There Are Collateral Consequences to an Illinois DUI Conviction
You go out for a night on the town with your friends. You drink a few beers, maybe a shot or two. Or maybe you just go out for a dinner with friends that includes some wine. Maybe a little more than some. Either way, on the way, you see the flashing in your rear-view mirror, and this time they’re for you. You find yourself in handcuffs, charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. When you finally find yourself out of the jail cell and back in your own home contemplating your situation, what does your mind’s eye see?
A Drunk-Driving Charge Carries Serious Legal Consequences
There is no question that a conviction for driving under the influence carries significant practical implications. You will be faced with court costs, legal fees, and other costs that can add up to thousands of dollars. If you are convicted, you face the likelihood of having restrictions placed on your license—if you manage to keep your license at all—as well as the possibility of your insurance company canceling your insurance, probation, or even jail time. In fact, Illinois law provides for automatic license suspension for any driver who fails or refuses to submit to chemical testing, including a breath test. That suspension is not a replacement for criminal penalties. If convicted, you still would face all possible criminal penalties in addition to the automatic suspension.
If you are convicted of a first-time drunk-driving charge, you could be sentenced to a year in jail, fines of as much as $2,500, and a license suspension for up to a year. A second-offense conviction carries penalties of a maximum of a year in jail, $2,500 in fines, and license suspension for at least five years. Third and fourth convictions are Class 2 felonies. The license suspension for a third offense is at least 10 years. The license suspension for a fourth conviction is for life.
A DUI Conviction Carries Costs Far Beyond Legal Consequences
The immediate legal and resulting financial consequences are just the beginning. Naturally, your insurance costs going up, and if you are fortunate enough to be sentenced to probation, there can be considerable fees and costs that go along with that, as well. Jail time will cost you time at work, and, depending upon your employer, likely will cost you some lost pay. And that’s not the worst of it. A DUI conviction could result in major impacts on your employment. Those consequences can include:
- Employers increasingly check criminal and driving records. A conviction for DUI could have serious negative effects on your job, even if you don’t drive for a living.
- If you work in a field that requires a security clearance, you could lose that clearance as a result of a DUI conviction.
- If you are a professional driver, a DUI may result in the loss of your license, making it impossible to drive in the course of your employment.
- Even if you don’t need a commercial driver’s license, but still drive in the course of your job—particularly if you use a company vehicle—it is likely that your employer’s insurance costs will increase, making it less likely that your employer will keep you on the job.
A drunk-driving conviction also is likely to threaten your professional licensure in Illinois, particularly if you are a lawyer or doctor. State licensing or certification is not guarantee or a right. The Illinois Attorney Registration Disciplinary Commission has the power to suspend licenses, including for DUI if the situation warrants it. Attorneys are required by Illinois Supreme Court rules to report conviction on any felony or misdemeanor charge to notify the ARDC of the conviction within 30 days of the conviction. Failure to report a DUI conviction will result in disbarment. Even reporting properly is no guarantee that you will not face a suspension.
However, this goes far beyond such licenses as lawyers and doctors, although both of those professions have potential sanctions for DUI convictions. If you work in any profession that requires state licensing, you could find that a DUI conviction could carry reporting requirements that could result in the suspension of your license.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which governs professional licenses in the state, requires that any Illinois licensed professional, in any field, must report to the IDFPR the conviction of any crime, even if the conviction was not in Illinois. The IDFPR is then free to conduct an investigation and decide whether to suspend your license. That suspension can be temporary or permanent. Some convictions carry a mandatory suspension, but some carry a discretionary suspension, providing the opportunity to oppose a license suspension by the IDFPR.
Such license suspensions don’t apply only to doctors and lawyers. The IDFPR also can suspend licenses in fields including professional driving, teaching, psychology, architecture, landscaping, cosmetology, or engineering. Further, some professions have their own standards that are even more strict than those of the IDFPR. Nurses, pharmacy technicians, and massage therapists also may be suspended for convictions of certain crimes, including DUI. Further, federal agents convicted of DUI can face penalties, and pilots are required to report any DUI arrest or refusal to take a breath test to the Federal Aviation Administration.
If You Were Arrested for DUI in DuPage, Kane, or Cook County, Consult the Criminal Attorneys of Martin & Kent, L.L.C.
If you were arrested on DUI charges, the consequences can go far beyond the punishments imposed by law. You can face many negative consequences in your job and personal life that actually can be worse than the legal penalties. You should talk to the criminal attorneys of Martin & Kent, LLC. With our experience as former prosecutors, our lawyers have inside knowledge of the criminal justice system and will put up an aggressive defense on your behalf. For a consultation in DuPage, Kane, or Cook County, contact us 24 hours a day at (630) 430-8622 or through our online contact form.