The Turning Point: A Second DUI

What are some of the differences between a first DUI and a second DUI?

The first major point is that Illinois has no conviction look-back period, which is one of the features that make DUI laws in the Prairie State so strict. Many states have a 10-year lookback period, so if a person has a first DUI in 2005 and is arrested again for the same offense in 2017, the new case is a “first” DUI for prosecution purposes. But in Illinois, any subsequent DUI is a second offense, even if the first one is 20 or 30 years old.

Nevertheless, the time delay makes a difference. If the offenses occurred a short time apart, there is essentially a presumption that the defendant is a problem drinker and/or a safety hazard. The more time between incidents, the easier it is to convince a jury that each one was an isolated incident and that punishment should follow accordingly.

Criminal Punishment

DUI-2 is a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum $2,500 fine and/or one year in jail; there is a mandatory five days in jail or 240 hours of community service.

A second DUI is not a court supervision-eligible offense, so there is a mandatory conviction. However, an experienced attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charges to reckless driving. This offense is also a Class A misdemeanor, but it is court supervision-eligible and does not trigger drivers’ license suspension or revocation.

Drivers’ License Implications

There are two points of adverse action in this area. First, there is an administrative license suspension based on the arrest that lasts for up to one year (failure) or three years (refusal). Suspended licenses are automatically reinstated after the suspension ends upon payment of a fee and compliance with a few other ministerial requirements.

Second, a DUI conviction means a minimum five-year license revocation, unless the prior conviction is less than 20 years old. Most second-time offenders can ask the Secretary of State to issue an RDP for the duration of the revocation; a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) is a mandatory condition for an RDP.

After the minimum revocation period expires, drivers must convince the Secretary of State to reissue their licenses at either a formal or informal hearing.

Possible Defenses

Many people believe that if they “fail” the BAC tests that they will be automatically convicted at their trials, and it is true that both the law and the facts are stacked against them. However, like any other scientific tests, BAC tests are not perfect and their results are subject to challenge. Furthermore, especially with regard to blood draws, there are sometimes chain of custody issues.

In the event of a test refusal, the prosecutor is limited to circumstantial evidence, mostly from field sobriety tests. This kind of evidence is always subject to interpretation, and the jury’s conclusion is usually the only one that counts.

Contact Aggressive Attorneys

A second DUI involves complicated legal and factual issues that demand a good lawyer. For a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal law attorney in Schaumburg, contact Glasgow & Olsson. After hours appointments are available.

(image courtesy of Cory Bouthilette)

This entry was posted in: 

And tagged: