DUIs are a big deal in Illinois. Illinois is, in fact, one of the states with the strictest punishments for DUIs, even if it’s the first one. If you are caught and charged with a DUI in Illinois, it is forever going to remain in your record.
Illinois adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards driving under the influence and has not budged on it. While other states may give you some leeway, Illinois will employ the strictest punishments to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen. And for good reason; DUIs are not merely inconvenient and illegal, they are oftentimes fatal. It is safe to say that you must be extra careful not to get behind the wheel while even slightly drunk if you are in Illinois, because you may be paying the
You might think that with such harsh punishments being dished out to people driving while intoxicated, people would be more careful. Though the number of DUIs occurring in Illinois is relatively lesser than many other states with much more relaxed laws, there are still those who manage to bag multiple DUIs.
If you are facing potential charges for multiple DUI's you better hire a local attorney that can represent you and get the best deal for you. Our attorneys are here for you! We serve throughout Naperville, Dupage County, Will County, and Cook County.
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The Lookback Period
Part of the reason it is so easy to get charged with a second or third DUI in Illinois, compared to other states, is because it has no ‘lookback period.’ The lookback period, in practice in many other states like Florida, Montana, and New York, removes a DUI charge after a specific number of years from the offender’s record, giving them a fresh, clean slate to start with.
So, for example, Montana has a lookback period of 10 years. After an initial DUI charge, if the driver is caught for another DUI after the 10-year mark, it would still count as their first.
However, Illinois does not recognize any lookback period and considers the entire driving history of the person to determine the number of DUI offenses they have made. Other states that have no lookback period include Texas and Arizona.
Because of the no lookback period rule, even if a driver commits a DUI after 25 years, for instance, it would still be entered as his second DUI and would be punished much more harshly than the first time, regardless of how much time has passed.
The First DUI
Though, of course, there are people who continue driving under the influence despite having served their sentences once, thankfully, they are not the majority. In 2017, 86% of the people booked under DUI offenses in Illinois were first-time offenders and only 14% who were repeating the offense.
Though the penalties for the first DUI in Illinois are by no means easy, they are far more relaxed than those for repeat offenders. If this is the first offense on their record, and the offender is genuinely sorry for the mistake, they may be excused with nominal fines, some rehabilitation or community service, and a warning (if serious damage has not been caused to any party).
Penalties for a first-time offender include:
Community service from 100 hours to 25 days
Fines from $500 to $25,000 with aggravating circumstances
Install an ignition interlock device (IID)
Jail or prison time varies depending on the offense
Suspension of Driver’s License for 6 months to a lifetime
Though many seem to think the laws are too strict for first-time offenders for DUIs, statistics show that they have been effective. In the majority of cases, the offense is never repeated.
The Second DUI
Though most people learn their lessons with the first DUI and make sure that they never get in the driving seat while being drunk or intoxicated again, there are always those who refuse to learn and make the same mistakes again. Despite knowing the strict laws in Illinois surrounding a second DUI offense, there are inevitably some who still get a second DUI in their records.
Naturally, your second DUI makes you look bad. No longer are you a first-time, guilt-ridden driver, apologetic and ashamed of your actions. Now you are a repeat offender who has a history of driving while drunk. That does not go well on the records or with the authorities. It does not matter how many years have passed between your first DUI and your second; to the authorities of Illinois, you are a repeat offender.
Obviously, the penalties and punishment for second-time offenders are significantly stricter and inexcusable. Seeing that the offender chose to drive drunk, despite being given a warning before, the police and court have no reason to believe that they won’t do it again.
As the number of instances of DUIs keeps rising, the penalties for your offenses keep getting grim, and your chances of avoiding jail time keep getting lower.
Yet, there are those who still get charged for a DUI offense for the third time! The offender is exhibiting a pattern now, and it is unlikely that any context or apology will help them assuage the penalties for a third DUI.
A third DUI is considered a Class 2 felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. By the time you hit your third DUI, you are considered a regular offender, and your driving rights are permanently or temporarily taken away from you, along with significant jail time.
If your license was suspended for up to a decade, you may get it back after the 10-year period has elapsed by applying for a Restricted Driving License. The RDP allows you to drive short distances for necessary things and emergencies, such as for school, work, or hospitals.
You may, in all likelihood, be asked to install an Ignition Interlock Device, which is essentially a Breathalyzer for individual cars and which only allows the driver to operate the vehicle by blowing into the device. The IID is expensive (about $30 a month), and you will be required to cover payments for it if you wish to drive.
Hire a Local DUI Attorney
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being behind the wheel while under the influence in Illinois for the second or third time, it could mean serious trouble for you. We understand that, with Illinois’s lack of a lookback period, it is not too much of a surprise if you do end up getting a second or third DUI charge on your record.
Do not despair as all hope is not lost. The context and the number of years between your consecutive DUI charges do mean something in court, and with the expertise of a skilled DUI lawyer, you might have a chance to alter or lessen the punishment. Having sound legal advice at your disposal is crucial, and it is strongly advised that you hire a competent DUI lawyer in Naperville to represent you in court if you are charged with multiple DUIs.
Our criminal defense lawyers routinely handle cases involving driving under the influence and know their ways about it. They have years of experience and knowledge, which they will use to somehow mitigate the damage a DUI conviction can possibly cause. Call us for an initial consultation and get sound counsel on how to proceed with the case.