Possible Outcomes for a DUI Case

Updated on 08/10/2023 / Under

At Ktenas Law, our DuPage County DUI criminal defense attorneys have vast experience fighting for clients accused of driving under the influence in Illinois. When you hire us, we'll focus on your best interests and our experienced criminal defense lawyers will strive to protect your driving privileges.

There are several possible outcomes for a DUI case, so if you're facing a DUI charge, it's essential to have an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney examine your charges by investigating:

  • The legality of the DUI stop;
  • Whether the breathalyzer machine had malfunctioned;
  • Whether a field sobriety test was administered correctly; and
  • Whether blood or urine tests were collected properly and if these tests are reliable.

We understand that these criminal charges are serious and can have long-lasting financial and criminal consequences. So, we'll strive to achieve the best potential outcome for your situation.

If you're wondering if you need a DUI criminal defense lawyer, call our drunk driver defense team today at (312) 756-8652 for a free consultation to evaluate your legal situation.

What are the Potential Outcomes for a DUI Case in Illinois?

There are many possible outcomes in any Illinois DUI case.


The first possible outcome in an Illinois DUI case is a dismissal of the DUI criminal charge. Obviously, the most sought after outcome in any drunk driving charge is to have the DUI case dismissed. This may happen in many ways, including if the prosecutor agrees to dismiss the DUI charge because of a lack of sufficient evidence. However, this is a rare outcome, because most prosecutors, no matter how weak a DUI case is, aren't quick to dismiss a charge.

A common way an Illinois DUI case would be dismissed is after a motion hearing before the criminal court. Often, motions to dismiss drunk driving charges are based on a lack of evidence, lapse of statutes of limitations, violations of speedy trial rights, prosecutorial misconduct, or a variety of state and/or federal Constitutional violations.

A man meeting with a DUI defense attorney.

Finally, driving under the influence case can be dismissed by a judge or a jury after a jury trial in a bench trial. This kind of “dismissal” is known as an “acquittal.” An acquittal occurs when a person accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is found “not guilty” of the DUI criminal offense.


The second possible outcome in a drunk driving case is a negotiated settlement between the state and the defendant. This is the most common outcome of a DUI case in Illinois. Most DUI cases that start off as a drunk driving charge are resolved by an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant. This is called a “plea bargain”.

Such an outcome occurs after your DUI criminal defense attorney negotiates your DUI case with a prosecutor based on the strengths of your DUI case and the weaknesses in the State’s case. A plea bargain settlement allows for a result other than a DUI conviction and it keeps the outcome within the hands of the defendant. In Illinois, a DUI charge can be reduced to a reckless driving charge, which carries a lesser sentence. 


The third potential outcome in a drunken driving case is a finding of “guilty” of the DUI criminal offense. There are two ways whereby a person facing an Illinois DUI charge can be found guilty of the allegation. The first is by pleading guilty to the driving under the influence charge at some point in the legal process. The other way to be found guilty of a DUI charge is to be found guilty after a DUI trial.

Because of the negative outcome a DUI arrest and/or drunk driving conviction can have, it's essential that a person charged with DUI in Illinois immediately hires an attorney with experience in DUI matters. Often, a qualified Chicago DUI lawyer can significantly reduce the impact that a drunk driving charge can have on your life. The right DUI criminal defense attorney is worth it because they can protect your rights, freedom, and future.

Alex Ktenas, Chicago DUI lawyer

The experienced DUI criminal defense attorneys that make up our litigation team are dedicated to defending those accused of drunk driving. They have the decades of experience and resources needed to defend your DUI case successfully. Unlike other criminal defense law firms that practice in many areas of the law, at Ktenas Law we focus on criminal defense representation with an emphasis on DUI defense in Cook and DuPage counties.

What are the Criminal Penalties for a First DUI?

In Illinois, a first-time DUI conviction is a class A misdemeanor and a DUI conviction carries harsh penalties, including:

  • A maximum prison sentence of 364 days in jail, and
  • Six months in jail if the DUI offender was transporting a passenger under the age of 16 years in their motor vehicle.

A first-time DUI offender is subject to the following fines after a first- DUI conviction:

  • A maximum fine of $2,500
  • A minimum fine of $500 if the DUI offender's blood alcohol content was 0.16% or higher, and
  • A minimum fine of $1,000 if the person was transporting a minor in their car.

A first DUI offender may also face community service for the first DUI conviction in the following circumstances:

  • A defendant whose blood alcohol concentration was 0.16% or higher must complete a minimum of 100 hours of community service, and
  • A DUI offender who had a child passenger in his or her car must complete 25 days of community service in a program that's beneficial for children.

Besides the statutory summary suspension mentioned above, a defendant convicted of driving under influence for the first time is subject to license suspension for one year. Any time the driver's license was administratively suspended is credited towards the one-year license suspension period.

The DUI offender may apply for a hardship license or restricted driving permit (RDP) to drive to school, medical appointments, work, and alcohol/drug treatment. Sometimes, a person with a restricted driving permit can drive the elderly, children, and disabled persons. If your driver's license has been suspended because of a first DUI conviction and a statutory summary suspension, you must install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your vehicle for the duration of the RDP.

Further, all drunk driving offenders must complete an alcohol or drug evaluation program to establish if they have a substance abuse problem. If you have a substance abuse problem, you must undergo recommended alcohol and drug treatment. 

What are the Consequences of Being Charged with a DUI in Illinois?

Drunk driving criminal convictions have severe consequences, and some can linger for years. Many people are aware of the short-term consequences of DUI convictions, including hefty fines and legal fees, temporary driver’s license suspension, court-ordered community service, high insurance premiums, participation in DUI education programs, and even jail time. 

Possible outcomes for a DUI case

Having a drunk driving charge or conviction on your driving record can have many consequences:

  • Auto insurance rates. Often, car insurance companies raise rates or terminate insurance coverage to drivers they deem as “high risk."
  • Background checks. It's common for employers to run criminal background checks on job applicants. These checks can prevent you from being considered for a job or promotion.
  • Driver's license revocation. After a DUI arrest, your driver's license can be suspended for two years or it can be revoked indefinitely.
  • Employment. If you're a commercial driver and your job requires you to drive, a drunk driving charge can cause your employer to fire you.
  • Education. You may be disqualified from receiving certain scholarships or rejected by certain schools or programs after a DUI conviction.

Should I Plead Guilty to a DUI?

Sometimes a DUI offender may choose to plead guilty to the drunk driving charges instead of going to trial. Even though this may be an effective legal option for some DUI cases, it's essential to speak with an experienced DUI criminal defense lawyer before pleading guilty.

A skilled DuPage County DUI criminal defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to seek an optimal outcome for your case. Even though you think that you're guilty, an experienced lawyer can review your alcohol-impaired driving case and make sure that your rights aren't violated. 

So, don't plead guilty unless you have spoken with an experienced attorney who can review the facts of your case. If you don't want to plead guilty, you need an experienced drunk driving defense team to guide you through the criminal court process.

At Ktenas Law, our legal team will look out for your best interests and we'll protect your rights throughout the legal process.

If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge in DuPage County, Cook County, or anywhere in Illinois, you deserve the help of a reputable Chicago DUI attorney who will fiercely defend your case. You deserve a Chicago DUI lawyer who has a thorough understanding of Illinois DUI laws and the defenses that could win your case.

You deserve a DUI criminal defense attorney who isn't afraid to stand up against the prosecution and fight for your interests. The experienced DUI criminal defense lawyers at Ktenas Law are ready to defend you. For a free initial consultation, call our criminal defense law firm today at (312) 756-8652