Can First Offenders Expect to Receive Some Leniency in a Drug-Related DUI Case?
Interviewer: Is there going to be any sort of leniency towards first time offenders that receive a drug-related DUI?
Jerry Novak: I think leniency is a difficult word to define, because it depends on who happens to be meting out the punishment.
The Court Will Request a Copy of Your Court Purposes Abstract or Driving Record
I think a better way to describe this is how can a first offender minimize the effects of this DUI case? The court does take the fact that you’re a first offender into account. The first thing the court wants to see is a copy of your court purposes abstract, which is your driving record.
I use the phrase court purposes abstract, because there are a variety of different driving records available. It’s like going to Baskin Robbins, and you walk in and say, “I want ice cream.” You only have a one in thirty-three shot of getting the right ice cream, or the right flavor you want.
You May Be Asked to Undergo a DUI Evaluation
It’s very important to identify the exact record the court will want to see, and that is referred to as a court purposes abstract. They want to see the abstract. They’ll, also, want you to participate in something called a DUI evaluation, and that’s a two part assessment where an evaluator will have an oral interview with you, and ask you subjective, open ended questions.
Then they’ll be a portion that is an objective test. In grading the tests, a number will come up, and the combination of your oral interview and the objective questions will lead the evaluator to assess what level of alcohol and drug education would be recommended, and what level of alcohol counseling and or drug counseling you may need.
The Evaluation Recommends the Amount of Education and Counseling You Would Benefit from to Avoid Re-Offending
The court looks at that evaluation, which will indicate you were graded as one out of five levels. There’s level one, minimal risk, which is simply the participation in ten hours of alcohol or drug education.
There’s level two, moderate risk, which starts out with that ten hours that I just described, and then they add twelve hours of counseling. There’s level two, significant risk, which is, again, that ten hours I’ve been referring to, followed by twenty hours of counseling.
There’s level three, high risk, which is ten hours of education, plus seventy-five hours of counseling. There’s level three, high risk dependent, which usually is the recommendation to have what they call rehabilitative confinement, which is a nice way of saying a thirty day inpatient program.
Depending on Your Driving History, the Evaluation and the Facts of the Case, You May Be Permitted Entry into a Court Supervision Program
The judge will look at your driving record, will look at your alcohol evaluation or assessment, and then look at the facts surrounding this particular case. Depending upon all those factors, as your attorney, I may be able to qualify you into a special program called court supervision.
Court supervision in Illinois is an opportunity to either plead guilty of an offense, or go to trial, and if you are found guilty of the offense, avoid a conviction.
In Court Supervision You Will Enter a Plea of Guilty but It Does Not Entail a Conviction
With court supervision, you plead guilty or you’re found guilty. It’s not a conviction if you pay a fine. You pay your court costs. You complete the DUI evaluation. You complete the DUI education and DUI counseling. You’d also be required to attend a victim impact panel, which is basically a two hour lecture.
Finally, you must not re-offend within a set period of time; typically, it’s about one year.
If the year goes by and you’ve paid the fines and costs, you’ve completed the alcohol education and counseling, you’ve attended your victim impact panel, and there are no new offenses during that period, at your termination date, the case is dismissed.
Employers and Insurance Companies Will Not Have Access to the Offense
The offense will not be placed on your public driving record. Your public driving record is what the insurance companies get, and generally what employers look at. The program is a great opportunity to keep it off your public record.
Can You Have a Drug-Related DUI Expunged after Court Supervision?
Interviewer: From there, would I be able to get it expunged?
Jerry Novak: Unfortunately, I guess the short answer is not really, because, remember, it’s not on your public record, so there’s nothing to take off of your public record.
The Offense Cannot Be Expunged from the Court Purposes Abstract
Remember, earlier we talked about that court purposes abstract. It is on your court purposes abstract. Unfortunately, that is not something that can be expunged, because here in Illinois, you can only petition the court for court supervision for a DUI offense one time in your entire lifetime, so they have to write it down somewhere.
If you got a second DUI, and it wasn’t written down somewhere, you could go from county to county getting your first offender outcome, when you would be a second or third offender. They have to record it somewhere.