Like every other state in the union, Illinois takes it seriously when people get behind the wheel of their vehicles after consuming alcohol. Alcohol-related accidents kill and seriously injure far too many people each year. The penalties associated with a drunk driving conviction can be harsh and often have ramifications on an individual's life well beyond any sentencing imposed by a criminal court.
For instance, an individual could lose full driving privileges for at least a year, spend up to a year in jail and pay fines up to $2,500 if convicted of a first offense. A second offense within 20 years of the first could mean losing full driving privileges for up to five years, a minimum of 240 hours of community service along with jail time of at least five days, but not more than one year. Fines could also be imposed of up to $2,500.
A third conviction becomes a felony, which means that the penalties increase dramatically and include minimum mandatory prison time. If a DUI conviction occurs due to an accident involving serious injuries or death, the penalties are also higher. In addition to these penalties, one's personal and professional lives could suffer as well. Not being able to drive alone could affect the ability to work and provide for one's family.
If pulled over for drunk driving, even a first offense needs to be taken seriously. An accused individual has the right to challenge the charges, and there may be a variety of ways to do so. In addition, a defendant may qualify for some type of court program that would keep a conviction off his or her record. In order to understand one's rights and explore all applicable options, it would be beneficial to discuss the situation with an Illinois attorney as soon as possible after an arrest.
Source: isp.state.il.us, "Influenced Driving", Accessed on July 15, 2017