If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you may be worried about paying huge fines and spending up to six months in jail. Fortunately, the courts can be lenient if you have skilled legal representation. Instead of spending time behind bars, it may be possible obtain a probationary sentence. However, this involves adhering to very strict rules. For example, you may be required to attend weekly meetings or stay away from those who are involved in illegal activities.
The Chicago DUI lawyer at O’Meara Law understands that you want to avoid the harshest penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you would like a free legal consultation about your situation, call 312-909-0706 now.
Will I Receive DUI Probation?
In Illinois, driving under the influence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, with misdemeanors being less severe. A misdemeanor conviction carries a fine of up to $2,500, up to 364 days in jail, and the possibility of probation. When it comes to a felony charge, consequences can include much higher fines and years spent in state prison. A felony DUI might involve not having a valid license, being convicted of a third offense, or a variety of other circumstances.
While the maximum penalty for a misdemeanor DUI in Illinois is one year of incarceration, chances are you will not have to spend time in jail. This is especially true if you are a first-time offender. Instead, you will likely be assigned probation, or a release period that involves rules regarding your behavior. A prison sentence may be more likely for a felony DUI depending on the circumstances. If for example, you are arrested for driving drunk with children in the vehicle, you may not be treated with leniency.
Typical Probation Conditions for DUI
Probation often acts as a substitute for spending time behind bars. However, this penalty comes with many conditions that must be met. Breaking the rules can lead to fines, an extended probation period, and even jail time. In fact, it is not uncommon for probation violators to receive the maximum jail sentence allowed by law. As a conditional consequence, it is important to understand probationary rules.
The conditions of a DUI probation may include, but are not limited to:
- Courses that outline the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse
- Therapy or counseling that is meant for improving psychological health
- Random drug tests and weekly meetings with a probation officer
- Not being allowed to leave the city or state in which you reside
- Avoiding those who might encourage criminal behavior
- Not being arrested for any crime
Collateral Consequences of DUI
Even if you receive probation, you may suffer long-term consequences for being found guilty of a DUI. A conviction is part of your criminal history, and you may have difficulty finding employment as a result. Many employers run background checks, and they may eliminate you as a candidate if they see that you were prosecuted for driving while intoxicated. Insurance companies also see a DUI conviction as a risk factor. As a result, your car insurance rate may skyrocket. Your insurance company might also refuse to cover the cost of your accident, as many policies contain exclusions for drunk driving damages.
A conviction can also hurt you if you are convicted of another DUI down the road. For example, in Illinois, a third DUI is automatically categorized as a Class 2 felony. The maximum penalty for this conviction includes increased penalties, and in Illinois, this can mean thousands of dollars in fines and between three and seven years in state prison.
In court, there are several legal defenses to a DUI charge that can be used to help you avoid imprisonment. For example, if you abused during your arrest, or if the officer did not follow protocol, you may be able to get key evidence excluded from the case. It might also be possible to prove that you were arrested without probable cause. Whenever police make an arrest, they must be able to point to something that indicates that a crime was being committed, such as visual evidence or eyewitness testimony. Your skilled Chicago DUI lawyer will carefully evaluate your case and develop the best defense strategy for you.
How O’Meara Law Can Help
With the help of the Chicago DUI attorney at O’Meara Law, you may be able to avoid the most severe penalties for a DUI conviction. Attorney Michael O’Meara will do everything in his power to help you navigate the court system. He will present your options and help you move in the direction that you are most comfortable with. With over 20 years of legal experience, he can use his familiarity with the justice system to keep your record clean.
Call 312-909-0706 today to see how you can fight for your freedom.