While most first-time arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois are misdemeanor offenses, drivers need be aware that there are situations in which aggravating factors could allow for prosecutors to seek felony charges for drunk driving. Felony DUI cases are always more severe than misdemeanor cases because defendants will be facing much stricter penalties and punishments if convicted.
One of the most common reasons for felony DUI charges are repeat DUI offenses. Subsequent DUI charges are felonies when a person has at least two prior DUIs. Any kind of felony conviction can damage long-term prospects on a person’s ability to obtain employment, federal benefits, or college admissions.
Felony DUI Charges in Illinois
While first and second DUI convictions are customarily Class A misdemeanors, a third or fourth conviction will be classified as a Class 2 felony. A fifth conviction is a Class 1 felony and a sixth or subsequent conviction will be a Class X felony.
It is important to understand that any DUI offense resulting in felony charges is known as an aggravated DUI offense. The following aggravating factors can also lead to felony DUI charges:
- DUI committed while driving a school bus carrying one or more persons age 18 or younger
- DUI committed while driving a vehicle for-hire carrying one or more passengers
- DUI resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement (involves revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of two years)
- DUI committed without a valid driver’s license or permit
- DUI committed without vehicle liability insurance
- DUI committed in a school zone while the restricted speed limit is in effect and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm
- DUI committed while revoked or suspended for DUI, reckless homicide or leaving the scene of a personal injury or death
A DUI committed after a previous conviction for reckless homicide while DUI or aggravated DUI involving a death is a Class 3 felony. Class 2 felony offenses may include:
- Third or subsequent DUI
- Second or subsequent DUI committed while transporting a child under age 16
- DUI committed while transporting a child under age 16 and involved in a crash resulting in bodily harm to the child
- DUI resulting in death
A person can also be charged with the Class 3 felony of reckless homicide if they operate a motor vehicle while under the influence and cause the death of a person.
Contact a Felony DUI Lawyer
Were you recently arrested for any kind of DUI offense in Illinois you think is going to result in felony charges? You are going to want to have a Will County felony DUI attorney on your side. The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. can work to determine your strongest defense options. Call 815-740-4025 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.