You are out on the town having a drink with your friends. Then, time goes on, more adventures are had, and more alcohol is had with it. All of a sudden, you do not realize how much time has gone by and how much alcohol you have consumed.
Then, all of the bars in the Wheaton area shut down, and you look at your Uber app, realizing it will cost what seems like a fortune to get a ride home. So, you get in your car, thinking you only had a couple of drinks.
Chances are, you’ll run into the police, and you’ll get hit with your first DUI when the cop pulls you over for swerving or something much worse.
All of a sudden, you are taking the walk of shame with your hands behind your back into the cop car. Once you sober up, you realize how much this mistake is probably going to cost you, and you might feel overwhelmed about the idea facing DUI license suspension and entering the legal process.
For most of you, it is a new situation that can make you feel intimidated and unprepared. Here is what you should expect for your first DUI in Illinois.
How Much Will It Cost?
Finances are going to be an important factor here, especially with legal representation highly recommended. Besides legal fees, these are the average individual costs of a DUI in Illinois:
- Minimum Fine: $500
- Penalty Assessment: $150
- State Restitution Fund: $100
- Alcohol Abuse Education Fund: $50
- Blood Breath Testing Fee: $150
- Jail Cite and Release Fee: $10
- Drunk Driving Education Courses: $375
- License Reissue Fee: $250
- Auto Insurance Increase: $3,600 to $6,000
There are a few other factors to consider too depending on the severity of the DUI. The maximum fine is $2,500 and the minimum fine is $1,000 if you had someone 16 or under in the car with you.
As you can see, it is not cheap to be charged with a DUI. They even charge you to take the breathalyzer test that they are trying to convict you with.
A common number associated with DUIs is $10,000. That is about the national average cost of a DUI. If you factor everything above in plus a good attorney, it is no secret why this all adds up and you need to be prepared for that going in.
What Are the Main Penalties for First DUI?
So, by the letter of the law, there is a potential maximum penalty of one year in jail and six months if you had someone 16 or under in the care with you.
However, most of the time, you are not looking at jail time.
The main DUI penalties you are looking at, however, include a likely loss of your license for several months. In Illinois (including Wheaton), if you have a breathalyzer test measuring .08% BAC or above, the Secretary of State will automatically suspend your license.
This is a six-month license suspension. If convicted, you can lose your license for up to a year, but the state would count however much of the six months you already served towards the year.
You do have the option to apply for a Restricted Driving Permit if you can prove it will create a hardship for you not to be able to drive yourself and loved ones, and if you prove you are not a threat to public safety.
Other penalties include community service for at least 25 hours if you had someone 16 or under in the car with you. The minimum is 100 hours if your BAC was .16% or higher.
You will also need to be evaluated to determine if you have a substance abuse problem. If that test determines that you do, then you will have to undergo treatment. You will also have to go to a victim impact panel and cover costs for everything mentioned above.
How Can You Fight a DUI?
Well, the first step, and arguably the most important one, is to have good legal representation. It is very difficult to win any general case without representation, and the judge may not take most people representing themselves as seriously.
Then, if you are fighting a DUI, the next step would be to try to recall as many of the exact details of the night of your arrest and everything leading up to it as possible. There could be something in those details that can spare you from a conviction.
Of course, if you do fail the breathalyzer test, it would be an uphill battle to win the case unless you could somehow prove that you were not driving the vehicle at the time of the arrest or prove that the arresting officer did not have grounds to stop you in the first place.
If you barely failed the test or think something was off, you could try to get proof that the test was wrong and challenge the evidence that the arresting officer is trying to use against you.
Still, fighting a DUI charge does come with risks, with those mainly being an increase in potential financial costs.
Get Help for Your First DUI in Wheaton
Contact us in order to get the help and guidance you need to fight your first DUI charge.
We offer a free consultation for anybody needing reinstatement and can help both local residents and those from out of state go over the Illinois DUI laws.
Our Wheaton license reinstatement attorneys can help you get your license reinstated and fight a hold on your license if you are trying to get your license back, renew your license, or getting a new one out of state.