A person who drives while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) can face serious criminal consequences in Chicago and in the rest of Illinois. However, penalties and fines for second DUI will likely escalate in severity. Illinois has a five-year “look back” period, which refers to the time frame during which the person might commit a second offense that results in escalated punishments. The state usually considers a second DUI as a class A misdemeanor, with the exception of some aggravating circumstances such as serious accidents involving injury or death. The state prohibits anyone charged with another DUI from negotiating a plea agreement to reduce second DUI penalties and fines — rather, the offender must accept the state-ordered consequences enforced by the courts.
In Illinois, the maximum fine for a class A misdemeanor is $2,500. However, enhanced penalties in state law can include an additional fine of $1,250 if the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .16 percent or higher. In addition, the state can impose a fine in an amount up to $25,000 if the driver had a juvenile under the age of 16 in the car while committing DUI. The presence of a minor in the vehicle generally increases the severity of the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony. Other costs quickly escalate expenses related to a DUI. These additional costs might include increased insurance rates, court costs, loss of income, costs of substance abuse treatment, driver’s license fees, and the cost of installing an ignition interlock device in the offender’s car. According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s website, these additional costs can easily exceed $16,000. If the case goes to trial, involves injuries, or requires extra legal fees, the offender’s expenses can potentially reach six figures (http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf).
Although the “look back” period lasts five years, this time frame extends to 20 years for the suspension of a driver’s license. A second DUI conviction within 20 years can result in a driver’s license suspension for five years, and the driver will likely also need to serve a minimum of five days in jail or complete 240 hours of community service. If the driver’s BAC exceeds .16 percent, he or she will have two days added on to the minimum term in jail. However, the state can choose to impose a jail sentence of up to 364 days. If a minor under the age of 16 was in the car, the state could charged the driver with a felony and require one to three years in the state penitentiary.
Restricted Driving Permit (RDP)
This type of driver’s license can go to a person convicted of a second DUI, but only if he or she provides proof of hardship as resulting from not being able to drive. . The driver must also provide the court with a professional assessment related to his or her substance abuse and prove that he or she has completed any recommended programs. The driver must attend a hearing from the Office of the Secretary of State and pay a $50 fee. State personnel will review the driver’s record to assess the risk to public safety. If approved for the license, the offender will need to pay for installation of an ignition interlock device onto his or her vehicle. This device tests the driver’s breath to determine BAC level and prevents the vehicle from starting if the BAC exceeds .025 percent.