Former Chicago Bears coach’s son pleads guilty to DUI, avoids jail

Albert L. Wysocki, A Professional Corporation

It was reported last week that Mark Ditka, the son of former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, has decided to plead guilty to drunk driving and possessing a controlled substance in order to avoid having his case go to trial. By pleading guilty to the charges, Ditka will avoid a potentially lengthy prison sentence that could have resulted from having his case go to trial. However, he will face other consequences as a result of the DUI conviction.

Ditka has been arrested and accused of DUI on four separate occasions over the past few years. However, this is the first case in which Ditka will be convicted of drunk driving in Illinois. The conviction stems from charges that were filed in October 2012 when Ditka was arrested for DUI and accused of having a bottle of hydrocodone in his vehicle.

In addition to avoiding having his case go to trial, Ditka will also avoid a conviction for a previous DUI arrest. By agreeing to plead guilty to the aggravated DUI charge that was filed in October, Ditka will have a previous DUI charge dropped. As a result, the consequences were also reduced for Ditka. Instead of facing up to three years in prison, Ditka will now be on probation for 24 months.

Although Ditka is avoiding having multiple DUI convictions on his record, the penalties he now faces are still severe. In addition to probation, Ditka must also perform at least 200 hours of public service work and he will have a suspended driver’s license for three years. Ditka will not be able to go to the bar whenever he wants to. He is prohibited from spending any time in establishments that mainly sell alcohol to customers. As part of his probation, Ditka will also have a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. He will be asked to take random drug and alcohol tests.

Ditka assured the court that he will follow the terms of his probation. If Ditka violates his probation he could face other penalties in Lake County.

Facing DUI charges can be very troubling since the consequences of a conviction are often harsh. However, some consequences may be reduced or avoided when one’s case is defended in a strategic manner. For this reason, many individuals, like Ditka, choose to work with an attorney when proceeding with their DUI cases in court.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Mark Ditka pleads guilty to October DUI,” Ruth Fuller, Jan. 31, 2013

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Former Chicago Bears coach’s son pleads guilty to DUI, avoids jail