Hit-and-runs have hit record highs across the nation, and Chicago is no exception. Drunk drivers are fleeing the scenes of accidents and collisions, and the local authorities are not having it.
Harsh DUI Penalties
A DUI conviction in Chicago will have harsh penalties. You’ll get your license suspended for a year, and if you want to drive, you’ll need to apply for a Monitored Device Driving Permit. The permit will allow you to continue driving, as long as you install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) on your car and switch to SR-22 insurance. The BAIID is a Breathalyzer-like device that attaches to your car’s ignition system, preventing your vehicle from starting without a successful Breathalyzer test. An SR-22 is a more expensive car insurance policy, specially made for high-risk individuals. You probably won’t get jail time on your first conviction, but a DUI record in Chicago is permanent.
No Place to Run
Authorities are baffled on why drivers flee the scene of an accident. If the Jussie Smollett incident taught us anything, it’s that Chicago is filled with cameras that can track whatever you’re doing. If you flee the scene of an accident, the penalties you’ll incur shoot through the roof. If the accident only involves property, it’s still a Class A misdemeanor that can result in jail time of up to 364 days and an additional $1,500 fine added to the cost of the property damage. Hitting a person and leaving the scene counts as a Class 4 felony that can lock you up for 3 years and comes with a hefty $25,000 fine. If that person dies, it counts as a Class 3 felony that comes with a prison sentence of 5 years and a $25,000 fine. These penalties are in addition to any other penalties you might accrue from the original accident.
Don’t Drink and Drive
One way to avoid these stiff penalties — and a criminal record — is to avoid drinking and driving. Avoid getting drinks after work or use an app from transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft. You can lose count of how many drinks you’ve downed if you’re with friends or coworkers, so make sure you have a ride-hailing app on your phone. TNCs have dropped the DUI convictions in Chicago by almost 20 percent and have proven themselves to be a convenient way to get home after a night of drinking. Of course, using the services of TNCs require a bit of planning, so only the more responsible drivers would probably avail of their services. If you think that you can beat the odds and save on that $20 ride home, you might get the pointy end of the stick and rack up thousands of dollars in fines to go with your DUI conviction. Don’t gamble on your future or your life.
A DUI conviction will bring a lot of problems or complications, but fleeing the scene will only make it a lot worse. Face the consequences of your follies, or better yet, avoid the situation altogether by not drinking and driving.