When most people think of a DUI (driving under the influence) charge, they automatically jump to alcohol as the drug causing the impairment – but that’s not always the case.
A Plainfield man was recently charged with driving under the influence of drugs, disobeying a stop sign, and unlawful possession of cannabis. These charges come of his role in a car accident that killed a 6-year-old girl. This goes to show, that even though cannabis is legal in Illinois, it’s still illegal to drive a vehicle under the influence.
Here’s what you need to know about drugged driving in Illinois and the consequences that you can face for a DUI involving drugged driving.
Drugged Driving: What Is It?
A DUI can be charged in Illinois for driving under the influence of alcohol, but it can also be charged if you have controlled substances in your system that impairs your ability to safely operate a vehicle.
Marijuana is among the controlled substances that bring about DUI charges, even though it is legal both recreationally and medically in the state. You simply cannot drive when under the influence of drugs or alcohol period – and doing so is a violation of the law.
What Are the Penalties for Drugged Driving in IL?
The penalties for drugged driving are the same for driving under the influence of alcohol. Some additional factors can influence the penalties, such as the criminal history of the driver.
The penalties for drugged driving in Illinois include:
A Class A misdemeanor, the penalty for a first offense for drugged driving is as many as 12 months in jail and fines of as much as $2,500.
This is another Class A misdemeanor with the same penalties as a first offense.
Third Offense and Beyond
A third DUI or more is considered a Class 2 felony. It can lead to a sentence of up to three years behind bars and fines of as much as $25,000.
It’s important to note that any time you are found guilty of a DUI, no matter if you’ve had previous offenses or not, your driver’s license cab be taken away for a period. The penalties can also be enhanced if any of the following circumstances are involved in the drugged driving incident:
- Knowingly driving a car that is uninsured
- Having a passenger in the car with you under the age of 16
- Causing injury to another person when driving under the influence
If any of these enhancements are present in your case, your best course of action is to work with an experienced attorney to help get your charges reduced.
What Are the Defenses For Drugged Driving?
For anyone facing a drugged driving charge in Illinois, a solid defense is very important. The defense strategy you use depends on the circumstances of your individual case, but some of the most common types of defenses employed include:
- No legal reason for stopping by police
- Faulty blood, breath, or sobriety tests in the field
- Tests that were administered by someone not qualified or testing procedures that were not correctly followed
- You were not driving the car during the incident
It is possible to show that the court that the charges against you were brought unfairly, your rights were not upheld, or that they are simply wrong. Understanding your rights in this situation is essential to help you have the best outcome possible.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by Avvo (2013 and 2018), SuperLawyers (2015-2020), The National Trial Lawyers, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.