When Does a DUI Charge Become a Felony?

 Posted on April 24,2019 in DUI and Breath Alcohol Tests

Arlington Heights DUI defense lawyer One of the most common criminal charges in the United States is a DUI. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have shown that 11,000 deaths resulting from traffic accidents also involved an alcohol-impaired driver. In Illinois alone, more than 400 deaths occur each year from drunk driving. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous, and the punishment for doing so can be severe. Most DUI situations involve misdemeanor charges, but those charges can quickly escalate to felony charges under certain circumstances.

First-Offense DUI Penalties

Under Illinois law, a first offense for a DUI is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, the highest classification for a misdemeanor. If a person is convicted of DUI and has no prior DUI charges, he or she will still face up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines and up to two years of probation. Additionally, a first-time DUI offender may also be subject to mandatory minimum penalties and community service.

Aggravated DUI

In Illinois, any DUI charge that is classified as a felony charge is referred to as an aggravated DUI. With an aggravated DUI charge, any mandatory minimum prison sentence or community service cannot be suspended or reduced. If a person is sentenced to probation or conditional discharge, they also must serve at least 480 hours of community service, or they must agree to be imprisoned for ten days.

There are many different ways a DUI charge can be elevated to an aggravated DUI charge. Common aggravated DUI situations include:

  • A third or subsequent DUI (Class 2 felony)
  • DUI committed while driving a vehicle-for-hire with at least one passenger inside (Class 4 felony)
  • DUI resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement (Class 4 felony)
  • DUI committed without a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit (Class 4 felony)
  • DUI committed after a previous conviction of reckless homicide while DUI or aggravated DUI resulting in death (Class 3 felony)
  • A DUI that results in death (Class 2 felony).

A Rolling Meadows Aggravated DUI Defense Attorney Can Help

DUI charges are nothing to play around with, and if you are charged with aggravated DUI, you not only face stiffer penalties, but you also face becoming a felon. If you are facing charges for a DUI, you need immediate help from a knowledgeable Arlington Heights, IL DUI defense lawyer. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law has more than 23 years of experience working in the Illinois criminal justice system. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 847-253-3400.



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