If you’re looking for a Chicago DUI lawyer, you’re in the right place. The Law Offices of Matthew M. Fakhoury can help defend you against drunk driving charges in Chicago and the surrounding communities.
Do You Need a Chicago DUI Attorney?
If you’ve been accused of DUI in Chicago, whether it’s your first offense or a subsequent offense, we may be able to help. You have the right to an attorney – and for many people, the best choice is to exercise that right. Because the consequences of a DUI conviction can be so harsh (including prison time), it’s important that you have someone in your corner.
What Happens if You’re Convicted of DUI in Chicago?
If you’re convicted of DUI in Chicago, the penalty depends on the circumstances of your case, including:
- How many times you’ve been convicted of impaired or drunk driving in the past
- Whether anyone was hurt as a result of your alleged incident
- Whether anyone died as a result of your alleged DUI incident
If you don’t have any special circumstances, you can expect to be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, a Class 4 or Class 2 felony, or a Class X felony. The penalties for each of those convictions is outlined in the table below.
|Type of DUI Crime||Possible Penalties|
|Class A misdemeanor||Up to a year in the Cook County Jail|
|Class 4 felony||Between 1 and 3 years in prison|
|Class 2 felony||Between 3 and 7 years in prison|
|Class 1 felony||Between 4 and 15 years in prison|
|Class X felony||Between 6 and 30 years in prison|
The following sections explain when a DUI in Chicago is a misdemeanor, as well as when it’s a felony.
DUI as a Class A Misdemeanor in Chicago
If this is your first offense – provided that nobody was hurt or killed, and provided that you didn’t do any property damage during the incident – you can be charged with DUI as a Class A misdemeanor. You’ll certainly lose your driver’s license for at least a year (and two years if you’re under the age of 21). The state of Illinois will also suspend your vehicle registration.
If it’s your second offense, it’s still a Class A misdemeanor. However, the court will order you to spend at least five days in jail or serve 240 hours of community service. If your previous DUI conviction was within the past 20 years (even if it wasn’t in Illinois), the court will take away your driving privileges for at least five years while suspending your vehicle registration.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may face additional penalties. For example:
- If your blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.16 or higher on a first offense, the court will order you to pay a mandatory minimum fine of $500. You’ll also have to perform at least 100 hours of community service. If your BAC was 0.16 or higher on a second offense, your mandatory minimum fine is $1,250 and you must spend at least two days in jail.
- If there was a child under the age of 16 in the car with you at the time of your DUI in Chicago, the court will order you to pay a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. The court will also order you to perform at least 25 days (but possibly more) of community service related to an organization that benefits kids.
- If it’s your first offense and there was a child under the age of 16 in the car with you and you were involved in a crash that resulted in harm to the child, you’ll be hit with an aggravated DUI. That makes this crime a Class 4 felony, so in addition to spending between 1 and 3 years in prison, the court will order you to pay a mandatory fine of $2,500 and perform at least 25 days (or more) of community service in a program benefiting children. If it’s your second offense, you’re guilty of a Class 2 felony, so in addition to the prison time associated with that (you’ll spend between 3 and 7 years behind bars for it), you’ll also have to pay a mandatory fine of $5,000 and perform at least 35 days of community service in a program that benefits kids.
DUI as a Class 2 Felony in Chicago
If it’s your third or fourth DUI conviction, you’re looking at aggravated DUI charges. Aggravated DUI is a Class 2 felony, which means you’ll lose your driving privileges for at least 10 years. The state will also suspend your vehicle registration.
There are special circumstances that may make your penalties more severe, such as:
- If your BAC was 0.16 or higher on a third offense, your mandatory minimum fine is $2,500. You also have to spend at least 90 days in the Cook County Jail. If it was 0.16 or higher on a fourth offense, your mandatory minimum fine is $5,000.
- If there was a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle with you at the time of the offense, you must pay a mandatory fine of $25,000 and perform 25 days or more of community service in a program that benefits children. This is true whether it’s your third or fourth offense.
Typically, you lose your driving privileges permanently if you get a fourth DUI conviction in the state of Illinois.
DUI as a Class 1 Felony in Chicago
If it’s your fifth conviction, DUI is a Class 1 felony in the state of Illinois. Typically, by this point, a person has lost their driving privileges (the state takes them away when you get a fourth conviction). Remember, too, that if you have prior convictions in other states, they count – so four prior convictions (even in four different states) will make this particular offense a Class 1 felony.
Some special circumstances can lead to additional penalties. For example:
- If your BAC was 0.16 or higher, your mandatory minimum fine is $5,000.
- If the offense took place while there was a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle with you, your mandatory minimum fine is $25,000 and you must complete at least 25 days (or more) of community service for an organization that benefits children.
DUI as a Class X Felony in Chicago
If you have a sixth DUI conviction, it’s a Class X felony. In the state of Illinois, a Class X felony is the most serious of all felonies. By this conviction, you will have lost your driver’s license for life, and your vehicle registration will have been suspended. If that hasn’t happened to you yet (possibly because you received your convictions in one or more other states), you’ll lose your driving privileges and vehicle registration after this conviction.
There are additional circumstances that can make a judge give you additional penalties, such as:
- If your BAC was 0.16 or higher, your mandatory minimum fine is $5,000.
- If there was a child under the age of 16 in your vehicle with you, your mandatory minimum fine is $25,000, and you must also perform 25 days or more of community service for a program or organization that benefits kids.
How Much Does Drinking Affect You?
When it comes to DUI in Chicago, the amount of alcohol a person has in their system matters. As a general rule, one alcoholic drink contains about 0.54 ounces of pure alcohol. Naturally, every drink is different – some drinks contain more alcohol than others (such as mixed drinks; a single Long Island iced tea has several shots of liquor in it, so it contains much more pure alcohol). Alcohol content also depends on the bartender who’s pouring.
The chart below outlines the average blood alcohol content for a 160-pound man and a 140-pound woman for one hour after drinking. Remember, if you use this BAC chart as a guide, it refers to each alcoholic drink: One shot of liquor, one glass of wine or one bottle of beer. Drinks that contain more than one shot of liquor – such as a Long Island iced tea, for example – count for more than one drink.
One more thing: The maximum allowable BAC in Chicago is 0.8. That means if you’re pulled over for DUI and have a BAC higher than that, you can be convicted of drunk driving.
What About Drugs and DUI?
You can be charged with DUI and convicted if you have drugs in your system. (DUI stands for driving under the influence.) The drugs may be prescription or illegal; either way, it’s unlawful to have drugs in your system that impair you when you’re driving. A court in Chicago can convict you of DUI if you have:
- A THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentration of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood
- A THC Concentration of 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of other bodily substance (such as urine)
- Used any other controlled substance
- Been impaired by any medication, whether it’s over-the-counter (such as cough syrup) or prescribed, regardless of whether it was prescribed to you or someone else
Do You Need a Chicago DUI Lawyer?
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Chicago, you have the right to work with an attorney – and you should use it. You’re facing very serious penalties, whether it’s your first, second, or sixth offense. Working with an attorney can help ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your case. Your attorney will be able to put together a defense that helps you, so it makes sense to have someone knowledgeable in your corner.
Because you could lose your job, your driving privileges and a whole list of other things, give us a call at 847-920-4540. We can give you a free – and completely confidential – consultation. If it’s easier, you can fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as we can.