Are You Facing a DUI Charge After Previous DUI Convictions?

The penalties for second and subsequent DUI (driving under the influence) convictions are considerably harsher than the penalties imposed for a first offense. If you are charged with DUI and you have one or more previous DUI convictions, contact a Chicago DUI attorney at once.

According to research published by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, a third of the traffic accident fatalities in the United States are alcohol-related. That organization’s research also indicates that up to 35 percent of all DUI offenders in the U.S. are repeat offenders.

Their research further indicates that every year, more than one thousand of the fatalities in alcohol-related traffic accidents in the U.S. involve an intoxicated driver who had received a driving under the influence conviction during the previous three years.

How Are Repeat DUI Offenses Handled in Illinois?

The State of Illinois aggressively prosecutes driving under the influence charges when a defendant has prior DUI convictions. Anyone who repeatedly drives while intoxicated poses a genuine risk to the public and may face serious legal consequences.

What consequences do repeat DUI offenders face in Illinois? Is alternative sentencing, such as diversion and rehabilitation, available after a second, third, or subsequent DUI conviction? How can you defend yourself if you are, in fact, not guilty of a second or subsequent DUI charge?

What Are the Standard Penalties for First and Second DUI Convictions in Illinois?

The standard penalties for a misdemeanor first or second driving under the influence conviction in Illinois – if no enhancements are added to the charge – include:

  • For a first DUI misdemeanor offense, a convicted offender faces the possibility of up to a year in jail, the possibility of a $2,500 fine, and a one-year driver’s license suspension.
  • For a second DUI misdemeanor offense, a convicted offender faces a minimum sentence of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service and a maximum sentence of up to a year in jail, the possibility of a $2,500 fine, and a five-year driver’s license revocation.

What Are Enhancement Penalties?

“Enhancement” penalties may be added to these standard penalties if the offender caused an accident involving injury or death, if the offender was driving with a blood alcohol concentration level at or above 0.16 percent, or if the offender was carrying a minor as a passenger.

Third and subsequent driving under the influence offenses in Illinois are aggravated DUI offenses which are charged as felonies that may entail a prison sentence upon conviction. Penalties are increasingly severe with each subsequent DUI conviction.

Is Rehabilitation Available for Third and Subsequent DUI Convictions?

Every DUI case is unique, and if you are convicted of felony DUI, a prison sentence is the standard penalty. However, probation is also possible on most Class 4 Felony DUIs. Additionally, the court may order you into a rehabilitation program if the court believes that you have a dependency on illegal drugs or alcohol and that you can be rehabilitated.

Alcohol or drug rehabilitation may be offered to offenders after a felony DUI conviction as an alternative to probation or prison. Depending on the details of the conviction, treatments may range from one or two sessions to a program that could run for several weeks or months.

To qualify for a court-ordered DUI treatment program, a convicted offender must undergo a review by an addiction expert or an offender assessment specialist. Treatment addresses both the psychological and physical issues associated with alcohol abuse and may include family counseling as well as DUI courses designed to teach and heal those with alcohol abuse issues.

What If You Are Not Guilty?

If you are not guilty of a second or subsequent driving under the influence charge, you’ll need to be represented by a Chicago DUI lawyer who will seek to have the prosecutor drop the charge against you or ask the court to dismiss the case.

If the charge against you cannot be dropped and the case cannot be dismissed, you may be offered a plea bargain. While you should discuss any plea bargain offer with your defense attorney, if you are not guilty, in most cases you should insist on your right to a jury trial.

If your driving under the influence case goes to trial, your Chicago DUI attorney may defend you by contending that the police had no legal reason to stop you in traffic, by contesting the breathalyzer test results or the credentials of the officer who conducted the test, or by proving that a police officer violated your rights during a traffic stop or a search, interrogation, or arrest.

In What Other Ways Can a DUI Lawyer Help You?

If you are in fact guilty of a second or subsequent DUI offense, your Chicago DUI lawyer will use every appropriate legal tool to help you avoid a prison or jail sentence and get you into a treatment program.

Your attorney may present to the court evidence which indicates that you would benefit from participation in a treatment program. That evidence may include medical records as well as the testimony of counselors, treatment experts, employers, and others who know you.

However, with so many attorneys in and near the Chicago area, how can you locate an attorney who will address your legal concerns, answer your questions, and fight for the alternative sentencing and rehabilitation you may need?

Meet Our Defense Team

If you are charged with driving under the influence and you have one or more previous DUI convictions, bring your case to Driver Defense Team as quickly as possible. We handle only traffic and DUI cases, and we know how to fight effectively for the justice you need.

Prison is the standard sentence for a felony DUI conviction. If you are offered alternative sentencing that includes rehabilitation, take advantage of that offer. An attorney at Driver Defense Team will negotiate – and if necessary, advocate on your behalf in court – for the best possible outcome to your case.

Driver Defense Team offices are located throughout the greater Chicago area, and we represent clients in Kane, Cook, DuPage, and Lake County, Illinois. If you are facing a DUI prosecution, and it’s not your first, call Driver Defense Team promptly at 312-940-8330.