So many things are associated with the holidays. Presents, gatherings with family, great food, and, of course, parties. Getting together with friends, family, and co-workers also leads to a commonplace thing during the holidays that many people want to avoid – DUIs.
Driving under the influence in Illinois is a serious offense, even if it’s your first time. That’s why it’s always a good idea to take steps to avoid drinking and driving, not only to avoid personal legal troubles but also to keep you and everyone else on the road safe during the holidays.
Here are some strategies you can use to help you avoid Illinois DUIs this holiday season and any time of the year.
This is the most obvious way to avoid DUIs. It really can’t be overstated how important it is to drive only when you’re unimpaired by drugs or alcohol. If other strategies mentioned here don’t work for you, then the very least you can do is avoid imbibing alcohol – or other things that may impair your driving – when at a holiday party. Remember, even if you stop drinking or slow down considerably as it nears time to leave, you only need a blood alcohol content of 0.08% in Illinois to be charged with a DUI.
Get a Ride
You can ask someone in your friend group or family to be the designated driver if you want to attend an event and be able to partake in the festivities. Ask a sober person to drive you to the party and pick you up, if they’re not going with you.
Use a Rideshare
If you don’t know anyone who can give you a ride, you can always call a rideshare service, such as Uber or Lyft, to arrange for one. If you cannot use those services, then consider public transportation to get where you need to go.
If possible, you may want to plan to stay at the place where the party is – or at a hotel nearby. That way, you avoid getting on the road at all. Then you can feel free to enjoy yourself as much as you want. You don’t have to worry one bit about how you’re getting home.
Have the Party
One of the most festive things you can do is offer to throw a party yourself. When you’re the host, there’s no need to leave your home at all. But it’s not a bad idea to ask your guests about their plans for getting to and from your home, so you don’t have to worry about any of them getting a DUI either.
The Penalties for an Illinois DUI
If you are convicted of driving under the influence in Illinois, you can spend up to one year in prison and be required to pay fines of as much as $2,500 for a first offense. A second offense within five years of the first can also have additional hours of community service tacked onto those penalties.
If you get charged with a DUI for a third or fourth time within a five-year period, then you can be charged with an aggravated DUI. That is a Class 2 felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison and fines of as much as $25,000.
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