When you get pulled over by police for unusual driving and then arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois, your first and strongest concerns may relate to whether or not you will face jail time. However, incarceration is only one of many negative consequences that impaired driving charges can have for Illinois residents.
A DUI conviction will saddle you with a criminal record that will limit your employment opportunities, educational access and housing options. It will also have an impact on your ability to drive and therefore on your overall freedom and quality of life.
You will probably face pre-court and post-conviction suspension
It is standard practice for Illinois to automatically suspend the license of somebody arrested for a DUI offense even before they go to court. The length of that pre-court suspension will reflect the number of previous impaired driving charges on your record.
After your conviction, it is likely that the courts will then suspend your license officially as part of your sentence. Suspensions may last anywhere from one year to the rest of your life if you have three previous DUI convictions. Losing your license for an extended period can lead to financial hardship due to the costs involved with alternative transportation or even job issues if you can’t reliably make it to work on time.
You could have options for getting your license back
Thankfully, those dependent on their own transportation in order to work their job or take care of their families can potentially request a hardship license or restricted driving permit. To qualify, factors like custody of a child or job obligations must make the loss of your license a serious hardship for you and your dependents.
A restricted driving permit will require that the state installs an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle, and you will be the one to pay the costs associated with its installation and maintenance. The courts may also mandate the installation of an IID after you get your license back if you have multiple previous offenses on your record.
DUI convictions will make it more expensive to drive
When you do get your license back, regardless of whether or not you have to install an ID, you are likely going to find that your insurance costs will go up significantly. You will likely be in a high-risk pool for many years.
Simply put, a conviction or guilty plea can end or severely limit your driving privileges, which is one compelling reason to defend yourself against drunk driving allegations.