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What are the penalties for a first DUI conviction in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | DUI |

People generally get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Illinois after traffic stops or following serious collisions. Both clearly impaired ability and blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) over the legal limit could put someone at risk of prosecution.

Frequently, those accused of impaired driving plead guilty. They may not understand the consequences that the courts have the authority to impose on them or the options for defending against a DUI charge. Although people often expect a lenient sentence if they cooperate with the courts, they could still face significant consequences depending on the details of their circumstances and the discretion of the judge hearing their case.

Penalties may include fines and jail time

For most drivers, a first DUI charge is a misdemeanor offense. Unless there are aggravating factors, the penalties for a first-time DUI are lower than those faced by people with prior convictions. The courts can sentence someone to up to 364 days in jail, but a jail sentence isn’t mandatory. The courts may also impose a fine of up to $2,500, but there is no requirement for a fine either. The driver is also likely to have their license revoked for one year.

Certain situations can worsen these penalties. If the driver has a BAC of 0.16% or higher, the courts could impose up to 100 hours of community service as part of their sentence. There is also a mandatory minimum fine of $500. If the driver had children under the age of 16 in the vehicle, they may be subject to a 25-day community service requirement. If the driver is under the age of 21, then their license revocation may last for two years instead of one.

The impact of a criminal record is harder to quantify than the penalties imposed by the courts, but it can influence everything from someone’s education and job opportunities to their housing. There are many viable defense strategies for that can benefit those accused of an impaired driving offense.

Instead of pleading guilty and risking whatever penalties the court may impose, defendants might benefit from exploring ways to avoid a conviction. Fighting back against Illinois DUI charges often requires careful planning. Those who know the risks of a conviction may recognize how valuable avoiding one can be.