Illinois is a state that carries some of the harshest penalties for driving under the influence or DUI convictions. There are several penalties you can expect if you are convicted of this crime. The severity and specific penalties you face depend on the circumstances of the offense and whether you have prior DUI convictions. There is also a Zero Tolerance Policy in place regarding those under the age of 21 who get arrested for a DUI.
What are Illinois’ DUI Laws?
DUI laws are strict in Illinois. The state also has the Implied Consent Law, which means that all drivers are obligated to follow the law to have driving privileges. Implied Consent means if a police officer has just cause to pull you over and requests you to take a breath, blood, or urine test to determine whether there is alcohol in your system, you are required to submit to the said test. If you refuse, the officer can arrest you on charges of DUI.
Like other states in the country, Illinois’ blood alcohol concentration or BAC limit is 0.08 percent. If your BAC is higher than that, you are considered intoxicated. For commercial drivers, the limit is even lower at only 0.04 percent. The Zero Tolerance Policy set for minors requires that anyone younger than 21 who drives has a 0.00 percent BAC.
DUI Charges and Misdemeanor Offenses
Although penalties can be harsh for DUI convictions in Illinois, most of the charges are classified as class A misdemeanors. However, attorneys often consider DUIs as complex misdemeanors. This is because there is often more evidence — digital, medical, and scientific — available in DUI cases. These differ from lower-level felony charges, where such evidence is often unavailable.
It’s also important to know that not all criminal defense attorneys can represent you in a DUI case. It requires specialized knowledge in the area of DUI to represent a client in such a case effectively. Lawyers are required to know the state’s vehicle code and administrative code, the policies used by police departments, and more.
DUI and Marijuana and Other Drugs
Illinois is one of the states that legally allows the use of medical marijuana. However, in order to legally use it, you must be registered with the state’s Department of Public Health and carry authorization to use it medically from a licensed doctor. Individuals who fall under those categories are issued a registry card and are given a notation on their driver’s license.
At the same time, if you have legal rights to medical marijuana, you cannot operate a vehicle while using it or any illegal drug. You are also prohibited from carrying medical marijuana in your vehicle unless it’s contained and inaccessible while you’re driving.
A person who has a license for medical marijuana who refuses to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test when pulled over by a police officer and asked to do so faces revocation of their medical marijuana license.
Penalties for DUI Convictions in Illinois
There are several penalties you can expect to receive if you are convicted of a DUI in Illinois. Generally speaking, the exact ones you face depend on your age, whether you have prior convictions, your BAC and whether you had a minor younger than 16 in the vehicle with you at the time of the offense. The following are base penalties you can face for a conviction:
- First offense: For a first offense, jail time is a maximum of 364 days. There is also a fine of up to $2,500.
- Second offense: With a second DUI offense, you can face 240 hours of community service or spend a minimum of five days in jail up to a maximum of 364 days and be responsible for a fine up to $2,500.
- Third offense: For a third offense, you may receive 480 hours of community service or only ten days in jail up to seven years maximum. There is also a $2,500 maximum fine.
Additionally, if you are convicted of a DUI, you may have your driver’s license suspended. For a first offense, your license may be suspended for one year or two years if you are younger than 21. For a second offense, your license is suspended for five years, and for a third offense, you can expect your license to be suspended for a period of 10 years.
If you have been arrested on DUI charges in Illinois, do not take it lightly. Get in touch with the Toney Law Firm at your earliest convenience. Our team can help protect your rights today (888) 473-4058.