Chicago DUI violations are not just minor inconveniences. They can stop you send you to jail, prevent you from driving, raise your insurance to absurd levels, and even inconvenience you once you get to drive again. A single bad decision can lead to a multitude of problems — and here are some of them:
1. Higher Insurance Rates
The most costly aspect of a DUI conviction in Chicago is in your car’s insurance. Once convicted, you will be required to take SR-22 insurance for your vehicle. SR-22 insurance is for what the State considers high-risk individuals. This insurance comes with higher premiums — with some reaching $1,500 a year. A DUI conviction will require you to maintain this insurance for up to five years or until the courts believe you are fit to drive again.
2. Suspended License
A DUI conviction will get your license suspended for a minimum of one year on your first offense. The suspensions increase in time with each additional violation, but you shouldn’t even have one much less multiple DUI violations. You’ll need to file the required paperwork, perform the required tests, and submit to several evaluations to get your license back. These requirements will cost you time and money, but you need to take things seriously to get your driving privileges back. However, even with a suspended license, you can still drive provided you apply for a Monitored Device Driving Permit (MDDP).
3. A Breathalyzer Lock on Your Car
If you asked for an MDDP, you would be required to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) in your car. BAIIDs serve as built-in Breathalyzers for your vehicle. You will need to breathe into the device, and if your blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit of 0.08, your car won’t start. They are usually mounted under the dashboard and installing these devices can cost you up to $200. The costs don’t end there as these devices need to be maintained monthly, costing you an additional $60-$80.
Though highly unlikely, you could go to jail even with your first DUI conviction. Though you’ll probably get a suspended sentence — you can get singled out for jail time if you are particularly unlucky or if someone higher up wants you incarcerated. Your second DUI conviction has a guaranteed five days of jail time and a $2,500 fine — but again, you can get harsher penalties if you are particularly disruptive to the system.
5. A Mark on Your Permanent Record
Worse than a conviction is a mark on your permanent record. A DUI conviction will haunt you throughout your life — influencing your career growth and employment options. Unlike in other states, a DUI record cannot be deleted with good behavior and passing time. Only a governor’s pardon can get rid of that permanent mark, so it’s in your best interest not to get one.
Don’t drink and drive in Chicago. Though you can get your driving situation back to normal in five years if convicted, that permanent record will be a stain that marks you forever.