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Former firefighter sentenced to jail in connection with Champaign County DUI charge

A former Urbana (Champaign County) firefighter has been sentenced to jail. At the time of the offense, he was under a court ordered conditional discharge as a result of a previous conviction for driving under the influence (DUI).

In the state of Illinois, there is a law that makes it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, commonly referred to as DUI. The law in question provides in part as follows: “(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while:
(1) the alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath is 0.08 or more based on the definition of blood and breath units in Section 11-501.2 [625 ILCS 5/11-501.2];
(2) under the influence of alcohol…” 625 ILCS 5/11-501
It is possible to be charged with non-alcohol DUI. For example, under Section 11-501, it is also illegal to drive while:
3) under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of driving safely;
(4) under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving;
(5) under the combined influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving.

However, the majority of the DUI arrests and prosecutions in Illinois involve alcohol. With regard to alcohol, there are two types of DUI charges in Illinois.

You can be charged with driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2 Under these so-called “per se” prosecutions, the state need not prove that your ability to drive was actually impaired by alcohol. The mere fact you were driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater is a crime. People v. Ziltz 98 Ill.2d 38, 455 N.E.2d 70 (1983)

An alcohol-related DUI can also be based upon the fact, as stated in the Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions (IPI) that “A person is under the influence of alcohol when, as a result of drinking any amount of alcohol, his mental or physical faculties are so impaired as to reduce his ability to think and act with ordinary care” IPI (Criminal) 23.29 The state is not required to prove that you were “drunk” or “intoxicated” but simply that you were impaired to a degree to reduce your ability to think and act with ordinary care.

The firefighter was convicted of DUI in April 2010. He pled guilty. At that point, he was eligible for court supervision but did not receive it.

Had he received court supervision, he would not have been convicted of the DUI. 730 ILCS 5/5-6-1. (d) But since he was convicted, he incurred a driver’s license revocation.

Furthermore, he was placed on conditional discharge. Conditional discharge puts you in the oversight of the probation office but you are not required to report to the office on a periodic basis. One of the requirements of conditional discharge is that in order to stay out of jail, you must obey the law.

The firefighter was arrested for another DUI while the conditional discharge was still in place. This led to a double-barreled result: The conditional discharge from the first DUI was terminated unsuccessfully and he was sentenced to 20 days in the county jail.

He was also convicted of the second DUI. The judge sentenced him to two years of probation, ordered him to wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet while on electronic home detention, and to continue with alcohol treatment.

As a result of the second DUI conviction within a period of 20 years, the firefighter’s driver’s license will be revoked for 5 years. 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b). During the first year of the revocation, he cannot drive for any reason, not even for work. 625 ILCS 5/6-205(c)(6).

For the next 4 years, he is entitled to apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP) license in the event he can demonstrate undue hardship due to loss of his driving privileges 625 ILCS 5/6-205(b)(3) The Illinois Secretary of State will conduct the driver’s license hearing.

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