Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Illinois, and can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. In Illinois, felony DUI is also known as aggravated DUI. The seriousness of a conviction for aggravated DUI cannot be understated; a conviction could result in lengthy prison terms and high fines.
The Law in Illinois
Under the Illinois law, 625 ILCS 5/11-501, anyone who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is guilty of a DUI. There are certain situations in which a DUI can be upgraded and classified as an aggravated DUI. These are:
- The arrest is for a third or subsequent DUI;
- The DUI offense was committed while the driver was driving a school bus with one or more passengers;
- The driver driving under the influence is involved in a car accident, as a result of being under the influence, where another person is disfigured, suffers a permanent disability or great bodily harm;
- The driver has a prior conviction for involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide;
- The driver was speeding through a school zone while under the influence, and there was an accident involving great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement;
- The driver of a car, a snowmobile, an ATV, or watercraft is involved in an accident that results in death, and is caused because the driver was under the influence;
- The driver is arrested for a DUI while his driving privileges are revoked or suspended due to previous convictions for certain offenses including prior DUI convictions;
- The driver committed the DUI offense while driving without a license or permit or on a restricted license;
- The driver was driving uninsured;
- If a child under the age of 16 was harmed in a car accident caused by the driver being under the influence;
- The driver is arrested for a second DUI while driving a person under the age of 16 as a passenger; or
- The driver was driving a vehicle for hire with one or more passengers.
Penalties for Aggravated DUI
The penalties for an aggravated DUI vary according to the felony class the particular offence falls into. Prison terms for an aggravated DUI can be anywhere from 90 days to 28 years in prison. For example a third DUI is classified as a class 2 felony, and is punishable by 90 days in prison.
Additionally, there are fines imposed as part of the sentence, and these can also vary according to the classification of the felony. Fines can range from $2,500 to $25,000. In addition, community service may be ordered. Conviction for an aggravated DUI could also lead to suspension or revocation of driving privileges. In the case of a third DUI, a driver loses driving privileges for 10 years.
In some cases, a driver convicted of an aggravated DUI may be sentenced to probation or supervision.
Chicago DUI Defense
An arrest for a felony DUI can be distressing, and without the right information and support, you can easily feel overwhelmed. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI, contact experienced Chicago DUI attorney, Steven Goldman, immediately for a strong zealous defense.