Being arrested for driving under the influence can be a troubling experience. When you’re arrested for the first time, many people are unsure where to turn or what their options are. Today, we’re going to explain what happens when you’re arrested for a first offense DUI, and what you should do after the arrest.
First Time DUI In Illinois
It’s important to understand that you are not alone after a DUI arrest. In fact, roughly 35,000 people are arrested for driving under the influence in Illinois each year, so thousands of people are in the same boat as you. Although these penalties can differ based on how your case plays out and if your attorney gets your charges reduced or dropped, here are the potential penalties for a first offense DUI conviction:
- Loss of driving privileges for at least six months. However, a driver may apply for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) after 31 days of license suspension that allows them to drive under certain conditions and with the assistance of a breathalyzer device.
- It’s also worth noting that the suspension doesn’t automatically begin at the time of arrest. You can challenge the suspension by filing a petition to prevent the suspension of your license, but you’ll want to hire an attorney to draft and file this petition to have the best chances of having your petition granted.
- Since a first offense DUI is considered a Class A misdemeanor in the state of Illinois, a person arrested and charged with the crime will face a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
- Rarely are first offenders sentenced to months or the full year in jail, and oftentimes they don’t face the maximum fine, although there is a mandatory minimum fine of $500. This $500 amount does not include other fees, like court costs, surcharges or the cost of court-ordered rehabilitation programs like alcohol awareness courses.
- Substance abuse counseling is generally ordered, but it is not a mandatory penalty if convicted.
Finally, it’s also worth noting that a conviction for first offense DUI will remain on your record, meaning a subsequent DUI could lead to upgraded charges or harsher sentences imposed by the judge.
What To Do After A DUI Arrest In Illinois?
So now that you know what penalties you will be facing, it’s time to talk about your legal options. You can certainly test the waters on your own, but one of the best things you can do after an arrest is to talk to an attorney. At Appelman Law, we offer a free strategy session so you can sit down with a member of our legal team to go over your case and make a plan for how to challenge the charges. We’ll talk about your case details and explain how the case might play out, and then you can either hire our team to fight your case or you can pursue other options. Our main goal is to give you your best chance to beat the charges, and while we feel we are best equipped to help you do that, we won’t pressure you into hiring us. The choice is 100% yours.
If you hire Appelman Law, we’ll get to work right away on your case. We’ll review police records, witness statements, court documents and legal statutes to begin formulating a few different ways to challenge the case. We’ll also explain what we’re doing and reach out to you at different points to keep you in the loop and get your opinion. Sometimes we can get the charges reduced without even going to court, but we have to make sure that a deal is something you’re open to. If a deal can’t be struck or we believe you have a good chance of beating the charges, we’ll head to court and do everything in our power to secure a favorable result.
So if you’ve been arrested for your first DUI and you don’t know what to do, contact Appelman Law for a free case evaluation.