Are Illinois DUI Laws about to Get Tougher?
While the republican and democratic candidates for secretary of state might have differed on many platforms, they both agreed on one – Illinois needs to enforce stricter DUI laws. Republican nominee Mike Webster argued that it’s too easy to avoid conviction for a DUI, maintaining that the system can be manipulated “if you have enough money” or “know the right people.”
The democratic opponent, longtime secretary of state Jesse White, says he supports a law that enforces longer license suspensions for drivers who refuse to comply with a breathalyzer test. White, who has held office since 1999, won the election over Webster by a landslide margin. As Illinois secretary of state, he is responsible for maintaining state records and supervising driver licensing.
What Does This Mean for Illinois DUI Offenders?
Jesse White has backed numerous measures to crack down on DUI offenders, and plans to work towards increasing requirements for breathalyzer testing.
Illinois already has harsh penalties for drivers found under the influence of alcohol and drugs. With Jesse White back in office and planning to prioritize DUI crack downs, those penalties will continue to get even harsher on the suspect. Here are some conviction penalties that are already in place:
If you are arrested for a DUI
When you choose to drive in Illinois, you are required to submit to an alcohol and drug test if stopped by a law enforcement officer with probable cause to suspect that you are driving under the influence.
If the results of the test indicate a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more, or if there is evidence of illegal drug use, you can be charged with a DUI. You can still be charged even if your blood alcohol level is lower than .08 percent if you appear to be significantly impaired.
If you are charged with a DUI as an adult
After your first offense, you can lose your license for a minimum of one year, be fined up to $2,500, and face imprisonment for up to one year. A DUI conviction will permanently appear on your driver’s record.
The consequences only increase after subsequent offenses, and can include lengthier license suspensions, larger fines, and longer prison sentences. After the second offense, any following offenses are considered felonies.
If you are charged with a DUI as a minor
If you are under the legal drinking age of 21, you can be charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol content falls between .01 and .08 percent. In such cases, you may lose your license for three months or more. If you are found with a blood alcohol level over .08 percent, your license might be suspended for over two years.
If you refuse to take a blood alcohol test
Since Illinois enforces an implied consent law, you can be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension for a minimum of one year if you refuse to comply with a blood alcohol test.
If you are a passenger
This is one that a lot of people don’t know. If you are a passenger whose driver is convicted of a DUI, you can be charged with knowingly permitting a person to drive under the influence, and may be subject to imprisonment or a fine.
Since Illinois DUI laws are constantly changing, having a knowledgeable Chicago DUI defense attorney is key for understanding your legal rights. If you are one of the thousands of individuals arrested in Illinois each year for driving under the influence of alcohol, weed, or other drugs, having an experienced DUI lawyer can make a significant difference in getting the outcome you want on your case.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, DUI and drug crimes.