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Penalities for an Illinois DUI with Minors in the Car

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Arlington Heights Criminal Lawyer, attorney, Chicago DUI, DUI lawyer, felony DUI, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Illinois dui, illinois dui attorney, Illinois DUI Lawyer, underage drinkersIllinois has some of the toughest drinking and driving laws in the country, including a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinkers and felony charges for repeat offenders. Despite this, the problem of driving under the influence in Illinois continues to be a serious one.

According to the 2014 CyberDrive Illinois DUI Factbook, in 2012 there were more than 37,000 DUI arrests recorded by the Secretary of State’s Office. More than 300 people were fatally injured in an alcohol-related crash, accounting for 35 percent of all accident fatalities statewide in the same time period.

The penalties for drinking and driving are worse if the responsible person has an underage person in the car at the time of arrest. If the child is under 16, these penalties are even more harsh. A regular first conviction of DUI, for example, is a Class A misdemeanor, which results in the revocation of driving privileges and registration suspension. If a person is pulled over for DUI with a child under the age of 16—even if it is his or her first offense—the offender is additionally sentenced to a mandatory fine of $1,000 and 25 days of "community service in a program benefiting children," as noted in the Illinois DUI Factbook. Penalties are very strict if the child was injured while the driver was intoxicated. Any crash that resulted in bodily harm to a child under the age of 16 is automatically classified as a Class 4 Felony and carries an aggravated DUI charge.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), in 2012, one-fifth of all child fatalities (ages 14 and younger) were killed in accidents involving alcohol. In addition to the dangers inherent to being in a car with a drunk driver, drunk adults are less likely to properly secure children in safety restraints, which can be additionally dangerous. Studies show that in fatal crashes, drivers who were sober properly restrained children in the car more than 30 percent of the time; drunk drivers only secured children properly 18 percent of the time. MADD considers putting a child in a car with a drunk driver to be child abuse.

If you have ben accused of drinking and driving in Illinois and had a child in the car at the time of arrest, the most important first step is to seek the counsel of a DUI attorney. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal lawyer for a free initial consultation today.

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