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Repeat DUI: Understanding the Law and Your Options

Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois defense lawyerWhen you or a loved one has had a previous DUI arrest, a subsequent DUI arrest is a serious matter. The penalties for repeat DUI are so harsh that you will want to do everything in your power to avoid a conviction and to minimize the loss of driving privileges.

Illinois Definition of a Repeat DUI Offender

The first thing you need to understand is how Illinois differentiates a first-time DUI offender from a repeat offender. A first-time offender is a driver who meets all of the following conditions:

  • Has not received a statutory summary suspension in the past five years. A statutory summary suspension is imposed on anyone who is arrested on suspicion of DUI and who either refuses to submit to chemical testing for intoxication (e.g., a breathalyzer or blood test) or fails the testing (that is, tests over the legal limit for alcohol, marijuana, or another intoxicant).
  • Has never been convicted of DUI or assigned court supervision for DUI in Illinois.
  • Has not been convicted of DUI in another state within five years.

If any of these conditions are not met, the driver will be treated as a repeat offender.

Penalties for a Second DUI Offense

Both a first and second DUI are classified as a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. However, the law mandates a tougher minimum sentence for a second offense.

Someone convicted of a first-time DUI is often sentenced to court supervision for one year, with no jail time and no driver’s license revocation, as long as the driver was over 21 and there were no aggravating factors. The statutory summary suspension of the offender’s driver’s license still applies, but it is much easier to get a driver’s license reinstated after a suspension than after a revocation.

In contrast, a second DUI conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service. If this is the second DUI conviction within 20 years, the offender’s license to drive will be revoked for a minimum of five years.

Options for Defense Against Repeat DUI Charges

An experienced DUI defense attorney can help in several ways. Using their knowledge of both the law and the local court system, they will fight to protect your rights throughout the process. A private lawyer has the resources to investigate all the circumstances of your case, gathering evidence such as police video recordings and witness statements. They will use this evidence to build a case to get the charges reduced or even dismissed and to advocate for the lightest possible sentence.

Options for Driving While Your License Is Suspended or Revoked

A first-time DUI offender is eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). This permit allows unlimited driving of a vehicle with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed.

A repeat DUI offender, however, is only eligible for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP), which limits driving to specific times and places, such as to and from work. To get an RDP, the driver must meet with a Secretary of State hearing officer, who will decide whether to grant the RDP request and determine the scope of driving permitted. The process to get an RDP is relatively complicated and typically takes at least three months. The advice of a local attorney experienced in this process is highly recommended.

Consult a Knowledgeable DUI Defense Attorney in Oak Brook

A repeat DUI conviction carries stiff consequences. Before making any decisions, consult an experienced DuPage County DUI defense lawyer. The attorneys at McMahon Law Office will diligently examine all the details of your case and provide an aggressive defense. For a free consultation, call 630-953-4400.




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