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Important Information About First-Time DUI in Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Law

McHenry County first-time DUI attorneyEven if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is not at or beyond the legal limit of 0.08, you can be stopped by law enforcement if alcohol is suspected to be impacting your ability to drive. If this is your first time being pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI), it can be a frightening experience, but you are entitled to have an experienced attorney on your side to help guide you through the process. There are important things that you should be aware of if you have been charged with an Illinois DUI.

Administrative Penalties for Illinois DUI

Many people think that upon conviction for a DUI, they will immediately be jailed, lose their driver’s license, and essentially be labeled for life. In reality, a first-time DUI may result in administrative penalties and some criminal charges, but it is far more likely to be seen as a mistake, albeit a serious one, rather than an indication of any kind of long-term pattern of behavior. This is especially true if no one is injured or killed and no property damage occurs. State prosecutors are much more likely to work out a bargain with a first-time offender to give them a chance to not re-offend.

Administrative penalties are handed down by an administrative law judge or governmental agency, rather than through a criminal court. One example is a statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license for refusing a chemical test when law enforcement has probable cause to believe you are under the influence, which is a violation of Illinois’s implied consent law. A statutory summary suspension is issued by the Office of the Secretary of State instead of a criminal court judge.

Options for Illinois DUI Sentencing

The law on driving under the influence in Illinois covers not only alcohol use, but also the use of any “intoxicating compound” or drug that impairs one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. A first offense is generally a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail, plus fines of up to $2,500. It is very possible, however, for a first-time offender to face no jail time if your attorney is able to work out an acceptable arrangement with the prosecutor’s office, though this may depend on the specific nature of your situation. Any agreement must be approved by a judge.

If you are able to reach a plea bargain or otherwise work out a deal with the county prosecutor, one of the most likely outcomes for a first-time DUI offender is court supervision. Court supervision does not count as a conviction if you successfully complete the program, so your DUI will not show up on your criminal record, which can save you a lifetime of being denied certain jobs, housing, and other opportunities. Be advised, however, that a DUI for which you receive court supervision will count as a prior offense if you are charged with DUI again in the future.

Contact a McHenry County DUI Lawyer Today

If you have never been arrested or charged with driving under the influence before, it can be easy to give in to fear or despair, but you do not have to go through the legal process alone. Contacting a skilled Crystal Lake DUI defense attorney from Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC can be the first step toward getting your fair day in court, where we can ensure that your rights are protected. Call our offices at 815-338-3838 for a free initial consultation.




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