In the context of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests, Illinois offers three sentencing options. You ought to be aware of these if your DUI lawyer concludes that your Constitutional rights have not been violated, if the state has complied with all procedural requirements and if the evidence against you suggests the state can prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Most people unfamiliar with the criminal justice system consider crime to consist of offenses such as murder, rape and robbery. They are crimes, felonies. However, DUI is also a crime, a lower level crime known in Illinois as a misdemeanor. (In some circumstances, DUI is a felony but a first or second offense is a misdemeanor).
An act is a crime if our elected officials (the Illinois General Assembly) have declared that committing the act is illegal and if the consequences of committing the illegal act include monetary fines and/or jail or prison time. “Jail” refers to incarceration (lock-up) in the county jail; “prison” refers to incarceration in a state prison under the control of the Illinois Department of Corrections.
You may be aware that a DUI arrest also carriers with it driver’s license consequences. Thus, your driver’s license will be suspended if you decline to provide the officer with a breath or blood sample at the time of the arrest, or if you provide a sample that is above the legal limit of .08.
Likewise, if you are convicted of DUI, your driver’s license will be revoked. Unlike a suspension, which ends automatically, you may, following a driver’s license revocation, only get your license back by having a driver’s license hearing.
Although a driver’s license is very important for a number of reasons, there are no monetary fines and there is no jail time that flows from having your driver’s license taken away from you. Therefore, it is not a crime and so your rights in connection with loss of driving privileges, and restoration of those privileges, are much less than in a criminal case. You cannot claim double jeopardy, you cannot claim the Fifth Amendment and you cannot demand a jury in connection with driver’s license issues.
In the DUI case, you are eligible for court supervision if this is your first DUI offense in Illinois or any other state. Supervision is not an automatic right but is up to the judge. Supervision is only available once in your lifetime. Supervision avoids any jail time and your driver’s license will not be revoked since supervision is not a conviction.
Probation is a conviction. Your driver’s license will be revoked.
Probation will almost always include fines. Typically, probation results in no jail or reduced jail time. In exchange, your actions during the period of probation are strictly monitored.
You will have to report to your probation officer, avoid committing any additional crimes and be subject to a number of other conditions, the extent of which depends upon the judge. If you fail to follow the terms of your probation, it can be revoked and you can be sentenced to jail.