Drunk driving, a dangerous epidemic, is one that holds severe consequences not only for the driver but also for innocent passersby. In Illinois, the prevalence of driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious concern, with troubling statistics that continue to rise. This issue is paramount as it endangers countless lives and causes devastating repercussions for those involved.
This page aims to shed light on the sobering reality of DUI in Illinois, presenting recent facts and statistics, comparing these figures to national data, and answering pressing questions about DUI penalties and laws. Understanding these aspects is crucial, not just for those implicated in DUI cases, but for all road users. Moreover, we delve into how rehab can positively influence court proceedings, and provide a detailed account of a typical DUI stop, along with the procedure followed when drug use is suspected during a traffic stop.
By discussing these topics, we hope to equip readers with valuable information to navigate these situations, while stressing the importance of safe and responsible driving.
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What is a DUI?
A DUI, or driving under the influence, is a crime committed by drivers who operate a motor vehicle while having alcohol or drugs in their system. The legal limits for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) vary between states, ranging from 0.00% to 0.08%. In Illinois, the legal BAC limit is 0.08%. It is important to note that penalties increase with the concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream and can be harsher for drivers under 21.
What is BAC?
Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC, is a measure of the amount of alcohol that is present in your bloodstream. It is typically measured as a percentage by weight. For instance, a BAC of 0.08%, which is the legal limit for driving in many states, means that there are 0.08 grams of alcohol for every 100 grams of blood in your body.
Factors such as the number of drinks consumed, the rate of consumption, body weight, and how quickly your body metabolizes alcohol can all affect your BAC. It’s important to note that even a small amount of alcohol can impact your driving ability and increase the risk of a traffic accident. Therefore, the safest option is always to refrain from driving if you’ve been drinking.
DUI Risk Factors
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are various risk factors for DUI charges and issues. For one, age can have an impact on the likelihood of a DUI. Car crashes are actually the leading cause of death among teens, with around 25% of fatal car accidents involving underage drinking drivers. The NHTSA also mentions that, in 2021, 27% of drivers between ages 15 and 20 who were killed in car accidents had blood alcohol levels of .01 g/dL or higher.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that men are more likely to drive while impaired than women. In 2020, 22% of male drivers who were involved in fatal car accidents were driving under the influence of alcohol. 16% of female drivers who were involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired. The CDC also mentioned that self-reported driving under the influence of marijuana, illicit drugs, or alcohol is higher among men than women.
DUI Statistics in Illinois
In 2020, there were a reported 12,093 DUIs in Illinois. This is an alarming number considering this was a decrease from 2019’s reported 13,195 DUIs. In comparison to other states, Illinois ranks 23rd in DUI deaths per capita, and 8th in overall DUI fatalities. Unfortunately, these statistics do not show signs of decreasing drastically any time soon.
In 2021 in Illinois, 330 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes. This made up about 25% of the 1,334 crash fatalities in Illinois. The Secretary of State’s office recorded 21,735 DUI arrests in 2021. The majority of these drivers lost their driving privileges as a result of their arrests. 26% of the arrested individuals were females. Males between the ages of 25 and 34 had the highest DUI arrest rate.
Understanding How Law Enforcement Detects and Measures Impairment
Law enforcement officials utilize a variety of methods to detect and measure driver impairment, starting from observation of driving behavior. This includes erratic driving patterns, such as swerving, speeding, or other violations of traffic rules.
If a driver is pulled over under suspicion of DUI, the officer may observe physical signs of impairment such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or an odor of alcohol. The officer might then conduct a field sobriety test which includes activities like standing on one leg, walking in a straight line, or following a moving object with the eyes.
In addition to these tests, chemical tests like breath, blood, or urine tests are used to measure the amount of alcohol or drugs in a driver’s system. The most common of these is the breathalyzer test, which provides an immediate measure of the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If a driver’s BAC is above the legal limit—which is typically 0.08% in most states—they can be arrested for DUI.
On the other hand, detecting drug impairment can be more complex due to the various types of drugs that can impair driving and the different ways these drugs can be detected. Blood and urine tests are commonly used for this purpose, but these tests often require lab processing and may not provide immediate results.
It’s important to note that all states have implied consent laws, which means that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you consent to take a chemical test. Refusal to take such a test often results in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
What is a Standard DUI Stop Like?
If you are pulled over by an officer on suspicion of driving under the influence, they will likely perform a series of tests to determine if your BAC levels are above the legal limit. These tests may include field sobriety tests such as walking heel-to-toe in a straight line or standing on one leg, and a breathalyzer test. If your BAC is over the legal limit, you will be arrested for DUI.
The Process of a DUI Arrest
First, an officer will stop a vehicle if there is suspicion of impaired driving. (Signs of possible impairment may include swerving, running red lights, driving too fast or too slow, passing through stop signs, etc.) Once the driver pulls over and the officer approaches the vehicle, the officer will request the driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration.
After reviewing this information, the officer may not believe the driver is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If this is the case, the officer will let the driver know that they are free to go. If, however, the officer does suspect that the driver is under the influence, the individual will be asked to undergo sobriety tests.
If the driver refuses to submit to the tests or fails to complete chemical tests, the office will impose a statutory summary suspension (i.e. the automatic suspension of driving privileges). The driver may be eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit if they are a first-time DUI offender. But, if the driver has had a DUI before, they may be eligible for an RDP (Restricted Driving Permit).
If the test results indicate that the driver has a BAC of more than .05% and less than .08%, there will be no statutory summary suspension. But, the DUI charge will still be applied until the court rules otherwise. This same course of action is applied to drivers who have a THC of less than 5 nanograms per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms per milliliter of another bodily substance.
If the test results indicate that the driver has a BAC of .08% or more, the driver will be issued a statutory summary suspension via a law enforcement sworn report. This same result will occur if the driver has a THC level of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of other bodily substances. The same will occur if any trace of another intoxicating drug is found in the driver’s system.
If the driver has a valid license, they may be issued a receipt, allowing them to drive for 45 days. But, in any case, the offender’s vehicle may be seized, impounded, or towed. The offender will be required to post bond. The driver could be detained until the bond is posted.
Recreational marijuana became legal for adults over the age of 21 in Illinois as of January 1, 2020. However, legalization doesn’t mean unrestricted use. In the context of DUI, it is essential to note that driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal, despite the substance’s legal status for medical or recreational use.
Recreational users, medical patients, and law enforcement should be aware of the nuances and ramifications of these laws. Refusing a blood test upon probable cause of a marijuana DUI can result in license suspension, similar to alcohol-related DUI cases.
If you’re going to use marijuana in any capacity, make sure you have a safe, sober method of transportation planned ahead of time. Remember, driving under the influence of any substance – alcohol, marijuana, or otherwise – poses serious risks to you and others on the road.
Individuals who drive under the influence of marijuana may lose their driving privileges and their medical cannabis cards could be revoked. So it is important to avoid operating motor vehicles while impaired.
Marijuana Use and Driving
The recreational and medical uses of cannabis (marijuana) are legal in the state of Illinois for individuals aged 21 years or older. However, whether a person is using this drug for medical or recreational purposes, it is still illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired by cannabis.
Those who drive with this drug in their vehicles must keep marijuana in a sealed, child-proof, odor-proof container. Also, the use of marijuana in a moving vehicle is prohibited, whether the user is the driver or a passenger.
If an officer stops a driver and suspects the individual is driving under the influence of cannabis, the driver will be subject to submit to validated roadside chemical tests or field sobriety testing (or both). If the driver refuses to submit to testing or fails the tests, this will result in driver’s license suspension.
Individuals who drive while impaired by marijuana or drive with an open container of the drug in their vehicle may have their medical cannabis card revoked and lose their driving privileges.
Alcohol Use and Driving
Alcohol can be legally consumed by adults aged 21 years or older in the state of Illinois. However, individuals who wish to transport it in their vehicles must do so using the original, unsealed alcohol containers. In other words, it’s illegal to have alcohol in the car if it is not in its original and unopened packaging.
There are exceptions to this law, including motor homes, chartered buses, and limousines. But, in all other cases, individuals who break this law may be subject to a fine of up to $1,000. They may receive points against their driving record, suspension, or revocation. If the person is under 21 years of age, his or her driving privileges may be suspended for the first offense and revoked for the second offense.
What are the Penalties for a DUI?
The penalties for a DUI vary depending on factors such as the amount of alcohol present in the driver’s system and if there were any prior convictions. Generally, the punishments can range from driver’s license suspension to jail time and fines.
First-time offenders may face a minimum one-year license revocation, up to one year in jail, and a fine of up to $2,500. For subsequent offenses, penalties may include longer license suspensions ranging from two years up to life for those with three or more convictions. Additionally, fines for subsequent offenders can range from $2,500 to $25,000, and prison time from a minimum of five days up to seven years.
DUI and drugged driving are dangerous offenses that can have serious implications for both the offender and innocent bystanders. It is important to understand the gravity of these situations, as well as the laws and penalties that accompany them in order to make informed decisions while on the roads.
How Can Rehab Help with DUI Court Cases?
Rehabilitation programs are often seen as mitigating factors in DUI cases and can help reduce the severity of penalties levied against an offender. While such programs do not guarantee leniency, they could potentially reduce the length of license suspension or jail time. Moreover, attending rehab after receiving a DUI shows that the offender is taking responsibility for their actions and may even lead to charges being dropped altogether.
Rehabilitation centers provide a safe environment where offenders can address underlying mental health issues or substance dependencies that may have contributed to their DUI in the first place. Individuals who are struggling with alcoholism can consider our alcohol addiction rehab center in Northern Illinois to receive the help they need.
The Reinstating Process for a Driver’s License After a DUI
At the end of your statutory summary suspension period, your driving privileges may be reinstated. But, beforehand, there may be other requirements:
- Any other revocations or suspensions on your driving record must be cleared first.
- First offense: You must pay a $250 reinstatement fee to the Secretary of State’s office.
- Second or subsequent offense: You must pay a $500 reinstatement fee to the Secretary of State’s office.
- When it is entered on your driving record in the Secretary of State’s office, the reinstatement of your driving privileges becomes valid, provided the provisional termination date has passed.
You can pay reinstatement fees using a credit card through the Secretary of State’s website at ilsos.gov. Your payment will be processed immediately. You’ll then receive an email confirmation number confirming that you paid and that your driving record has been updated.
If you’d prefer, you can also mail your payment to the Secretary of State, DUI Section, 2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy., Springfield, IL 62723.
The process of reinstating a driver’s license following a DUI offense in Illinois can be quite complex, and it involves multiple steps. First, your license will likely be suspended for a minimum period, which can range from six months to one year or more, depending on the severity of the DUI offense and your previous driving record.
After the suspension period, you can apply for reinstatement with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. This process generally involves completing a drug and alcohol evaluation, proof of treatment and intervention (if required), paying a reinstatement fee, and possibly passing a written and driving examination. In some cases, you may also be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle, which prevents the car from starting if the device detects alcohol on your breath.
Furthermore, attending a licensed DUI program or alcohol/drug rehabilitation program can prove beneficial during your reinstatement process as it demonstrates your commitment to sobriety and responsible behavior. This is particularly pertinent in court proceedings related to your DUI offense. However, each case is unique, and it’s always recommended to consult with a legal professional to understand and navigate your particular circumstances.
About Statutory Summary Suspension/Revocation
A Statutory Summary Suspension/Revocation is an administrative action taken by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office on the driving privileges of a person who is arrested for a DUI offense. This action is independent of any court procedures that might follow the arrest. The term ‘summary’ refers to the immediate nature of the suspension following the arrest.
If you are arrested for DUI and either fail chemical testing or refuse to submit to it, a Statutory Summary Suspension is invoked. For first-time offenders, the suspension period is 6 months for failed testing and 1 year for refusal. For individuals with prior DUI dispositions, the suspension periods are 1 year for failed testing and three years for refusal.
The aim of this suspension is to act as a swift deterrent to impaired driving and enforce the seriousness of Illinois’s DUI laws. It’s important to note that this suspension is separate from any criminal charges for the DUI offense, which may result in additional penalties.
The Average Cost of a DUI Conviction
The financial implications of a DUI conviction can be staggering. At a minimum, you’re likely to face hefty fines, which can range in price depending on the specific circumstances of your arrest. The variables can include your BAC level, whether it’s a first-time or repeat offense, or if there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.
Beyond fines, there are a multitude of additional costs associated with a DUI. These can include court costs, attorney fees, mandatory alcohol education programs, and higher car insurance premiums, which can double or even triple following a DUI conviction.
If your license is suspended, you might have to pay for alternative transportation, such as taxis or rideshare services. Additionally, if an Ignition Interlock Device is required, you will need to cover the cost of its installation and maintenance.
You should also consider potential income loss due to time away from work for court dates, fulfilling community service obligations, or if you lose your job as a consequence of the DUI conviction.
Adding all these costs together, the total financial burden of a DUI conviction in Illinois can easily rise into the tens of thousands of dollars. This is a sobering reminder of the high price you might pay for driving under the influence and a reason to encourage you to get back on the right track after getting a DUI
A Breakdown of Possible DUI Costs
The average cost of a DUI conviction in Illinois is $18,130. (NOTE: Most of these fees may vary depending on where the offender is located.)
High-risk insurance: This is an additional $2,000 per year and is required for 3 years. ($6,000 total)
Legal fees: This may include an uncontested plea and a hardship driving permit. ($2,000 total)
Court costs: These costs may include $750 court costs, a fine of up to $2,500, reimbursements to law enforcement, towing/storage fees of $250, and $100 for the Trauma Center Fund. ($3,600 total)
Income loss: Individuals may be subject to jail time, community service hours, evaluations, remedial education classes, etc. This can result in the loss of income for 4 weeks or more. Based on a yearly income of $55,000, this income loss can equate to quite a bit. ($4,230 total)
Rehabilitation: DUI offenders may have to attend remedial substance abuse classes. Or, they may be required to receive counseling or evaluations from the courts and the Secretary of State. ($300 total)
Driver’s license reinstatement: This process involves paying for a new license and paying a formal hearing fee. ($580 total)
Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device: Costs related to a BAIID may include installation, rental fee, and monitoring fee. ($1,420 total)
There may also be other additional costs associated with a DUI. These can include legal fees for jury trials and civil proceedings, which might be around $5,000 or more. Inpatient substance abuse rehab costs may be $3,500 or more. Medical treatment for any injuries you may have received in a crash associated with your DUI may cost more than $100,000. Compensatory damages awarded to crash survivors may be upwards of $10,000 or more.
Other Drinking-Related Offenses Besides DUI
Additional DUI-related offenses and penalties may include the following:
- Possession of drugs in a vehicle: A driver’s illegal possession of a controlled substance or marijuana is a violation that must be entered in court records. This must also be reported to the Secretary of State. If it is the first conviction, the individual’s driving privileges will be suspended for 1 year. If it’s the second conviction, driving privileges will be revoked.
- Out-of-state DUI conviction: If you are convicted of DUI in another state, this conviction will be added to your Illinois driving record. Your driving privileges will be revoked for a period of time that is based on your previous Illinois driving history.
- DUI involving motorboats or snowmobiles: If you’re involved in a crash while operating a motorboat or snowmobile and you’re issued a citation, you are considered to have consented to a breath test. Refusal to complete the test or failing the chemical test will result in license suspension.
- Permitting an impaired driver to operate a vehicle: If you knowingly allow someone who is under the influence to drive, this is a Class A misdemeanor. You will be eligible for imprisonment of up to 1 year. Fines for this action can be up to $2,500.
FAQs About DUIs
When you get your first DUI in Illinois, you will be taken into custody and your vehicle may be towed. You will be required to take a breathalyzer test and if you refuse, you will face an immediate one-year suspension of your driving privileges, known as a “Statutory Summary Suspension”. If the breathalyzer result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, you face a 6-month Statutory Summary Suspension.
The legal proceedings for a DUI offense typically involve two separate cases. First, you will face a criminal court case, which may result in fines, mandatory alcohol education programs, probation, or even jail time. Meanwhile, the Illinois Secretary of State handles the administrative case, which pertains to the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
As per Illinois law, a first DUI conviction is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, unless aggravating factors are present, such as causing an accident resulting in injury or death, in which case it could be elevated to a felony. Penalties for a first DUI offense can range from fines up to $2,500, a one-year jail sentence, or both. Additionally, your driver’s license may be suspended for a minimum of one year.
Attending a court-approved alcohol treatment program may be required as part of your sentence, and it can potentially help mitigate some of the penalties. It’s also important to note that a DUI conviction stays on your record, and any subsequent arrests for DUI will result in harsher penalties due to the prior conviction. It is recommended to consult with a qualified DUI attorney who can help navigate these complex legal proceedings to ensure that your rights are protected.
Jail time for a first DUI in Illinois is not as common as one might think, but it is not entirely off the table. If convicted, a first-time offender could face up to one year in jail along with fines. However, mandatory jail time is generally not imposed unless there are aggravating factors involved, such as causing bodily harm or death, having a minor passenger in the vehicle, or being involved in a hit-and-run.
More commonly, first-time offenders may face probation, community service, fines, and mandatory participation in an alcohol/drug education program. Nonetheless, the exact consequences can vary greatly depending on the specifics of the case, which is why it is highly recommended to consult with an experienced DUI attorney following an arrest.
The first DUI in Illinois is not typically a felony. A first DUI offense in Illinois is usually classified as a Class A misdemeanor.
However, there are certain aggravating circumstances that can escalate a first DUI to a felony, known as “Aggravated DUI”. These conditions include causing bodily harm to another individual, especially a minor, driving a school bus with minors on board while intoxicated, or having a third or subsequent DUI.
A felony DUI is a serious charge that can lead to hefty fines, a lengthy prison sentence, and a permanent mark on your legal record. Therefore, it is advised to consult with an experienced attorney if you’re facing any DUI charges.
Yes, it is possible to be terminated for a DUI conviction in Illinois, especially if your job involves driving or operating machinery. Each employer has their own policies regarding criminal convictions, and a DUI can be considered grounds for termination by some. This is particularly the case if your role involves driving, as a DUI conviction typically leads to a license suspension, impacting your ability to perform your work duties.
Even in non-driving roles, employers may deem a DUI as a sign of irresponsibility or poor decision-making, which could affect your employment. However, each situation is unique, and being fired is not a guaranteed consequence of a DUI. It’s advisable to consult with an experienced DUI attorney to understand the potential implications for your specific circumstance.
Yes, you can be charged with a DUI in Illinois for being under the influence of cannabis. Although recreational use of cannabis is legal in Illinois, driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal. Illinois law considers a person to be impaired if they have a THC concentration of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of other bodily substance within two hours of driving.
Similar to alcohol-related DUIs, the penalties for a cannabis-related DUI can include license suspension, fines, and even jail time. It’s important to understand that a DUI charge isn’t restricted to alcohol use only, but applies to any substance, including cannabis, that impairs your ability to operate a vehicle.
Under various circumstances, local authorities have the ability to seize and impound your vehicle during a DUI arrest. Your vehicle will be seized if you are being arrested for a DUI while your driving privileges have been suspended due to:
- Previous DUI
- Aggravated DUI
- Reckless homicide associated with a DUI
Similarly, regardless of the status of your driving privileges, if you are being arrested for your third or subsequent DUI, or if you have a previous conviction for reckless homicide associated with a DUI, your vehicle will be automatically impounded.
Additionally, if you are being arrested for a DUI and you are not eligible to drive due to the lack of a valid driver’s license, permit, or insurance, this will also result in your vehicle being impounded.
You may rely upon friends, family members, or public transportation options to get to and from work during the license suspension or revocation period. In some instances, DUI offenders may receive a “hardship license”, which allows them to ONLY drive to and from work. But, if the offender is found driving outside of those restrictions, more penalties will be imposed.
Under the Illinois “implied consent” law, if you are arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you consent to take a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) or the presence of drugs. Refusing to submit to such a test can lead to serious consequences.
If you refuse to undergo chemical testing, you will receive an automatic Statutory Summary Suspension of your driving privileges. For a first refusal, your license will be suspended for 1 year, and for any subsequent refusals within 5 years, the suspension period extends to 3 years.
If you lose your license in Illinois due to a DUI conviction and continue to drive, you’re taking a serious risk. The state of Illinois has harsh penalties for driving with a suspended or revoked license.
If you’re caught driving while your license is suspended or revoked from a DUI, it is considered a Class A misdemeanor on the first offense, which could result in up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
If you’re caught a second time, the offense is upgraded to a Class 4 felony, which carries potential penalties of one to three years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
Furthermore, if an individual is caught driving with a revoked license due to a DUI, the revocation period could be extended. Also, the vehicle could be seized or forfeited. These consequences underscore the importance of strictly adhering to the terms of a license suspension or revocation.
It’s always best to speak with a knowledgeable DUI attorney to fully understand the potential consequences and explore any available options for restoring your driving privileges.
Taking Action: What You Can Do
Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is not only unsafe for the driver. It’s also unsafe for other drivers and passengers. Sadly, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs can lead to death, causing pain to so many families every year. This can be avoided, but it requires the help of communities, family members, and friends. So, here’s what you can do to help end the needless deaths surrounding impaired driving.
- Don’t drive. It seems simple, but many people simply don’t heed this advice when they’ve been drinking or using marijuana. If you have been doing either of these things, don’t drive.
- Don’t let your friends drive. If your friend has been drinking or using drugs, keep the keys away from them.
- Take note of prescription drug interactions. Sometimes, medications can interact with other substances in your body in ways that may cloud your judgment or make it hard for you to drive properly.
- Be a good host. If a party is happening at your place, be sure to remind your guests to establish designated drivers.
Allow Northern Illinois Recovery Center to Help You
If you are struggling with substance use problems, it is important to avoid operating motor vehicles or equipment while under the influence. Such actions could not only lead to legal issues in your life, but they can also lead to the injury or death of yourself or other people.
Here at Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we offer treatment for drug and alcohol use disorders. We understand that these issues can be difficult to overcome. This is why we make sure you don’t have to go through recovery alone. Let NIRC walk beside you as you pursue a life that is free from addiction.
To learn more about our addiction treatment services in Illinois, contact our admissions team today. We look forward to equipping and supporting your recovery journey!