The summer is a time for BBQ’s and celebrations, but drunken driving arrests and accidents often increase during the summer months as well. In 2012, 37,126 total DUI arrests were recorded by the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. From the crash fatalities recorded 35% of them were alcohol related. The Chicago suburb of Schaumburg recorded 223 DUI arrests throughout 2012. Also according to Illinois records these shocking statistics tend to peak in the month of July. In 2011, during the Fourth of July week, 69% of car crash fatalities were alcohol related.
Illinois DUI Prevention Tips
While DUI’s and other alcohol related crashes tend to increase during the summer you don’t have to contribute to these rising statistics. There are many simple things you can do to help protect yourself from being charged with an Illinois DUI:
- Choose a Designated Driver: One of the easiest ways to prevent a DUI is to appoint a designated driver. It is important to make sure that this person holds firm to their responsibility and be sure that if you volunteer to be a designated driver that you make smart decisions as well.
- Monitor Your Consumption: Alcoholic drinks have different alcohol contents, making some cocktails more potent than others. To be on the safe side, try to limit your consumption to one standard drink per hour. A standard drink size can be defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Also, try to alternate each drink with a glass of water.
- Know the Local Taxi Companies: Before you head out for the night, familiarize yourself with the local taxi companies and store their contact information in your phone for quick use later. It may also be beneficial to use a popular app such as Uber to ensure a safe ride home.
- Wear Your Seatbelt: Wearing your seatbelt is the best defense against DUI related crash injuries. Every time you get in a car make it a habit to buckle up!
What to do if Pulled Over for an Alleged Illinois DUI
If you are pulled over by the police for suspected drinking and driving in Illinois this summer, it is crucial to stay calm, polite and be aware of your rights. It is also important to remember the following:
- Quickly and safely pull over when you are approached by law enforcement
- Any statements you make may be held against you in court
- Field sobriety tests are voluntary
- Some field sobriety tests are not standardized
According to Illinois law, you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests (FST’s) and you are not required to provide an explanation. If you agree to complete the field sobriety testing, you are potentially helping the prosecution build a case against you.
Additionally, you are also not required to make any statement about the traffic stop. In Illinois you are only required by law to provide the police officer with a driver's license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration upon request. If you choose to not answer any other questions it is important to be courteous when informing the police officer that you would like to speak to your attorney. Then be sure to sure to contact an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your rights and begin to defend your DUI case.
First Time DUI Offenders in Illinois
In Illinois, there are several ways to get a DUI charge. You can be charged with a DUI for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher or for driving under the influence of alcohol (regardless of whether there was a blood or breath test). The consequences and penalties for an Illinois DUI differ depending on the circumstances of your arrest and conviction. The varying circumstances may include driver’s BAC level, the driver’s age, whether or not there was children in the car and whether the driver has any previous Illinois DUI convictions. Any Illinois DUI offense resulting in felony charges is deemed an Aggravated DUI.
A first time DUI conviction in Illinois is usually considered a Class A misdemeanor with the minimum punishment: revocation of driving privileges for 1 year or 2 years if driver is under age 21 and the suspension of the vehicle registration.
The following consequences may also apply to first time Illinois DUI offenders:
If the driver has a BAC of .16 or more, in addition to any penalties or fines, the individual may be entitled to pay a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and complete a mandatory minimum 100 hours of community service.
If the driver was pulled over for a DUI while transporting a child under age 16 In addition to any penalties or fines they face a possible imprisonment of up to 6 months, mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 plus 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.
If the driver was conivicted while transporting a child under the age of 16 and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm to the child they can be charged with an Aggravated DUI which is a Class 4 Illinois felony. In addition to any other fine and criminal or administrative sanctions, the driver may face a mandatory fine of $2,500 plus 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.
Out of State DUI Charges
Out of state does not mean out of sight. If you are convicted of a DUI while vacationing this summer in another state, the conviction will be added to your Illinois DUI record and result in the revocation of driving privileges. The length of the revocation will be determined based on your previous Illinois driving and DUI history.
Seeking Help From a Schaumburg DUI Lawyer
An Illinois DUI can result in the loss of your license, driving restrictions, hefty fines, and potentially jail time. Losing your Illinois driver's license, or undergoing license suspension can have a significant effect on your life, especially in the northwest Chicago suburbs, where mass transportation is not readily available. These consequences can affect your daily life including your personal relationships and potentially your career. It is important to contact an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer as soon as possible when pulled over for alleged DUI charges. The sooner you contact our drunk driving defense lawyers, the sooner we can build your case and protect your ability to drive. Call (847)-577-8700 or fill out our online contact form.