Charges of driving under the influence are always serious. Intoxicated driving creates significant danger not only to the drunk driver, but to anyone else who may be sharing the road. As such, penalties for DUI can be severe, even for a first offense. However, in an effort to prevent future violations, provisions in Illinois may allow a first-time offender options to reduce some of the punitive and legal consequences.
An individual convicted of DUI in Illinois for the first time faces a number of potential penalties. His or her driving privileges may be suspended for six months, and, if chemical testing was refused at the time of arrest, the suspension will be enforced for one year. In addition to license suspension, a conviction also carries up to one year in prison and $2,500 in fines, not including court costs and other fees. A first DUI offense also remains on the driver’s record, adding to the potential penalties of future convictions.
Common Options for First-Time Offenders
Despite the maximum penalties being possible under law, many first-time offenders may be eligible for reduced penalties due to the fact that they have no previous DUI’s on their record. Most drivers are also able to avoid jail time following a first offense, particularly in the absence of other circumstances that may justify a jail sentence. A first time offender is generally required to pay a fine of a least $1,500. This is in addition to court costs, fees for license reinstatement, and expenses related to alcohol awareness classes or other requirements that may be mandated in lieu of harsher penalties.
Help from Qualified DUI Lawyer
Facing any type of criminal charges can be a frightening experience as the consequences to your life may be severe. However, with the help of a skilled legal professional, you may be able to negotiate alternatives to the most severe penalties, allowing you to more quickly recover from a difficult situation. If you have been charged with driving under the influence and would information on the options available to you, contact an experienced Joliet DUI defense attorney today for a free consultation.