The penalties for an arrest for driving under the influence in Illinois were increased in 2011. A second offense of DUI is still a misdemeanor, but the penalties are far more severe than any other misdemeanor.
The law provides that a second offense of DUI is a Class A misdemeanor. The law in Illinois provides that a Class A misdemeanor offense has a maximum punishment of up to one year in the county jail, and a maximum fine of $2,500.
The judge is permitted to sentence the defendant to probation as opposed to jail. The period of probation can be two years.
The most important issue with a second offense of DUI is that the defendant is not eligible for the first offender sentence of court supervision. The court supervision is a special type of sentence in which the court postpones judgment. In some regards, court supervision is like a continuance. Upon a plea of guilty the judge will continue the case for a period of time, and during this period the defendant is “supervised” by the court.
As long as the defendant completes the supervision without violating the law, then the court will not enter a judgment against and the charges will be dismissed. A sentence of supervision is not a conviction. As a result, the Secretary of State will not revoke the defendant’s driver’s license.
On a second offense of DUI, the law prohibits the court from sentencing the defendant to court supervision. A conviction is mandatory.
It should be noted that if the defendant has a prior finding of guilt for reckless driving, he is not eligible for court supervision on any arrest for DUI (first or second).
A conviction for DUI will cause the Secretary of State to revoke the defendant’s driving privileges for a minimum period of one year. At the end of that one year period of revocation, defendant will be eligible for reinstatement. But reinstatement does not occur automatically. Rather, the driver must complete a formal hearing with the Secretary of State Department of Administrative Hearings. During the formal hearing the driver must persuade the Secretary of State to reinstate his driving privileges. A formal hearing is conducted similarly to a court case, with the Secretary of State represented by a prosecutor. The driver must present evidence, including his own testimony, to prove by clear and convincing evidence that to be reinstated would not endanger the public safety.
For all second time DUI offenders in Illinois, there are mandatory minimum sentencing requirements. For example, all second DUI offenses must result in a sentence of five days in the county jail, or performance of 240 hours of community service. It is not possible to waive these mandatory minimum requirements. The judge is required to impose these minimums in every case, regardless of any extenuating circumstances including disability, dependents, employment, education, or other commitments.
The financial impact of a second DUI offense is severe. Before court costs and a fine are imposed, the court is required to sentence the defendant to pay a DUI technology fee of $1,000. For a first DUI offense, the DUI technology fee is only $500.
A defendant shall also be sentenced to pay a $50 Roadside Memorial Fund Fee.
In some of the collar counties, a second DUI offense can cost in excess of $3,500 in total fines, fees, and costs. Generally, a second DUI offense is cheapest in Cook County. Do not forget that the possible fine can be up to $2,500, raising the total fines, fees, and costs even higher.
One serious issue on a second offense of DUI is that if the driver had an alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more, the judge is required to impose additional penalties. For defendants who fall into this category the mandatory minimum sentence is two days jail combined with a mandatory minimum fine of $1,250. The jail term is mandatory and cannot be waived, even if the person has no criminal history besides the two DUIs.
If the defendant was arrested for DUI with a passenger who was younger than 16 years old, then the offense is a Class 2 felony. The sentencing range for this offense is 3 to 7 years in the Department of Corrections. However, the judge is authorized to sentence the defendant to probation as opposed to prison. The term of probation can last for up to 48 months, which is four years. In cases where the defendant has a child passenger the court must order the defendant to pay a fine of at least $2,500, perform 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children, and also serve 10 days in jail or perform 480 hours of community service.
The foregoing are only minimums when the second DUI involves a child passenger. If a motor vehicle accident was involved, and the defendant is likely looking at 3 to 7 years imprisonment.
In addition to the above criminal penalties for his second DUI in Illinois, Secretary of State will suspend the person’s driver’s license based on a statutory summary suspension. The summary suspension is a civil penalty, and can be imposed even if the defendant is found not guilty of DUI. The duration of the summary suspension will depend on whether the defendant failed a chemical test, and whether the defendant is considered to be a first offender for purposes of the summary suspension (no prior DUIs or summary suspensions within the last five years).