Chicago is the third largest city in the U.S. with a population of over 2.7 million. As a heavily populated city, a significant number of residents are charged with DUI. Statistics from the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State for 2014 show that over 38,000 people were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol for the entire state. If you are one of those arrested for DUI in Chicago, there are some basics about your charge you should know.

You Will Lose Freedoms

Drinking and driving has deadly consequences, so there are strict penalties for a DUI conviction. If you are convicted of a simple DUI or one involving aggravating circumstances, you will lose some of your freedoms.

A DUI with no aggravating circumstances is considered a misdemeanor, but it will remain on your record for five years. That means prospective employers will see your conviction and may be reluctant to hire you because of it. OR, you can be denied a professional license, such as a nursing license, due to a felony conviction.

Unlike many states, Illinois does not automatically suspend a person’s driver’s license once they are arrested for a DUI. Before your license is suspended, you have a chance to stop it by filing a petition to rescind summary suspension hearing. But if you are convicted, your license will be revoked for one year and once it is reinstated you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car.

A DUI with aggravating circumstances is a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 10 days imprisonment and 480 hours of community service.

It’s Going to Cost You

In addition to losing some of your freedom, a DUI conviction will be a major financial burden. The Office of the Secretary of State puts the overall costs over $18,000. Below is a breakdown of some of the expenses associated with an impaired driving conviction:

Court costs- $3,500

Insurance costs- $6,000

Income loss- $4,230

Legal expenses- $2,000

Reinstatement of driver’s license- $580


Installation and maintenance of ignition interlock device- $1,420

If you are a repeat offender or caused an accident involving, the costs will be exorbitant because you are possibly facing a civil suit for any resulting injuries or deaths. A civil suit can could hundreds of thousands depending on the severity of the crash. Should you find yourself in this predicament, you need a DUI lawyer in Chicago working on your case because a conviction could factor heavily in your civil case.

Medical Marijuana and DUI Charges in Chicago

Marijuana is legal for medicinal use in Illinois, but it is not legal to drive under the influence of marijuana or any other prescription drug. The penalties for marijuana or drug-related DUI are the same as an alcohol-related DUI, but the way approach your defense will be significantly different because you may also be charged with drug-related offenses.

You Can Beat a DUI Conviction

Considering the penalties discussed above, you might be wondering how you can beat a DUI conviction. That goal is achievable, but you need a DUI defense attorney to make sure you were not wrongfully arrested or subjected to a flawed breath or chemical test. A DUI conviction is not inevitable, but it is possible unless you have a skillfully constructed case and a tireless DUI lawyer in Chicago on your side. You can find a first-rate lawyer near you at