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What Are the Potential Consequences of a Chicago DUI Conviction?

A DUI conviction in Chicago can come with severe consequences that depend on whether it’s a first, second, or subsequent DUI conviction. Being convicted of a DUI in Illinois can affect your driving privileges and employment, cost thousands in fees and penalties, and may result in jail time.

First Time DUI Penalties
For a first-time DUI, you face penalties that include:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • License suspension of 1 year
  • Fines of up to $2,500
  • Installation of an interlock device in some cases

There may be factors that enhance your penalty. With a BAC over 0.16, you will face a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and at least 100 hours of community service. If you had a child under 16 in the car, you will have a jail sentence of at least 6 months, a minimum fine of $1,000, and 25 days of community service to benefit a children’s program. If a child under 16 is injured in an accident, you face a Class 4 felony with 1-12 years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, and 25 days of community service.

First-time DUI offenders in Chicago can apply for a breath alcohol ignition interlock device of BAIID. This can grant you limited driving privileges to work, school, and other necessary destinations if approved.

Second and Subsequent DUI Offenses
Penalties are higher if you are convicted of a second DUI. In Illinois, any prior offense will count, unlike some states with a “lookback period.” With a second offense, you face license suspension of 5 years.

Repeat offenders are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle when they are granted a restricted license.

For a 3rd or subsequent DUI conviction, you can face a higher sentence of 3 to 7 years in prison and license suspension for 10 years.

Aggravated DUI Penalties
In Illinois, even a first-time DUI can be charged as a felony. All felony DUI charges are considered aggravated DUI with increased penalties. There are a many circumstances in which a DUI can become aggravated:

  • You have prior DUI convictions. If you have 2 or more convictions, all new DUIs will be class 2 felonies.
  • DUI without a driver’s license, restricted driving permit, or judicial driving permit.
  • DUI while driving without valid insurance.
  • DUI while driving with a suspended or revoked license.
  • DUI that causes bodily harm to a child under 16.
  • DUI that results in a fatality.
  • DUI while transporting minors under 16.
  • DUI in which someone is harmed while in a school zone.

Being convicted of an aggravated DUI in Illinois can result in a longer prison sentence that may be 3 years to decades, license revocation for years or even permanently, tens of thousands in fines, and a permanent felony record.

There may be other consequences of a felony DUI conviction. You may need to pay for high-risk insurance for 3 years and complete a substance abuse program. A felony conviction may affect your employment and bar you from professional licenses as well as a commercial driver’s license.

Automatic License Suspension and License Revocation
When you are pulled over and the officer finds your BAC is at least 0.08, or your refuse testing, your license will be immediately suspended. You will receive a receipt to continue driving for 45 days. During this time, you can fight the suspension. You can only do this by requesting an administrative hearing. After 45 days, the suspension takes effect.

The state will also take action against your driver’s license if you are charged. Your license can be revoked and remain so until the outcome of your case.

To have your license restored, you must meet all requirements of the court and state. This may include a license reinstatement fee of $500, the installation of an ignition interlock device (with installation, rental, and monitoring fees), a drug or alcohol program, alcohol evaluation, and proof of financial responsibility.

BAC Can Affect Consequences
If your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or higher, you are considered legally intoxicated and can be charged with a DUI. What many drivers do not realize is Illinois law prohibits impaired driving as well. You can still be cited for a DUI if you have a BAC that is between 0.05 to 0.08 if your behavior indicates you were driving impaired. This will be at the discretion of the police officer.

If you are cited for DUI with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08, you will not trigger the immediate license suspension which is automatic with a BAC of 0.08 and higher. Instead, your penalties are determined by your court case.