Illinois DUI laws are aggressive and enforcement of the laws is just as aggressive. Being faced with a DUI can be frightening. It may seem like one minute you were behind the wheel of a vehicle and the next you were arrested and put in a jail cell. All 50 states have BAC (blood alcohol content) .08 “per se” laws, which loosely means that a BAC of .08 identifies the person in the eyes of the law as intoxicated, and no further proof is necessary for a conviction. In Illinois, you can also be arrested for DUI if the officer merely has reason to believe you are driving under the influence, without a BAC .08. The officer may observe weaving in traffic, driving without lights on, erratic braking, inconsistent speed or a host of other things. These actions may cause you to be pulled over, at which point you will be observed closely and asked to get out of the car to perform field sobriety tests. You may refuse sobriety tests at this point, but if you’re arrested and taken to jail, you must then submit to them or face additional penalties. Everything you do or say has legal ramifications and it is in your best interest to get a local DUI attorney as soon as possible to guide you through the courts. The state of Illinois forbids reducing DUI offenses down to a lesser charge, but a qualified DUI attorney can possibly help get your charges dropped altogether.
A little known fact is that you can actually be arrested for DUI even if you’re not driving. You only need to be in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. The officer could decide this by considering the following: the motor could be on or off, with the keys in the ignition or in your pocket, you could be outside the car or sitting in the driver’s seat, tire tracks leading to the car, whether the hood of the vehicle is warm, or a handful of other things. Theoretically you could just be sitting with the engine off doing nothing and still be arrested for DUI, with the presumption that you had been driving.
Illinois laws are complicated and punishments are complex, depending on prior arrests, pending suspensions, children in the car and more. The government is there to prosecute you, the court is there to hear the facts, and your DUI attorney will be there to fight your case for you. Don’t take a chance on losing your freedom without proper representation. Contact a local DUI attorney right away for a free consultation to get your questions answered.
If you are arrested outside your home state, be sure to ask your attorney how this law will impact you.
The penalties listed below are called for by statute, are not complete, and can often be removed or reduced significantly with the assistance of a local Illinois DUI attorney.
• Incarceration – Up to 1 year jail time
• Fines – Up to $2,500
• License Suspension – Mandatory 1 year
• Ignition Interlock – Mandatory
• Alcohol & Drug – Mandatory DUI School
• Community Service – 100 hours minimum (BAC above .16)
ADDITIONAL COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES
• Bail – Amount set by the court, required before being released after being arrested
• Towing – Average towing rates are $75 to $100 with additional fees for each day the vehicle is impounded
• Insurance – Required to carry high risk insurance for three years. Insurance companies will raise rates significantly for high risk drivers.
• Record – A DUI conviction will remain on driving record permanently
• Employment – Offender may lose time off work and possibly even their job.
• Vehicle – Vehicle may be seized for committing a DUI while uninsured or without a valid driver’s license.
If you are convicted of a second, third, or even fourth offense in Illinois, the penalties and fines go up significantly. For a fourth offense, you can face up to 12 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Don’t lose your rights. Contact a local DUI attorney today for a free consultation on your case.