DUI arrests increase in Chicago, survey says

It is no secret that police departments in Illinois have been cracking down on intoxicated drivers in recent years, however, a recently released survey indicates just how these recent increases in DUI enforcement have impacted drunk driving arrests in and around the Chicago area.

According to a survey funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation and compiled by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM), there were 3,795 DUI arrests in Chicago in 2012 – which was the highest number for any city in Illinois. Although it comes as little surprise that Chicago had the most DUI arrests last year given its size, what is astonishing is that this number represents a 25 percent increase in Chicago DUI arrests from 2011.

In addition, for the third consecutive year Naperville led all Chicago suburbs for the most DUI arrests with 576, although Itasca has the highest DUI arrest rate per officer in the entire state for the second straight year. The DUI arrest rate per officer in Itasca was 11.78 arrests in 2012 – which was nearly double that of Illinois’ second highest DUI arrest rate of 6.59 arrests per officer in Carol Stream.

Interestingly, the Chicago area did not hold a monopoly on DUI arrests in 2012. In fact, the recent survey indicated that the highest number of DUI arrests in the state, besides Chicago, occurred in Rockford. With a total of 699 DUI arrests in 2012, this is the sixth year in a row that Rockford has led the state in this category.

DUI penalties in Illinois

Being arrested for an alleged DUI in Illinois is no laughing matter. Most drivers arrested in Illinois for a DUI not only face the loss of driving privileges but also fines and possible jail time.

For example, if a police officer establishes that a driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) on 0.08 percent or higher, the officer can immediately suspend the driver’s license. However, the driver will be allowed to drive for a short time in order to challenge the arrest or suspension, with the suspension automatically going into effect on the 46th day following the arrest.

However, if the driver is ultimately convicted of a DUI, he or she will lose his or her driving privileges for a minimum of one year, according to the Illinois State Police. Moreover, same driver can face a possible term of imprisonment of one year and a fine of $2,500.

Keep in mind, however, that these penalties only apply when it is the motorist’s first DUI conviction in Illinois – penalties increase substantially for each subsequent DUI conviction. Consequently, if you have been arrested or charged with a DUI it is often best to seek the counsel of an experienced DUI defense attorney. A skilled attorney can review the facts of your case and help ensure your rights are protected.

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