The cost of a taxi or rideshare home can get pretty pricey – even in a big city like Chicago. At the end of the night, it may sound cost-effective to wait a half hour to sober up and then drive home. In the long run, though, a DUI conviction will end up costing you way more.
Below we’re going to go over those costs – both in terms of penalties and in hard dollar amounts.
Penalties for DUI in Illinois
Before we go over the costs of a DUI conviction, let’s look at the penalties for DUI in Illinois – another type of cost. Penalties for DUI are based on a variety of factors, including prior convictions and any injuries caused by the drunk driving incident.
If you are convicted of a first DUI in Illinois, you may face the following penalties:
- Up to a year behind bars
- Fines between $500-$2,500
- Alcohol education or treatment programs
- License suspension for up to six months
Penalties are increased to 12 months of license suspension if you did not consent to sobriety tests under the state’s implied consent laws. Your license may be reinstated after a month, but sometimes this is under the condition that you use an ignition interlock device – which will also cost you.
Costs of Illinois DUI Penalties
All of the penalties for DUI in Illinois come with costs. When you pile these costs on top of fines, your bill can easily reach five digits – even for first time offenders.
These are just a few of the costs that come with a DUI conviction in Illinois.
Alternative Transportation: License suspension alone can be pricey, especially if you commute to work. Getting a taxi or Uber to work every day is more expensive than normal fuel costs. If your car was damaged in an accident, you will have to pay those fees before you can start driving.
Towing: If your car was towed after your arrest, you will have to pay money to get it back.
Loss of Income: If your job requires a license, you may lose it while your license is suspended. You may also lose vacation or sick days in order to make court appointments. Most first-time offenders will not have to spend a day in prison, but getting stuck behind bars can leave you with less money in your pocket.
Ignition Interlock Devices: We mentioned earlier that you could get your license back sooner if you get an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car. This is a device that measures your blood alcohol content, and only allows the ignition to start if you are below the legal limit. An IID costs money to install, though, and you will have to pay fees each month.
Court and Legal Fees: Just going to court to sort out DUI charges could cost you thousands of dollars.
So, How Much Does an Illinois DUI Conviction Cost?
When you add together the court fees, alternative transportation, and other costs, you’re looking at one pricey drive. CyberDrive Illinois estimates that the total bill could reach up to $16,000. Compare that to a single taxi ride. Even if you’re heading way out into the suburbs, that’s a huge difference.
If you are ever about to get behind the wheel after a few drinks, keep these costs in mind. If you have already been charged with driving under the influence, keep this cost in mind as you consider your defense strategy.
A charge is not a conviction. Even if you are starting to rack up costs for a DUI charge, you will still save a lot more money if you can get your charges dropped or otherwise avoid conviction. Fighting back against DUI charges is investing in your future.
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, murder, and drug crimes.