The state of Illinois takes drinking and driving very seriously. Car accidents involving intoxicated drivers caused 10,265 deaths in 2015 and thousands more injuries. Over a million people were charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) during the same year. If you are caught drinking and driving in Illinois, the penalties can be severe and life-altering. It is important that every driver be educated about DUI laws.
When Can Someone Be Arrested for DUI?
If a police officer suspects a driver is intoxicated, the officer will pull the car over. Next, if the officer still has concerns about the driver’s sobriety he will ask them to take a field sobriety test or chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) test. The BAC test is usually done via a breathalyzer device. If the test shows a result of 0.80 percent BAC or higher, the driver will be arrested for driving under the influence and his or her driver’s license will automatically be suspended for six months. A driver who is under age 21 is not legally permitted to drive with any amount of alcohol in their body. If you are under age 21, you can be charged with driving under the influence even if you do not blow over 0.08 percent BAC on a breathalyzer.
A driver can be arrested for DUI even without a failed BAC test. If the officer’s observation of the driver and field sobriety tests show signs of intoxication, the driver may still be arrested. The automatic suspension of driving privileges does not apply without a failed or refused test.
Can I Refuse a BAC Test?
Motorists do have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test, but doing so results in an automatic driver’s license suspension of one year. Some individuals who refuse to take a test do so because they hope the prosecution will be unable to find other evidence that they were driving under the influence. This can happen, but it is very important to note that a person can still be charged with DUI even if they do not consent to chemical testing.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI?
If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you will face severe criminal penalties. For a first time DUI offender, the penalties include up to one year’s imprisonment, driver’s license suspension of up to a year, and $2500 in fines. An additional $1,000 fine and 25 days of community service are included in the penalties if you drove with a person under age 16 in the car while intoxicated. If you are convicted of a second DUI in Illinois, you will receive a minimum 5-year suspension of your driver’s license and a mandatory 5 days in jail or 240 days of community service. Additionally, you can be imprisoned for a year and fined $2500. A third DUI conviction results in a minimum 10-year loss of driving privileges and up to seven years in jail.
Who Can I Call for Help?
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you need a DUI lawyer who can help keep you out of jail. To speak with an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandol, call 847-488-0889 today.