Getting a DUI With Passengers in Your Car: What Can Happen?

man and woman riding in a convertible together

Have you ever wondered if having passengers in your vehicle can lead to enhanced charges or penalties for DUI? The answer is– it depends.

Adult Passengers in Your Car

If you’re arrested for DUI and have adult passengers in your vehicle, this will generally not have any impact on your charge or potential penalties. However, certain situations could be more complex.

Are the passengers hurt? If you were in a DUI accident that led to your passenger(s) suffering injuries, then you will face felony DUI with injury charges. The passengers may also later pursue a personal injury case against you in order to claim compensation for damages.

Do the passengers have open containers? In Illinois, it is illegal for drivers to transport any open alcohol containers in the passenger area of their vehicle. This includes if your passengers are drinking them. While having open containers present at the time of your DUI arrest won’t directly affect your DUI charge, it can result in a separate open container violation.

Can the passengers be charged? No, your passengers are not at risk of DUI charges. The only exception would be if they are somehow in physical control of the vehicle, such as steering the wheel as you accelerate.

Minor Passengers in Your Car

Potential DUI charges become more serious if you are arrested for DUI when you have a minor passenger.

If you have a minor or minors under 16 years of age in your vehicle, you face enhanced penalties.

The state may impose:

  • A $1,000 minimum fine
  • Mandatory community service with a program that benefits children

This is in addition to standard DUI penalties including:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to $2,500 in fines
  • Driver’s license suspension

Additionally, you can face felony charges if your DUI resulted in an accident causing bodily harm to the minor.

DUI Charges in Chicago Illinois

Our team at The Toney Law Firm, LLC knows how scary it can be to face DUI charges. We want to make your case as stress-free as possible by providing you with aggressive, experienced defense. To begin, contact our DUI defense attorneys today.