In November 2011, a Will County man was arrested for DUI for the third time in less than 12 months. Laws in Illinois are created in two ways. The first is judge made law, known as “case law” because it is decided based upon specific cases.
The second type of law is known as “statutory law” or legislation. These are the rules (“legislation”) that are written by our elected representatives. In Illinois, this legislature is known as the Illinois General Assembly.
Relevant to this discussion is 625 ILCS 5/11-501, et. seq. the DUI statute, which reads in relevant part: (a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while “under the influence of alcohol”. Many (incorrectly) refer to this as “drunk driving”.
Such a designation leaves one with the impression that DUI requires the state to demonstrate that you were highly intoxicated (“falling down drunk”). Instead, the state need only prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were under the influence of alcohol.
This leads to the following jury instruction that defines for the jury what DUI means: “A person is under the influence of alcohol when, as a result of drinking any amount of alcohol, his mental or physical faculties are so impaired as to reduce his ability to think and act with ordinary care”. People v. Schneider, 362 Ill. 478, 200 N.E. 321 (1936); Illinois Pattern Instruction (Criminal) 23.29
As a result of his third DUI arrest, the Will County driver faces the following potential consequences: First, he could receive a felony conviction for aggravated DUI 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(1)(A) Assuming no additional aggravating factors, such as a transporting a child under the age of 16 years, death of one or more other persons, a BAC of .16 or greater, the offense is a Class 2 felony. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(2)(B) Such an offense is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or 3-7 years in the state penitentiary as stated in 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-35
He will also face significant driver’s license consequences. As he will have at least two DUI arrests in fewer than 5 years, he will face a driver’s license suspension of at least one year, and if he refused to take a test at the time of his last arrest, a three year suspension. The entire one or three years must be served with no driving privileges available, even if he manages to beat all three DUI charges. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1 (g)
After the suspension period ends, you can drive upon paying the appropriate reinstatement fee, unless you are convicted of DUI. Upon a DUI conviction, the Secretary of State is required to revoke your driving privileges. 625 ILCS 5/6-205.
Unlike a suspension, which ends automatically upon the passage of time, a revocation can only be removed through a driver’s license hearing with the Secretary of State. 625 ILCS 5/208(b) The length of the revocation depends upon the number of convictions. A first conviction causes a one-year revocation; a second conviction in 20 years will result in a 5-year revocation. A third conviction, regardless of the time between convictions, leads to a revocation for 10 years. 625 ILCS 5/208(b)(1-3)
Any convictions beyond 3 will cause a lifetime ban on driving privileges if any of the arrests occurred after January 1, 1999 (92 Illinois Administrative Code §1001.420(o)) This formula includes convictions in any other state. Girard v. White, 356 Ill. App. 3d 11, 826 N.E.2d 517 (Ill. App. Ct. 2005)