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Understanding Illinois DUI Penalties

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DUI, Illinois law, Arlington Heights Criminal Defense AttorneyThe state of Illinois has a very strict set of rules when it comes to punishing those who drink and drive. The punishments associated with a DUI reflect how seriously the state handles such matters. Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21 caught driving under the influence. Any alcohol in their system is grounds for criminal charges.

Illinois Implied Consent Law

Illinois, like many states, has an implied consent law, which allows officers to test drivers they suspect of driving under the influence with breath, urine, or other tests in order to determine whether or not they are in violation of the law. When drivers apply for their driver’s license, they give consent to field such tests to determine impairment. Refusing to take such tests can result in a variety of penalties, including fines and the automatic suspension of a driver’s license.

First DUI

In Illinois, a first-time DUI is punishable by up to one year in prison with a minimum of a one-year suspension of the driver’s license, and up to a $2,500 fine. If the driver’s BAC (blood alcohol content) is above 0.16 percent, a minimum fine of $500 and a minimum of 100 hours of community service are added on top of the original sentence. If a minor under the age of 16 is in the car, an additional six months is added to the potential jail time, a minimum of $1,000 added to the fine and at least 25 more days of community service will be given as part of the sentence. The court can also order that the driver pay to have an ignition interlock device installed, or suspend any vehicle registrations.

Subsequent DUI Charges Result in Increasing Restrictions and Sanctions

The severity of the punishment continues to escalate with subsequent DUI offenses. If a driver is convicted of a second DUI within 20 years of their first charge, his or her license will be suspended for a minimum of five years, he or she will face up to $2,500 in fines, and be given a mandatory five-day prison sentence or 240 hours of community service, although the prison sentence can be up to a year.

As with a first time DUI charge, having a BAC of over 0.16 percent will result in more severe charges, including two days added to the minimum prison sentence and $1,250 added to the fine. If a minor under the age of 16 was a passenger in the car, the charge becomes felony aggravated DUI, which carries an extra one to three years of prison time, an additional fine of up to $25,000 and a minimum of 25 days of community service. Other penalties include the suspension of any vehicle registrations.

A third DUI charge becomes an automatic Class 2 felony, which includes a minimum 10-year suspension of the driver’s license, a fine up to $2,500 and a prison sentence of three to seven years. An additional 90 days is added to the prison time and at least $2,250 added to the fine if the driver’s BAC was above 0.16 percent. If a child under the age of 16 was present in the car, the sentence is increased to include an additional one to three years of prison time, a mandatory fine of $25,000 and a minimum of 25 days of community service.

A DUI can be incredibly costly, both in time and money. Consulting with professional legal assistance is necessary if you find yourself facing charges of driving under the influence. Scott Anderson is Illinois criminal defense attorney with over two decades of experience defending clients facing DUI charges. He has managed DUI cases both in the trial courts and on appeal and represents clients charged with alleged misdemeanor and felony DUI crimes throughout Cook, Lake, DuPage and McHenry Counties. Please call 847-253-3400 to schedule a free initial consultation today.

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