St. Patrick’s Day is a huge celebration in Illinois, Chicago in particular. It is important to remember that drinking and driving can have serious personal and legal consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 287 lives were lost to drunk driving in 2020 on St. Patrick’s Day. In past years, the Illinois Department of Transportation has prioritized having extra law enforcement agencies throughout the state on the holiday due to the daylong drinking festivities that can lead to drunk driving. At Glasgow & Olsson, our Schaumburg DUI defense lawyers have helped thousands of people throughout Illinois meet the challenges of a DUI arrest.
What is a DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is defined by state law as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other illegal substances, such as cocaine or methamphetamine. Drivers are considered ‘under the influence’ if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more. BAC is based on the amount of alcohol in blood or breath, it can be tested through a breathalyzer test, urine test, or blood sample. Alcohol affects everyone differently, and BAC is impacted by gender, weight, alcohol tolerance, and food consumed.
What are the Consequences of a DUI?
Most DUI charges are Class A misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. With any DUI conviction, you can have your license revoked, which can have a profound impact on your life. The consequences become more serious for each subsequent DUI conviction. For example, after a sixth DUI, it is classified as a Class X felony which results in a revocation of driving privileges for life. Also, if the BAC results are .16 or higher, the penalties become harsher due to the increased intoxication levels. Additional consequences include, but are not limited to:
- A DUI conviction is permanent on a driving record;
- Being required to complete an alcohol or drug evaluation program;
- A breath alcohol ignition interlock device may be installed to prevent driving under the influence;
- High-risk auto insurance for several years; and
- After a third or subsequent DUI, your vehicle can be seized or impounded.
How Can I Stay Safe?
Of course, the key to not receiving a DUI charge is never driving after drinking alcohol. If you are planning on drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, either designate a sober driver, use public transportation, or call a ride service like Uber to drive you home. Here are some other strategies for St. Patrick’s Day:
- Watch out for your friends, do not let friends drive drunk or get into a vehicle with a drunk driver;
- Do not get into a vehicle with a driver who has consumed alcohol;
- If you believe you see a drunk driver on the roads, call 911 and report it; and
- Eat food throughout the day and drink plenty of water.
Glasgow & Olson Can Help
For St. Patrick’s Day this year, do not drink and drive. However, if you or a loved one does get arrested for a DUI, know that our attorneys are here to help. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.