Can I go to Prison for a DUI in Illinois?
This may seem like a silly question since it is pretty common knowledge that you can be arrested for a DUI. Notice, though, that the question asks whether you can go to prison. Jails are local facilities for holding offenders for a limited time and usually for minor offenses. Prison is a state or federal facility reserved for serious offenders serving serious time.
The Chicago Tribune recently reported about a man sentenced to 13 years in prison for a DUI. Dubbed the “grim reaper” of the roadway, this Illinois man received such a harsh sentence because this was his tenth arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. Deemed a public safety risk, the court imposed a long prison sentence with the Judge noting that he keeps making the same mistake over and over again, a mistake leniency wouldn’t deter.
This is an extreme case that may serve as a cautionary tale for some. Regardless, information about the law should be the most useful. Here is a breakdown of the increasing penalties for multiple DUI convictions in Illinois.
First & Second Conviction
The first conviction for a DUI is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and carries a minimum penalty of revocation of driving privileges for a year, two if you are under the age of 21. There are additional penalties depending on what your blood alcohol level is and whether a young child was in the car.
The second conviction is also considered a Class A misdemeanor. You will also lose your license for at least 5 years if you receive this second violation within 20 years of the first. Again, there are additional penalties depending on other circumstances.
A misdemeanor is so classified because it has a maximum penalty of up to one year. Under Illinois law, it is possible to be jailed for up to a year for your first DUI offense. Your second will result in at least 5 days in jail. You also face fines of up to $2,500.
Any subsequent conviction is considered an Aggravated DUI under Illinois law, which is a felony. Felonies carry the possibility of at least one year in jail, possibly more. The fines imposed could reach $25,000. The third conviction is a Class 2 felony will result in loss of driving privileges for 10 years and could lead to imprisonment for up to 7 years. The fourth conviction is also a Class 2 felony and results in loss of driving privileges for life and possible imprisonment for up to 12 years.
The fifth conviction is a Class 1 felony and also results in loss of driving privileges for life. The sixth conviction and beyond is a Class X felony which carries the harshest penalties, second only to first-degree murder convictions.
A summary suspension may follow an arrest for DUI if you do not consent to a chemical test for intoxicating substances. Probably the most troublesome of all the DUI laws in Illinois because this is an automatic revocation of your driving privileges following arrest, which is imposed even if you are not convicted of a DUI.
Given the extreme and ever-increasing penalties for driving under the influence, it is imperative that you seek the advice of a qualified Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney if you or someone you know is facing DUI charges.