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Illinois Supreme Court rules against Will County DUI offender

Illinois law provides that a first time offense for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a Class-A misdemeanor if there are no additional circumstances 625 ILCS 5/11-501(c)(1) The maximum criminal penalty is a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to 364 days in the county jail. ยง 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-55
However, in addition to any other penalties the judge may impose, if there are any passengers in the vehicle under the age of 16 years at the time of the offense, the judge is required to impose 6 months of county jail time, an additional mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children. Furthermore, if the blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the arrest is .16 or higher, the offender will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 100 hours of community service and a mandatory minimum fine of $500.

DUI can also be a felony, known as “aggravated DUI” under a number of scenarios set forth in 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d). Among the aggravating factors are that the person, while under the influence: was driving a school bus with children under 18; caused death or serious injury from a crash; caused a crash in a school zone resulting in injuries; drove when his driver’s license was revoked, suspended or otherwise invalid; knowingly drove without insurance; and caused a crash while transporting a person under the age of 16 who suffers injuries.

Another felony enhancement arises if the defendant has “violated” the DUI laws on two prior occasions. Although court supervision is not a conviction, since the aggravated DUI law merely requires a prior “violation”, court supervision counts towards a felony enhancement. People v. Lambert, 249 Ill. App. 3d 726, 188 Ill. Dec. 909, 619 N.E.2d 534 (3 Dist. 1993) In addition, out-of-state DUI offenses are included.

An Illinois DUI offense also carries with it noncriminal penalties, known as “administrative sanctions”, which is another way of referring to driver’s license consequences. A DUI conviction results in a revocation of your license.

Because a conviction leads to a revocation, the Illinois Secretary of State will take your driver’s license out of circulation and also take away your right to drive in Illinois, notwithstanding the fact you may have a license issued by another state or country. You may only obtain restoration of a revoked driver’s license by having a driver’s license hearing with the Secretary of State.

A driver’s license suspension is imposed in connection with the DUI officer’s request that you provide a blood or breath sample to determine your BAC at the time of a DUI arrest. A refusal to test, or testing with a BAC of .08 or greater, results in a suspension of your driver’s license.

A suspension creates a temporary hold on your driver’s license and on your right to drive in Illinois. A suspension does not require a DUI conviction; moreover, dismissal of the DUI does not cause the suspension to disappear.

However, a suspension alone does not require a hearing with the Secretary of State. Once the suspension time ends, your license and driving privileges will be restored upon payment of the fee, provided you are not revoked due to being convicted of the DUI.

In summary, you could beat the DUI and still end up suspended. You could beat the suspension and still be revoked if you are convicted of DUI. You could be suspended and revoked. Or you could defeat both.

Suspensions vary in length. A DUI offense in the prior 5 years results in a longer suspension, even if you received supervision for the first offense. 625 ILCS 5/11-500. By contrast, the Massachusetts Supreme Court decided that a prior supervisions does not increase the suspension time.

At about the same time, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled on a felony enhancement case. In the past, the Illinois Supreme Court had said that in deciding whether the judge should enhance a misdemeanor to a felony when the enhancement is based upon prior misdemeanor offenses, the trial judge should not take into account any guilty pleas the accused had entered into if the pleas were “un-counseled”, meaning that they pled guilty without having a lawyer. People v. Finley, 209 Ill. App. 3d 968 (1991). The Supreme Court, in a case arising out of Will County, overruled Finley and held that prior convictions, “un-counseled’ or not, must be used to enhance a DUI to a felony. People v. Kinney, 2012 IL 113197

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