DUI penalties are never good, as every state in the U.S. is stiff on penalizing drivings who even make one mistake. And if you get a DUI charge more than once, you can expect jail time, prolonged suspensions for your license, and more.
The state of Illinois considers driving under the influence (DUI) as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs. As with all 50 states, Illinois considers the blood-alcohol concentration limit to be 0.08 or more. It used to be .10, in fact, but was changed in 1997.
Alcohol levels vary for each person. Some reach the limit of 0.08% far earlier than others, while others can drink more and not get over the limit. In either case, it’s safer to get a designated driver.
Typically, the blood alcohol level is tested based on the ratio of alcohol in the blood or breath. The two most common tests, blood and breathalyzer tests, are used in the State of Illinois.
Also similar to other state laws, Illinois determines 1) the amount of alcohol consumed and 2) the rate it was absorbed the the body. Other factors include gender, weight, alcohol tolerance, and food consumed.
Now let’s go over the key penalties for DUI offenders.
First offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which includes punishment of up to 1 year imprisonment, fines up to $2,500, revocation of driving rights for at least 1 year (2 years if under 21), and suspension of vehicle registration. There is more to note. If the blood alcohol level was .16 or more, twice the legal limit, additional penalties for fines and community service are included. If you committed these offenses while transporting someone under the age of 18, you also face additional stiff penalties.
Second offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor as well, with the same possible imprisonment time and fines. However, in addition to this, you can lose driving rights for a minimum of 5 years if this conviction is within 20 years of your first. If you committed this while driving someone 16 years of age or younger, it’s considered an aggravated DUI and has stiffer penalties. If you were unfortunate enough to get in a crash and the young person was hurt, it’s considered a Class 2 felony with up to 7 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
A third offense is considered a Class 2 felony the the state of Illinois. This means you can face imprisonment for up to 7 years, and fines up to $25,000. Also, your driving rights will be taken away for a minimum of 10 years.
The further you go, the worse the penalties get. For instance, a fourth conviction can lead to loss of driving privileges for the rest of your life.
Clearly, Illinois DUI penalties are harsh, but the rate of crashes involving alcohol make these laws important. However, you still have a right to defend yourself if you get pulled over, especially if you feel you the arrest was in the wrong. For expert help, hire a professional Illinois DUI attorney.