If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI, contact DuPage County DUI attorney Gus Kostopoulos immediately. A DUI conviction can have serious, long-lasting effects.
Our criminal attorneys have decades of experience helping DuPage County area clients successfully fight DUI charges. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (630) 279-0542. When you call we will review your case, explain your legal options, and discuss potential strategies for your defense.
In 2015, more than 32,000 drivers were arrested for DUI in Illinois. DuPage County accounted for nearly 10% of these DUI arrests. In an effort to combat the sometimes extraordinary consequences of drunk driving, Illinois has passed strict DUI laws.
If convicted, you may face serious short-term and long-lasting effects. In addition to harsh penalties handed down by the court, you may permanently lose your driving privileges, be required to complete alcohol and drug evaluation programs, risk losing time at work, be required to install a breath alcohol monitoring devices in your vehicle, and have to carry costly high-risk insurance. Some employers may ask applicants to disclose DUI-related arrests and convictions, which may make it difficult to land a job.
Understanding Illinois DUI Laws
In Illinois, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are driving and a police officer believes that you may be under the influence, he or she may pull you over, assess the situation, and arrest you. In Illinois, you can even be arrested if your blood alcohol level (BAC) is below the legal limit.
Blood Alcohol Content Above the Legal Limit
If you operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or greater you may be convicted of a DUI in Illinois. Driving under the influence with a BAC exceeding the legal limit is what is known as per-se intoxication. This means that the prosecution only needs to prove that you had a BAC at or above .08% and that you operated a vehicle. Alcohol affects each individual differently, so there is an arbitrary line for what is considered to be intoxication.
Blood Alcohol Content At or Below the Legal Limit
If you operate a motor vehicle with a BAC between .05% and .08% you may still be arrested and convicted of a DUI in Illinois. When Illinois designed the state’s tough DUI laws, it empowered the police with a certain level of discretion. If the police have a reason to believe that you may be intoxicated they may arrest and charge you with a DUI, even though your BAC may be less than the legal limit. Again, each driver will metabolize alcohol at a different rate. For example, if a 250 pound, 6 foot 3 inch man had two beers and then got behind the wheel, his ability to operate the car would likely be better than if a 5 foot 2 inch, 120-pound woman did the same thing.
Note, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle in Illinois with a BAC greater than 0%.
Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence Marijuana
Medicinal marijuana is currently legal in Illinois, and lawmakers are pushing for the legalization of recreational marijuana. As a result, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana. Drivers are considered to be under the influence of marijuana if they have a THC concentration of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of any other bodily substance. So, if you test positive for 5 nanograms per milliliter of THC in a blood test or 10 nanograms per milliliter of THC in a urine or saliva, you may be arrested, charged, and convicted of a DUI.
Consequences of a DUI
If you are arrested for a DUI, the severity of the charges you face will depend on a few factors. These include your age, BAC or THC test results, and previous DUI convictions. DUI convictions may have both administrative and criminal consequences. Administrative consequences generally affect driving privileges. Criminal consequences may include fines, community service, and even jail time. The severity of the penalties increases with each additional DUI conviction.
- First Offense. This is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, your license will be revoked for at least 1 year (2 years if you were under the age of 21) and your vehicle registration will be suspended.
- Second Offense. This is a Class A misdemeanor. If the conviction is within 20 years of your first conviction, your license will be revoked for at least 5 years and your vehicle registration will be suspended. You will also be required to serve at least 5 days in jail or perform 240 hours of community service.
- Third Offense. This is a Class 2 Felony. If convicted, your license will be revoked for no less than 10 years. You may also face 3-7 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
- Fourth Offense. This is a Class 2 Felony. If convicted, your license will be revoked permanently. You may also face 3-7 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
- Fifth Offense. This is a Class 1 Felony. If convicted, your license will be revoked permanently. You may also face 4-15 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
- Any Further Offenses. Sixth and subsequent DUI offenses categorized as a Class X Felony. If convicted, your license will be revoked permanently. You may also face 6-30 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Aggravated DUI in Illinois
In Illinois, certain behaviors or circumstances may cause charges to be elevated to Aggravated DUI. An aggravated DUI is a felony offense and can significantly increase the penalties assessed. The charges may be elevated to an Aggravated DUI if you commit a DUI while:
- A child under the age of 16 years of age is in the vehicle;
- A child under the age of 16 years of age is in the vehicle, you are in an accident, and this accident injuries the child;
- Having two prior DUI convictions;
- Driving a school bus with at least one minor passenger;
- Driving a vehicle for-hire (such as an Uber, Lyft, or taxicab) with at least one passenger;
- Driving without a valid license;
- Driving without valid liability insurance; and
- Driving on a revoked or suspended license.
If you commit a DUI and cause bodily injury, death, or disfigurement to another person you may be charged with an Aggravated DUI.
Non-Criminal Consequences of A DUI
As mentioned earlier, a DUI can have both administrative and criminal consequences. Administrative consequences may not seem as harsh, but can significantly impact your ability to go about your day-to-day life. Aside from the extraordinary costs and fees associated with a DUI, certain offenders may be required to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in their vehicle.
The BAIID has become a popular safety device in Illinois. The most recent data shows that more than 11,000 Illinois drivers have a BAIID installed on their car. The BAIID operates by testing the BAC of the driver before the car can be started. A video camera captures the driver as he or she blows into the device to ensure compliance.
First-time offenders who lose their driving privileges may request for a BAIID to be installed in their car if they show that they need to drive a car to and from work. Drivers who permitted or required to operate a vehicle with a BAIID must receive a special driver’s permit, may only operate vehicles with a BAIID installed, and must pay the expensive costs and fees associated with the installation and operation of the device.
Experienced DuPage County DUI Attorney
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI in DuPage County you should contact our experienced DUI attorneys immediately. Illinois has established time-sensitive procedures that begin as soon as you are arrested. A conviction can have serious consequences on your ability to enjoy your life – and can even land you in prison.
At Kostopolous Law Group, our DuPage County criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience helping clients like you fight DUI charges against them. We will do everything in our power to (1) have the charges against you dropped or reduced, and (2) minimize any penalties you may face. Contact our DuPage County DUI attorneys today to ensure that your legal rights are fully protected and that you can fight the charges against you.