A disturbing national trend in alleged alcohol-related accidents involving children is emerging. In the U.S., approximately 20 percent of children who die in car accidents are in crashes that were caused by a drunk driver. Surprisingly, many of those children are in the impaired driver’s car. According to a study released by Dr. Kyran Quinlan, a pediatrician at the Erie Family Health Center, 65 percent of the children killed by drunk drivers are in the impaired driver’s car rather than in the one hit by the driver. Drunk driving is a dangerous crime for the perpetrator and for the victims, and it can come with serious penalties.
Alcohol impairs the functioning of a person’s brain and affects their attentiveness, decision making abilities, reaction speed, and judgment. These impairments can have a particularly serious effect on a driver since speedy reactions, clear vision, and the ability to make quick decisions are especially important on the road.
Drunk Driving Penalties
The penalties for drunk driving in Illinois can be quite serious and include fines, jail time, license suspensions and the use of an ignition interlock device, although the specifics depend on the number of offences. A first time DUI can come with up to a year in prison, along with a fine of up to $2,500 and a license suspension of at least one year. The next offense comes with the same possible penalties, except that the offender’s license will be suspended for at least five years. A third DUI would come with between three and seven years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500 and a minimum license suspension of 10 years. Additionally, after a first offense the court will mandate this installation of an ignition interlock device, a Breathalyzer-like device that will prevent the car from being started by an inebriated driver.
Additionally, drunk driving can also result in the person being charged with other crimes. If the drunk driver causes an accident that results in a death, the driver could also be charged with reckless homicide. Ordinarily, reckless homicide would be a class three felony, however if it occurs as the result of drunk driver, the law upgrades it to a class two felony. This can lead to a serious prison sentence from between three and 14 years, as well as other fines and the loss of the person’s driver’s license.
There are a variety of resources available to people who need a sober ride home after drinking. However, if you have been charged with drunk driving or involved in an accident, contact an Inverness criminal defense attorney. Our skilled team of attorneys handle cases across the northwest suburban Illinois towns like Rolling Meadows, Des Plaines, and Deer Park.
About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.