A tenured professor at Northern Illinois University was recently convicted at trial of her third DUI offense. The incident happened on April 2, 2017, when the woman's second DUI case was still pending.
Law enforcement officers report that the professor's child was in her vehicle when she was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. The 44-year-old woman faces a minimum of six months in jail along with 400 hours of community service. The penalties are aggravated because she had her seven-year-old daughter in her car at the time of her arrest.
The professor was previously convicted of drunk driving in Jan. 2015. For that offense, she was sentenced to 18 months of court supervision, alcohol treatment classes and 100 hours of community service. She was convicted of her second DUI offense in Oct. 2017. For that conviction, she was sentenced to serve two days in jail, alcohol treatment, 18 months of conditional discharge and 240 hours of community service. The prosecuting attorneys for her most recent conviction said that the professor might receive additional penalties in addition to the jail time and community service. They stated that she could also be sentenced to conditional discharge, an alcohol evaluation and treatment and probation.
People who are facing DUI charges and who have prior convictions might want to get help from an experienced DUI defense attorney. As the professor's case demonstrates, the potential penalties for drunk driving convictions become more severe with each successive conviction. An experienced attorney may be able to identify problems with the manner in which the police conducted the stop, the roadsides and the breathalyzer test. If they find problems, the attorneys may file evidentiary motions in an effort to seek the suppression of the evidence. In other cases, the attorneys might negotiate pleas to lesser offenses.