To preserve safe roadways across the state, Illinois law prohibits driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, even if a person is completely sober, Illinois law also bars people from driving recklessly or dangerously. If convicted for either DUI or reckless driving, Illinois law mandates serious criminal penalties, including but not limited to jail or prison time, fines, and probation.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
The Illinois definition of DUI appears in 625 ILCS 5/11-501. A person is guilty of DUI if he or she operates a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more. It also qualifies as DUI if a person drives dangerously because he or she is:
- Under the influence of alcohol;
- Under the influence of any intoxicating compound(s);
- Under the influence of any controlled substance(s);
- Under the combined influence of alcohol, intoxicating compounds, and/or controlled substances.
Under Illinois law, a first- or second-offense DUI typically counts as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable as follows:
- First Offense: A conviction can result in up to 364 days in jail, $2,500 in criminal fines, and a 24-month probationary period; and
- Second Offense: A conviction can result in the penalties above as well as a mandatory minimum sentence of either five days in prison or 240 hours of community service.
There are additional Illinois penalties for DUI offenses that involve high BAC levels or the transportation of a minor. Moreover, if a person commits three or more DUI offenses, he or she will face felony charges for aggravated DUI, which comes with even more austere punishments.
The Illinois definition of reckless driving appears in 625 ILCS 5/11-503. A person is guilty of reckless driving if he or she knowingly:
- Operates a motor vehicle with an intentional disregard for the safety of other people or property; or
- Launches a motor vehicle into the air using an incline, such as a bridge, hill, or railroad.
Under Illinois law, reckless driving is usually punishable as a Class A misdemeanor, mirroring the penalties highlighted previously for DUI. Though reckless driving can become a Class 4 felony if the offender:
- Inflicts physical harm to a child; or
- Causes injury to an on-duty school crossing guard.
If convicted for a Class 4 felony, the reckless driving offender is subject to a maximum of three years in prison, $25,000 in fines, and a 30-month probationary period.
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.