Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can quickly lead to a serious car accident. Illinois imposes severe penalties to prevent this behavior.
But, is it enough? Studies show that those who get arrested for a DWI once are more than likely to do it again.
Research has indicated that nearly one-third of all drivers who are charged with a DWI are repeat offenders. Those who commit a repeat offense are also more likely to drive erratically while under the influence.
Unlike other crimes, like theft or larceny, a DWI involves the use of an impairing substance. Alcohol inhibits risk assessment, reaction time and bodily control while simultaneously making a person feel more confident. These effects can lead a person to mistakenly believe they’re capable of driving safely. Alcohol can also be addictive for some people, which can easily lead to drive irresponsibly.
To keep those who are charged with a DWI from making the same mistake twice, there are preventative measures that may be imposed by the courts or pursued independently on the market.
A person charged with a DWI for the first time will face automatic license suspension for at least six months. This suspension is separate from the criminal charges for a DWI and meant to immediately prevent the defendant from continuing to risk public safety on the roads.
First-time offenders will also be required to attend a mandatory alcohol education and treatment program. This may help some recognize and learn to overcome alcohol addiction or understand when alternative transportation methods are necessary after consuming alcohol.
For those who become a repeat offender, Illinois requires the defendant to use an Ignition Interlock Device after reinstating their license. This physically prevents a drunk person from driving.
However, those who struggle with knowing when it’s safe to drive after drinking can also purchase a breathalyzer to prevent themselves from getting behind the wheel before it’s safe.
Illinois’ DUI penalties are no slap on the wrist. First-time offenders can face one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. Charges become more severe for repeat offenders or other types of aggravated charges.
An aggravated DUI is a felony offense and can be issued for a number of reasons, such as if the person has a BAC level of 0.16 or higher, if the person was transporting someone 16 years or younger or if the person was driving in a school zone. Vehicle confiscation and license revocation are possible penalties for aggravated charges.
Make your first charge your last
If you have been charged with a DUI, it’s in your best interest to contact a Criminal Defense attorney to help you with your case. A lawyer can help you make negotiations to pursue more preventative measures in place of lasting penalties.