A 34-year-old Lake in the Hills woman has been sober since being arrested three times in 19 days for DUI in July 2013, and she's attending AA meetings, earning her bachelor's degree, regaining custody of her daughter and getting remarried.
But Tiara Norris still could be sentenced to prison Thursday if a Kane County judge determines she's had five overall DUI arrests.
"I take full responsibility for the atrocious mistake I made the night of July 29, 2013," a tearful Norris told Judge David Kliment on Tuesday during a sentencing hearing. "I gave up on life. I had no will to live and turned to alcohol. I thank God every day I didn't kill or hurt anyone."
Norris had two previous DUI arrests from 2010 and 2012 when she was arrested on July 10, 2013, in Gilberts, according to court records and prosecutors. A breath test registered a .32 blood-alcohol concentration; the legal threshold is .08.
Norris was arrested and charged with DUI on July 23 in Gilberts after she was found slumped over the steering wheel with the engine running in a ditch and a half-full vodka bottle in the front seat. In her final arrest on July 29, Norris drove through a homeowner's lawn in Elgin, tried to get into the house through the front door and had a BAC of .276.
Norris pleaded guilty earlier this year to felony aggravated DUI and driving with a suspended license.
"What we cannot risk is three DUIs in the span of 19 days," Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Bradley Melzer said, arguing for a five-year prison term.
Norris' attorney, Thomas Glasgow, argued that probation was appropriate for his client, who he noted has been sober since her arrest and has not had a violation of her alcohol monitoring anklet.
Norris was reeling after learning her husband had been having multiple affairs during their marriage, but has since turned her life around, according to testimony by Norris, Norris's aunt, her new husband, and her Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor.
Kliment must determine if Norris' plea equates to five overall DUI convictions and arrests. If so, Norris faces four to 15 years in prison. If Kliment finds she had four DUI arrests, she faces a punishment of probation up to seven years prison.
Kliment will issue his ruling and sentence on Thursday; Norris spent a little over a month in jail before posting bond and entering rehab.