We take a lot of phone calls from prospective clients who say they have been charged with DUI, but later in the conversation they mention that this is the second time they’ve been charged with drunk driving. This is a huge factor in the case, and many times clients don’t realize the gravity of a second DUI charge in Illinois. Our state handles these charges a little different than others, which is why it’s almost always in your best interest to hire a lawyer if you’re facing a second DUI charge. We explain why it’s so important in today’s blog.
Second DUI Charge In Illinois
As we mentioned in the intro, Illinois handles subsequent DUI charges a little different than most states. In Illinois, there is no time limitation in which a previous DUI drops off your record. For example, some states only consider it a second DUI if you were convicted of DUI within 10 years of your second arrest. That’s not the case in Illinois. If you got a DUI at 22 years old and you just got picked up for DUI at age 55, this will be considered your second DUI, and you’re going to face stiffer punishments than you did after your first conviction.
Per the law here in Illinois, a defendant facing a second DUI charge cannot receive court supervision as part of their conviction, which isn’t considered a criminal conviction. This means that if you are found guilty, a criminal conviction will go on your official record, which will show up in background checks. This can affect your ability to get a job or retain employment in certain industries.
A second DUI is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, which means you would face up to a year in jail and significant fines, along with other consequences like the loss of your license and community service. In fact, many of these factors involve mandatory minimums, meaning you will face some type of all of these penalties if you are convicted. For example, the mandatory minimums for a second offense DUI include at least five days in jail or 240 hours of community service, a fine of at least $1,250, another $1,000 assessment fee that cannot be waived, and the mandatory loss of your driver’s license for anywhere from one to five years or more. You are allowed to petition the state to get a restricted driving permit that allows you to drive if you meet certain conditions, but you cannot apply for that license until at least one year after your DUI. This process will also cost money, and it isn’t always approved.
All of this is assuming you had a standard DUI arrest, because penalties increase if aggravating factors were present. If you had a BAC over 0.16, you had minors in the vehicle with you or you caused an accident with injuries, the charges can be upgraded to felony-level, which brings even more potential jail time and fines. But even if you have a second DUI arrest without any aggravating factors, you’re going to want a lawyer because of the fines, loss of your license and mandatory jail time/community service.
Illinois DUI Attorneys
At Appelman Law, we’ve handled countless DUI cases for clients, many of which were second or subsequent violations. Because of this, we know the ins and outs for building your case and challenging the assertions made by the prosecution. We’re also experienced negotiators when it comes to discussing plea options. In an ideal world, we would get the charges dropped, but every worthwhile attorney at least explores plea options. We may be able to get the charges reduced to reckless driving or another lesser charge that saves you money and allows you to hold onto your license. Sometimes the sure thing is better than taking your chances in court, and we have a great track record of negotiating deals in our clients’ best interests.
So if you’ve been charged with DUI, and you already have a DUI conviction in the past, reach out to our firm to see what we can do for you. We offer free case evaluations where you can sit down with a lawyer, go over your case, and see if we’d be a good fit. To set up that consultation, click here or give us a call at (630) 717-7801.