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What Are The Penalties For A Misdemeanor DUI In Illinois?

Updated on January 16, 2022 → Under

In Illinois, drunk driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs carries the most severe criminal penalties in the US. A DUI offender is subject to hefty fines, loss of driving privileges, and may serve up to a year in jail for a first-time DUI offense. Fortunately, having an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney on your side can help get your charges reduced or even dismissed. Let's take a closer look at the penalties for a misdemeanor DUI in Illinois.

At Dohman Law Group, we have decades of experience helping clients throughout Illinois get their charges reduced and dismissed, and we can help you too. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (847) 616-9993, or chat with us online to learn more.

What is the Penalty for a First-Time DUI in Illinois?

In Illinois, a first-time DUI conviction is a class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum jail sentence of up to 364 days in jail, and six months in jail if the defendant had a minor in their vehicle.

The fines imposed for a first-time DUI offense include a maximum fine of $2,500, the minimum fine is $500 if the DUI offender’s blood alcohol content was 0.16% or more, and the minimum fine is $1,000 if the offender had a child in their car.

 Also, a first-time DUI offender is subject to community service in the following circumstances:

  • A first DUI offender whose blood alcohol concentration was 0.16 or higher must complete a minimum of 100 hours of community service, and
  • A first offender with a passenger under 16 years old must complete 25 days of community service in a program that’s beneficial to children.

Alongside the statutory summary suspensions mentioned above, a first-time DUI offender is also subject to a driver’s license suspension for one year.

A DUI offender may apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP) to drive to school, medical appointments, work, and/or alcohol or drug treatment program. To get an RDP, you prove that hardship exists and you aren’t a danger to public safety. Also, if your license has been suspended or revoked for a first DUI conviction and statutory summary suspension applies, you must install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car for the duration of the RDP.

Further, all DUI offenders must complete an alcohol and drug evaluation program to determine if they have a substance abuse problem. If you have a substance abuse problem, you must undergo a recommended alcohol and drug treatment program. 

What are the penalties for DUI in Illinois?

In Illinois, a driver is said to be legally drunk when:

  • A non-commercial driver is legally drunk when his or her blood alcohol content is 0.08% or more.
  • Drivers of commercial motor vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration is 0.04% or more. Under Illinois law, all school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Underage drivers are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration level is more than zero. 
misdemeanor DUI Illinois

The criminal penalties for drunk driving offenses in Illinois include:

  • For a second DUI conviction within five years after the previous traffic violation, the DUI offender must serve a mandatory of five days in jail or 240 community service hours.
  • For a third or fourth DUI conviction within five years of a previous violation, the defendant has committed an aggravated DUI offense and is guilty of a Class 2 felony punishable with 3-7 years jail time and a maximum fine of $25,000. Here, the criminal penalties increase for a blood alcohol level of 0.16% or more.
  • A fifth subsequent DUI violation is a Class 1 felony offense, punishable by 3-14 years jail term and a maximum fine of $25,000. Criminal penalties increase for a blood alcohol content of 016 or more.
  • A six DUI violation is a Class X felony offense, which is punishable by 6-30 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000. Criminal penalties increase for blood alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more.

Additional penalties for DUI conviction with a blood alcohol level of 0.16 or more include:

  • A first-time DUI offender whose blood alcohol level was 0.16% or higher risks an additional mandatory minimum fines of $500 and a mandatory minimum of 100 hours of community service.
  • A defendant convicted of a second DUI violation within 10 years of a previous DUI conviction whose blood alcohol content at the time of the second DUI violation was 0.16% or more risks an additional mandatory jail sentence of two days and an additional $1,250 in fines.
  • A person convicted of a third DUI offense conviction within 20 years after a previous violation whose blood alcohol concentration at the time of the third DUI conviction was 0.16% or higher risks is subject to an additional mandatory minimum prison sentence of 90 days in jail and an additional $2,500 in fines.

Additional drunk driving penalties for DUIs while tranporting a person under age 16 include:

  • A DUI offender who is convicted with a DUI while transporting a child under 16 years is subject to enhanced penalties, including additional mandatory minimum fine of $1000, an additional two days of imprisonment and an additional mandatory minimum of 140 hours of community service, including 40 hours community service that’s beneficial to children.

What is the Difference Between Felony DUI and Misdemeanor DUI?

It’s possible to be convicted of a DUI charge as a misdemeanor or felony. Often, a standard first-time DUI charge is a misdemeanor offense. However, a DUI offender who kills or seriously injures another person is subject to DUI felony charges. Also, a driver could face vehicular homicide for DUI-related killing. 

Having previous DUI convictions can also elevate a DUI charge to a felony. In some states, first and second DUIs are misdemeanor offenses, while third and subsequent DUI convictions are felony charges. 

Other factors that can elevate a DUI to a felony charge include when a driver had a high blood alcohol level or transporting a child under age while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The primary difference between a misdemeanor and felony DUI is the resulting criminal penalties of a DUI conviction. For misdemeanor DUI violations, the defendant is likely to face a maximum of 12 months in jail and up to $1,000 fines. But felony DUI convictions can result in one year or more in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. Also, the license suspension period for a felony DUI conviction is longer than for a misdemeanor DUI conviction. Further, a felony DUI conviction may come with additional consequences, including loss of voting rights. If you are facing DUI charges, contacting our Rolling Meadows DUI attorneys today to discuss your options.

How Long Does a DUI Case Take in Illinois?

A first DUI case will last somewhere between three to six months, depending on what county the DUI is in and how much litigation is involved. However, if there are aggravating circumstances, such as a second or subsequent DUI convictions, or if there was a motor vehicle accident or death, that’s going to increase the period of time. But mostly a first-time DUI case is going to take three to six months to finalize.

The first court hearing will be about a month after the DUI arrest, and each court date from there will be a month apart. The reason the court dates are far apart is that every police department or municipality has what’s called a Key Date. This specifies how court dates on all DUI arrests from a particular police department are scheduled.

Do You Lose Your License for the First DUI in Illinois?

After a DUI arrest or court supervision order, your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked. It will be suspended or revoked for a 12-month period after a DUI conviction. First-time DUI offenders are often required to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in their vehicle during the suspension period. You may apply for driver’s license reinstatement at the end of the suspension or revocation period. 

Drunk drivers caught operating their vehicle without the required device, may be charged with a Class 4 felony offense. Also, you may be required to pay additional fines and you may face one to three years in jail. Further, you may be punished if you tamper with the ignition interlock device or have another person blow the device to start the car. Penalties for tampering with this device include up to $2,500 in fines and a maximum of 364 days in jail.

DUI penalties in Illinois

How Can A DUI Attorney Help Me Beat My DUI Charges?

In Illinois, DUI charges trigger two legal processes: a civil legal process and a criminal legal process. The civil process refers to the loss of driving privileges, while the criminal process determines whether the DUI offender will spend time in jail. An experienced attorney can help you challenge both civil and criminal aspects of your DUI case.

A skilled DUI criminal defense lawyer can defend you against DUI charges by:

  • Challenging the circumstances of the checkpoint stop and the grounds of your DUI arrest.
  • Challenging the breathalyzer results.
  • Challenging the arresting police officer’s assessment of your intoxication level if the officer didn’t administer a breathalyzer test.
  • Challenging the field sobriety tests.

Sometimes, a DUI defense lawyer can successfully apply for supervision for a first DUI offender. After a defendant has been found guilty or pled guilty to their first DUI charge, a judge may allow them to complete a court-ordered supervision program. If a first-time DUI offender completes the program successfully, no conviction will be entered in their driving record, although the DUI arrest will remain on the record. During the court-imposed supervision program, the defendant will be required to complete an alcohol treatment program and they must attend a victim impact panel, in addition to any other requirements ordered by the court.

The DUI criminal defense attorneys at Dohman Law Group have been defending clients charged with DUI for decades throughout the Chicago area, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kendall County, Will County, and Lake County, and we can provide the high-quality criminal defense you need. Call us now at (847) 616-9993, or fill our contact form below for a free no-cost consultation. 

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