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waukegan defense lawyerMake no mistake - even a first DUI is serious business in Illinois. But a second, third, or subsequent DUI is even more so. On a first DUI, some defendants are able to take a plea deal and complete a period of court supervision to avoid a finding of guilt and harsh criminal penalties. This is no longer an option after the first DUI - this time, you would be facing a conviction, a criminal record, and potentially harsh penalties. If you have been charged with a DUI, and it is not the first time, it is critical that you be represented by a strong legal advocate. When your freedom, driving privileges, and future prospects are at stake, this is no time to take chances. 

What are the Penalties for a Second DUI? 

A second DUI is still a misdemeanor, but the penalties are harsher. You could face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. But those are just the basics. Your license will be revoked for at least a year, possibly three years if your first DUI was within the last five years, and you will have to appear at a hearing before the Secretary of State’s office before you will be eligible for even a hardship permit. 

On a second DUI, the court is likely to impose additional requirements. You could be ordered to perform time-consuming community service or attend substance abuse treatment if the court feels that you need it. If you caused an accident or hurt someone, there will be additional penalties. While the court may be understanding of a first and only DUI, it will not be so understanding of a second. 


arlington heights criminal defense lawyerIn Illinois, after you have plead guilty to a crime or been convicted at trial, what is known as the sentencing phase of your case begins. During sentencing, the court will look over the facts and circumstances surrounding your crime and decide what sentence is appropriate. “Mitigating factors” are circumstances that suggest a crime was not as serious as the charge implies or a harsh sentence is not warranted.  When successfully argued, these factors may lead to a lighter sentence. If you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges, it is important that you work with an experienced attorney who can present any mitigating factors that may help you avoid harsh sentencing. 

Examples of Mitigating Factors in Illinois

During sentencing, the prosecutor will present any aggravating factors - circumstances that make the crime more serious. Your attorney will then have the opportunity to present mitigating factors. When present, mitigating factors can influence the court to reduce your sentence. In some cases, substantial mitigating factors can lead to the court reducing jail time or ordering probation, treatment, or other sentences that do not include incarceration. Mitigating factors in Illinois include: 

  • No Criminal History - If the defendant has no other criminal charges on his or her record, this may help him or her avoid harsher criminal penalties. 


arlington heights criminal defense lawyerIn Illinois, once you have plead guilty to or been convicted of a crime, the case moves into the sentencing phase. During the sentencing phase, the prosecution will have the opportunity to present what are called “aggravating factors.” Aggravating factors are circumstances that make the crime more serious and may cause a judge to issue a harsher sentence. If you are facing the possibility of a felony or misdemeanor conviction where aggravating factors may be present, you will need an experienced attorney to give you the best chance at avoiding harsh sentencing. 

Examples of Aggravating Factors 

For each criminal charge, there are factors that are not needed to secure a conviction but do make the courts consider a given crime more serious. The more aggravating factors that are present, the harsher a sentence the judge may issue. Some common aggravating factors include: 

  • Vulnerable Victim - Crimes against a victim who was particularly vulnerable are considered especially serious in Illinois. Vulnerable victims include elderly people, disabled individuals, or children


Assault and battery are two separate crimes in Illinois, although they are often charged together. In short, battery is making physical contact with someone in a way that causes harm to them or is insulting and designed to provoke them. Assault is causing someone to believe that you are about to batter them. 

Either can be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor depending on the level of harm caused or the presence of aggravating factors, such as the use of a firearm. If you have been charged with any form of battery or assault, you will need a skilled criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and fight to minimize any consequences. 

Understanding the Difference Between Assault and Battery

Often, a person is charged with both assault and battery. However, the two legal terms mean different things and can be charged separately as well. If you have been charged with one or the other - or both - you may be having trouble understanding what each means. Here are some reasons each may or may not be charged: 


arlington heights DUI lawyerGetting pulled over by Illinois state or local police can be a scary and unpleasant experience, and this is especially true if an officer suspects you of driving under the influence. It can be difficult in the heat of the moment to remember or understand your rights, and you may reasonably wonder: Can I refuse a breathalyzer or sobriety test if I’ve been pulled over? 

What is Implied Consent? 

Different states have different laws addressing requirements and consequences for people suspected of driving under the influence. Illinois is called an “implied consent” state, which means that when you got your driver’s license, you agreed you would consent to give an officer a blood or breath sample to assess your blood alcohol content during a lawful request. 

However, implied consent is not the same thing as actual consent. To begin with, the implied consent law only applies after you have been arrested on suspicion of a DUI. You do not face any consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test prior to an arrest, even if a police officer says otherwise.