The state of Illinois takes drunk driving seriously. If you’re pulled over in Illinois, you can get charged with driving under the influence and may face serious DUI penalties if convicted. Although a Chicago DUI lawyer may help you reduce or dismiss your charges in court, knowing the penalties you’ll potentially face is essential if you hope to have the best chance of fighting your case or avoiding an arrest in the first place.
Legal Drunk Driving Limit in Illinois
Like most states, the legal limit for driving in Illinois is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 percent. If you’re under the age of 21, the legal limit is zero, meaning you can get arrested for drunk driving if any alcohol is found in your blood. If you’re a commercial driver over the age of 21, then the legal BAC limit is .04 percent.
Penalties for Drunk Driving in Illinois
If you’re convicted of a first-time DUI in Illinois, you can face up to one year in jail and may have to pay up to $2,500 in fines. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for at least one year. If you receive a second-time DUI conviction within five years of your first conviction, you may have to spend up to five days in jail and serve up to 240 hours in community service.
A third or fourth DUI conviction within five years of a previous DUI charge will result in a Class 2 felony. You may have to serve between three and seven years in prison and pay up to $25,000 in fines for this offense. For a fifth conviction, you’ll receive a Class 1 felony and may have to spend between four and fifteen years in prison and pay up to $25,000 in fines.
Extended Penalties for DUIs in Illinois
DUI penalties are extended if your BAC is above .16 percent when you’re pulled over. You can also receive harsher penalties if you’re caught driving under the influence with a minor 16 years of age or under in your vehicle. Both of these actions can result in additional fines and added hours of community service on first-time DUI convictions.
Because Illinois takes DUIs so seriously, you may need an experienced attorney if you’re arrested and charged. You should avoid getting charged at all costs by staying out of the car while drinking. Obeying the law will also keep you and others on the road safe.