How Does Sentencing Work In Illinois If One Is Found Guilty Of A Crime?
By Dan Noll on January 29th, 2014 in
Dan Stratford: If one is found guilty of DUI or for that matter, I guess, any kind of criminal case, how does sentencing work in Illinois?
Dan Noll: That’s a great question, Dan, because in any criminal case there’s really two steps. Step number one is what we call the guilt phase. If a person is found Not Guilty they walk out of that courtroom with no sentence. But for purposes of your question, let’s assume that somebody is found guilty or they pled guilty 90-95% of criminal cases are dealt with by what’s known as a negotiated plea. That means that the accused knows exactly what they’re going to get. For example, on a speeding ticket you know you’re going to get a $235.00 fine and court supervision. But there are also times when the state’s offer is unacceptable to a client and we think we can get a better disposition from the judge. We do it all the time.
For example, I had a gentlemen who had gotten two DUIs within three weeks of each other, both with crashes and his blood alcohol content was about .25 for each one. We were able to negotiate with the States Attorney’s Office to dismiss one and he would plead open on the other DUI. Pleading open, what that means is the Judge can sentence him to any potential penalty that the offense requires, so in terms of a DUI on a misdemeanor, that could be anywhere between zero days in jail to 364 days in jail. The State’s offer was 30 days in jail and the way we had worked out the case and worked it up was we told the Judge that he was eligible for supervision, and that we thought supervision would be appropriate; the State wanted him to have a conviction which would have revoked his license.
Ultimately, during his sentencing phase, we were able to convince the judge to give him supervision and he’s still driving today even with two DUIs and two crashes. So, in sentencing, our office has been told numerous times by numerous judges all over Macon County; I was in a sentencing in Carlinville, Illinois about two weeks ago and the court has often commented to myself, Daniel Noll, and my legal partner and father, John Noll, that our office is the best at criminal sentencing that they have ever seen. So a lot of times we are able to minimize the potential penalty that a person gets through our approach at sentencing.