No matter where you live, drinking alcohol to the point where you are impaired and then operating a motor vehicle is against the law. However, the legal consequences of drinking and driving vary on a state-by-state basis. If you have been involved in an accident with a drunk driver in Illinois, here’s a look at the potential legal consequences for the accident.
What Constitutes Drinking and Driving?
Most people assume that they can only be charged with and convicted of a drinking and driving offense if, at the time of their arrest, they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent or above. However, this is not true; you can be convicted of drinking and driving with a lower blood alcohol level if there is evidence that you were impaired at the time of operation. This means that even if there is no proof that you had a BAC of .08 or higher, a driver can still face legal consequences. If alcohol was detected in their system, the accident is likely going to be classified as drinking and driving.
Legal Consequences of Drinking and Driving
There are multiple legal consequences of drinking and driving. These consequences generally include:
- License Suspension, Jail Time, and Fines. A person who is convicted of a first-time DUI in Illinois will face a license suspension of at least one year, a fine of up to $2,500, and potential jail time of up to one year. Keep in mind that penalties may be more severe if anyone is injured, the DUI is a second or subsequent DUI offense, or other factors that make the crime more serious apply (such as having a minor in the vehicle).
- Enhanced Penalties and Interlock Ignition Devices. Touched on above, an enhanced penalty is an additional or more severe penalty that is assessed because the crime was especially bad. For example, additional jail time may be part of a sentence if there was property damage or bodily injury as a result of driving under the influence, if the driver had a particularly high BAC, or there was a minor child in the car at the time the driver was operating while impaired. Further, consider that even a first-offense DUI can result in the mandatory installation of a breath interlock ignition device as a condition for allowing the convicted party to operate their motor vehicle.
Drinking and Driving Has Non-Legal Consequences, Too
Of course, it’s not just legal consequences that a party convicted of driving under the influence faces. In addition to the many legal consequences listed above, a person will maintain a permanent black mark on their criminal record, may be barred from certain employment types, may be rejected from housing applications, and may have difficulting in applying for certain positions, including volunteer work or higher education. They will also be responsible for any personal injuries or wrongful deaths they caused because of the accident, which includes paying for medical bills of the injured, funeral costs, other damages, and pain and suffering.
If you were a victim of a drunk driving accident, learn about the legal consequences of your injuries and immediately and retain legal counsel with our DUI injury lawyers in Rockford.