What will happen on my first DUI?

What will happen to you if you receive a first offense DUI?

Hopefully, you will be found not guilty or otherwise have your case dismissed.  If not, here is a brief discussion of the sentencing options for a first offense:

It depends, first of all, whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI.  I discussed how a first offense DUI can be charged as a felony here.

If your case is a misdemeanor DUI, then the sentence ranges from supervision at the low end to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 at the high end.  Other sentences include supervised supervision, conditional discharge and probation.

Illinois law defines “supervision” as “a means of disposition and revocable release without probationary supervision, but under such conditions and reporting requirements as are imposed by the court, at the successful conclusion of which disposition the defendant is discharged and a judgment dismissing the charges is entered.”  730 ILCS 5/5-1-21.  Courts have said that supervision is not a conviction; and that “the status of a case under an order of supervision then becomes in the nature of a continuance until the conclusion of the period of supervision whereupon the court shall discharge the defendant and enter a judgment dismissing the charges if the defendant successfully complied with the conditions of supervision.”

If you receive and successfully complete court supervision (or “supervised supervision”), no conviction is entered against your driving record, and you avoid the mandatory license revocation that occurs if you are convicted for a DUI.

You can only receive one DUI supervision in a lifetime; you ; you are ineligible for supervision if you have ever had a DUI or reckless driving, either in Illinois or any other state.

Any other sentence besides supervision, such as conditional discharge, probation or a straight conviction, will cause your driver’s license to be revoked.

So what are the typical “conditions and reporting requirements” of a sentence of court supervision?  First of all, you will be required to report to a court monitor, and your sentence will be subject to violation if you commit a new offense.  Standard conditions of supervision include alcohol education and/or treatment, a victim impact panel, and fines, fees and costs. In certain cases, a judge might require additional conditions, such as random urine drops, abstinence from alcohol and drugs or zero tolerance while driving.

If you took a blood, breath or urine test which disclosed a result in excess of twice the legal limit (i.e., 0.16 or higher), then you will be facing a mandatory minimum of 100 hours of community service and a $500 fine.  If you had a passenger under the age of 16 in your car, then you are looking at 25 days community service in a program benefiting children and a fine of $1,000.

If you have a commercial drivers license (“CDL”), then you are looking at a one year disqualification for a first offense DUI, even if you received supervision.

Most first offense aggravated (i.e., felony) DUIs that do not involve great bodily harm or death are Class 4 felonies, and the judge can impose a sentence of probation, or a prison sentence from one to three years.