violations.
The law on drunk driving provides that an Illinois driver cannot operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol level higher than 0.08%. For underage drivers, there is a zero-tolerance policy, meaning any amount of alcohol in their blood can lead to a DUI conviction. If you are a commercial driver, the legal limit is 0.04%.
Actual Physical Control
Illinois DUI laws provide a person does not have to be driving their motor vehicle to be subject to a DUI arrest. The actual physical control element of DUI laws means that a person need only have the capability of operating their vehicle to be charged with a DUI. This means that if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs and sitting in your vehicle, a police officer could conduct a test and arrest you for driving under the influence.
Some situations that could lead to a DUI when you are not driving include:
Sitting in the driver’s seat of your motor vehicle
Sitting in the passenger seat with ignition keys in your hand
Being alone in the car with the doors locked
Falling asleep in a vehicle with the ignition in your possession
The penalties imposed for DUI convictions not resulting from driving the vehicle are the same as a normal DUI. Because of this, people in Illinois can be convicted of DUI for falling asleep drunk in their car after a night out, receive criminal penalties, and lose their driving privileges.
Implied Consent Laws in Illinois
All drivers in Illinois have a duty to keep the roads safe and protect other drivers and pedestrians from personal injury. This duty means that they automatically consent to give a blood alcohol level test when they are pulled over by a police officer, as per Illinois’s implied consent law. This blood alcohol content (BAC) test could be a breathalyzer test, field sobriety test, or a blood test.
Test refusal in Illinois automatically results in a one-year suspension of your driving privileges. Although drivers have civil rights that the law should protect, you will, unfortunately, face penalties for refusing a BAC test. These penalties can include a one-year license suspension, a fine of up to $500, and harsher penalties imposed by a Judge if convicted of DUI in court.
Lawmakers in Illinois care more about convicting people of DUIs than offering them the right to refuse a drug or alcohol test. Because of this, it is important that you comply with police orders to avoid harsher penalties from being added to your charges.
Penalties Imposed For a DUI Conviction in Illinois
A DUI conviction in Illinois can lead to serious criminal penalties. DUI convictions will also affect your driving privileges and can lead to an automatic license suspension. The type of penalties imposed for DUI convictions depends on the particular circumstances of the case, including:
Whether it was an aggravated DUI or there were aggravating factors, such as a minor in the vehicle, DUI in a school zone, or a school bus driver under the influence of alcohol
If the person convicted of DUI has previous DUI offenses
The level of alcohol in their system
Whether the DUI offender caused great bodily harm or injury to another person
The more DUI convictions that you receive, the higher the penalties will be. There are some mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for repeat DUI offenders, which can lead to an automatic prison sentence and a mandatory minimum fine.
First DUI Offense
A first offense of DUI is a class A misdemeanor. The penalties imposed for this charge include a jail sentence of up to 365 days, fines of up to $2,500, statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license for six months, and one year of suspension if you refuse to take a test.
The penalties vary for an aggravated DUI. The more serious the crime, the harsher the penalty will be. Driving under the influence with a person under the age of 16 will lead to 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. A DUI resulting in great bodily harm or injury will cause a minimum jail sentence of one year, which could be extended to twelve years.
The more Illinois DUI convictions that you receive, the worse the penalties get. Prior DUI convictions will only affect your penalties if they were committed in the last five years. So, if you have a prior conviction that happened ten years ago, it will not affect a new DUI charge.
Second DUI conviction – Mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, jail time of up to one year, mandatory five days in jail or ten days of community service, and statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license for one year.
Third and fourth DUI conviction – Class 2 felony, leading to three to seven years in prison, fines of up to $25,000, minimum jail time of 10 days or 480 hours of community service, and a ten-year statutory summary suspension period for your driving privileges, or lifetime revocation.
Fifth DUI – Class 1 felony, leading to four to fifteen years in prison, maximum fines of $25,000, minimum jail time of 10 days, and 480 hours of community service. The statutory summary suspension period for a fifth DUI is for life.
Sixth DUI – Class X felony, leading to jail time of six to thirty years, fines of $25,000, and suspension of your license for life. If a child was in the vehicle at the time of the incident, you must pay a minimum fine of $25,000 and 25 days of community service.
A conviction for a DUI criminal charge automatically results in a permanent criminal record. DUIs can never be expunged from your record in Illinois, so you will have to deal with the consequences for the rest of your life. Prosecutors do not care about how damaging a criminal record can be to your life, and they will often try to impose the harshest penalties.
Illinois DUI Testing and Arrest Procedure
If you are stopped by a traffic police officer, you are likely to undergo field sobriety tests and other immediate tests to help identify your blood alcohol level.
A field sobriety test is typically the first step to determine the ability of the driver for a safe drive. During a traffic stop, the field sobriety tests may include physical and cognitive exercises like the one-leg stand, walk-and-run, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which involves following an object with the eyes.
These tests are not perfect. A positive result in these tests can be because of several non-drug-related reasons. While these tests are not always perfectly accurate, they provide probable cause for further testing and possible arrest.
If the officer suspects you to be under the influence of any substance, they may administer a breathalyzer test. This test uses your breath as a sample and measures the blood alcohol concentration. But in cases where the officer suspects drug use, a blood test would be required.
Drivers have the right to refuse both tests. But due to implied consent laws, they might face immediate penalties. During this situation, it is best to stay silent and contact an attorney.
A knowledgeable attorney who understands your rights and responsibilities during the case may guide you in your best possible outcome.
License Reinstatement With DUI Lawyers at Hirsch Law Group
Losing your driver’s license can create significant hardship for many Illinois citizens. You may be unable to attend work, go to medical appointments, or pick your children up from school. This can lead to further financial difficulties and social stigma.
The lawyers at Hirsch Law Group can help you get your driving privileges reinstated to allow you to continue with your life as normally as possible. If it was a first DUI conviction, we could help you apply for a monitoring device driving permit, which requires you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your steering wheel.
If you are ineligible for this driving permit, we can apply for a restricted driving permit, which will allow you to drive to work, go to appointments, and carry out essential tasks. If you are found not guilty or want to challenge your license suspension, we will apply to the Illinois Secretary of State for a hearing regarding your administrative suspension.
DUI in Illinois with a subsequent offense can make things difficult. Whether you are a first-time DUI offender or it is your sixth or subsequent conviction or third DUI conviction, we can help you navigate through this. Call us for consultation.
Hirsch Law Group – DUI Laws in Illinois
Illinois DUI laws make it difficult for ordinary citizens to move on after a simple mistake. Regardless of whether you have prior DUI convictions, all DUI offenders will receive a permanent criminal record for a conviction. With a criminal record, you will be subject to background checks, difficulties applying for jobs, and significant barriers in day-to-day life.
On top of this, you will receive a mandatory revocation period for your license and be subject to an additional mandatory minimum fine in most cases. Hiring an experienced attorney is the only way to put up a strong fight against these charges and help protect your future.
At Hirsch Law Group, we have a team of highly experienced attorneys who can help get the best possible outcome for your case. Our lawyers have worked as prosecutors, and we use this experience to build unique defenses for each case. Our managing attorney, Gordon H. Hirsch, has an AVVO rating of 10.0, which is the highest rating attainable.
We have what it takes to fight against the injustices of the criminal legal system, and we will do everything we can to protect your legal rights.
Call today for a free consultation at 815-880-1134.