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When Can Drunk Driving Lead to Felony DUI Charges in Illinois?

 Posted on June 15, 2023 in DUI Law

DuPage County aggravated DUI defense lawyerDriving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense in Illinois. DUI charges can lead to severe consequences such as driver's license suspension or revocation, thousands of dollars in fines, and jail time. While all DUI charges should be taken seriously, those who are arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving should be aware of when they could potentially be charged with a felony. A conviction on felony DUI charges will usually result in a prison sentence of at least one year, as well as other penalties. Anyone who could potentially face felony charges related to drunk driving will need to understand their options for defense.

Aggravated DUI Charges in Illinois

If a drunk driving offense will result in felony charges, it is known as aggravated DUI. An offense may be charged as a felony if aggravating factors were involved in the case or if a person had multiple previous DUI convictions. Some of the most common situations where intoxicated driving may result in felony charges include:

  • Third or subsequent DUI conviction - While a first-time DUI or a second DUI will usually be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, any subsequent DUIs will be charged as felonies. A third or fourth DUI is a Class 2 felony, which has a minimum prison sentence of three years and a maximum of seven years. A fifth DUI is a Class 1 felony, which carries a sentence of four to 15 years. A sixth DUI or any subsequent DUI convictions may result in Class X felony charges, and a person may be sentenced to six to 30 years in prison.

  • DUI resulting in injury - If a person was driving while intoxicated and was responsible for causing an accident, they may face felony charges if someone else involved in the accident suffered severe injuries that placed their life at risk, led to permanent disabilities, or caused disfigurement. In these cases, a person may be charged with a Class 4 felony, and if convicted, they could be sentenced to one to three years in prison.

  • DUI resulting in death - This offense is sometimes known as vehicular manslaughter or reckless homicide. If someone was killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver, the driver may be charged with a Class 2 felony.

  • DUI with a suspended or revoked license - If a person is charged with driving while intoxicated when they did not have a valid license, they may be charged with a Class 4 felony. These charges will apply if a person's license had been suspended or revoked following a previous DUI arrest or a conviction for leaving the scene of an accident in which a person was injured or killed.

  • DUI in a school zone: If a person was allegedly driving under the influence in a school zone when children were present, and they were involved in an accident that resulted in injuries of any kind, they may face Class 4 felony charges.

  • DUI with a child passenger - A person who is accused of drunk driving while transporting a child under the age of 16 may face Class 2 felony charges if they were involved in an accident that caused the child to suffer an injury. A second or subsequent charge of DUI while transporting a child passenger will also result in Class 2 felony charges, regardless of whether an accident or injury occurred.

  • DUI in a for-hire vehicle - If a person is accused of driving under the influence while transporting one or more passengers in a taxi, rideshare vehicle, or other for-hire vehicle, they may be charged with a Class 4 felony.

Contact Our Naperville Felony DUI Defense Lawyer

A person who is accused of driving under the influence can face a range of charges, and the penalties may vary depending on the circumstances of the case. It is essential to understand the laws surrounding DUI offenses in Illinois, including when felony charges may apply. If you have been arrested for DUI, it is essential to contact a DuPage County DUI defense attorney immediately. At Law Office of Philip R. Nathe, our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can provide effective legal representation in these situations, helping you determine the best defense strategies that will allow you to resolve your case successfully. Contact our firm at 630-416-7600 to schedule a free consultation. We are available 24/7 to assist you.


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