Drunk driving is an issue all across the United States, and Illinois is no exception. Of those arrested for a DUI in the state of Illinois who are eligible to lose their license, over 90% ended up losing it. If you find yourself facing DUI charges, contact a Chicago criminal defense attorney today.
A qualified DUI lawyer will be able to walk you through the potential penalties you may be given as well as the best path forward for your case. Depending on the severity of your charges you could be handed punishments including steep fines, revocation of driving privileges, and even jail time. Fortunately for many people, first-time offenders may be granted a sentence of DUI court supervision. This can often be the best course of action because it involves no jail time and, on successful completion of your term of supervision, results in a non-conviction for your DUI charge on your criminal record.
Contact our criminal defense team at Naperville DUI Lawyers to schedule a free case consultation to see how we can help you!
In Illinois you may be charged with a DUI if you meet any of the following criteria:
If you drive under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher
If you drive under the influence of any other illegal substance
If you drive under the influence of "intoxicating compounds"
First-time DUI arrests may face Class A misdemeanor charges, though circumstances such as bodily injury may cause them to be raised to felony charges. If you receive a DUI conviction in Illinois you will face administrative penalties as well as criminal punishments. These are a license suspension or revocation (separate from the statutory summary suspension you receive at the tie of your arrest), fines, an interlock ignition device, and more.
It is not only time-consuming, but also expensive to recover your license after it has been suspended or revoked, and you will also be impacted financially in the form of raised insurance premiums. Finally, a conviction will end up on your criminal record, which can impact current or future employment and future sentencing should you be charged with another crime.
What Exactly is Court Supervision?
Court supervision is one of the best results You can get from an alcohol-related charge. With a court supervision sentence, you will avoid having a conviction entered on your criminal record. You should keep in mind that only first-time DUI offenders are eligible for court supervision. Any subsequent DUI's may not receive a sentence of court supervision.
The actual process of court supervision is fairly straightforward. You are assigned a period of time, typically between 12 and 24 months, during which the court supervises you to ensure you follow certain agreed-upon terms. When you successfully complete your supervision period and meet all the terms set for you there will be no conviction entered on your criminal record.
The requirements you must meet during your period of supervision vary from case to case, but can include:
Avoiding further legal trouble
Completion of an alcohol counseling program
Payment of all court fees and fines
Installation of an alcohol ignition interlock device
Receiving a sentence of supervision is one of the best outcomes you can get for a DUI charge, as it carries the least severe punishments.
As long as you meet all the requirements set to you for your supervision period, you will not have a DUI conviction entered on your criminal record and may avoid negative marks on your public driving record. Following your supervision terms will also allow you to avoid jail time, which in itself can have massive impacts on your life, including employment, school attendance, and more. Another major benefit to supervision is that you will not lose your driver's license, allowing you to avoid the costs and time needed to recover a suspended or revoked license and continue your day-to-day life in a mostly normal way.
The steps you would need to take in order to avoid a license revocation can themselves be a significant investment of time, and if it is revoked you will be required to do a number of things to get it returned, including:
Successful completion of a drug and alcohol evaluation
Attendance of drug and alcohol classes
Payment of a $500 reinstatement fee
Keep in mind that driver court supervision does not automatically grant you these benefits and allows you to go about your daily life as if nothing has happened. If you are found in violation of supervision, a judge can sentence you to jail for up to a year.
What are the Negatives of Court Supervision?
While supervision certainly has many benefits, it can have a negative side as well. First off, it is a deal that will only be offered to first-time DUI offenders, meaning that if you get a second DUI 15 years down the line you will still be ineligible for court supervision.
If you are in the country illegally, or even legally, you may face deportation under court supervision. While the charges are dismissed under the terms of the deal, the arrest and court supervision sentence will remain on your record and you may not have them expunged. This could lead to deportation issues for you.
Court supervision may also have a negative impact on any future convictions you face. As an example, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines consider previous criminal history when setting the sentence for a new conviction, and court supervision will count against you.
Should I Plead Guilty?
With a better understanding of what court supervision is and what all it entails, you may be wondering if entering a guilty plea and accepting the supervision sentence is the right move for you. Your best option at this stage is to hire an experienced DUI attorney. They will be able to walk you through all your options, help you understand what each path could mean for you, and help you find the best possible outcome for your case.
When you are fighting a drunk driving charge you want to be sure that the lawyer you choose has experience working similar cases and is knowledgeable about the DUI laws in your area.
If you are facing a DUI charge, consider turning to an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer for legal advice. Our expert team at Naperville DUI Lawyers can help you avoid a license suspension or develop defense strategies to fight against your charges in a trial. If you are considering accepting a court-ordered supervision sentence to avoid a criminal conviction, we can make sure you fully understand the terms laid out for you and go into the agreement with all the information you need. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation!