The True Costs of a St. Patrick’s Day DUI

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, many Chicagoans are gearing up for a raucous weekend on the town. While you are no doubt aware that there can be serious legal consequences for violating Illinois’ statute on driving under the influence of alcohol, you may not give much thought to other adverse effects a drunk driving conviction can have on your life, however. The truth is that the costs are much more extensive that you would expect, and they add up quickly. An Illinois DUI defense lawyer can help you fight the charges if you find yourself facing a DUI this St. Patty’s Day, but a bit of information might be helpful.

Administrative and Criminal Penalties

A drunk driving arrest triggers two different cases, one of which affects your driver’s license. The case is called a Statutory Summary Suspension. The only thing that the Court will decide by a preponderance of the evidence in this case is if your driver’s license will be suspended. Driving is not a right, but a privilege that is overseen by administrative agencies in Illinois. The Court may direct the Secretary of State’s Office to suspend your driver’s license for six months or more, depending on your prior history. Since a suspension is for a finite time, there is a reinstatement fee of up to $500 to get your license back when the suspension ends.

The second case that will be filed against you is a criminal case. The Court will have to determine if you violated the criminal statutes of driving under the influence beyond a reasonable doubt. Unlike the Statutory Summary Suspension which only deals with your driving privileges, the criminal case carries with it some potentially severe penalties that can affect your personal liberty. Under certain circumstances, if you are convicted of the criminal DUI charges, the Court can sentence you to spend years in prison as an inmate overseen by the Illinois Department of Corrections, fine you $250,000 plus court costs, and order that your license be revoked for the rest of your life.

Additional Court-Related Expenses

Depending on the specifics, there may be other costs related to the criminal and/or administrative DUI cases. If you are found guilty or choose to plead guilty, part of sentencing requires you to undergo a drug or alcohol evaluation, which is paid for out of your pocket. You will also need to pay for any treatment program, if the court orders one based upon the results of the evaluation.

In some cases, in order to drive, you may be ordered by the Secretary of State to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your car. You are responsible for all related fees, including:

  • Installation;
  • The rental fee for the IID; and,
  • Monthly monitoring costs.

For the first month, you may be paying out $110 to $195 every month afterward for the entire period that the BAIID remains in your vehicle.

Increased Insurance Rates

Your auto insurance company will likely raise your insurance premiums after you are convicted of drunk driving in Illinois. The theory is that you are a high risk if you have been arrested for DUI, as you could cause an accident that forces the company to cover your losses. You may also be required to carry an additional type of insurance policy — Financial Responsibility Insurance (SR-22). If required to obtain this insurance, you must pay the premiums for three years after your DUI conviction. As an alternative, you can establish financial responsibility by depositing $70,000 in cash, securities, or a surety bond with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Professional Licensure Problems

Almost all people who are professionally licensed by the State of Illinois or the Federal government, Doctors, Lawyers, or Pilots to name a few, will have to report the arrest and disposition to the licensing agency and may face reprimand, probation or revocation of their professional license. The road to reinstating these professional licenses can be long and expensive. Coupled with the legal fees involved, the person licensed will most likely face a period where they may not be allowed to practice their given profession resulting in further financial loss. Think about how much you have to lose before you make that choice to drink and drive.

Costs from Your Driver’s License Suspension

Another expense you may not factor into a drunk driving case is getting around without a driver’s license. There is reliable public transportation in and around Chicago, but it is not always convenient or cheap. At times you will have to rely on family, friends, Uber, Lyft or a taxi, which comes with additional costs. Consider taking these options before drinking and driving this holiday. It is simply not worth the risk.

Talk to an Illinois DUI Defense Attorney About Fighting Drunk Driving Charges

At Glasgow & Olsson, our lawyers will aggressively defend your interests and work diligently to get a favorable result in your drunk driving case. Have fun celebrating this weekend, but drink and act responsibly. However, if you find yourself charged with DUI, we can help. For more information, please call 847-577-8700 or visit our website to schedule a consultation.

(image courtesy of Patrick Fore)

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