Breaking Down a Third DUI in Illinois

In most states, third DUIs are somewhat rare, due to the 10 or 15-year look back period. This means that a DUI will “fall off” a person’s record after the 10-15-year period, and any DUIs charged after that will not be considered subsequent offenses. In Illinois, prior convictions never “fall off” an offender’s record for DUI sentencing purposes, so an offense that everyone else has probably forgotten about often comes back to haunt defendants charged with DUI. Furthermore, even if there was no DUI conviction, the prior case can still be admissible for sentencing purposes. That includes prior court supervision cases and some reckless driving convictions.

Previously, in a post about second DUIs, I brought up the point that a second offense is sometimes the dividing line between a one-off incident and a problem drinker. A third DUI is nearly always the cutoff between these two informal categories, underscoring the need for an aggressive attorney.

The Law and Local Procedure

Another reason for hiring an experienced, local attorney is that a third DUI in Chicagoland is procedurally different from similar offenses in other parts of the state.

These differences begin at the pretrial release phase. Most jurisdictions in Chicagoland impose high bail amounts in third DUI cases. It is not unheard of for these amounts to exceed $30,000. Most counties allow defendants to assign their bail money to attorneys’ fees.

A third DUI is a Class 2 felony that is punishable by a maximum three to seven years in prison and/or a fine that is usually $3,500, which includes a $1,000 DUI technology fee. However, that is only part of the story. Judges in Cook County, DuPage County, and Will County do probation sentences in these cases, but they usually require confinement as a condition of probation. Statutorily, the minimum jail time is ten days, but when confinement is a condition of probation, the sentences are considerably longer and may be as high as 180 days. Then, probation can last a maximum of four years.

A third DUI conviction means a maximum ten-year drivers’ license revocation, during which a restricted driving permit may or may not be available. DUI arrests also involve an administrative license suspension, and even if the defendant has prior convictions, the law may still consider the offense to be a first for this limited purpose, meaning that additional relief is available in the event of administrative license suspension.

Defending a Third DUI

Although every case is different, the state’s evidence in third DUI cases is often rather shaky because many of these offenses are chemical test refusal cases for which the conviction rate is only about 60%. The conviction rate in test cases is closer to 90%. Going to trial for a felony DUI is quite risky because if the jury convicts the defendant, the court often assess the maximum seven years.

The defendant often faces a choice between a plea to probation that includes some jail time and the possibility of an extended prison sentence. Many times, the field sobriety test (FST) results are the deciding factor.

Reach Out to Aggressive DUI Attorneys

A third DUI is always a serious felony. For a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal law attorney in Schaumburg, contact Glasgow & Olsson.

(image courtesy of Rob Bye)

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