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When Is a DUI Charged as a Felony in Illinois?

 Posted on August 27, 2020 in DUI

Joliet DUI Defense AttorneyStudies have shown that drinking and driving is a leading cause of motor vehicle crashes. The injuries sustained in these collisions are often devastating, and some even fatal. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is illegal in every state. In Illinois, the legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent. When a motorist exceeds this threshold, he or she can be arrested for DUI. The penalties for DUI range from losing driving privileges to lengthy prison sentences and steep fines. There are certain “aggravating” factors that increase the punishment for this type of criminal act. Understanding what actions could lead to a felony DUI is important for any Illinois driver to understand to avoid a criminal record. 

Aggravating Factors

According to Illinois law, first and second DUI offenders are typically charged as Class A misdemeanors. However, a DUI charge can be elevated to a felony in some situations. Here are a few aggravating factors that can turn a DUI into a felony: 

  • Three or more DUI offenses 

  • Drinking and driving with a passenger under the age of 16 who is injured as a result 

  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license or driving without insurance 

  • Causing great bodily harm to someone due to drunk driving

  • Causing another person’s death due to drunk driving

Penalties for Felony DUI

The punishments for felony DUI are more severe than misdemeanor convictions, and they can range from Class 1 to Class X depending on the circumstances. For example, a Class 3 DUI felony may result if a driver had a previous aggravated DUI conviction involving a fatality or reckless homicide DUI conviction. A Class X felony occurs after six or more convictions for DUI.

  • Class 1 felony DUI: A potential jail term of 4-15 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines

  • Class 2 felony DUI: A possible sentence of 3-7 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines

  • Class 3 felony DUI: A potential prison term of 2-5 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines

  • Class 4 felony: Carries a sentence of 1-3 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines

  • Class X felony DUI: A possible sentence of 6-30 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Drinking and driving can result in a DUI arrest in Illinois. However, it can quickly escalate to a felony charge if aggravating factors are present. At McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC, we understand how devastating any type of felony charge can be on your record and your future plans. Our successful Joliet DUI defense attorneys will protect your rights every step of the way. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at 815-727-0100.





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