The potential consequences of a DUI will depend on the subjective facts and circumstances of every case. The court typically looks at a variety of factors surrounding the DUI arrest. These factors include:
- Whether the driver charged with a DUI was transporting a child under 16 years of age.
- The age of the driver charged with the DUI.
- The driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level at the time of arrest.
- Whether the driver has had previous DUI convictions.
The judge will determine the consequences a first time DUI offender in Chicago must face based on the subjective facts and circumstances involved in a given case. However, the state of Illinois provides some mandatory minimum sentences and mandatory minimum fines as a guide.
Potential Minimum Consequences for First Time DUI:
In Chicago a first time DUI offender will be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. The minimum potential consequence for a Class A Misdemeanor includes:
1. A mandatory revocation of the driver’s driving privileges for a minimum of 1 year. However, the driver’s privileges may be suspended for 2 years in cases where the driver was under 21 years of age; and
2. Suspension of the offender’s vehicle registration for the period of driving privileges revocation.
Enhancing the Minimum Consequences for First Time DUI:
The potential minimum consequences for the first time DUI will be enhanced in the following circumstances:
- Blood Alcohol Content of .16 or Higher: In addition to the minimum potential consequences, the driver will also be subjected to a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and a mandatory minimum of 100 community service hours.
- Transporting a child under 16: If the driver was transporting a child under 16 years of age at the time of the arrest, in addition to the minimum potential consequences, the following penalties will result:
- A mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.
- A mandatory minimum of 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.
- A possible prison term of up to 6 months.
- Aggravated DUI: If the driver committed a DUI with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle and the child sustained bodily harm due to the driver crashing the vehicle, the driver’s charge will become an Aggravated DUI. This Aggravated DUI becomes a Class 4 Felony for the first time offender. In addition to the previously stated minimum potential consequences, the driver will be subjected to a mandatory minimum fine of $2,500 and a mandatory minimum of 25 days community services at a child-centered program.
Additional Potential Consequences:
There is also an administrative suspension (Summary Statutory Suspension) of driving privileges for anyone charged with a DUI who refused to submit to the test, failed the test, or otherwise failed to complete chemical testing. The Secretary of State’s Office automatically enters the suspensions immediately upon receiving sufficient evidence of the DUI from the state’s attorney. Both first time DUI offenders and repeat offenders are automatically subjected to the suspension without a hearing. The administrative Suspension typically lasts for as long as the DUI process continues.
This administrative suspension is a different penalty than the revocation received when convicted. However, the time in which the driving privileges are administratively suspended while the case is pending is credited to the revocation period for a conviction.
Driving Relief: A first time DUI offender may request driving relief from the administrative suspension. The driver must qualify for driving relief with the Secretary of State. If approved, during the time of the administrative suspension period, the driver will be able to drive so long as they:
1. Obtain a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP); and
2. Have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed.
Illinois requires this for all first time DUI offenders approved for driving relief. The offender must pay the applicable fees for both. Illinois also requires that the BAIID device be the model equipped with a camera that captures the driver’s image as they have their breath tested. The BAIID prevents the driver from starting the vehicle if they fail the blood alcohol breathing test.
The Secretary of State will automatically be notified if the driver has failed the breathing test. The Secretary of State will also be notified if the driver attempts to tamper with the device. Failing the breathing test and/or tampering with the device can lead to additional consequences.
Other Concerns to Consider: The DUI conviction will be a permanent fixture on the driving record. Mandatory completion of a drug or alcohol evaluation and remedial education course may be required to restore driving privileges. Drivers can find additional information concerning a first time DUI in the Illinois DUI Fact Book.