When it comes to the holidays, not all are equal when considering the threat they pose to public safety. Chief among them is New Year’s Eve, an annual tradition where Chicagoans join together with family and friends to close out the end of one year and to welcome in the start of another. Often, these celebrations involve alcohol and late night parties in the downtown area which leaves many who participate wondering and planning how they will get home. Fortunately, Chicago has a plethora of public transportation and alternative transit options including the L trains, CTA buses, Metra trains, rideshares like Uber and Lyft, and simply walking around the city so that personally driving can be unnecessary. Unfortunately, if this year is anything like previous New Year’s Eve celebrations, some celebrants will choose to forego alternative options and instead will drive after they have been drinking.
Police are expected to be out in large numbers on New Year’s Eve and through New Year’s Day to uphold the peace and to watch for potential impaired drivers. In Illinois, it is against the law to operate a car while intoxicated and intoxication is presumed whenever a motorist has a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. Therefore, if you will be drinking Thursday night, make sure you do not drive so that you do not break the law and face potentially severe consequences for your actions.
Drunk drivers who are apprehended by police may face misdemeanor or criminal charges for their conduct. If convicted, they may face fines, fees, court costs, the loss of a driver’s license, jail time or time in prison, and community service among other punishments. But the penalties might not end there if a driver is responsible for a drunk driving car accident as collisions can trigger another type of financial liability. Victims of car accidents can seek payment for their damages, like their injuries and medical expenses, in a court of law regardless of whether or not a drunk driver was convicted of any criminal charges. In some cases, an insurance company may pay for those damages, and in others, a drunk driver may be held personally liable. Damages from these collisions can easily reach or exceed several million dollars so no matter how you think about it, it is never worth it to drink and drive.
Hopefully, you will enjoy a New Year’s Eve that is free from tragedy. However, if an accident happens, know that the legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. will be standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575. We offer all injury victims a free case consultation without obligation and we keep everything discussed during the consultation completely confidential.
If you have questions about your options or if you need help after a crash, call Abels & Annes, P.C. and let us fight for your right to relief.
Prior Blog Entry:
New Laws Designed to Deter Drunk Driving in Illinois, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published December 29, 2015.