Unfortunately, we all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect after all. However, one mistake that can be quite costly is to drink and drive. If you are out with a few friends, it can be very easy to lose track of how much you’ve had to drink and end up behind the wheel when you shouldn’t.
Hopefully, if this happens to you then the only thing that happens is that you get caught and get a DUI and nobody gets hurt, or worse. What happens when you get a DUI? Well, it all depends on the state in which it happens. You can expect certain things to be universal like losing your license but each state has its own laws.
To give you an idea of what to expect, we will use Illinois as an example and go over the DUI laws there.
What happens to first time offenders?
Just like in any state, you may be pulled over while driving simply by giving an officer the impression that you may be impaired. Once pulled over you will be asked to do a sobriety test. In Illinois, if you refuse to do the breathalyzer test, then you will likely be arrested and brought in to the local police station.
You can refuse the breathalyzer on the road without consequence as they are very unreliable and the results can’t be used in court as a result. However, back at the station, the breathalyzer is more reliable and you have to submit to that, or refuse and get a court date set for a DUI.
At this point, you will need to have an Illinois DUI attorney on your side because it will get very complicated from here.
Your court date is set
Now that you’re charged with a DUI you will get a court date for up to 46 days in the future. During this period, you can still drive your car if your license was valid at the time you were stopped.
If your date is set for more than 46 days later, then you will have your license automatically revoked at midnight on the 46th day.
During this time a lawyer can petition the court to not suspend your license but it will require a court date before the one that is already set. This isn’t likely to happen unless there are some extraneous circumstances.
What happens at court?
You will probably have multiple court dates, but the first one is where discovery happens and your lawyer will get all of the evidence. It is also during this time that your lawyer can ask that your license be reinstated while you await your next court date. Some judges may agree when this is your first time offense.
You may be given the offer of supervision for a specified period of time at this point. This is similar to a continuance without a finding which means you won’t have a conviction and may be able to keep your license. It does go on your record, however and if you reoffend in the time frame then you will end up with it becoming a conviction.