Each year, roughly 35,000 drivers in Illinois are arrested for drunk driving related offenses. Another 300 people in the state will die at the hands of a drunk driver. The effects of a drunk driving arrest – both immediate and long-term – can be significant. In the short-term, fighting driving under the influence (“DUI”) charges isn’t cheap – Illinois estimates it will cost a first-time DUI offender approximately $16,500 between court costs, elevated insurance premiums, attorney’s fees, and other related costs. In the long-term, your ability to secure employment, loans, or housing may be compromised since DUI charges often remain on your record.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in Chicago, the skilled attorneys at Kostopoulos Law Group, LLC may be able to help. Contact us today for a free, no-commitment consultation to learn about your legal rights the options that may be available to you. If you choose to work with our Chicago DUI attorneys we will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and minimize the penalties that may be imposed.
Illinois DUI Laws
Illinois DUI laws are not only applicable to driving under the influence of alcohol, but also to driving under the influence of illegal, abused, or prescription drugs. If a police officer believes that you are driving while impaired, you may be arrested for driving under the influence.
In Illinois, it is illegal to drive if your blood-alcohol concentration (“BAC”) is equal to or greater than .08%. While each person metabolizes alcohol differently, it is possible to have a BAC of .08% after only two drinks. The likelihood of having a BAC above the legal limit increases with each additional drink.
Intoxication Indicated by Behavior and BAC
While not technically illegal, you may still be charged with a DUI if your BAC is between .05% and .08% if a law enforcement officer has reason to believe you are intoxicated. To thwart driving under the influence, police are empowered with the discretion to determine if a driver is not capable of safely operating a motor vehicle due to intoxication. If you are charged with a DUI at the discretion of a police officer – and not for per se intoxication about .08% – the penalties applied will be less severe.
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under with a BAC is greater than 0% if you are not of legal drinking age.
In some cases, penalties for driving under the influence will be elevated due to especially dangerous or egregious circumstances. These include:
- Extremely elevated BAC, such as twice the legal limit;
- Driving under the influence at reckless speeds;
- Driving under the influence with children in the vehicle;
- Driving under the influence with prior DUI convictions; and
- Driving under the influence with a suspended or revoked license.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
To discourage getting behind the wheel after a drink or two, Illinois imposes serious penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you have been charged with a DUI in Illinois, you may be subject to both administrative and criminal punishment.
If you are arrested for per se intoxication – having a BAC of .08% of greater – or refuse to submit to a breathalyzer or other chemical testing your license will be suspended. You may be permitted to drive for 45 days following your arrest while you fight the charges pending against you. After those first 45 days, however, the suspension takes effect and you will not be permitted to drive. The length of the suspension depends on the reason for your arrest. If your BAC was .08% or greater, the suspension is for a term of 6 months. If you refused a breathalyzer or other testing, the suspension is for a term of 1 year. If you have been convicted of a DUI in the past and refuse a breathalyzer or other test your license will be suspended for a term of 3 years.
First time DUI offenders whose licenses have been suspended may apply for a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (“BAIID”) and restricted license if operating a vehicle is necessary.
If the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest are extreme or dangerous, the state reserves the right to revoke your license for the duration of your trial and after it has been completed if you are convicted.
The fees involved in dealing with administrative penalties are not cheap and can rack up quickly.
Administrative penalties may be a hassle, but criminal penalties can significantly change your life. Driving under the influence is a Class A Misdemeanor in the state of Illinois for first and second-time offenders, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or fines of up to $2,500.
If convicted of a DUI, you may also subject to penalties including:
- License revocation for 1 year (if over 21);
- License revocation for 2 years (if under 21);
- Court-mandated drug and alcohol treatment;
- Community service; and/or
- BAIID installation.
Driving under the influence may be a felony in the state of Illinois, which carry considerably more severe punishments for repeat and egregious offenders. Driving under the influence may be a Class 4 Felony, which is punishable by 1-3 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 if:
- You cause great bodily harm to another;
- You drive with children under the age of 16 in the car and cause bodily harm; or
- You drive with a revoked or suspended license.
Driving under the influence may be a Class 2 Felony, punishable by 3-7 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 if:
- It is your 3rd or more DUI offense; or
- You cause the death of another person.
Contact an Experienced Chicago DUI Attorney Immediately
If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI it is incredibly important to seek the assistance of a skilled drunk driving attorney as soon as possible. Illinois takes driving under the influence very seriously and imposes harsh penalties that can be costly. The knowledgeable DUI attorneys at Kostopoulos Law Group, LLC have a history of success in navigating clients through the DUI process and negotiating down potentially substantial penalties.
When you contact us we will review the details of the case against you, ask questions to determine whether your rights were violated, and devise a legal strategy to help you fight the charges. Drunk driving charges can have a significant effect on the rest of your life – enlist the assistance of an experience Chicago DUI attorney to minimize the legal damage a DUI may cause.