We strongly encourage any person charged with drunk driving charges to contact a competent DUI attorney to discuss the facts of their case immediately after DUI arrest. The information below will provide an overview of Illinois drunk driving sentencing laws. Sentencing guidelines for drunk driving offenses in Illinois have grown progressively harsher over the last few decades.
The experienced Chicago DUI defense attorneys at Chicago DUI Defense represent clients charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs throughout Illinois and the greater Chicago area. Our legal practice primarily concentrates on the area of DUI defense.
What are the Criminal Penalties for Drunk Driving in Chicago?
Anyone convicted of drunk driving charges faces up to one year in jail and is subject to pay a hefty fine of up to $2,500. For a second DUI charge within five years of the previous traffic violation, the offender must serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 days in prison or 10 days of community service.
For a third or fourth violation within five years of a previous criminal conviction, the DUI offender has committed the criminal offense of aggravated driving and is guilty of a class 2 felony offense, which is punishable by between 3-7 years of imprisonment and up to $25,000 in fines.
Learn More: Felony DUI Lawyer in Chicago
Criminal penalties are increased for a blood alcohol content of 0.16 or higher. A fifth drunk driving conviction is a Class 1 felony offense punishable by between 4 -15 years imprisonment and up to $25,000 in fines. Criminal penalties are increased for a blood alcohol concentration of 0.16 or higher.
A sixth violation is a Class X felony charge punishable by between 6- 30 years and up to $25,000 in fines. Criminal penalties are increased for a blood alcohol level of 0.16 or higher.
Additional DUI Penalties With a BAC of .16 or More
Anyone convicted of a first drunk driving charge whose blood alcohol concentration was 0.16 or more is subject to an additional mandatory minimum fine of $500 and a mandatory minimum sentence of 100 hours of community service.
Anyone convicted of a second DUI within 10 years of a previous conviction whose blood alcohol level at the time of the second offense was 0.16 or more is subject to an additional mandatory minimum jail term of two days and an additional mandatory minimum fine of $1,250.
A person convicted of a third DUI charge within 20 years of a previous violation whose BAC at the time of the third charge was 0.16 or more is subject to an additional mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in prison and an additional mandatory minimum fine of $2,500.
A person who commits a drunk driving charge while transporting a minor under 16 is subject to an additional mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, an additional mandatory minimum sentence of 140 hours of community service, which should include 40 hours of service beneficial to children, and an additional two days in prison.
Driver’s License Suspension and Revocation Periods
Any person who is convicted of a drunk driving charge will have their driver’s license revoked. Generally, for a first DUI offense, the license revocation period is one year. The DUI offender, however, must apply for license reinstatement after the expiration of one year. The license reinstatement may or may not be granted. Eligibility to reinstate your license depends on the details of your case:
- If the DUI offender’s BAC was 0.16 or more, an application for license reinstatement can't be made until two years have passed.
- A person who is convicted of a second DUI criminal charge within 20 years of the first conviction can't make an application for a reinstated license until after the expiration of five years.
- A person who is convicted of a third DUI within 20 years can't make an application for license reinstatement until after the expiration of 10 years.
- A defendant whose license was revoked for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may or may not be eligible to apply for a license reinstatement due to hardship.
- A person who is convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI may not apply for a reinstated license.
Further, an offender who doesn't have a previous DUI conviction and hasn't had a statutory summary suspension within the last five years may be subject to the following license suspension periods:
- Six months for a failed chemical test, and
- One year for refusing to consent to a chemical test or failing one.
Will a First-Time DUI Criminal Charge Ruin My Life?
A drunk driving criminal charge doesn’t have to ruin your life. If you hire an experienced DUI criminal defense lawyer, fight your drunk driving case, and negotiate a good plea offer, you may go on with your life with minimal changes.
If your DUI criminal defense attorney can win your DUI case or get your DUI criminal charges dropped, you won’t even have a drunk driving charge on your driving record. However, if you choose to go to criminal trial without a proper criminal defense representation, chances are high you’ll be convicted, which may ruin your life.
To understand how a first-time DUI charge will affect your life, and how you can stop it from happening, here are some legal consequences involved.
Issues With Transportation
The most immediate consequence of a DUI charge is the loss of your driving privileges. Your driver’s license will be suspended even if you aren’t convicted--unless you seek immediate legal action. After a first drunk driving conviction, you’ll face a twelve-month license suspension period.
Additionally, if you’re an underage driver, your driver’s license will be suspended for 2 years. Obviously, not being able to drive to visit family, to see friends, to a doctor’s visit, to run errands, or to work is a good way to ruin your life.
Potential Jail Time
The likelihood of having to go to jail after a DUI varies based on how many traffic violations you’ve had, the details around your intoxicated driving charge, and the judge’s mood. But all DUI charges have jail time or prison sentences. As a first-time DUI offender, you may face a maximum time of 364 days in jail.
Limited Career Options
Even after serving your jail sentence, a DUI conviction doesn’t go away. Every time you apply for jobs, you must disclose your criminal record. Most potential employers verify this information using a background check.
Often, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a liability, and it’s looked down upon. Thus, it impacts how “hirable” you are. Fortunately, hiring an experienced DUI criminal defense lawyer to defend you can get you acquitted or get your DUI criminal charges dropped, which is a perfect way to protect your reputation, and ultimately your career.
Severe Financial Consequences
The biggest legal consequence of a drunk driving charge is the price tag. Drunk driving criminal offenses are notoriously expensive. You may have to pay a hefty fine of $1,000 for a first-time DUI. Also, there are unofficial fines that are billed as attorney fees, court costs, and other state costs. For a first drunk driving offense, these expenses range between $1,000 to $3,000, and they can be much higher.
Further, you may be asked to go to mandatory alcohol and drug treatment program. Here, you’ll pay for a DUI school course or alcohol treatment program out of pocket. This program lasts for 3 to thirty months and costs approximately $500 to several thousand dollars.
Your vehicle may also be impounded after your drunk driving arrest, and you must pay for each day it stays in the impound lot. Further, license reinstatement comes with its own fee. Further, having a drunk driving charge on your driving record will raise your auto insurance rates because your insurance company will see you as a liability.
Learn More: What is the Cost of a DUI in Chicago?
Get Help to Reduce the Consequences a DUI Will Have on You
Even the cheapest drunk driving costs run to thousands of dollars. To prevent a DUI from ruining your life, get legal representation. At Ktenas Law, we have helped thousands of clients get their drunk driving charges dropped or dismissed, and our legal team can help you get a favorable outcome. Contact our Chicago DUI lawyers today at 312-800-1626 for legal advice and to schedule a no-cost initial consultation.