The Illinois Vehicle Code makes it a crime for anyone to operate any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or anything else that can make a person intoxicated. With regard to alcohol, the bright line rule of the law is that anyone whose blood alcohol level or breath alcohol level is 0.08 or above is prohibited from driving.
Under this rule, a vehicle is any device that transports people or things from one place to another, with the exception of devices moved entirely by human power, and snowmobiles, which have their own specific Safety Code. As a result, this code includes all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, cars, all other highway vehicles that utilize a motor, and, through association of the Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act, boats.
The methods of testing for blood alcohol level are blood, urine, and, most commonly, breath. A blood test must be administered by a doctor, nurse, paramedic, or other qualified medical personnel. A breath test must be administered by a person that is licensed to do so, though police are generally licensed to conduct such a test.
A person convicted of Driving Under the Influence for the first time is generally guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in a sentence of up to __ days in prison, though less than this is the generally administered punishment. A person committing the crime a second time must, in addition to the misdemeanor penalties, spend at least 5 days in prison or must perform at least 240 hours of community service.
Penalties for the crime can increase if the person has a blood-alcohol level of over .16, which is two times the legal limit. A first time offender with a .16 alcohol concentration faces a minimum 100 hours community service and a $500 fine, which is in addition to any punishment for the Class A misdemeanor. A second time offender whose blood content is over .16 on the second offense must, in addition to the Class A misdemeanor penalties, face at least 2 days in prison and a minimum $1,250 fine.
Drunk Drivers with child passengers face the stricter penalties. A driver transporting children under the age of 16 can face 6 months in prison, must pay an additional $1000 fine, and must serve 25 hours community service in programs that benefit youths.
Any driver convicted of the crime for a third time or more faces a charge of aggravated driving under the influence. Aggravated driving under the influence is a felony, making the punishment for such offenses more drastic. Other examples of aggravated driving under the influence are when the driver, in addition to driving under the influence, is operating a school bus, speeding in a school zone, involved in an accident causing great injury to someone, or driving without a license.
Although an arresting officer can request someone to take a test to determine whether they are driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances, the person is allowed to refuse such a test. If a person refuses such a test, the officer is entitled to report the refusal, which will be submitted and can lead to the suspension of driving privileges for 6 months.
Anyone experiencing legal issues related to a traffic stop involving the suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol should contact an experienced Illinois attorney that specializes in DUI cases.