What Happens When You Get a DUI Charge and It’s Your Third One?

Getting a single DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge is a difficult thing to deal with. Not only do you have to deal with the personal consequences of this action if you were indeed guilty of a DUI, but you also have to grapple with the fact that if you do go to court, you are more likely than not going to face some sort of charges. The conviction rates for a DUI vary, but in general, states’ conviction rates vary from 60 percent to as high as 90 percent. A conviction becomes that much more likely if you have multiple DUI charges. What exactly, however, happens when you hit your third DUI charge?

What happens when you hit your third DUI charge?

There are a lot of extra hurdles that one must know in the case of a third DUI charge. To be clear, in order to be charged with a DUI, the driver must be operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, although in the event that it is a minor who is behind the wheel, they are not allowed to have even a degree of BAC, as Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to minors and DUI. Not that you should be planning to deal with a third DUI charge, mind you, but as noted above, some states have a lower rate of convictions than others. Sometimes a DUI charge can be the product of simple incompetence or otherwise an honest mistake by the police; however, once you are on your third DUI charge, the court is going to be less likely to entertain the notion that this was an unfortunate mistake or incompetence and will be more inclined to believe that this is yet another instance. However, regardless of whether they have these inclinations or not, the important thing to remember is that no matter how many times you are charged with a DUI, there still needs to be a burden of proof met by the prosecutor in order to bring these charges to court. Merely having a record does not allow them to just assume guilt; after all, what if a cop with a grudge wants to pin a DUI charge on you, knowing your record? It’s not very likely, but it’s still a possibility, and part of why we as a society put the burden of proof so high for prosecutors. Of course, that is not the only thing that matters when it comes to a person dealing with repeat DUI charges. For example, the bail amount may be much higher than if you had no priors, as the number of charges can imply that you have not learned from your prior convictions and thus pose at least some form of risk if left to your own devices. Some states have stricter DUI laws than others, and Illinois is notably strict, so getting even one DUI charge is an unfortunate kind of charge to have to face. Illinois is notably strict due to having fairly harsh punishments for even a single DUI charge. Even this single DUI charge can result in a year of jail, fines, and loss of driving privileges. The first DUI charge will be a misdemeanor, though subsequent charges may prove to be more devastating. However, regardless of whether this is your first charge or not, there may be aggravating circumstances that make the charges more severe than they normally would be. Examples of these kinds of aggravating circumstances include driving without a license or insurance, driving with a suspended license, causing injury or death, and of course, the number of prior DUI violations you have incurred. Any one of these, though especially the latter two, may see you charged with a felony rather than a misdemeanor. Three DUIs, however, is a mandatory felony. A third DUI is classified as a Class 2 felony, which can vary in severity depending on the circumstances. Without these aggravating circumstances, you can expect to receive 3-7 years of prison time. With these circumstances, however, you run the risk of facing 7-14 years in prison. Some aggravating circumstances are greater than others; obviously, causing someone’s death will see harsher sentencing from the judge than if you don’t have your insurance and license on you while you were driving under the influence. The level of BAC in your system will also determine other factors; for instance, if your BAC is 0.16% or more, you may be fined at least $2,500. On the other hand, if you are driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle, you may face a minimum fine of $25,000. Another punishment is a suspended license for 10 years; after this time period is over, you can apply for a Restricted Driving Permit, which must be used for five years in a limited capacity before you can regain normal driving privileges. You can only have this permit in the event that you have installed an Ignition Interlock Device, which only allows your vehicle to start after a successful breathalyzer test. These are but some of the dui penalties one may face.

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