jail time

How Likely is Jail Time for the First DUI in Illinois?

If you are facing allegations related to drunk driving in Illinois, you are right to be concerned. The fact is that any arrest because of supposed DUI can result in a jail sentence in addition to heavy fines and a lengthy loss of license. While there is no mandatory jail sentence for a first DUI in Illinois, aggravating factors in a case may motivate a judge to require a person to spend time in jail, even if this is their first conviction.

The team at Liberty Law, P.C. want to help you avoid this outcome. They are ready to explain how likely jail time is for a first DUI in Illinois. They also work to fully understand your case and develop a defense that aims to create reasonable doubt in the prosecutor’s case or that works towards a less serious punishment. Speak with one of our attorneys now to discover more.

Jail Time Under Illinois’ DUI Statute

Illinois’ DUI statute is present in 625 ILCS 5/11-501. This law says that a first DUI in Illinois without any aggravating circumstances is a Class A misdemeanor. This means that a conviction can result in a jail sentence of up to 364 days. 

Even so, this result is unlikely. If a person has no prior DUI convictions and a minimal criminal record, a judge in a case will rarely order time spent in jail as part of a guilty verdict or plea. Most judges realize that a DUI is a one-time mistake and that the ordeal of going to court, losing one’s license, and attending alcohol education classes is punishment enough. However, be aware that judges have the authority to sentence a person to jail after a DUI case. An attorney at Liberty Law, P.C. could help lessen the likelihood of this outcome.

Situations Where a First DUI Conviction Could Result in Jail Time

While most DUI cases in Illinois are relatively minor matters, the fact is that a collection of aggravating circumstances could bring jail time, even if this is a person’s first DUI conviction.

As noted above, even in common DUI cases, the judge has the discretion to order a jail term as part of a sentence. This may happen when the incident involved injury or death to another person, when the DUI took place with a child in the vehicle, or if a person had an elevated blood/alcohol level far beyond the legal limit.

In other situations, Illinois law classifies DUI as a felony, even if this is a person’s first offense. Examples of this behavior include:

  • Drunk driving while not having a valid driver’s license
  • Drunk driving while at the controls of a school bus
  • Incidents that involve drunk driving while speeding in a school zone

In these examples, the case is likely to move forward as an example of aggravated DUI. Here, Illinois law defines these incidents as Class 4 felonies. Convictions here come with a mandatory-minimum one-year prison sentence. As a result, jail time is required if a person receives a conviction for aggravated DUI, even if this is their first offense.

Contact Liberty Law, P.C. Now to See How Likely Jail Time is in Your Illinois DUI Case

One question that people often have after a DUI arrest in Illinois is whether a conviction will result in jail time. While any DUI case comes with the potential for a jail sentence, the fact is that the specific circumstances of a case determine how likely this is.

If a person has no aggravating factors in their case, the charges will be misdemeanors where a jail sentence is possible, but unlikely. However, if aggravating factors such as another’s injury or a person being intoxicated while driving a school bus, convictions carry mandatory-minimum sentences. The team at Liberty Law P.C. can help explain the Illinois DUI laws and whether a conviction for a first conviction is likely to result in jail time. Speak with them now to learn more.