A Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction can have long lasting repercussions in a person’s personal and professional life. A driver arrested for a DUI may lose work time or a job over the arrest and have increased insurance premiums, in addition to the legal penalties of a conviction. Additionally, a DUI becomes a permanent part of the driver’s driving record.
What is a DUI offense?
In Illinois, it is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This includes driving while under the influence of medical marijuana, even with a valid prescription. It is also illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. Commercial truck drivers can be arrested for a BAC of 0.04 or higher, while school bus drivers can be arrested for a BAC of 0.01 or higher.
In the context of a DUI, actual physical control of the vehicle can be anything from sleeping in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition, to sleeping in the back seat of the vehicle. Illinois courts determine whether or not a driver was in actual physical control of a vehicle by looking at the facts on a case by case basis. If you are arrested for a DUI just from being inside your vehicle “sleeping it off,” you need to consult an experienced Chicago DUI attorney for a consultation based on the facts of your case.
Penalties for a DUI
Under the Illinois DUI law (625 ILCS 5/11-501), a DUI can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. Whether a DUI is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on several factors, including whether or not the arrest is a first or second offense, or if there is an accident with serious injuries sustained, especially by a child who was being transported by the drunk driver.
A first-time offense of DUI is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, with the driver’s driving privileges revoked for a minimum of one year for drivers who are over the legal drinking age and up to two years for drivers under 21.
For a second offense, the DUI is still classified as a Class A misdemeanor, but it carries a mandatory minimum of five days imprisonment or 240 hours of community service. In addition, the vehicle’s registration is suspended, and the driver’s driving privileges are revoked for a minimum of five years if the second condition is within 20 years of the first offense. For both the misdemeanor offenses, there are also fines that can be assessed up to $2,500.
Additionally, if you are arrested for a DUI while driving on a suspended license or permit, or while uninsured, your car may be impounded by the police. Your car may also be impounded if you have certain prior convictions, or if the DUI is your third or subsequent DUI offense.
Third or subsequent DUI offenses qualify as felonies.