A first or second DUI offense are typically charged as misdemeanors. However, there are numerous factors which can raise the charge to a felony, also called aggravated DUI.
The complete list of aggravating factors is found under 625 ILCS 5/11-501. For any DUI charge to reach a conviction, it must be proven that the driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or above. Alternatively, it must be proven he or she was driving with a trace amount of cannabis or other controlled substance in the body.
Below is a partial list of aggravating factors. Due to the complexity of the law and serious potential consequences, however, there is no substitute for qualified legal counsel in order to understand the charges and potential consequences of your case.
Class 4 Felonies: There are many ways a DUI can be elevated to a Class 4 felony, the lowest of felony charges. These include (1) driving a school bus with passengers under 18 years of age on board, (2) a second DUI offense where the defendant has an earlier conviction for some type of alcohol-related reckless homicide offense, (3) driving in a school zone (20 mph speed limit on a school day with children present), (4) causing an accident involving bodily harm to another, and (5) did not have a valid license or automobile insurance.
Special Class 4 Felonies: Some Class 4 felonies carry more serious punishments, including significantly extended prison sentences. These include (1) being involved in an accident resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement or (2) causing the death of another person. The sentence is extended up to 12 years if one fatality is caused and up to 28 years if more than one is caused. Importantly, the defendant must serve at least 85% of the actual sentence in prison, as opposed to the 50% time served for other felony offenses.
Class 2 Felonies: Usually DUI charges are elevated to a Class 2 felony for a third offense. Alternatively, a Class 2 felony applies if an accident ensued that caused bodily injury to an individual under the age of 16.
Class 1 Felony: These typically occur when it is the defendant’s fifth DUI offense.
Class X Felony: These typically occurs when it is the defendant’s sixth or greater DUI offense.
While the penalties for a conviction vary depending upon the exact details of a given case, there are general guidelines which apply. Class 4 felonies typically result in up to 3 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Probation in the range of 30 months is often a possibility. Class 2 felonies carry up to 7 years in prison and the same potential fine of up to $25,000. Class 1 felonies result in 4-15 years of prison time, while Class X felonies carry 6-30 years of prison time. Both can incur fines up to $25,000, and neither carries the possibility of probation.
There are a great deal of subsequent consequences for a DUI felony conviction, including suspension or revocation of driving privileges, mandatory 10 days in jail or 480 hours of community service, and requirements to carry high-risk driving insurance.
Due to the wide range of possible punishments and consequences for various DUI felony offenses, a qualified attorney can fight aggressively to ensure that your rights and freedom are upheld to the fullest extent of the law. They can also help ensure that a conviction, if reached, is minim
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