The weather is warming up, and that means ATV season is beginning here in Illinois. Riding your ATV through the woods or along a secluded trail can be quite the experience, but we also get a number of calls each year from clients who run into a little trouble on their all-terrain vehicle. The most common ATV-related call we receive is about operators who have been charged with DUI on their ATV.
A driving under the influence charge is not unique to a motor vehicle like a car or a truck. In Illinois, a motorized vehicle that is primarily used for transportation can be subject to Illinois DUI laws, which means your ATV, your boat and even a golf cart are in play for a DUI. Below, we take a closer look at ATV-related DUI charges in Illinois, and what you should do if you’re facing a charge of riding while intoxicated.
DUI On An ATV In Illinois
Riding on an ATV tends to lend itself to drinking and driving more so than a standard vehicle. Many ATV trails take riders past bars or restaurants that serve alcohol, and if you’re going to be riding for a good portion of the day, you’ll likely stop to eat, and if you’re with a group of friends it doesn’t take much for a round or two of beers to be purchased.
There’s also the feeling of seclusion when you’re on the trails – like you’re less likely to cause a major accident if you’re under the influence than if you were on the highway. Riders often feel that as long as they are responsible for their vehicle, they aren’t likely to get in trouble, and that can lead to poor decisions about alcohol consumption. Finally, many riders also feel that it’s extremely unlikely that they’ll be caught, since police don’t patrol the riding trails like they do the highway. All of these factors can contribute to poor decisions regarding alcohol and ATV riding.
Another thing ATV riders might not realize is that a DUI on an ATV is serious business. It may seem like a less serious crime than a DUI in a vehicle for many of the reasons listed above, and you may think the potential penalties are less severe. That’s simply not true. In Illinois, a DUI on an ATV is handled exactly the same as a DUI in a standard car, meaning you can face significant penalties for a first offense. Common first offense DUI penalties in Illinois include:
- Fine up to $1,000
- Up to six months in jail
- Driver’s license suspension for one year
- Alcohol/Substance abuse education
- Court ordered community service
All of a sudden this joyride has really disrupted the real word, inhibiting you from driving to work and potentially costing you your individual freedom in the form of a jail sentence. That’s why it is so important to hire a DUI lawyer to help fight your drunk driving charge, even if it occurs on an ATV.
The court will not look lightly at the incident, so it’s important that you bring an aggressive defense to the table. Even if it seems like you’re clearly in the wrong, a lawyer can work with the prosecution to achieve a plea deal. It may not be the deal you were hoping for, but if accepting a deal helps you retain your license or avoid jail, it may be preferred to taking your chances in court. We’ll put on the best defense possible, but we’ll also look at all your potential plea options so no stone is left unturned.
Don’t let a DUI on an ATV ruin your life. Give Brett and the team at Appelman & Lloyd a call today to see what we can do for you. For more information or to set up a free case review session, contact our office at (630) 717-7801.