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What is the Cost of a DUI in Chicago?

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In this world, nothing is free - especially being convicted of a crime. On the contrary, people who get in trouble with the law often end up paying financial costs for years because the fines and legal fees involved in criminal cases are so expensive. In Illinois, being convicted of a drunk driving charge can be one of the most costly criminal convictions.

Fines Associated With a DUI Conviction

A first-time offense is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor offense, and a criminal conviction could result in up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in monetary fines, and a one-year driver’s license suspension. What many DUI offenders don't realize is that there are additional costs associated with a DUI conviction. Here are a few common costs of a DUI, yet not necessarily obvious costs:

Increased Auto Insurance Rates

After you have been convicted of drunk driving, you'll be required to carry high-risk insurance, which costs more than normal insurance. Having high-risk insurance is mandatory for at least three years. On average, SR-22 insurance costs are 89% higher than the average plan. This can lead to paying thousands of dollars more in car insurance over these three years.

Cost of a DUI in Chicago infographic

An uncontested plea bargain and a hardship driving permit will cost you about $2,000. Additionally, you can expect to pay up to $2,500 in monetary fines and court costs of $750 for a drunk driving conviction. You will also have to pay reimbursements to law enforcement officers for towing and motor vehicle storage fees, which are about $250, bringing the total to about $5,500.

Loss of Income

Missing time from work is common when you're charged and convicted of DUI. Community service, a jail sentence, probation, rehabilitation, and/or alcohol evaluation, and remedial education classes can all lead to lost wages. An individual who makes about $55,000 per year can expect to lose four weeks of income, or approximately $4,230.

Rehabilitation Services

If the court establishes that you have a habitual and unhealthy relationship with alcohol, the judge may order you to attend an alcohol treatment program. The total cost for drug and alcohol rehabilitation are usually around $300. 

A Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device

Driving while your license is suspended or revoked for drunk driving is possible, but it comes at a cost. You must have a BAIID installed on your motor vehicle for at least one year. The one-time cost for installation is typically around $100. Monthly rental fees are approximately $80, and monthly monitoring fees are approximately $30, bringing your total cost for one year to $1,420.

Driver’s License Reinstatement Fees

Once you're eligible to have your driver's license reinstated, you must attend a formal hearing at the Secretary of State’s office. Here. you'll need to pay a non-refundable fee of $50. Applying for a new driver's license costs $30, and applying for a license after a suspension or revocation costs a reinstatement fee of $500.

What is the Criminal Penalty for a First Time DUI in Chicago?

It’s crucial to understand you aren’t alone after an intoxicated driving arrest. Every year in Illinois nearly 35,000 people are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although the criminal penalties of a first time driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs offense differ based on how your case plays out and if your DUI criminal defense lawyer gets your DUI criminal charges dropped or reduced, here are the possible criminal penalties for a first-time DUI offense:

What is the Cost of a DUI in Chicago?
  • Because a first-time DUI offense is a Class A misdemeanor offense in Illinois, if you’re arrested and charged with this criminal offense you’ll face a potential jail time of one year and expensive fines of up to $2,500.
  • Rarely are first-time DUI offenders sentenced to months or a full year in prison or jail. Often, they don’t pay the maximum fine; however, they must pay a mandatory minimum fine of $500. But the $500 doesn’t include other legal fees, such as surcharges, court costs, or the cost of court-mandated rehabilitation programs, including alcohol awareness courses.
  • Often, substance abuse counseling is ordered, but this isn't a mandatory consequence if convicted.
  • If you were transporting a child under 16 years in your motor vehicle, the minimum fine is $1,000.
  • A first-time DUI offender whose blood alcohol content was 0.016% or more must complete a minimum of 100 hours of community service.
  • A first-time offender who was transporting a minor in their vehicle must complete 25 days of community service in a program that’s beneficial to children.

Apart from the statutory summary suspension discussed above, a first-time DUI offender will face a license suspension for one year. However, they can apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP) to drive to work, medical appointments, school, and/or alcohol or drug treatment. If your driving privileges have been suspended for a first-time DUI conviction and a statutory summary suspension, you must install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your car for the duration of the RDP.

How Long Will a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record in Illinois?

Illinois takes driving under the influence offenses seriously and has a zero-tolerance policy for drunk driving convictions. Thus, if you’re convicted of intoxicated driving or facing a drunk driving arrest, that criminal conviction will remain on your public record forever.

The Criminal Identification Act enables people to seal criminal records. This means your criminal record will still exist, however, it can only be accessed by getting a court order. So, your criminal record isn’t available to the general public, and can only be accessed after obtaining a court order. In felony offenses where a DUI conviction can’t be expunged, you can seal your criminal record. However, in Illinois, it’s illegal to seal a drunk driving conviction.

Expungement is where a state destroys the physical copies of your record and removes your name from official and public records concerning a particular crime. However, in Illinois, whether you were tried as an adult or even as a minor, your criminal conviction can’t be expunged from your criminal record.

Handcuffs, a car key, and an alcoholic drink on a table.

Being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can affect your life in many ways. It can stay on your record permanently, limit your career progression, and cause serious financial consequences. You must take these criminal charges seriously, even though this is your first offense.

At Ktenas Law, our skilled DUI criminal defense lawyers in Cook County can help you get your DUI charges dismissed or reduced. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation, call our Chicago criminal defense law firm today at 312-800-1626, or chat with us online to learn how our experienced attorneys can help. 

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