It is illegal to drive under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Illinois because of the risk of property damage, physical injury, and even death. To deter people from engaging in this type of driving behavior, Illinois law under 625 ILCS 5/11-501 outlines a multifaceted penalty structure for DUI offenses.
Penalties for Standard DUI Offenses
When a person commits DUI in Illinois, a conviction results in certain standard penalties. Generally, Illinois law charges DUI as a Class A misdemeanor and includes the following penalties:
- First Offense: Upon conviction, the offender may face up to 364 days in jail, $2,500 in criminal fines, and a 24-month probationary period; and
- Second Offense: Upon conviction, the offender is subject to the first-offense penalties and a mandatory minimum of five days in prison or 240 hours of community service.
Furthermore, a DUI conviction in Illinois will result in driver’s license suspension or revocation. During the suspension or revocation period, the DUI offender will not be able to drive a car or operate similar vehicles.
Penalties for DUI While Transporting a Minor
When a person commits a DUI while transporting a minor child under the age of 16, there is a separate penalty structure. In addition to the standard penalties described previously, a conviction for this type of DUI will also trigger the following mandatory minimum penalties:
- Imprisonment for at least six months;
- Criminal fines of at least $1,000; and
- Community service for at least 25 days.
Penalties for DUI While Heavily Intoxicated
When a person commits a DUI while heavily intoxicated, Illinois law mandates a more serious punishment. A person qualifies as heavily intoxicated if a chemical test of their blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance registers 0.16% alcohol content or more.
In addition to the standard penalties described previously, a conviction for this type of DUI will also trigger the following mandatory minimum penalties:
- First Offense: Upon conviction, the offender is subject to at least 100 hours of community service and $500 in criminal fines; and
- Second Offense: Upon conviction, the offender is subject to at least two days in prison and $1,250 in criminal fines.
Penalties for Aggravated DUI
When a person commits three or more DUIs — or engages in particularly harmful behavior — he or she can face charges for aggravated DUI. Featuring a stringent punishment scheme, the aggravated version of DUI addresses exceedingly dangerous and reckless conduct.
At a minimum, aggravated DUI is a Class 4 felony in Illinois. The usual punishment for this type of felony includes one to three years in prison, $25,000 in criminal fines, a 30-month probationary period, and driver’s license suspension or revocation. Though the penalties can swell to higher levels in more extreme cases.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.
(image courtesy of Robert Mathews)