If you consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel and an Illinois law enforcement official stops you and believes you have consumed more than the law allows, he or she will likely charge you with drunk driving. Ultimately, the penalties you can expect to face will vary based on several factors, among them the details of your offense and whether you have any similar convictions on your record.
Even first-time driving under the influence offenders face harsh penalties, and they might include a revocation of driving privileges, a suspension of vehicle registration and steep fines, among others. Additionally, penalties become increasingly severe if your blood alcohol content surpasses 0.16 percent, or if you have a child under the age of 16 in your vehicle when authorities stop and arrest you. However, as you might expect, the penalties tend to increase in severity if your drunk driving conviction is your second or third offense.
Penalties for second-time DUI offenders
If you receive a second DUI conviction in Illinois within the same 20-year period, expect to spend either five days in jail or 240 hours performing community service. You can also anticipate losing your ability to drive for at least five years. If your Breathalyzer reading is above 0.16 percent, you can also plan on spending two days in jail and paying a hefty fine, and if you have a child under 16 in your car at the time of your arrest, you will also face a felony charge.
Penalties for third-time DUI offenders
If charged with a third DUI in Illinois, you are facing a Class 2 felony. In addition to losing your driving privileges for at least 10 years, you can anticipate additional penalties, should you have a blood alcohol content of 0.16 percent or higher. If you meet such circumstances, you can expect to spend at least 90 days in jail in addition to fines and other administrative sanctions that may vary. You can also anticipate additional penalties if you have a child under 16 in the car when you receive your third DUI charge.
In some cases, depending on several circumstances, you may be able to question the results of your breath test or plead to a lesser charge.