Stiff Penalties for Illinois Underage DUIs

Illinois underage duiIn this country teens represent 10 percent of licensed drivers, but they are involved 17 percent of alcohol-related car accidents. Once they start college, many kids spend more money alcohol than they do on books. This points to a disturbing trend of bad decision-making skills among our youth and a tendency to ignore the consequences of their actions.

An Illinois underage DUI is the result of those bad decisions.

In Illinois, underage DUIs carry stiff penalties. With Illinois’ Zero Tolerance Law, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over .00 percent, you will be arrested immediately and your license will be suspended for three months. If you refuse BAC testing, your license is suspended for six months. With the new driving relief law, not only are you required to serve 30 (or more) days of hard suspension and have an ignition interlock device in place, but you must be 18 years old to obtain driving relief. Otherwise, you may have to serve the entirety of your suspension without relief.

If your BAC is over .08 percent when you are underage, you will be penalized much more harshly. You will be subjected to both driving sanctions and criminal underage DUI penalties. The driving sanction for a first offense Illinois underage DUI is a six-month suspension of your driving privileges, and in the case of a criminal conviction, penalties include up to one year in jail, fines up to $2,500, and a two year license suspension without the ability to obtain driving relief for a year, and that’s only if you’re over 18.

Under certain circumstances, you can also be charged with an aggravated DUI. Those circumstances include causing great bodily harm or death while driving under the influence, a third or subsequent DUI conviction, or committing a DUI without a license, permit, or insurance. All of these will result in a felony charge which will reflect negatively on you for the rest of your life, to say nothing about the steep financial penalties and extensive jail time.

If you want to keep yourself and your friends safe, stay out of jail and retain your driving privileges, make the smart choice to not drink and drive.

Cracking Down on Illinois Felony DUI Drivers

illinois felony DUIEach day people in the United States make the choice to drive while intoxicated. And each day alcohol-related accidents are responsible for 28 people not making it home, possibly for no other reason than having the bad luck of being on the road at the same time as a drunk driver. Alcohol or drugs are a factor in around 30 percent of all traffic-related deaths in this country. Luckily, states are cracking down on DUI offenses with harsher administrative and criminal punishments.

An Illinois felony DUI is a serious crime.

In the state of Illinois, unless there are aggravating circumstances, your first two DUIs are misdemeanors. A few of the aggravating circumstances that can cause a DUI to be charged as an Illinois Felony DUI include:

  • DUI committed for the third time
  • DUI resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement
  • DUI committed without a valid driver’s license or permit
  • DUI committed without liability insurance
  • DUI committed while driving a school bus with children present
  • DUI committed for a second or subsequent time with a minor under 16 in the vehicle

An Illinois Felony DUI carries strict punishments if convicted. There is no look-back period in Illinois, so even if your third DUI happens 20 years after your second you will be charged with a felony. If convicted, you can expect to receive both administrative and criminal penalties.

Administrative penalties not only usually hurt your pocketbook, but cripple your ability to drive. The administrative penalties associated with an Illinois Felony DUI are fines up to $25,000, a minimum of a 10-year suspension of your license, and revocation of your vehicle’s registration. The criminal penalty is three to seven years in jail or 48 months of probation, fines, court costs, alcohol safety programs and an ignition interlock requirement.

Remember that an Illinois Felony DUI is a serious offense with serious penalties. A felony conviction follows you forever, so make the smart decision to not get behind the wheel when you have been drinking.

Illinois Implied Consent: Before and After Your DUI Arrest

Illinois implied consentWhen it comes to a DUI arrest, there are steps that are legally taken both before and after the incident. Illinois implied consent laws define what actions law enforcement officers can take during a traffic stop, and you agreed to follow those directions when you first applied for your driver’s license. In all 50 states, implied consent laws give law enforcement officers quick methods to get drunk drivers off the roads. Illinois is no different and has two different ways of getting those implied consent laws to work their safety magic.

Illinois implied consent laws say:

  • Before you are arrested, and during the traffic stop, you agree to take a preliminary breath test to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If your BAC measures at or above the legal limit (.08 percent) then you will be immediately arrested for a DUI.
  • If you refuse the test, you could still be arrested based upon probable cause (refusing a BAC test could indicate you are intoxicated). In that case, you will still be required to submit a BAC sample as soon as you are in police custody.
  • You will face additional penalties for any DUI charge when you refuse the initial BAC test, under Illinois implied consent laws.
  • Your license will be revoked for at least one year, depending on the number of implied consent violations you have, on the 47th day after your BAC test refusal.

To reinstate your license after a DUI conviction or administrative revocation, you will have to complete several steps to prove your commitment to sober driving. You will be required to complete an alcohol evaluation that will determine the risk you pose to others on the road. You will need to pay any fines and participate in community service requirements. In some cases, you may be eligible for a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP) which will allow you to drive, as long as you have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.

Driving with an Illinois Ignition Interlock Device

Illinois ignition interlockAn Illinois ignition interlock has been available to all DUI drivers since 2016. That’s not an uncommon move, as more and more states are getting behind the safety and reliability of the devices. All-offender ignition interlock laws are worth the effort – in a report by MADD, data shows that the devices continue to prevent further drunk driving incidents by convicted drunk drivers, and have been for well over a decade.

Illinois ignition interlock devices have prevented 101,255 drunk driving attempts in the last 10 years. In 2016 alone, 6,156 DUI attempts have been stopped.

Illinois ignition interlock devices are not mandatory for all DUI offenders, but the state does highly encourage their use, even for a first-time, low blood alcohol concentration (BAC) DUI convictions without any aggravating circumstances (child endangerment, property damage, etc.). For Illinois DUI offenders who refuse to install the device, a lengthy driver’s license suspension is levied instead. There are additional penalties (fines, an extended suspension period or even jail time) if the DUI offender is caught driving a vehicle. If that offender is also intoxicated while driving on a suspended license, those penalties increase, as well.

Your BAC can be below the .08 percent line to be charged with and convicted of an Illinois DUI, too.

An ignition interlock device allows the offender to maintain employment and other life and family obligations rather than rely on public transportation or friends. In exchange, the streets are safer and we are all assured of sober drivers on our roads.

Illinois ignition interlock expansion is working and more states are taking notice of the efforts and success. Several other states have recently passed all-offender ignition interlock legislation this year, allowing us all the chance to rest easier, more assured of our own safety on the roads, no matter whether we’re driving in Illinois or anywhere in the U.S.

No Drink, No Drive: Illinois Open Container Guidelines

Illinois open containerOpen container laws prevent people from doing the unthinkable: drinking while driving. Each state has its own guidelines for open container regulations, but it is the TEA-21 (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century) that outlines the federal government’s open container guidelines with six standards that states should adopt if they want to receive federal funding for their roadways. Illinois open container laws follow the strictest guidelines, in accordance with TEA-21.

Illinois open container laws state that no open containers of alcohol are allowed in vehicles where the driver could have easy access. That includes the passenger area and glove compartment. The state also restricts passengers in a vehicle from drinking alcohol, too. That helps eliminate any temptation of the driver to maybe sneak a sip or two while behind the wheel and other dangerous scenarios.

The open container guidelines set forth by TEA-21 state:

  • officers can stop drivers for not following open container laws.
  • open containers of alcohol and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle are not allowed.
  • the prohibition applies to all varieties of alcoholic beverages.
  • the prohibition applies to all drivers and passengers in the motor vehicle.
  • the prohibition applies while vehicles are on any part of a public highway.
  • the passenger area is any area that seats drivers and passengers or is accessible to either, including the glove compartment.

Illinois is one of the majority of states that is in full compliance with TEA-21 guidelines, as well as the recommendation for other drunk driving prevention measures, like its all-offender ignition interlock requirement.  It may seem counterintuitive for anyone to attempt to drink and drive, and especially to drink while drive, but both scenarios still play out each day on our roads. With safety a top priority, both Illinois, and the federal government are looking out for everyone’s best interests and safety by eliminating open containers of alcohol and insisting on even more ways to curb drunk driving.

Face to Face: Illinois DUI Impact Panels Hit Home

DUI victim impact panelIllinois DUI laws are tough, including all-offender ignition interlock laws, high fines and other consequences. Victim impact panels are some of those additional consequences, bringing a personal edge to any drunk driving conviction. In many cases, court fines, jail time, community service and a suspended license aren’t enough to get a person out of a habitual drunk driving problem. Ignition interlock devices prevent drunk driving, but only as long as the devices are installed.

MADD recommends DUI victim impact panels so that drunk drivers are able to face those who have been hurt. By connecting with other victims, hearing their stories, DUI drivers are less likely to make the same mistake ever again. It also gives those victims, their families and loved ones a chance to heal, facing those who caused so much harm in their lives and finally having a chance to voice their feelings.

For many reasons, the victims of drunk driving incidents are often nameless, while the drunk driver seems to get more of the focus. When a person is in any traumatic situation, providing a means for that healing is vital to their mental health. Victims don’t get alcohol abuse programs or mental health assistance, just memories of the incident and the damage that occurred.

Ignition interlock devices may effectively stop the impulse to drink and drive and change habits over time, but combined with Illinois DUI impact panels, there’s no better way to get a drunk driver to understand the error of their ways. If a person is faced with the person or people that they harmed, even if unintentionally, they may think twice about ever drinking and driving in the first place. Victim impact panels drive home the point about drinking and driving in a much more personal way than any court hearing or community service program ever could.

How Is the Illinois Ignition Interlock Expansion Working Out?

Illinois ignition interlock expansionIn 2016, Illinois ignition interlock access was expanded to include all DUI drivers, making it one of many states with tough and effective all-offender policies. In what seems a slow process for other states to step into, all-offender ignition interlock laws are worth the effort (we’re looking at you, Florida). A recent report by MADD proves that the devices are working to prevent further drunk driving incidents, and have been for well over a decade. When there’s such an easy solution within reach, it’s a shame to not make the effort to prevent potentially deadly DUIs.

Illinois ignition interlock statistics show that out of 2.3 million DUI attempts blocked across the U.S. in the last 10 years:

  • 101,255 of those attempts occurred in Illinois (and were prevented by ignition interlock devices).
  • Since Illinois ignition interlock expansion in 2016, 6,156 DUI attempts have been prevented.

Illinois does not require all offenders to install an ignition interlock device, but it does highly encourage the use, even for a first-time, low blood alcohol (BAC) DUI conviction. For those who refuse to install the device, there is a lengthy license suspension period instead. If the DUI offender is caught driving a vehicle during that time, they will face additional penalties. If they are intoxicated while driving on a suspended license, those penalties are even higher. An ignition interlock device prevents that situation from happening while enabling the offender to maintain employment and other obligations rather than rely on public transportation or friends.

With the numbers reported by MADD, Illinois ignition interlock expansion is working. More offenders are able to keep much of their independence, in exchange for just a quick breath test while going about their lives. That means a better outcome for offenders and much safer roads for the rest of us.

Zero Means Zero: Underage DUI in Illinois

Underage DUI in IllinoisAcross the country, each state has a few DUI laws in common, like the zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. However, each state can determine its own penalties for those violations. An underage DUI in Illinois carries strict penalties, some of which can last well beyond a 21st birthday, regardless of how old the offender is when convicted.

An Underage DUI in Illinois can become two separate charges.

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the big factor in underage DUI in Illinois charges. The “zero” in zero tolerance means that if there is even a trace of alcohol above 0 percent BAC, the minor is guilty of a zero tolerance violation. Up until the legal, per se BAC of .08 percent (the same number for those age 21 and older) the minor can only be charged with a zero tolerance violation. Once that percentage reaches or exceeds .08 percent BAC, then they can also be charged with a DUI in addition to the zero tolerance violation or instead of it.

If an underage DUI in Illinois results in a drunk driving conviction,  the law states that all offenders must install and maintain an ignition interlock device, along with other penalties for an Illinois DUI. Any vehicle the underage minor drives or has access to will need an ignition interlock installed. Parents, you’ll also have to use the ignition interlock device if it is on your vehicles, even if you never drink alcohol.

A violation under .08 BAC will result in the total loss of driving privileges for at least two years, if not longer. Refusing the test will only make things worse, and then there is the court to face, not to mention parents or caregivers. The easiest way to avoid an underage DUI in Illinois is to act like an adult, stay away from alcohol and certainly never drive if you’ve been drinking.

Illinois Has No DUI Lookback Period

Illinois DUI Lookback periodIllinois is one of the U.S. states that doesn’t have a criminal DUI lookback period, so any offenses you commit throughout your life will count toward the total of incidents you are charged with, and towards the consequences you face.

All Illinois DUI offenses will require you to have a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID). The device is relied on to prevent you from driving under the influence again, while allowing you the freedom to continue driving. That means you get to keep your job and hold together your family responsibilities, giving you a better chance at a full DUI recovery.

Even if there’s isn’t a criminal DUI lookback period, you may run into problems qualifying for an Illinois Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) when you have more than one DUI. If you have more than one DUI in five years in the state, you are not eligible for the MDDP and BAIID.

Not all states treat DUI as seriously as Illinois. A first-offense drunk driving incident in Wisconsin can be just a traffic citation. In Mississippi, the lookback period is five years, so any DUIs that occur outside of that are treated as first-offense convictions, with the least restrictive penalties. While Illinois may have some of the stricter DUI laws in the U.S., it is a fair trade for keeping the streets safe. States like Wisconsin and Iowa, especially, could take notice of Illinois’ commitment to sober roads and perhaps step up efforts accordingly.

Illinois was recently awarded a five-star rating by MADD for the state’s DUI prevention efforts. That doesn’t mean there still isn’t room for improvement, but that current efforts are following most of the organization’s recommendations. The DUI lookback period is just one example of the tough stance on drunk driving, one that sends a strong message to anyone thinking they may be okay to drive.

Can You Lose You Car Over an Illinois BAIID Violation?

car towed for Illinois BAIID violationAn Illinois DUI may be your life right now, but it isn’t the end of the world. As long as you remain compliant with your BAIID (breath alcohol ignition interlock device) order, you don’t even have to worry about the court seizing your car.

Wait, what?

Illinois DUI law spells out your fate pretty clearly. It can be your first DUI, or one of many, but if you have a BAIID, any violations could mean you lose your vehicle. The state can seize it, completely eliminating your ability to drive under the influence in your own car. You’ll also lose your driver’s license.

Illinois BAIID violations include:

  • A breath alcohol concentration (BAC) reading that is higher than the pre-set limit.
  • Refusing a test, either at startup or during a rolling retest.
  • Having another person blow into the device instead of the offender in the BAIID program.
  • Tampering with or attempting to circumvent the device.
  • Missing any service-related appointments.

Any violation will require an explanation and an extension in the program. Three recorded violations means the vehicle will be impounded, while a fourth violation could result in the forfeiture of the vehicle.

Illinois DUI law states that you can install and maintain a BAIID for any DUI conviction, even a first offense. Any violation of that policy will increase your time in the program, if not stricter consequences. If you decide not to install the BAIID, you will have a suspended/revoked license. If you are caught driving on a suspended/revoked license after a DUI, you face a felony criminal charge, high fines and up to three years in jail.

A BAIID is a commitment to remaining sober when driving, and keeping your promise can mean keeping your car and your freedom, rather than face the many consequences for drunk driving in Illinois.

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