Second Offense DUI

Experienced Illinois Lawyer Defends Clients Accused of 2nd DUI Offense in Illinois

Knowledgeable Bridgeview DUI lawyer represents Cook County motorists accused of repeat drunk driving

Even a first-time charge of driving under the influence in Illinois can draw stiff penalties. When it is a second offense, the penalties can be harsher still. At Skinner Law Firm, P.C. in Bridgeport, we represent drivers who have been accused of DUI after having been previously convicted of drunk driving. Depending on the circumstances, we work to get charges dismissed or reduced. When you’re facing prosecution, you can trust us to stand up for your rights and interests throughout the legal proceedings. 

Important Illinois DUI facts to understand

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 294 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2023, representing about 23 percent of total crash fatalities. That year, officers made 21,975 DUI arrests, after which 91 percent of those motorists lost their driving privileges. That includes 240 drivers under age 21, who fell under the Zero Tolerance law. About 87 percent of drivers arrested for DUI are first-time offenders. The remaining 13 percent face enhanced penalties for repeat offenses.

What are penalties for second-time DUI in Illinois?

A second-time DUI conviction in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor. It carries much tougher penalties than a first-time conviction. Penalties for a second-offense DUI can include:

  • Jail time of up to one year
  • A maximum fine of $2,500
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for five years

If your blood-alcohol content is .16 or greater, there is mandatory incarceration of at least two days and a minimum fine of $1,250

People convicted of second-time DUI may be able to get a restricted driving permit (RDP), so they can drive to work or school, to medical appointments and to alcohol treatment programs. In order to qualify for an RDP, you must have an ignition interlock device installed on your car. This device must register a reading under the legal intoxication limit in order for you to start the car. If you face a second-time DUI, we’ll examine the facts involved in your traffic stop, including how the breath test was administered and other evidence, to determine if your rights were violated and what defenses may be available.

Administrative penalties for a 2nd DUI conviction can be severe 

In addition to criminal sanctions, drivers can face administrative penalties that include:

  • Suspension of driver's license
  • Revocation of driver's license
  • Fees to reinstate driver's license
  • Suspension of vehicle registration

These penalties are coupled with high administrative fees, which add significantly to the cost of a conviction. 

All prior DUI convictions count when determining multiple offender status

Many states have DUI “look back” periods during which prior DUI convictions are counted for determining multiple offender status. So, if a person is arrested for a second time for DUI but their previous conviction was outside the look back period, that case would be sentenced as if it is a first-time DUI. In Illinois, however, all DUI convictions permanently remain on driving records and are considered in sentencing when it comes to jail time and fines in subsequent drunk-driving cases. For driver’s license suspensions, there is a look back period of 20 years. If your second DUI is outside of this 20-year period, the length of license suspension would be based on the first-offense standard. 

Will I lose my license if I’m arrested for DUI?

As long as you submit to a chemical test of your blood alcohol level, you will not automatically lose your license due to an arrest. However, if you are convicted of DUI for the second time, you can expect to lose your license for at least one year. If you refused the breath test, that suspension will be extended to three years.

Potential aggravating factors in a second DUI case

There are aggravating factors in a second DUI that can elevate misdemeanor charges to a felony level with greatly increased penalties. These factors include:

  • Driving with a child under 16 years old
  • Injury to a child under 16 years old 
  • DUI resulting in a death
  • Driving a school bus
  • Driving passengers in a vehicle for hire
  • Driving on a revoked or suspended license

No matter your situation, we will carefully investigate all the circumstances in your case and seek the best outcome possible given the circumstances.

How to Beat a 2nd DUI in Illinois

Depending on the facts of your case, you may have viable defenses to the DUI charge, based on procedural violations of your rights or errors in breath testing. An experienced DUI lawyer can challenge the following:

  • The traffic stop — Unless the stop was part of an established DUI checkpoint, officers must have reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle. 
  • The arrest — Officers cannot make a DUI arrest without probable cause to believe a driver is under the influence. Certain types of field sobriety tests to establish probable cause are not accepted in court. 
  • Challenge breath test results — Equipment that has not been maintained properly can render inaccurate readings. Tests that are poorly administered can give skewed results as well.

Do not assume your case is unwinnable Immediately consult a knowledgeable DUI attorney at our firm.

Contact our Bridgeview law firm for assistance when you’ve been arrested for DUI

Skinner Law Firm, P.C. in Bridgeview skillfully defends Illinois residents who have been arrested for driving under the influence, including motorists facing enhanced second-offense punishment. To schedule a free consultation, call our firm at 312-635-6459 or contact us online.

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