Drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) is against the law in Illinois. Lawmakers have enacted increasingly stiff penalties over the years to reduce drunk driving and its dangers. Even first time offenses can result in damaging penalties, and with each offense, the penalties increase. Any time you are charged with a DUI, it is important to hire a DUI Defense Lawyer.
Though DUI charges are most often thought of as drunk driving charges, it is also illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs, including legally prescribed medical marijuana. Additionally if legal prescription drugs impair driving, you can end up with a DUI charge.
In Illinois it is illegal to drive:
- With a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher
- While under the influence of any type of illegal drug
- While under the influence of medical marijuana
- While impaired by prescription medication
Penalties for First Offense
Every DUI case is different and penalties are determined on a case by case basis depending on mitigating and aggravating circumstances. However, since the minimum sentence for a DUI charge under Illinois law is a Class A Misdemeanor, possible penalties include:
- Up to one year in jail
- Fines up to $2500
- Loss of driver’s license for a minimum of 3 months
- Required alcohol abuse treatment programs
- Significant increases in your auto insurance rates
- Suspension of vehicle registration
- A permanent criminal conviction that cannot be expunged (Your conviction will literally follow you around for the rest of your life, show up on any background check, and even possible google searches in the future)
- You may be ineligible for international travel/entry into Canada
If you have a BAC of .16 or higher or are transporting a child under the age of 16 or are involved in a crash that causes bodily harm to a child, you will face increased fines and community service.
In Illinois, any DUI conviction will result in a mandatory breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) being required to go in your car for 1 year. In order to start your car, you will need to breath into the device. If you have a BAC of .025 or higher, the car will not start. Anyone who drives your vehicle will have to use the BAIID. The BAIID requirement will kick in when you are eligible to have your driver’s license reinstated after the initial suspension period (typically 3 months for a 1st offense DUI conviction).
DUI Defense Consultation
For these reasons and more, it makes sense to fight DUI charges whenever possible. The downside of taking a DUI to trial may not be that great when you consider all that you are agreeing to if you plead guilty. DUI charges have serious consequences and become a permanent part of your driving record. Any time you are arrested for DUI, you should contact a Chicago DUI lawyer. With constantly changing Illinois DUI laws, it is important to have an expert in your corner to fight for your rights. Please contact Tower Legal for a DUI defense consultation on any Illinois Drunk Driving Charge.