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The Financial Impact of a DUI ConvictionMore than a million people in the U.S. are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol each year. In Illinois, 27,046 people were arrested on DUI charges in 2017 alone. In the event of a DUI charge, it is important to act quickly in order to avoid potential jail-time, fines, and loss of driving privileges. Outside of the criminal punishment of a DUI, the monetary impact of a conviction can be significant. Below we will explore the true cost of a DUI. 

What a Conviction Can Cost

As you prepare to go through the court process, you need to understand the hidden expenses that accompany a DUI conviction. In many cases, these expenses can seriously impact your family’s livelihood. According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, the average cost of a DUI conviction is $18,030. After a DUI charge, most people view the monetary impacts of a potential conviction solely in terms of fines. While these fines can be significant (a first-time DUI conviction comes with a minimum fine of $500), the most costly expenses of a conviction are rarely talked about:

  • Your insurance payments can rise by a final cost of $6,000;
  • Court costs, including the fine, reimbursement for law enforcement, and court fees, can end up being as much as $3,500; and
  • If you are eligible for a restricted driving permit, the purchase and installation of a blood alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) can cost upwards of $1,000. 

Yet, some of the most significant financial ramifications of a conviction come in lost work hours. After a conviction, most offenders are unable to work due to time spent in jail or hours spent performing community service. In lost work hours alone, the average Illinoisan can lose more than $4,000 in income. Fortunately, with quality legal representation, you may be able to avoid a conviction altogether.  

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The Impact of a DUI Charge in Illinois According to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 29 Americans die every day in car accidents involving impaired drivers. Due to the sheer number of fatalities caused by inebriated drivers, it should come as no surprise that law enforcement officials are always on the lookout for drunk drivers. In Illinois, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can come with severe legal consequences. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to seek out quality legal representation as soon as possible. 

Consequences of a Conviction

Illinois classifies a first DUI as a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, a class A misdemeanor could lead to:

  • A maximum of 364 days in prison;
  • Fines up to $2,500; and
  • A one-year driver's license suspension.

In certain situations, a first-time offender can face increased criminal punishment. If an offender has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .16 or higher or is carrying a passenger under the age of 16, they will face a minimum of six months in prison, along with mandatory community service hours.  

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DuPage County DUI defense lawyerIf you have at least one prior conviction for driving under the influence on your record, each new conviction has increasingly more serious consequences. The more DUIs you commit, the greater your chance of spending time in jail or even in state prison becomes.

You also need to be aware that, thanks to interstate data sharing agreements, DUI conviction in other states will count when an Illinois prosecutor or judge adds up the number of prior DUI convictions on your record. (A DUI arrest that resulted in a successfully completed court supervision will not be counted as a prior conviction.)

Likelihood of Spending Time in Jail for a Second DUI Conviction

Illinois classifies both a first DUI conviction and a second DUI conviction as Class A misdemeanors, punishable by a maximum of 364 days in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $2,500. A first DUI conviction has no mandatory minimum jail sentence, however, so a judge could conceivably let you off with supervised probation, a fine, and/or community service.

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IL DUI lawyerLooking forward to sunning on the beaches of Mexico, skiing the mountains of British Columbia in Canada, or touring the historic sites of Europe? Or perhaps you are required to travel abroad for work? Most countries love American visitors (or at least our dollars), so you just need a passport and a plane ticket, right?

Well, not always. Rigorous electronic screening takes place almost everywhere you clear customs these days, and many countries have criminal records sharing agreements with the U.S. If you have a DUI conviction on your record, you could be denied entry to some countries. Before booking your flight, you should check the travel and immigration section of the website of the country you plan to visit.

You might think our neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico would not care if an American vacationer had a DUI, but you would be wrong. Mexican border agents can refuse entry if you have a DUI conviction within the past 10 years. However, entry will likely be allowed if it was a misdemeanor conviction.

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Illinois DUI lawyerIf you’ve been arrested for a first-time DUI, you might think your best option is to just plead guilty and get it over with. But is that really your best option? When it comes to DUI in Illinois, the law is quite complicated. To make it easier to understand, we will use the hypothetical case of 23-year-old Simon.

Simon was arrested for his first-ever DUI while driving home alone from a party in DuPage County. His blood alcohol level tested at .14, well over the legal limit of .08. So, he assumed that pleading guilty would be the quickest and cheapest way to get this mistake behind him.

Why would he plead guilty to DUI when the potential penalties are so high?

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois DUI lawyerA night out with family and friends can make for a great time. Alcohol can often be involved in the fun evening, but those who decide to partake in any alcohol consumption whatsoever must take into account the responsibilities that come after drinking. A few fun hours could, unfortunately, end up in a costly expense of a DUI conviction.

How Much Does a DUI Typically Cost?

One factor to consider when drinking at a social gathering includes the cost of driving under the influence. There are many consequences that a person could face when charged with a DUI conviction, especially in the financial sector.

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