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What will make a Chicago DUI a felony charge?

Driving under the influence of anything in Chicago results in an arrest and a DUI charge. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in the past, you might be familiar with the process if it happens to you a second time. You might also know the second time you’re arrested and charged with a DUI the penalties are more serious. Illinois laws allow a judge to impose harsher penalties on anyone guilty of subsequent DUI charges, and they get harsher with each arrest until a judge decides you’re no longer going to have a driver’s license reissued to you.

Most of the DUI arrests made in Chicago are misdemeanors. This means you are facing serious penalties, but you won’t be considered a convicted felon. These penalties are less serious, they are less worrisome, but they are still unwanted and not worth it in any case. Sometimes, however, a DUI stop turns into a felony case in Chicago, and you should know what might make it a felony case.

Misdemeanor DUI Charges

When you are pulled over and arrested for a DUI in Chicago, it’s a Class A misdemeanor if it is your first arrest. You face minimal jail time, small fines, some community service hours, and a few other penalties. This includes mandatory alcohol treatment, and you must drive your car with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed for a predetermined amount of time.

An IID is simple. It’s a device that prevents your vehicle from starting if you do not blow into it prior to starting the car. If your breath registers any alcohol on it, your car will not start at all. It’s how the state keeps drunk drivers off the road when they are learning a lesson following a DUI.

If you are arrested a second time for a DUI in Illinois, it’s still a misdemeanor charge. However, the third time is not the charm when it pertains to DUI arrests in Illinois. The third time is the time you get in the most trouble. This arrest is one you don’t want to worry about, and that’s because it turns into a felony arrest.

Other Situations that Might Turn into A Felony DUI

Chicago law recognizes aggravating factors in a DUI case. For example, the legal limit is .08 percent in Illinois. However, it’s considered an aggravated charge if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is higher than .15 percent. This is double the legal limit, and it’s exceptionally more dangerous. Now you’re facing a felony charge of DUI whether this is your first or your third time being arrested for the same crime.

You might also find an aggravated charge added to your arrest if you were caught driving recklessly or speeding while under the influence. This might include surpassing the speed limit a little or significantly, and it might include racing, tailgating, or illegally passing others on the road while under the influence. Another way you might aggravate your charges is having a minor child present in the car while you’re under the influence.

If you cause an accident in which someone is injured or dies from their injuries, your arrest is automatically a felony arrest. You don’t get a second chance, and it doesn’t matter what your BAC was if it’s over the legal limit. It also no longer matters how many times you have or have not been arrested in the past for a DUI. You might also face a felony charge if you are stopped driving without a license and you are then arrested for DUI.

– Driving a school bus with anyone younger than 18 on board
– Driving a car for hire with a passenger
– Driving without liability insurance
– Driving in an active school zone
– Leaving the scene of an accident

If you are guilty of any of these offenses, your DUI is going to become a felony offense. The dangers of a felony crime are numerous. You go to jail, your record forever has this felony charge on it, and you might not be able to get a good job if you are a felon. If you have any state-issued license to work, you might lose that license if you are arrested and charged with a DUI. This includes doctors, nurses, teachers, and many more.

Call an attorney if you are arrested and charged with a felony DUI offense. There is nothing your attorney can do for you if you don’t utilize your right to an attorney. Your attorney can help you understand the penalties you’re facing as well as come up with a plan of action to help you with your case if you choose to plead not guilty. An attorney can advise you and walk you through each situation as it is presented in a DUI arrest.