In Illinois, you can be arrested for “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI) if a person is driving a vehicle while impaired by drugs or by having consumed alcohol. A DUI conviction is a Class A Misdemeanor. If a person gets a second DUI jail time may be imposed. Additionally, there are other penalties that may apply, depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
The DUI Arrest
The Illinois Secretary of State’s website (http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/) states that an officer can test an individual for driving while impaired if he or she observes erratic driving or has any reason to suspect that you might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A driver in these cases will be asked to undergo a series of tests to determine if they seem to be impaired. If the driver refuses to take a sobriety test, or if after the test, the officer feels that the individual is impaired, they will be arrested and taken to a police station.
At the station, the driver will be given a chemical test for drugs. This can be via breath, blood or urine. If the person refuses to take the test, their driver’s license will automatically be revoked. This is called a “summary suspension.”
If their blood-alcohol content (BAC) is between .05 percent and .08 percent and no drugs are detected, they will charged with DUI and will be placed in jail until bail can be posted. This also applies if their BAC is at or greater than .08 percent or there are any detectable drugs or illegal substances in their system. In addition, the individual will receive a summary license suspension. After an arrest, a person’s vehicle is subject to being towed and impounded or seized.
Penalties for a Second DUI
DUIs, like other crimes, have what is called a “look-back period.” This means that if a person has been convicted of this crime before, the law looks back to see how long ago the first conviction happened. That length of time determines whether the current crime will be treated as a second offense or a first offense. In the case of DUI, if an individual’s first conviction was more than five years ago, then the current DUI will be treated as if it was the first one.
If it is determined that the current DUI will be treated as a second offense, then there are several different penalties that may apply.
If a person fails a chemical test, they will receive an automatic one year suspension of their driver’s license. If they refuse to take the chemical test, they will receive an automatic three year license suspension. An individual’s vehicle’s registration will be suspended. In addition, they will not be allowed driving relief. This means they cannot be authorized to drive, not even to work, school, or medical appointments.
A second DUI is normally a Class A Misdemeanor. With a second DUI jail time becomes a possibility. It carries the following penalties:
- If it has been less than 20 years since a person’s first conviction, their driver’s license will be revoked.
The individual will be sentenced to a minimum of five days but less than one year in jail or community service of up to 240 hours.
- If their BAC was 0.16 or greater, there will be a minimum jail sentence of two days and a fine of at least $2,500.
However, under some circumstances, a DUI may be a felony:
- If a driver has a person who is under 16 years old in the vehicle, it is a Class 4 felony.
- If a driver had a person who is under 16 years old in the vehicle and has a wreck in which the child is injured, it is a Class 2 felony.
Felony DUI carries a minimum of a $5,000 fine and 25 days of child-related community service. This is in addition to any other administrative or criminal penalties.
There are other ramifications of a second DUI: an individual convicted of the offense will have to take an alcohol awareness class, pay court costs, and face the prospect of higher car insurance rates. A DUI conviction can have effects that last years after a court case is over.