If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you may be facing a number of penalties if convicted. DUI charges are a serious matter, and defending against such a charge should only be handled by an experienced attorney. Dolci & Weiland's team of criminal defense lawyers are dedicated to helping those who face a DUI charge understand their rights and know their options.
Community Service in Illinois DUIs
Following a conviction of certain crimes, a court has the option to impose community service as a condition of probation. This purpose behind the punishment is two-fold; it not only provides free assistance to locals in the area but instills morals and responsibility in those who have committed a crime. Community service is often offered as an alternative to jail-time for individuals who are facing conviction of a crime.
DUI Convictions Resulting in Community Service
In Illinois, second-time DUI offenders face the possibility of community service upon conviction, as second-offense convictions carry a punishment of a mandatory minimum jail time of 5 days or 240 hours of community service along with the suspension of one's driving privileges.
No matter the number of prior convictions, a person can face community service as a punishment for conviction of driving under the influence if the person was driving under the influence of alcohol while transporting a minor under the age of sixteen. Community service imposed for this charge must be completed at an organization which benefits children.
Those who face aggravated DUI convictions face a minimum of 480 hours of community service or a minimum of 10 days in jail. Examples of aggravated DUI charges include:
- Third or subsequent DUI;
- DUI resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement;
- Second or subsequent DUI while carrying a minor under the age of 16;
- Driving under the influence in a school zone and causing a serious accident;
- Driving under the influence without a license or registration; and
- DUI resulting in death.
With these forms of DUI charges, the imposition of community service is mandatory; it cannot be waived, no matter the commitments that you might have--such as a job or a child to raise--which would get in the way of completing your community service hours.
Ways to Serve Community Service in Illinois
If you have been sentenced to court-ordered community service in Illinois following a conviction of driving under the influence, there are several steps which should be taken to complete the process.
Find your Organization
Most organizations which qualify for service hours are government-run agencies or non-profit organizations, which operate to provide social services to the community without generating income. Activities which can qualify for community service participation include:
- Volunteering at a food bank
- Assisting a church
- Giving meals at a soup kitchen
- Working at a public library
- Volunteering at a non-profit thrift store
- Cleaning up a public park
- Cleaning roads and highways
- Assisting disaster relief programs like the Red Cross
- Delivering meals to the elderly
- Working at animal shelters or humane societies
Secure Your Community Service Location
After you've chosen the organization for which you want to volunteer, it's important to contact the organization as soon as possible to lock in your community service. Be sure to act fast when choosing a community service site; not all organizations will accept volunteers, and some organizations require you to go through a screening process to ensure that you qualify to volunteer. As community service hours have a deadline for completion, it's important to give yourself time to find a backup plan in the event your chosen organization does not work out.
Complete Your Community Service Hours
Once you have selected an organization with which to complete your community service hours, it's important to complete your hours within the required amount of time. Community service hours must be completed in person; although some organizations have online options for service, online community service does not count toward court-ordered requirements.
In Illinois, court-ordered community service is not mandatory and must be completed within a specific amount of time. Failing to complete the required number of community service hours can result in a hefty fine, or even jail time, as community service is often the alternative to an imposition of a jail sentence in a DUI case. Therefore, it's important to complete your community service hours within the required timeframe; these hours aren't optional.
Obtain a Letter of Verification of Completion
Once you have completed your required community service hours, it's critical to ask for a verification letter from the organization. This letter will state the contact for the agency, along with the type of work that you completed while volunteering and the number of hours of community service performed.
How Community Service is Monitored
Simply telling the Court that you finished your service hours isn't sufficient; in order to ensure that individuals are being truthful about the number of community service hours completed, your hours will be tracked by government staff to ensure that your hours are completed.
In a Bind? We're Here to Help
If you've been charged with driving under the influence in the state of Illinois, it's important to see the assistance of an attorney who knows the ins and outs of defending against alcohol-related charges. Don't try to take on your charge alone; instead, entrust your case to a team of attorneys who are dedicated to facing your charge head-on and fighting with you. To speak to a member of our legal team about your charge, fill out an online case evaluation form or contact the office closest to you today; for our DuPage location, call (630) 261-9098, or for our downtown Chicago office call (312) 238-9007.