If you’re like many people who have been arrested for drunk driving, you’re wondering about first-offense DUI in Illinois. Is it possible to come up with a good defense to first-offense DUI? What will happen to you if you’re convicted? Will a first offense stay on your criminal record forever? This guide has all these answers (and more).
First-Offense DUI in Illinois
The state of Illinois takes driving under the influence very seriously, and even a first offense could land you in jail and cost you your driving privileges.
In fact, first offense DUI in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor. You’ll lose your driving privileges for at least a year; more if you’re under the age of 21 at the time of the offense. Additionally, the state will suspend your vehicle registration.
The state of Illinois reserves the right to give you harsher penalties if some special circumstances affect your case, such as:
- If your blood alcohol concentration was greater than 0.16 at the time of your offense, the court will order you to pay a mandatory minimum fine of $500. Additionally, you will be required to serve at least 100 hours of community service.
- If there was a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle with you, you’ll be required to pay a fine of at least $1000. Additionally, the court will order you to complete at least 25 days of community service through a program or with an organization that benefits kids.
- If there was a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle with you at the time of the offense, and if you were involved in a crash that resulted in harm to the child, the crime becomes what’s known as an aggravated DUI. An aggravated DUI is a Class 4 felony, which means you could spend between 1 and 3 years in prison. You must also pay a mandatory minimum fine of $2,500 and perform 25 days or more of community service in a program that benefits children.
Common Questions About First-Offense DUIs in Illinois
Check out these commonly asked questions about first-offense drunk driving charges in Illinois. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, please call our office at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form at the bottom of this page. We’ll be happy to give you a free (and confidential) consultation).
But it’s My First DUI – Will I Really Go to Jail?
When you’re convicted of a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, the court can sentence you to up to a year in the county jail. It doesn’t matter whether you crashed your car, were “barely” over the legal limit, or anything else – if you’re convicted of first-offense DUI in Illinois, you could spend up to a year in jail.
How Does Blood Alcohol Concentration Relate to the Number of Drinks You Have?
Check out this chart, which explains how one, two, three or more drinks are likely to affect you when it comes to the legal limit in Illinois. (Just for the record, the legal limit here is 0.08. If you have more than that amount of alcohol in your system, you can – and usually will – be charged with DUI in Illinois.)
This chart contains general guidelines for a 160-pound man and a 140-pound woman. The number of drinks consumed in one hour runs down the middle of the chart, and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is on either side of that number. For example, if you’re a 160-pound man and you have three alcoholic drinks in an hour, you’re right at the legal limit. If you’re a 140-pound woman and you consume two alcoholic drinks in an hour, you’re just below the limit – one more drink will certainly put you over.
It’s also important that you understand that a standard alcoholic drink is generally regarded as one shot of liquor, one glass of wine, or one bottle of beer. Some mixed drinks contain multiple shots of liquor (such as a Long Island iced tea), and each of those shots contributes to your total BAC, and naturally, the alcohol content in any drink depends on who’s doing the pouring. Some bartenders put more liquor in drinks than others do.
The maximum allowable BAC in the state of Illinois is 0.08. That means if your blood contains more alcohol than that, you can be pulled over for (and convicted of) a first offense DUI.
Can You Get a First-Offense DUI for Having Drugs in Your System?
The acronym DUI stands for driving under the influence, and it’s not limited to only alcohol. The state of Illinois can charge you with first-offense DUI if you have marijuana, meth, cocaine, heroin or any other drug in your system – even if it’s a prescription drug. If you’re impaired by any medication, whether it’s over-the-counter (such as cough syrup) or prescription, and whether it’s prescribed to you or someone else, the state of Illinois can get you for a first-time DUI offense and put you in jail for up to a year.
Will You Really Lose Your Driver’s License for a First-Offense DUI in Illinois?
You will absolutely lose your driving privileges if you’re convicted of DUI in Illinois. If it’s your first offense, you can lose your license for up to a year. Also, the state will suspend your vehicle registration.
What Other Consequences Are Part of a DUI Conviction?
Every situation is different, but it’s common for people who have been convicted of a first-time DUI to lose their jobs, go through family problems, and even face unusual amounts of debt because they’re unable to work to pay their bills. Though we hope that doesn’t happen to you, the best course of action may be to work with a skilled first-offense DUI attorney in Illinois who can defend you in court.
Do You Really Need a Lawyer for a First-Offense DUI?
Lawyers know the law – and usually, they have relationships with prosecutors and judges, too. For most people, the best way to deal with first-offense DUI charges in Illinois is to work with an attorney who understands how our state’s laws work and how they apply to individual cases. It’s always good to have a knowledgeable, experienced professional in your corner – and it may mean the difference between the worst-case scenario and the best possible outcome in your case.
Where Can I Get More Information on DUI Penalties?
Check out these links for more information on DUI penalties you may be facing:
Let’s Talk About Your First-Offense DUI in Illinois
If you’ve been accused of drunk driving, whether it’s your first offense or you have prior DUI convictions, we may be able to help you.
Get a free, confidential consultation by calling 847-920-4540 now. We’ll ask you some questions about the incident and talk to you about possible outcomes – but most importantly, we’ll give you the peace of mind you need right now. If it’s easier, please fill out the contact form below. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.