Even though certain actions can lead to a DUI in Illinois, that doesn’t mean people expect it to happen to them—nor do they know what to do after the fact. If a weekend of summer-ending fun ended with a Labor Day DUI in Illinois for you, you may be wondering what is next.
The truth of the matter is: many people have no clue what happens after they’ve been charged with a DUI. You may be subject to criminal penalties, administrative penalties, or both – it depends on the circumstances surrounding your case.
Here is a general overview of a DUI charge in Illinois and what you can expect if you’ve received one.
A First DUI Offense
For driving under the influence in Illinois for the first time, you may be facing several repercussions based on the circumstances surrounding your case.
In Illinois, it is generally a Class A misdemeanor to drive under the influence for the first time. If you are arrested for a DUI and charged with it because you had a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, then you can face as many as 12 months in prison and fines of $2,500.
However, it’s pretty rare for a first-time DUI offender to be sentenced to the maximum penalty. You will face a mandatory minimum fine of at least $500, on top of any associated court costs or programs that the court may require you to complete, such as alcohol classes.
Other factors that can influence your case and the penalties you may face include:
- If a minor was present in your car at the time of your arrest
- If your blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit, above 0.16 percent or higher
If you had a minor passenger in your car, you will serve at least 25 days in community service, and you will be required to pay at least a fine of $1,000. If you had twice the legal blood alcohol limit, then you must complete at least 100 hours of community service.
If you are convicted of a felony DUI – which can happen – you can face anywhere from one to 30 years in prison. In this case, you should absolutely connect with an experienced DUI attorney in Illinois to defend you against these charges in court.
Of course, it is advisable to seek legal help no matter the seriousness of the charges against you, if you want the best outcome.
What About Your License?
In addition to paying fines, first-time offenders with a DUI also face having their license suspended for up to one year. You may apply for a restricted driving permit in that time to help you get back and forth to work or other obligations. Often that will occur in conjunction with required alcohol or drug treatment classes.
You may also be ordered to install and pay for an ignition interlock system in your car in exchange for gaining a restricted driving permit.
A DUI charge, even a first charge, is a very serious matter. It will create a criminal record that can follow you around for life. That could have a big impact on your future.
That’s why, if you got a DUI this Labor Day weekend, you need to understand the charges against you and what can be done to minimize the damage to your life as much as 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.