Drinking and driving in Illinois and in every other state is a serious matter. Having your license suspended is the least of your worries as a driving under the influence (DUI) violation can have serious repercussions that can affect you immediately and for years to come.
Chicago, and the rest of Illinois, reported close to 300 fatalities due to drunk driving barely two years ago. DUI fatalities accounted for 25 percent of all crash fatalities. The state is taking things seriously, and financial penalties are one way of curbing the practice. Aside from the fine, a form called SR-22 insurance will be required of you if you receive a DUI violation. Fines can range from $500 to $2500, but switching to SR-22 insurance will cost you an additional $2,000 per year for three years. That’s an additional $6,000 on top of whatever the judge deems your fine should be. Time lost incarcerated or spent in community service also prohibits you from your actual work and may even lead to the loss of your employment.
Another penalty for DUI convictions is requiring drivers to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in their vehicles. A BAIID works similar to a breathalyzer and is connected to a system that will prevent your engine from starting if your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. BAIIDs are typically mounted underneath the dashboard, and installation will cost from $75 to $200. Maintaining these devices cost an additional $60 to $80, and you won’t be able to skip on maintenance, or your vehicle will not start. Though inconvenient, these devices have prevented more than two million drunk car starts in a span of 10 years.
Teenagers Are NOT Exempt
Illinois has the Zero Tolerance Law, which means that drivers under the age of 21 will have their licenses suspended for even the slightest trace of alcohol in their system. A first violation will result in a three-month license suspension, and a second one in a harsher two-year suspension. Note that a Zero Tolerance violation does not require a BAC of 0.08 and above. Drivers under 21 with any trace of alcohol in their system can have their licenses suspended. Driving above the BAC legal limit accrues stiffer penalties. A first violation will result in a two-year license suspension, and a five-year suspension will be issued on a second violation. A second violation might also include jail time, fines that can amount to $2,500, and a month’s worth of community service. DUI convictions can also become part of an individual’s permanent record, affecting college admissions, financial aid requests, and even eligibility for future state employment.
Drunk driving incidents have gone down the past two years with the advent of ride-sharing services like Uber. However, alcohol-related accidents still account for the majority of crash fatalities, especially for those under the age of 21. Legal punitive consequences may not sufficiently deter from drunk driving, and intervention of friends and family may sometimes be required.