Second DUI Offense in Illinois
In Illinois, being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) can have serious, sometimes life-altering consequences. In addition to heavy fines, increased insurance premiums, and a driver’s license suspension, you may even have to spend time behind bars. The consequences are even worse for a second offense. With repeat offenders, judges are far less likely to grant any form of leniency. If you have been accused of a second DUI, you will understandably be concerned about your future
Fortunately, Chicago DUI lawyer Michael O’Meara can put his 20 years of legal experience behind the defense of your DUI case. With time in his career spent as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney, he can anticipate the prosecution’s strategy to help you achieve a positive resolution to your case. Facing criminal charges can be an overwhelming experience, especially when it is not your first offense.
To find out how we can defend your rights while removing the stress of going through the criminal justice system, call O’Meara Law 312-909-0706 today.
How Does Illinois Law Define DUI?
According to Illinois Law, driving under the influence consists in operating or even having the present ability to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drugs that can lead to DUI charges include heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and even some prescription medication. In many cases, you may only be arrested for this crime if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above .08 percent. However, officers may arrest you with a BAC that falls below that threshold if you are behaving in an intoxicated manner. You don’t have to be driving to get arrested for DUI. So long as you are in the driver’s seat and have your keys, the police will consider you to be in control of your vehicle.
Illinois Look Back Period
You may be charged with a second DUI if you have received a DUI within the relevant “look-back period.” A look back period is the time over which prosecutors will consider another DUI to count towards additional penalties. In Illinois, that period is 20 years. Thus, a mistake that you made nearly 20 years ago could influence your charges today.
Criminal and Collateral Consequences
The criminal penalties for a second DUI are significantly worse than for a first offense. The first round of consequences begins at the roadside. If you blow over .08 into the preliminary breath test machine, or if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for six months or one year, respectively.
Once you’ve been dealt the administrative suspension of your driver’s license, you may face the following criminal penalties for a second DUI:
- A fine of up to $2500
- Between five and 30 days of community service
- Up to one year behind bars
If your BAC was .16 or higher or you were transporting a minor, you may face additional incarceration and fines.
In addition to the penalties issued by the criminal justice system, you will face a number of challenges in your daily life after a second DUI conviction. Finding a job, for example, might be a challenge because of your criminal record and inability to drive. Obtaining certain professional licenses may also be difficult to maintain or obtain.
How O’Meara Law Can Help
If you have been arrested on DUI charges, there are a number of legal strategies that an experienced Chicago DUI attorney can use to help you avoid criminal and administrative penalties. In your case, it may be possible to prove that your rights were violated during your traffic stop or arrest. If the police lacked reasonable suspicion to pull you over or did not have probable cause to arrest you, it may be possible to get your charges dismissed before your trial. Alternatively, it may be possible to demonstrate that your breathalyzer test was faulty. The machines used for BAC testing are notoriously unreliable, with many showing false positives for those who are sober.
Getting convicted of a second DUI can have a dramatic impact on you and your family. If you are being held in custody, you may be missing work. If you are the sole earner in your household, you may be unable to support your family. At O’Meara Law we will strive to maintain your freedom so that your second DUI charge doesn’t ruin your life.
To find out how you can avoid the criminal penalties and collateral consequences of driving under the influence, call 312-909-0706 now.