Sunny days and warm nights are perfect for camping, picnics and other types of get-togethers in Illinois. Alcohol is often present at these gatherings. If you get behind the wheel after having one too many, you could face DUI charges if law enforcement arrests you for drunk driving. We frequently represent clients charged with driving under the influence.

According to the Illinois State Police, anyone who drives with a blood alcohol content of at least .08% is operating while intoxicated.

What happens next

Although most people understand that driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal, it may not be clear what happens after an officer pulls you over. He or she may request that you take a field sobriety test or breath test. If you refuse or fail the test, the officer can read you your rights, place you in handcuffs and take you to the police station for the paperwork. Your arrest record includes your fingerprints, a mugshot and other details of the event. Even if you call someone to drive you home, you may spend the night in jail.

The maximum penalties for the first DUI conviction include the following:

  • A fine of $2,500
  • Imprisonment for up to a year
  • Drivers’ license suspension for up to a year

Long-term consequences

The exact penalties depend on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. If you have subsequent DUI convictions, the fines and penalties increase. They may also accompany misdemeanor or felony charges if you damage property or cause injury or death to another person.

Although you can get your license back, your auto insurance rates may skyrocket. If you spend time in jail, you could lose your job. With a DUI conviction, getting another job may be challenging and you are now ineligible for certain types of positions. You might no longer qualify for financial aid for school and leasing an apartment in the area of your choice may be difficult. Avoiding a conviction or securing expungement can prevent many of these consequences that can alter your life’s path for years.