Heed the Stricter Illinois DUI Laws This Holiday! | Gardi & Haught, Ltd.

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Heed the Stricter Illinois DUI Laws This Holiday!

Heed the Stricter Illinois DUI Laws This Holiday!

By Martin LaScola

As the holiday season is upon us and drinking and making merry become more frequent, be aware that Illinois is known for its strict DUI laws. This year they became even more stringent with the passing of several new laws that are downright sobering!

For Those Wanting to Plead Guilty…

In January of 2018 a law was passed stating that a guilty plea for a DUI “will not be accepted until all penalties have been explained including the possible loss of driving privileges.” In other words, if you are charged with a DUI and plan to plead guilty to the charge, the consequences must all be explained to you in detail before the plea is entered.

Currently, first and second offenses of driving with a blood alcohol concentration of more than .08 percent are typically classified as Class A Misdemeanors. Depending on your driving record, you may receive a suspension of driving privileges anywhere from six months to a year known as a summary license suspension.  Within the statutory summary license suspension period, offenders must install a BAIID (breath ignition interlock device) on their car to ensure they do not operate a vehicle with alcohol in their system during the period of suspension. .

However, a third or subsequent offense may result in a felony charge ranging from a Class 4 Probation Eligible Felony to a Class X Non-Probationable, a sentence which carries mandatory jail time at a state penitentiary.

With such severe penalties in place, the state of Illinois wants to ensure that offenders who plead guilty understand the consequences of doing so.

For Medical Marajuana users….

Although the state has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, the state has made medicinal marijuana users subject to the same Illinois DUI laws as those under the influence of alcohol. Also, medicinal marijuana users must be 18 years or older, registered with the Department of Public Health and be in possession of a written certification from a licensed physician in Illinois. The Department of Public Health also issues a registry ID card and the registration is noted on their Illinois driving record.

If a driver who is a registered medical marijuana user is pulled over and is suspected of being under the influence, they must submit to field sobriety testing. Failure to do so may result in a license suspension.

While motorists pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol can be evaluated with a breathalyzer, it is harder to evaluate a cannabis user. In a medical marijuana registrant, a test for THC (the compound that produces the feeling of being high) that shows less than either 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of other bodily substance will not result in a statutory suspension but the charge will remain until the court takes action. However, the Illinois Department of Public Health can revoke a cannabis card for a driver convicted of a felony, such as involvement in a collision which results in the accident or death of another.

Users of cannabis are also still responsible for compliance with state and federal Control Substance Act, the Cannabis Control Act of the Methamphetamine Control Act.

For Teens Having Too Much Fun..

The holiday break gives teens a chance to relax and have fun while they are off of school. But back in August the State enacted a law that reports juvenile indiscretions on snowmobiles and watercraft to the Secretary of State. If your teen has been convicted or received court supervision for a DUI on land or water vehicles, the Secretary of State will be notified and such information will be available to law enforcement should the teen run afoul of the law again.

 For those involved in an aggravated DUI….

In August, stricter penalties were enacted for motorists who have committed aggravated DUI that resulted in death. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the motorist’s prior driving record, the aggravated DUI can be charged as a Class 3 or 4 felony.

For a Class 3 and 4 felonies, penalties usually include minimum 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service and suspension of driving privileges for double the original suspension period.

The prosecution may commence at any time.

Have fun this holiday,  but be safe as well. And if you ever find yourself in a situation that requires legal counsel about Illinois DUI law, Gardi & Haught Ltd. can help.  Contact us by below by requesting a free case evaluation.

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