Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is the offense of driving, operating, or being in control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs. Even in cases when a driver operates a vehicle under prescribed medication, Illinois DUI laws still apply.
Whether it is a first, second, or subsequent offense, a DUI in Illinois can carry hefty penalties, including:
- Maximum $2,500 in fines, maximum one year in jail, one-year license suspension or revocation, and community service for a first offense.
- Maximum $2,500 in fines, maximum one year in jail, five years license revocation, and community service for a second offense.
- Maximum $25,000 in fines, maximum seven years in jail, 10 years license revocation, and community service for a subsequent offense.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Illinois, the truth is, you will have some challenges to overcome. The offense is treated as either a misdemeanor or felony, and the outcome of your case will depend on several factors, including whether it was your first offense, whether you were transporting a child under the age of 16, and other unique circumstances surrounding your case.
To help you understand the challenges you’re up against, here’s what you need to know about DUIs in Illinois. If you have questions afterward, please contact us at the Law Offices of Glenn & West to request a one-on-one consultation with a member of our team.
DUI First Offense in Illinois
Illinois DUI laws are strict and you can easily find yourself facing harsh penalties even if it is a first-time offense. As we mentioned, a first offense can cost you a maximum of $2,500 in fines, a maximum one year in jail, a one-year license suspension, alcohol/drug abuse treatment and community service requirements.
Even though first-time DUIs are categorized by most states as misdemeanor offenses, the consequences can still be harsh and have a long-term impact on your life. Because of the complex nature of a DUI conviction and the serious consequences associated with it, an experienced attorney is strongly recommended.
What to Do After a DUI In Illinois
There’s no other way to put it: a DUI arrest can change your life. Here are seven smart moves to make after a DUI arrest.
1. Know Your Rights
This rule is simple: Know your rights. The more you know, the more closely you and your attorney can work as a team. These rights include your right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and the right to remain silent.
2. Hire an Attorney
Don’t just hire anyone. Read about the attorney before choosing him or her. A lawyer can both help you assert your constitutional rights, help you understand what is going on in your DUI case, and potentially keep you out of jail.
Prepare for Your Administrative Hearing
Many people aren’t aware that there are two steps in a DUI case. Remember, when you are arrested for DUI, you lose your license as the result of an “administrative suspension.” This suspension happens automatically unless you request a Statutory Summary Suspension hearing. During this hearing, your lawyer can help protect your driver’s license while your case is pending.
3. Learn About the Consequences
Are you giving your DUI case the attention it deserves? The only way for you to know that is if you know what is at stake. Whether it is your first or fifth offense, you need to know what you are up against.
4. Separate Fact from Fiction
If you are charged with a DUI in Illinois, you cannot afford to make bad decisions based on faulty information. Don’t just search online for information, call an attorney.
5. Be Proactive About Your Defense
Now is not the time to lay back and let your DUI case settle itself. The worst thing that you could do is sit back, kick your feet up, and allow the criminal justice process to run its course. Yes, you have legal rights, but the system is not designed to protect you. You MUST be proactive about your defense. Avoid making assumptions about your case and do everything in your power to secure a favorable result.
6. Work Closely with Your Attorney
Yes, your attorney will handle much of your case. However, it’s still important that you remain actively involved throughout the entire process.
What Not to Do After a DUI in Illinois
What NOT to do after a DUI is just as important as what you should do. While some of these things may be out of your control if you are reading this blog after an accident, there are a few things that are within your control now. Remember:
- Do NOT leave the scene of the accident if it is a wreck
- Do NOT argue with law enforcement officials or first responders. Let your attorney argue the legalities.
- Do NOT ignore police commands.
- Do NOT answer questions that may incriminate you.
- Do NOT offer police officers bribes.
- Do NOT ask that the officer just take you home or call a friend to pick you up.
Get the Help You Need
Handling a DUI case on your own can be overwhelming. In the end, it’s better to invest in the help of an experienced attorney rather than doing all this heavy lifting on your own.
If you were recently stopped and ticketed for violating a traffic law in an area we serve—Macoupin County, Montgomery County, Shelby County, Fayette County, Bond County, Madison County, and Christian County—contact us at the Law Offices of Glenn & West to request a consultation with a member of our team.
Or, if you are here searching for information on behalf of a loved one or friend, please remember to keep yourself safe on the road this holiday season. With Thanksgiving parties, New Years celebrations, and more, this is one of the most likely times of year to run into traffic incidents. Designated drivers are a wonderful idea. Or, call an Uber or a friend.