What is a DUI?
If it is established you are driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, you can be arrested for a DUI. Keep in mind that the .08 standard is not set in stone. An individual with a blood alcohol content between .05 and .08 may face conviction if there is other evidence of impairment. Also, impairment of the ability to drive due to use of medications or other drugs can lead to an arrest and conviction as well.
In recent years legislators and courts have cracked down on DUI offenders. As every arrest involves a unique set of factors, you will want to discuss your circumstances with an experienced DUI attorney who understands the law and the legal process involving a DUI arrest.
What are the penalties for a first DUI?
Even if it’s a first-time arrest, it is important to take DUI charges seriously. The penalties in Illinois vary depending upon whether this is a first offense or a subsequent offense. The failure to consent to a blood or breath test can also impact your sentence. A wide variety of other factors can also factor into the penalties you face.
A conviction for a first-time offense can lead to suspension of your driving privileges for six months. However, it is possible that after one month into your suspension, you will be eligible to receive a Monitoring Device Driving Permit. If there was a refusal to consent to a blood or breath test, you can face a license suspension of 12 months.
There are also a wide variety of criminal penalties surrounding DUI charges. Illinois considers a first-time DUI offense to be a class A misdemeanor. This means you could face up to one year in prison. Fines can be assessed ranging from $500 to $2,500. In addition to fines, you may have to pay for court costs, possible costs for enrollment in alcohol awareness courses and costs for reinstatement of your driver’s license. A first-time offense conviction can also remain permanently on your record.
What are the penalties for a subsequent DUI?
A second offense is also treated as a misdemeanor unless during this offense you caused “great bodily injury.” If great bodily injury does occur, your offense may be considered a class 2, 3 or 4 felony. The type of felony varies depending upon the severity of injuries and damages.
If there is a second conviction for a DUI within 20 years, you face a license suspension period of five years. It is possible to apply to the secretary of state for a restricted driving license. However, a refusal to submit to a blood or breath test could mean a three-year extension regarding your license suspension.
A felony DUI leads to a one-year mandatory sentence in jail. If there are aggravating factors, there is a significant chance that the DUI sentence will be more severe. Aggravating factors can include prior DUI convictions, a DUI accompanied by speeding or reckless driving, or driving under the influence with a child present in the vehicle.
The penalties will only get harsher with a subsequent DUI. A third DUI, for example, can lead to possible jail time of three to seven years, and a license suspension of up to 10 years.
Are there mitigating factors that can reduce my sentence?
In some instances, the severity of a sentence may be lessened when mitigating factors are shown. For example, a court may take into account impairment as a result of a legally prescribed medication. They may also take into account your prior driving record. Sometimes courts will scrutinize a result extremely close to a .08 reading. A court may also take into account that you voluntarily completed a substance abuse program.
Under such circumstances, a court may apply the minimum rather than the maximum sentence. You will wish to discuss all mitigating factors with your lawyer.
Does a DUI arrest necessarily mean there will be a conviction?
No. But defending a DUI case is extremely complex. Defenses involve the manner in which blood or alcohol tests were administered and field sobriety tests were conducted. In some instances, defense attorneys trying these cases can question the manner of the arrest or whether there were reasonable grounds to even make a traffic stop.
Contact Us For Additional Information
To learn more about your rights and legal options when facing a DUI conviction, contact Philip Angelini in Oak Brook for a free consultation by calling 630-413-4174. We provide representation across DuPage County.