Everyone knows that driving under the influence is illegal. However, many do not think about the consequences until they face a DUI charge. If you have recently been arrested for a DUI in Belleville, Illinois, and it’s your first offense, you likely have several questions about what’s to come. You might assume you won’t face serious consequences as a first-time offender, but this is not always the case. DUIs come with harsh penalties that can impact you socially and professionally.
Here is what you can expect from a first offense DUI in Illinois:
Below we cover Illinois DUI laws, penalties for first-time offenders, lookback periods for Illinois DUIs, and information about license suspensions and license reinstatements after a first offense DUI in Belleville, Illinois.
Under Illinois laws, several types of actions fall under the category of driving under the influence. If you have been charged with your first DUI in Illinois, law enforcement had reason to believe one of the following situations apply to you:
- You had a blood/breath alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.
- You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the extent that made it impossible for you to drive your vehicle safely.
- You were under the influence of drugs.
- You had drugs on your breath or in your blood or urine because you illegally used or consumed a controlled substance.
- You had an illegal amount of THC—the psychoactive element of cannabis—in your blood or urine within two hours of driving.
Illinois First offense DUI Penalties
The myth that first-time DUI offenders get off easy stems from the idea the minimum penalties are less than for repeat offenders. However, first offense DUI penalties can be harsh, especially if someone receives the maximum sentencing and fine. The first DUI offense is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois that carries jail time of up to a year and a fine that ranges from $500 to $2,500. Other consequences you could face if you’ve been charged with a DUI for the first time in Illinois include:
- Expensive court costs, fees, and surcharges
- Mandatory alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation
- Mandatory alcohol awareness program
- Court-ordered substance abuse counseling
- Job loss or suspension
- Higher insurance rates
- License suspension and/or revocation
DUI charges in Illinois can have aggravating factors that increase penalties and fines for first-time DUI convictions:
- Driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle carries a minimum $1,000 fine.
- First-time DUI offenders who had a minor passenger in their vehicle must complete 25 days of community service in a program that benefits children.
- First-time DUI offenders must complete 100 hours of community service if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.16 or higher.
Lookback Period for Illinois DUIs
Illinois takes drunk and drugged driving seriously. In some states, a DUI falls off your record after a period of time, but a DUI conviction stays with you for life in Illinois. Many people request to have their criminal record sealed after a conviction, but a DUI conviction cannot be sealed in Illinois. Additionally, the state will not expunge the record of those convicted of a DUI, even after a first offense. It is important to note even if the DUI charge resulted in supervision, and not a conviction, the DUI charge still cannot be sealed or expunged in Illinois.
Reinstatement of Driving Privileges after a First-Time DUI
After a first-time DUI conviction in Belleville or throughout Illinois, offenders face a one-year suspension of their driver’s license. Fortunately, you can apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP) for important things. An RDP allows drivers to go to doctors’ appointments, school, work, and substance treatment. First-time offenders who get their license suspended must install an ignition interlock device (IID) or breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) as a condition of the temporary permit.
The process of getting your driving privileges reinstated after a first-time DUI has several requirements, including:
- A clean driving record
- Proof of a drug/alcohol evaluation and treatment, if applicable
- Completion of a remedial education program about alcohol and drug use
- Appearance before a Secretary of State hearing officer at a Driver Service facility
- Convince the hearing officer that you will not endanger the public if they restore your Illinois driving privileges
- Proof of insurance or financial responsibility
- Pay a $500 license reinstatement fee
- Pay the license application fee and pass written, vision, and driving tests to get a license
Let an Experienced Attorney Help You Avoid a DUI Conviction
Illinois DUI convictions come with serious consequences, some of which stay with you forever. Additionally, the financial aftermath of a DUI conviction can be thousands of dollars, negatively impacting your life and putting you in debt for some time. It’s in your best interest to contact an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer who can review your case and help you find a way to avoid a conviction. An attorney can review police reports, witness statements, Illinois law, and other relevant documents to find ways to challenge your charges.
Choosing a DUI lawyer to fight for your rights is an important decision and can have a lasting impact on your life. The Law Office of Jason B Going is home to an experienced and proven DUI defense team who will give you the best chance at a favorable outcome in your case.
If you have been charged with DUI or any other criminal charges, we can help get you the best possible results. Contact us today for a free consultation and get started right away building your defense.
No matter what life throws your way, get GOING.
DUI charges, even for a first offense, are very serious, and attempting to fight them on your own is never a good idea. DUI lawyers are highly qualified and experienced attorneys who will be able to review your case and determine the best way to fight back against your charges. DUI laws are strict, and penalties can be severe. A Belleville DUI lawyer will give you the best chance at a favorable outcome.
No, being charged with a DUI does not have to ruin your life. If you have been charged with a DUI, contacting a DUI lawyer as soon as possible will give you the best possibility of getting your charges lessened or even dropped altogether. This will help make sure the DUI charges have the lowest impact potential on your future.
When hiring a DUI attorney, here are a few questions to ask them to make sure you are getting the best representation possible
What is your honest opinion of my case?
Do you have experience with DUI cases similar to mine? How did they turn out?
How long have you been defending DUI cases?
Who will I be communicating with throughout my case?
How are your fees structured?