Imagine heading home after a night out in Chicago. Only a few blocks from your house, you suddenly see red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror. The police are pulling you over. The next thing you know, you are in the back of a squad car and the police have charged you with driving under the influence (DUI).
In Illinois, like in most states, a DUI is a very serious matter. If convicted, you could face jail time, lose your license and owe thousands in fines. Here are a few other penalties that you could face after a DUI conviction.
You could end up having to serve probation in lieu of jail or after your release from jail. In many cases, probation includes regular meetings with a probation officer, limited freedoms and other requirements. You might have to do community service, have an interlock device installed on your vehicle and make timely payments on the fines you owe. Also, you may not be able to travel outside the county without special permission from your probation officer. If you violate any of the terms of your probation, you may have to serve the rest of your time in jail.
If your offense included the destruction of property or other damages, you may have to pay restitution to the injured parties. This will be in addition to other court fees and fines you may owe as part of the conviction.
Depending on the particular circumstances of the offense, a criminal conviction could also include house arrest as part of the penalties. You may be able to leave your house for some trips, such as doctor appointments, meetings with your probation officer and court hearings, but your movements may be restricted beyond that. In addition, you could have to pay additional fees for the monitoring equipment that you must install on your property.
In most cases, the court will sentence an offender with community service for low level offenses, first time offenders or as part of probation. You may have to spend so many hours per week working for a non-profit or religious organization. If you fail to meet the community service requirement, you could end up with more time added to your probation or the court could order you to serve out the rest of the time in jail.
Loss of driving privileges
In addition to the above, a DUI could cost you your driver's license. Since driving is not a legal right but instead a privilege, it is fairly common for the court to suspend the licenses of people convicted of a DUI. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to reinstate your driving privileges so that you can at least drive to and from work or school.
If you are facing a DUI charge, keep in mind that you still have rights and options. With a strong defense, you might be able to fight back against the charges and avoid a DUI conviction.