Court supervision is a sentence available once in an individual’s lifetime for drunk driving in Illinois. It's the best possible legal consequence aside from dismissal or a finding on ‘not guilty’ after a court trial on a DUI misdemeanor offense. Court supervision isn't an available sentencing option for DUI felony offenses.
If completed successfully, court supervision will prevent the entry of a DUI conviction on the defendant’s public criminal record. Under Illinois law, after the successful completion of the period of supervision, if the criminal court determines that the defendant has complied with all of the conditions of supervision, the judge shall discharge the DUI offender and enter a judgment dismissing their criminal charges.
Of course, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can also be punished by a criminal conviction including conditional discharge, probation, and even jail time. It's crucial to understand that a sentence of court supervision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or judge and isn't guaranteed simply because you're eligible.
How Does Court Supervision Work in Illinois?
To successfully complete court supervision for intoxicated driving, you must fulfill certain requirements. Those requirements can include completion of a Victim Impact Panel, alcohol/drug evaluation and classes, payment of any applicable court costs and fines, and avoiding any new criminal charges. The court supervision period usually lasts anywhere from 12 to 24 months.
If you don't complete court supervision successfully, a “Petition to Revoke Court Supervision” is filed, and you could be resentenced. If the prosecutor proves to the criminal court judge that you violated the conditions of court supervision then you might be subject to the full sentencing range of the original charge, which is up to one year in prison and hefty fines of up to $2,500.
Again, court supervision is a one-time deal; you can't receive court supervision for a second or subsequent offense.
DUI Convictions Leading in Community Service in Illinois
In Illinois, second-time DUI offenders may face the possibility of community service upon conviction because second-offense convictions carry a criminal penalty of a mandatory minimum jail time of 5 days or 10 days of community service along with the suspension of their driving privileges.
No matter the number of past DUI convictions, a DUI offender can get community service after a DUI as a punishment if the person was driving under the influence of alcohol while transporting a child under the age of sixteen. Community service imposed for this criminal charge must be completed at an organization that's beneficial to children.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs without a driver's license or vehicle registration; and
drunk driving offense resulting in death.
With these forms of DUI charges, the imposition of community service is mandatory; it can't be waived regardless of the commitments that you might have--such as a child to raise or job --which would get in the way of completing your community service hours.
How Can You Serve Community Service in Illinois?
If you have been sentenced to court-mandated community service in Illinois following a DUI conviction, there are several steps you must take to complete the entire process. Most organizations that qualify for service hours are government-run organizations or nonprofit organization, which provide social services to the community without generating income. Activities that can qualify for community service participation include:
Volunteering at a food bank
Giving meals at a soup kitchen
Assisting a church
Volunteering at a non-profit organization thrift store
Assisting disaster relief programs like the Red Cross
Cleaning roads and highways
Delivering meals to the elderly
After you've chosen an agency for which you want to volunteer, it's essential to contact the agency as soon as possible to lock in your community service. Act fast when choosing a community service organization because not all organizations will accept volunteers, and some agencies require you to go through a screening process to make sure that you qualify to volunteer. As community work hours have a deadline for completion, it's crucial to give yourself time to find a backup plan in the event your chosen agency doesn't work out.
Once you have selected where you want to complete your community service hours, it's critical to complete your hours within the required time. Community service hours must be completed in person; although some agencies have online options for service, online community service doesn't count toward court-ordered requirements.
In Illinois, court-ordered community service isn't mandatory and must be completed within a specific amount of time. Not completing the required number of community service hours can cause a hefty fine, or even jail time because community service is often the alternative to jail sentence in a drunk driving case. Thus, it's crucial to complete your community service hours within the required time limit; these hours aren't optional.
Once you have completed your required community service hours, it's essential to ask for a verification letter from the organization. This letter will state the contact for the organization, along with the type of work that you completed while volunteering and the number of hours of mandatory community service performed.
Can Court Supervision for Drunk Driving be Expunged or Sealed?
While court supervision for intoxicated driving doesn't appear on your public record, it can't be expunged or sealed under Illinois law.
Should I Plead Guilty to a DUI Charge?
When you're charged with a DUI offense, the best-case scenario is dismissal or verdict of ‘not guilty’ after a court trial. However, based on the strength of the evidence and the probability of success at a court trial, court supervision is an extremely favorable result. Avoiding a DUI conviction is the top priority. After exploring all legal options, it's beneficial to consider an offer of court supervision.
However, every DUI case is unique and your DUI criminal defense attorney will provide you with all of your legal options and a recommended course of action. It's wise for you to speak directly to a DUI criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after your drunk driving arrest. The DUI criminal defense attorneys at our firm can here to help you through the entire legal process. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation, contact our Chicago criminal defense law firm today at 630-425-0250.