DUI in Illinois is most commonly charged as a class A misdemeanor. More rarely, more serious felony charges, called Aggravated DUI in Illinois, can be filed. Either way, dealing with an Illinois DUI arrest is serious, complex, and expert representation by a qualified Illinois DUI lawyer is a must.
First time arrests for DUI in Illinois
A first time DUI offender in the state of Illinois is normally charged with misdemeanor DUI under Illinois law 625 ILCS 5/11-501 as long as certain aggravating factors are absent. Some aggravating factors include a DUI accident resulting in bodily harm, a DUI arrest during a period when the driver's license was revoked or suspended for DUI, and if the arrest if for a third or subsequent DUI offense.
Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2500 in fines plus significant mandatory costs. A conviction for DUI in Illinois means your driver's license will also be revoked. While the Statutory Summary Suspension that results from your arrest is temporary and restoration of your driving privileges afterwards is a simple matter, that's not the case with a DUI revocation. Restoration of driving privileges after revocation is challenging, and a revoked driver's license is something to be avoided if at all possible. There are ways to do so, and we can help.
Don't let the term 'misdemeanor' fool you, the bottom line is that Class A misdemeanor DUI is dangerous, and should be taken very seriously.
Second-time DUI in Illinois
A second DUI in the state of Illinois is still considered to be a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties, however, are typically more significant as those convicted for DUI for a second time face:
- A mandatory sentence of five days in jail or the performance 240 hours of community service;
- A sentence of up to one year maximum in jail;
- Minimum mandatory fines plus significant court costs; and
- A license revocation without the possibility of restoration for at least one year.
While the Secretary of State may only look back 5 years for prior DUI offenses or prior DUI-based suspensions, criminal courts determine first offender status by looking much farther: lifetime.
Other aggravating factors for misdemeanor Illinois DUI
Additional factors may enhance the penalties for DUI even though the DUI remains a misdemeanor under Illinois law. For example, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16 percent or higher invokes required community service, additional treatment requirements and minimum mandatory fines. The commission of DUI with a child in the vehicle under the age of 16 carries a minimum mandatory jail sentence plus mandatory minimum fines, even for a first offense.
The Illinois DUI attorneys at Fagan, Fagan & Davis have been defending clients charged with DUI since the early 1980's throughout Chicago area courts, including all of Cook County, DuPage County and Lake County, and can help defend you. Contact us now for a free consultation.