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Uninsured Vehicle DUI in Illinois

Driving without insurance is a pretty big issue in Illinois. This offense is charged under 625 ILCS 5/3-707 and can lead to fines and license suspension. Depending on how many times you have been charged with this offense, you could also expect to be required to obtain SR-22 insurance, which can be costly for many people. But when you are driving without insurance and are also drinking and driving, the DUI  charge can be considered aggravated, and an aggravated DUI results in steeper DUI penalties for the same offense.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Cook County or DuPage County and were uninsured at the time of the arrest, contact Dolci & Weiland immediately. You need a strong, smart defense to help make sure you don't suffer more penalties than what you should – in fact, you can fight the charges altogether in an attempt to avoid any consequences. Contact us today to learn how we approach these types of cases to help our clients.

What is an Uninsured Vehicle DUI in Illinois?

An uninsured vehicle DUI in Illinois is essential two charges:

  1. Operation of uninsured motor vehicle; and 
  2. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The first is governed by 625 ILCS 5/3-707, which states:

No person shall operate a motor vehicle in this State unless the motor vehicle is covered by a liability insurance policy in accordance with Section 7-601 of this Code.

The second is governed by 625 ILCS 5/11-501, which states:

(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while:

(1) the alcohol concentration in the person's blood, other bodily substance, or breath is 0.08 or more based on the definition of blood and breath units in Section 11-501.2;

(2) under the influence of alcohol;

(3) under the influence of any intoxicating compound 
or combination of intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of driving safely;

(4) under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving;

(5) under the combined influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving...

The specific problem with these two combined charges is that the DUI offense becomes an aggravated DUI offense. Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(1)(I), a DUI is aggravated when

the person committed the violation while he or she knew or should have known that the vehicle he or she was driving was not covered by a liability insurance policy.

Illinois' mandatory insurance law requires that each automobile be covered by vehicle liability insurance in the following minimum amounts:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for each injured person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury coverage total per accident
  • $20,000 in property damage coverage per accident.

So, if you do not have this required liability coverage and are arrested for a DUI in DuPage County or anywhere in the Chicago metro area, your DUI will be charged as an aggravated DUI, meaning a conviction will result in harsher penalties than if you had the proper auto liability insurance.

What are the Consequences of an Uninsured Vehicle DUI Charge in Illinois?

The consequences of an uninsured vehicle DUI is two-fold: 

  1. you may suffer the penalties for an uninsured vehicle offense; and
  2. you may suffer the penalties for an aggravated DUI offense.

Uninsured Vehicle Penalties

Operating an uninsured motor vehicle is typically charged as a petty offense that can result in the following charges:

  • fines between $500 and $1,000 dollars for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses
  • additional $1,000 fine for driving with suspended plates due to an insurance violation
  • driver's license and registration suspension for up to three months for a first offense and four months for subsequent offenses
  • a $100 reinstatement fee to get your driver's license back
  • proof of financial responsibility (SR22 certificate) for three years for subsequent offenses.

Aggravated DUI Penalties

An aggravated DUI in many cases like this one is typically charged as a Class 4 felony. This is significant because even if this is your first-offense DUI, you face felony charges just for not having the required liability insurance on the vehicle you were driving. 

A Class 4 felony can result in the following penalties:

  • imprisonment of one to three years; and
  • a fine of up to $25,000.

If you have had any prior aggravated DUIs, the charge can be filed as a Class 2, Class 1, or Class X felony, depending on the facts and circumstances. Any of these felony classes can result in substantial, life-changing penalties, the maximum of which is up to 30 years imprisonment. 

How Can Dolci & Weiland Help you Defend against the Charges of DUI and Driving without Insurance?

Dolci & Weiland can help you defend against aggravated DUI charges like a DUI combined with operating a vehicle without insurance. The best way to do this is to attack the charges on both fronts. 

To defend against a charge of operating a vehicle without insurance, you can either show you did indeed have insurance or – if the vehicle was not yours – you could not reasonably have known your friend or family member did not have insurance on the vehicle. 

To defend against a DUI charge, your attorney can:

  • show that your constitutional rights were violated – e.g., if you were unlawfully pulled over because there was no reasonable suspicion present to pull you over or if you or the vehicle was unlawfully searched, then your attorney can move the court to exclude evidence flowing from these constitutional violations;
  • challenge the results from field sobriety testsblood tests, and/or breath tests – none of these tests are infallible and can be challenged due to improper administration, gaps in the custody chain, improper handling of breath or blood samples, poorly maintained or improperly calibrated machines, among other reasons;
  • challenge the evidence, including police testimony and other eye witness accounts; 
  • admit evidence that supports your innocence or creates doubt with respect to guilt.

Your attorney will review the unique facts and circumstances of your case and develop a strategy accordingly.

Contact Smart, Aggressive DUI Defense Attorneys in the Chicago Metro Area Today

If you have been charged with a DUI while operating a vehicle without the mandatory minimum liability insurance, contact Dolci & Weiland immediately to schedule an appointment.