DUI – What Will Happen To Me?
“What will happen to me?” This, the desperate but simple question which follows DUI arrests and convictions. Unfortunately, the answers are not so simple; the sheer volume of potential outcomes overwhelming to consider when you have so much at stake.
While there are many certainties that go along with a DUI arrest and conviction—not the least of which include stress and expense—there are just as many variables which depend upon your unique circumstances as well as the specialized experience of your representation. The Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that—taking into account bail, bond, attorney fees, fines, court-ordered assessments, remedial education or treatment programs, and insurance premiums—a first DUI conviction can cost an individual upwards of $14, 000.
Having an experienced attorney familiar with Illinois’ complex DUI laws is the best defense when put up against highly trained prosecutors with unlimited resources who successfully and aggressively convict DUI offenders day in and day out.
You’ll appear in court. When you’re arrested, you’re given a ticket or summons that includes a date when you have to appear in court to face charges.
You’ll offer a plea. Depending on the circumstances, you may plead guilty, or you may plead not guilty. Your attorney can advise you on the best defense strategy knowing the evidence. Best-case scenario is getting charged with misdemeanor DUI without a prior record. Your attorney could help you in possibly getting the charges reduced to reckless driving and/or advocate for court supervision. A sentence of court supervision doesn’t appear on your driving record, avoids a conviction, and has no effect on your driving privileges or insurance.
You’ll be sentenced. If you didn’t receive court supervision and instead receive a DUI conviction, then, depending on the severity of your circumstances, your sentencing will include suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, a fine, possible time in jail or time in prison, possible community service, and participation in a drunk driver education program.
You’ll suffer the penalties. The penalties administered by your state or county for DUI can be serious. There are also additional consequences of a DUI conviction to consider including the impact on your ability to get to/from your job and also the impact on your auto insurance, the premiums for which will likely double or even triple.
Penalties for DUI vary greatly and depend on many factors such as your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), your driving record, whether your DUI resulted in injury or death, whether children were in your car, and whether you were uninsured.
How much of a fine? From the least to most aggravated situations, and in addition to any other penalties or other fines, you will face fines of anywhere from $250 to $25, 000.
- First conviction: A BAC of .16 or more results in a mandatory minimum fine of $500; transporting a child under 16 results in a mandatory minimum fine of $1, 000; transporting a child under 16 and being involved in a crash results in a mandatory minimum fine of $2, 500.
- Second conviction: A BAC of .16 or more results in mandatory minimum fine of $1, 250; transporting a child under 16 and involved in a crash results in a mandatory minimum fine of $5, 000.
- Third, fourth, or fifth convictions: A BAC of .16 or more results in mandatory minimum fines of $2, 500 to $5, 000; transporting a child under 16 results in a mandatory minimum fine of $25, 000.
How much time in jail or prison? From the least to most aggravated situations, and in addition to any other time for other charges, you can face time in jail or prison anywhere from one day to 30 years.
- First conviction: A straight first-time DUI without aggravating circumstances is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail. Your attorney may work out a plea bargain for you in exchange for taking alcohol classes and performing community service.
- Second conviction: A second conviction without aggravating circumstances is still a Class A Misdemeanor and comes with it a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 5 days or community service.
- Third conviction: A third conviction gets upgraded to a Class 2 felony, sentences for which could range from 3 to 7 years or up to 28 years, depending on the circumstances.
- Fourth, fifth, sixth conviction: The charges for subsequent convictions step up from Class 2 felony, to Class 1 felony, to Class X felony and come with them prison times from 4 to 30 years, depending on the circumstances.
How long of a suspension? The Illinois Secretary of State places an automatic Statutory Summary Suspension on the vehicle registrations of people who either refused the BAC test or failed it. A suspension means that your driving privileges are taken away for a period of time before they are returned. The suspension goes into effect the 46th day after an arrest. If you are a first-time offender, an attorney can likely help with both challenging a summary suspension or with obtaining Monitoring Device Driver’s Permit (MDDP), which means your vehicle would be equipped with a Breath Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID). All DUI convictions result in suspension of vehicle registrations.
- First offense: Without aggravating circumstances, a summary suspension period for first-time offenders is 6 months for failing the test or 1 year if you refused the BAC test.
- Second offense: A second conviction results in a minimum suspension of 5 years.
- Third offense: A third conviction results in a minimum suspension of 10 years.
How long of a revocation? Revocation means that your driving privileges are voided; they no longer exist. To get a new license, or permit, or to restore your privilege, you must re-apply to the DMV once the revocation period is over.
- First offense: Depending on the circumstances, first offenders face revocation of driving privileges for minimum of 1 year (2 years if the driver is under age 21).
- Second offense: Second offenders face a revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of 5 years if the conviction was within 20 years of the last.
- Third offense: Third-time offenders face revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of 10 years.
- Fourth, fifth, sixth: Offenders with subsequent convictions face revocation of driving privileges for life with no relief available.
How much community service? Community service is generally combined with most of the other fines and penalties. The time required to do community service can seriously impact a person’s employment and income during this time.
- First conviction: A BAC of .16 or more results in a mandatory minimum 100 hours of community service; transporting a child under 16 results in a mandatory minimum 25 days of community service; transporting a child under 16 and being involved in a crash can result in a mandatory minimum 25 days of community service.
- Second conviction: A second conviction can result in up to 240 hours of community service; transporting a child under 16 and involved in a crash results in a mandatory minimum 25 days of community service.
- Third, fourth, or fifth convictions: Subsequent convictions involving transporting a child under 16 can result in a mandatory minimum of 25 days of community service.
If you drive a company-owned vehicle for work, you are not required to have a BAIID installed in that vehicle and can apply for a non-BAIID work permit that is valid for 12 hours a day, six days a week. Your employer will be required to complete an affidavit.
If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), your CDL license will be affected even if you are arrested for DUI while driving a non-commercial vehicle.
- If you refuse to take a breath test, you will receive a one-year disqualification of your CDL if it is your first DUI.
- If you are found guilty, you will receive a one-year disqualification for a first offense, even if you received court supervision.
- If you are found guilty of a second offense of DUI, you will receive a lifetime disqualification of your CDL.
If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you face mandatory jail and/or community service time, and the length of your eligibility for reinstatement will be extended. It’s also possible you may need to forfeit the vehicle you were driving. Further, the prosecution can also see to charge you with a felony punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison.
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