Another year comes and another set of penalties for driving under the influence in Illinois. The law in Illinois on DUI changes every year.
The reasons for this include the fact that ambiguities in earlier statutes are detected or become problematic in court, and these instances are reported to state lawmakers.
Another reason the law is in a constant state of change is that DUI is highly political and new legislators can quickly make a name for themselves with new laws punishing intoxicated drivers.
Indeed, no one is campaigning against laws that toughen the penalties for DUI in Illinois. If state lawmakers were to spend a fraction of the time addressing violent and property crimes that they do addressing DUI, I suppose the public would feel a lot safer.
The DUI statute is 625 ILCS 5/11-501. If you have been charged with DUI, you can see this citation on your traffic ticket.
The penalties for a first DUI arrest in Illinois this year are as follows:
- DUI is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
- The court is permitted to sentence the defendant to probation as opposed to jail. The maximum term of probation is 2 years.
- Court supervision, which is not a conviction and results in the dismissal of the charge, is available (for now). Nonetheless, the judge is not required to impose a sentence of supervision. There have been instances where judges have sentenced first offenders to convictions.
- There is a new DUI technology fee imposed on all first offenses of $750. This dollar amount is added to any other fines and court costs. The tech fee is meant to raise funds for law enforcement equipment.
- A new $50 roadside memorial fee is in place for every offender. And thus, the cost of a guilty plea is already at $800 without the fine or court costs imposed by the county board.
- A defendant with an alcohol concentration in his blood, breath or urine (note: urine is typically not tested for alcohol) is 0.16 or more is subject to additional penalties: $500 mandatory minimum fine and 100 hours of community service.
- [A second offense carries a penalty of 5 days in the county jail or 240 hours of community service (eg, 30 days in the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program for defendants in Cook County and DuPage County).]
- If the defendant had a passenger under the age of 16, then the sentence is a mandatory 6 months in jail, in addition to 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children and also a minimum $1,000 fine. Under the age of 16 is 15 years old or younger.
- If the defendant was in an accident causing bodily harm to that passenger under 16, then the offense is a Class 4 felony punishable by 1-3 years in the Department of Corrections (eg, state prison system). While prison is not mandatory, the court must sentence the defendant in these cases to 10 days jail or 480 hours community service, along with a minimum $2,500 fine. Probation can last for up to 30 months.
- If the driver did not have a valid driver’s license or proof of insurance, then the offense is a Class 4 felony. 10 days jail or 480 hours of community service would be mandatory in these cases. 30 months is the maximum term of probation.
- If driving a school bus with passengers under the age of 18 years, then the offense is a Class 4 felony. 30 months probation is possible.
- If the defendant was previously found guilty of reckless homicide, then a first offense of DUI would be a non-probationable Class 3 felony carrying 2-5 years mandatory prison.
- If the defendant had an accident in a school zone with a 20 mph posted limit that was in effect at the time of the accident, and bodily harm results, then the offense is a Class 4 felony. The court must sentence the defendant to 10 days jail or 480 hours of community service. 30 months of probation can be imposed.
- If the defendant is involved in an accident that results in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement, then the offense is a special Class 4 felony. It is different from other Class 4 felonies because the prison term is 1-12 years, but probation for up to 30 months is possible. If there is a sentence of probation, then the court must impose 10 days jail or 480 hours of community service.
- If the defendant was involved in an accident resulting in death, then the offense is a special Class 2 felony. The sentence for his offense of aggravated DUI is 3-14 years in the Department of Corrections for each person who was killed in the accident. The prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant was “the” cause of the accident. Rather, the State only has to show that the defendant’s violation of the DUI statute was “a” cause of the accident. Probation is possible, but only upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances.
The above are the criminal penalties for a first time DUI in Illinois in the year 2011. The foregoing does not address the civil penalty for DUI. The civil penalties involve the suspension of your driver’s license and possible revocation by the Secretary of State, and the Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP).
Generally, it is advisable to analyze a DUI arrest in two ways: 1) criminal penalties; and 2) civil penalties. Attorneys differ on the importance of each type of penalty.