Illinois is one of the stricter states when it comes to DUI penalties. A DUI in Illinois does not just involve alcohol. In fact, it can involve any substance that impairs your ability to drive safely.

What is a BAC?

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the amount of alcohol measured in your bloodstream. It is measured by mass per volume. Therefore, a BAC of 0.08 percent means that 0.08 percent or 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood were measured.

Your BAC varies depending on age, the amount you drink, how fast you drink it, whether you have eaten, and your weight. A taller person can drink more than a shorter person, in most cases, before their BAC goes above the legal limit.

Likewise, medications that slow absorption of alcohol may increase your BAC faster than had you not taken the medication.

Regardless, the BAC limit in Illinois is 0.08 percent – like most states.

The Administrative Penalties for a First-Time DUI

Even if you are a first-time offender, the state of Illinois will not take pity. Instead, they issue harsh punishments to first-time offenders to encourage them to not offend again – while simultaneously serving as an example to the public of what happens when you are caught drinking and driving.

When you are convicted of a DUI, you have criminal and administrative penalties. Sadly, administrative penalties are the ones that can hurt the most, because they affect your ability to drive and function in society.

Administrative penalties for a first offense include:

  • Driver’s license suspension for up to six months. You may receive a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) after the 31st day of your suspension. If you refused to take a BAC test, under implied consent laws, you will receive an automatic suspension for one year.

  • Ignition interlock device requirement. You will be required to use the device in your vehicle, and you must pay for the installation, monthly monitoring, and any maintenance during your sentence.

The Criminal Penalties for a First-Time DUI

First-time offenses may have enhanced penalties if your BAC is above 0.16 percent or if you cause a motor vehicle accident, injure someone, or display other aggressive behavior while driving under the influence.

If you are simply charged and convicted of a DUI, you will be charged with a class A misdemeanor. Therefore, your criminal punishments will include:

  • Up to one year in jail

  • Up to $2,500 in fines, with a minimum of $500

  • Court costs and surcharges (not included in your fine)

  • Alcohol awareness courses

  • Driver’s license reinstatement costs

Illinois Does Not Have a Look back Period

Some states limit the number of years the courts can look back for prior DUIs to seven or ten years. Illinois is not one of those states. Instead, there is no look back period. Therefore, even if your first DUI was ten years ago, your subsequent offense is still your second, which means harsher penalties.

You Need an Attorney

While you cannot enter a plea in a DUI case, you still need an attorney.  An attorney may receive a dismissal, which means you can avoid the harsh penalties of the DUI entirely. So speak with a DUI attorney in the Indianapolis area to explore your options, and see if you might avoid this life-changing conviction.

Published by Addie Davison