Getting caught driving under the influence in Illinois has serious ramifications and getting caught more than once could result in a felony conviction, possible jail or prison time and even permanent revocation of your driver’s license.
The average man weighing about 170 pounds approaches the legal threshold for being intoxicated (0.08 percent) after about four drinks in one hour, according to the Illinois Secretary of State. For women weighing about 140 pounds, the limit is about three drinks. See CyberdriveIllinois.org for more information.
That said, every person metabolizes or process alcohol differently and as such, the optimal plan to have a sober person drink if you have been drinking at all.
And it’s not just for alcohol. Illinois has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to drugs. If you are pulled over and drugs are later detected in your blood or urine, that could be grounds for an enhanced charge depending upon the situation.
DUI laws can also pertain to snowmobiles, watercraft and even all-terrain vehicles.
Under Illinois law, most first-time offenders and even second-time offenders are facing misdemeanors, but the chance of a felony does exist. For instance, a person could face aggravated DUI (felony) charges if he was involved in a crash that injured a child who was in the car.
A second-time offender faces felony charges if a child was in the car regardless of an accident.
Anyone arrested three times or more is facing felony charges regardless of the situation. And the penalties can be quite severe.
For a third or fourth offense, there’s the risk of up to seven years in prison. For fifth offenses, it goes up to 15 years. For six or more arrests, a person must serve, if convicted, at least six years and possibly 30 years in prison. Probation isn’t an option.
After four arrests, a person’s driver’s license is permanently revoked. For a third offense, the revocation could last for 10 years.
Fines are also stiff with mandatory assessments of $2,500 for a third offense and going up to $5,000 for a four or more arrests. Anyone who is sentenced to probation or conditional discharge also must serve a minimum 480 hours of community service or 10 days in jail.
The most severe type of aggravated DUI involves death. When a person is killed as a result of a DUI crash, a person charged with this type of offense faces at least three years and possibly up to 14 years in prison regardless of how many times he or she has been arrested in the past.
Also, unlike other criminal cases, the punishment is presumed to be incarceration. That’s different from other charges were the presumption is for probation and a prosecutor must show why prison is the appropriate choice.
Under this type of aggravated DUI, your attorney must show why there are extraordinary circumstances that his client should be put on probation.
There are several other ways to be charged with a felony. Among them are:
• DUI committed without a valid driver’s license or permit (Class 4 felony).
• DUI committed without vehicle liability insurance (Class 4 felony).
• DUI committed after a previous conviction for reckless homicide while DUI or Aggravated DUI involving a death (Class 3 felony).
In addition to the possible criminal penalties, there are civil ones such as a revocation of driving privileges, vehicle impoundment and the requirement to use a BAID or a Breath Alcohol Ignition interlock device in your car. A BAID basically requires one to blow into a tube and if the device detects alcohol, the car wouldn’t start.
A person must pay for that device as part of their conviction or suspension if appropriate.
As you can see, the penalties are quite severe for aggravated DUI. And as stated before, the ideal is not to drive at all if you have been drinking. If you find yourself being charged with a DUI, it is important to retain the services of an experienced DUI attorney. In DUI cases a person’s license, liberty and employment are often at stake.
The use of the internet or this form of communication with the firm or individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The information provided above is not to be considered legal advice and is intended for educational purposes only.
Miller Law Offices represents clients throughout the entire state of Illinois, including, but not limited to, the cities of Peoria, Pekin, Bartonville, Morton, Washington, Eureka, Pontiac, Cambridge, Dunlap, Bloomington, Normal and cases in Peoria County, Henry County, Livingston County, McLean County, Tazewell County, Knox County and Woodford County.
Article Author: C. Matthew Miller
C. Matthew Miller is the sole practitioner at Miller Law Offices, P.C. He has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer and the American Society of Legal Advocates as a Top 40 Criminal Defense lawyer Under 40 in the State of Illinois. Mr. Miller concentrates his practice in Criminal Law, DUI, Criminal Record Expungements, Divorce and Child Custody.