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DUI conviction penalties in Illinois

All drivers know they should not drive under the influence of a substance rendering them unfit for safe motor vehicle operation. Some drivers, feeling the existing law is restrictive, decide to remove the "should not drive" and replace it with "should not get caught driving."

Now that a "free spirit" has created a law more suited to her comfort zone, the person believes she can freely ingest the desired amount of a restricted substance and drive.

How to create a law

When an elected official creates a law, it begins as an idea to solve a problem and is drafted into a bill. The bill makes its way slowly through the House and Senate. When both legislative branches reach an agreement, the top elected official either signs the bill into law or vetoes it.

Real laws come with a price

Illinois law carries strict penalties for DUI. The title of the 2019 Illinois DUI Fact Book may seem like a friendly public service announcement: "Think Before You Drink." The 37-page book is free online. It makes fascinating reading for those who may want to consider what happens when police fail to appreciate an intoxicated driver's ad hoc "should not get caught" law. DUI rules in Illinois have a significant legal bite. (No, the police are not allowed to bite, unless they are canine officers.) 

Among some of the interesting topics under Illinois DUI law are:

  • Driving under the influence of legal, medical cannabis can result in a DUI.
  • DUI-caused accidents or multiple DUI convictions cross over into felony country.
  • All DUI convictions remain permanently on the offender's driving record.
  • Drivers may challenge a statutory suspension through a judicial hearing.
  • An offender must carry expensive, high-risk vehicle insurance for 36 months.
  • A first-time offender receives an Interlock Device with a monthly charge.
  • The average cost of an Illinois DUI conviction is $18,030.
  • An out-of-state DUI activates an Illinois driver's license suspension.
  • All felony DUI levels involve possible imprisonment up to a maximum of 30 years. 

How not to create an ad hoc law 

An "ad hoc" law is simply one that represents a person in a particular action. There are also private citizen versions not recognized as law. There is a problem with the "should not get caught" modification. Law enforcement may fail to appreciate private DIY laws. Police officers stubbornly adhere to properly enacted laws. As any person pulled over for DUI can attest, the police take a frosty attitude toward spontaneous DUI adventures.   

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