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Illinois DUI Punishments & Penalties

DUI Penalties in Illinois

In all criminal cases, including those in which a person may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), defendants have a presumption of innocence. That is, they are considered to be innocent of the alleged offense until they are proven to be guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. If guilt is established (either by a "Guilty" plea or a verdict in a criminal trial), state laws outline the penalties a person may face. In some cases, aggravating circumstances or previous DUI convictions may affect the sentence a person will receive following a conviction. The potential penalties for a DUI conviction may include:

Prison sentence

In Illinois, a first-time DUI will usually result in Class A misdemeanor charges, and if a driver is convicted, they may face a sentence of up to one year in jail. While Class A misdemeanor charges will also apply for a second DUI, a person may also face a minimum sentence of five days.

When a DUI is classified as a felony (known as aggravated DUI), a person may face a minimum prison sentence of one year, and they may be required to serve several years of imprisonment. Felony charges will apply for a third or subsequent DUI conviction, in cases where drunk driving led to an accident that caused someone to be seriously injured or killed, and a variety of other situations.

Monetary Fines

High fines will often apply when a person is convicted of DUI. For Class A misdemeanor charges, a person may be required to pay fines of up to $2,500. For felony DUI convictions, the maximum fine is $25,000. Mandatory minimum fines will apply in many situations. For example, a first-time DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .16 percent carries a minimum $500 fine, while a minimum $2,500 fine will apply if a person was carrying a child passenger under the age of 16 at the time they committed DUI, and they were involved in an accident in which the child was injured. In addition to fines, drivers will also be required to pay court costs and fees, and they will be required to purchase high-risk auto insurance.

Driver's License Suspension/Revocation

In many cases, a DUI arrest will result in a mandatory suspension of a person's driver's license. Illinois law states that an automatic license suspension will apply if a post-arrest blood alcohol test shows that they were under the influence of alcohol or other substances or if they refused to submit to this type of testing. A failed chemical test will result in a six-month license suspension for a first offense and a one-year suspension for a second offense within five years. Refusal to take a chemical test will result in a one-year suspension for a first offense and a three-year suspension for a second offense.

A DUI conviction will usually result in the revocation of a person's driving privileges, and a person will be required to take steps to request a driver's license reinstatement once they are eligible to do so. However, a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) may be available for a first-time DUI offender who is willing to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicle. In other DUI cases, a person may be able to request a restricted driving permit (RDP) that will allow them to drive for specific purposes, such as employment, after their license has been suspended or revoked.

Alternative Punishments

In addition to fines and jail time, DUI offenders may be required to complete a substance abuse evaluation, attend education courses on how to prevent intoxicated driving, or receive treatment for alcohol or drug abuse. In some cases, drivers may also be required to perform community service. For example, a person who is convicted of a second DUI may serve at least 240 hours of community service instead of a mandatory minimum jail sentence, while a person convicted of DUI in which a child passenger was injured will be required to complete at least 25 days of community service in a program that benefits children.

Underage DUI

Minors under the age of 20 who are arrested for DUI will face many of the same penalties as adults who drive while intoxicated. Illinois has a zero tolerance policy for underage drunk driving. A minor who is arrested for DUI and found to have any alcohol or drugs in their system will face a three-month driver's license suspension for a first offense and a one-year suspension for a second offense. Underage drivers who are convicted of DUI will have their driver's licenses revoked for at least two years. They may also be ordered to undergo counseling and participate in an education program demonstrating the effects of intoxicated driving.

Other Penalties of a DUI Arrest or Conviction

A DUI charge will remain on a person's record for multiple years, and it could potentially affect them for the rest of their life. Criminal records related to DUI may be accessed by employers or others, and certain jobs will be unavailable to people who have been convicted on DUI charges. In some cases, a DUI arrest may result in the suspension of a person's professional license, affecting their ability to continue working in their chosen career. A driver who injures others in a DUI accident may also face a civil lawsuit in which victims seek to recover compensation for their injuries and property damage.

Contact Our Joliet DUI Defense Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we provide guidance to people who have been arrested for DUI, helping them understand the ways they may be affected, the steps they can take to defend against a conviction, and their options for addressing license suspensions or other issues. To get the legal help you need following a DUI arrest, contact us at 815-740-4025 and book a complimentary consultation.

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