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Are First-Time DUI Convictions Serious?

 Posted on February 12, 2024 in DUI

Blog ImageDUI convictions in Illinois can be serious, even if you are encountering a DUI conviction for the first time. These convictions can go on your criminal record and make it difficult to find housing, employment, and even certain types of loans, in addition to making it difficult to pass background checks. Any DUI conviction should be taken seriously, even first-time convictions, and an experienced Illinois DUI defense lawyer can help you navigate this conviction in court.

What Can I Expect for a First-Time DUI Conviction?

Under Illinois law, a first-time DUI conviction is typically categorized as a Class A misdemeanor. This is the most severe type of misdemeanor, and this type of conviction comes with certain consequences, such as:

  • Up to a year of jail time

  • Fines that add up to no more than $2,500

  • Potential driver’s license suspension that can last up to a year

  • Mandatory court assessments and payments of court costs

If you have never received any kind of criminal conviction before and you are dealing with a first-time DUI arrest, courts may not pursue this misdemeanor to the maximum. This is done to encourage individuals to plead guilty.

However, pleading guilty means that a DUI conviction will end up on your permanent criminal record, something that can greatly impact your future. A DUI defense lawyer can help you better understand your options.

When Is a First-Time DUI Offense a Felony?

In some cases, even if you are dealing with a first-time DUI offense, it may be automatically considered a felony. This includes times when a DUI is received after an accident that causes an injury or fatality, while driving on a suspended or revoked license, or while a minor is also present in the vehicle. Driving in a school zone or receiving a DUI with an extremely high blood alcohol content may also make a first-time DUI offense a felony.

Felony DUIs often carry greater consequences, including longer jail time, higher fines, and other legal issues.

Contact a Will County, IL DUI Defense Attorney

Navigating a first-time DUI offense is stressful, and you should not undertake this process alone. An experienced Joliet, IL DUI defense lawyer can help you understand the nuances of your case and work with you to minimize your conviction, potentially saving your criminal record from details of a DUI.

Contact McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC at 815-727-0100 for a free consultation to learn about your options.

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