Illinois has one of the strictest DUI programs in the nation. The laws are so strict, in fact, that many who are arrested for a DUI are caught off guard when they learn that their DUI charge is a felony instead of a misdemeanor offense. Do not let this happen to you! Learn what constitutes a felony DUI in Illinois, and how you may be able to protect yourself from the consequences of conviction.
Third Offense Equals a Felony
According to Illinois law, a person’s first and second offense DUI convictions are usually considered Class A misdemeanors. The third offense is considered a Class 2 felony. Consequences include a 10-year revocation of your license, suspension of your vehicle’s registration, administrative penalties, and the possibility of up to seven years of jail time. Some are offered a 48-month probation, but anyone with a BAC of 0.16 or higher receives a mandatory 90-day jail term upon their conviction.
It should also be noted that any arrest after the third DUI conviction will result in a felony charge. However, penalties will be greater for subsequent convictions. For example, those convicted of their fourth DUI are subject to permanent loss of their license and vehicle registration.
Of all the ways that people arrive at a felony DUI, the lifetime lookback is often the most surprising to defendants. Many committed their first and second offense early in their driving career – often right before or soon after they became of legal age – and then had years or even decades before being charged with their third offense. In Illinois, this time gap does not matter. The lifetime lookback period means that every offense, from the day that you receive your license until you die, counts against you.
Other Felony DUI Offenses
You do not have to have three or more DUI convictions to arrive at a felony DUI in Illinois. In fact, there are many acts that can cause you to face an aggravated DUI charge, which is also considered a felony offense. Some examples include:
- Committing a DUI in a speed-restricted school zone that resulted in a crash causing bodily harm;
- DUI committed while license is suspended for a previous DUI conviction;
- Leaving the scene of an accident that caused personal injury or death;
- DUI that resulted in a crash causing death to another;
- Second or subsequent DUI committed with a passenger under the age of 16; and
- DUI while driving a school bus with one or more passengers under the age of 18.
Avoid the Consequences of a Felony DUI Conviction
Whether facing felony charges for a third or subsequent DUI, or a first DUI offense that resulted in another person’s death, an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney will aggressively protect your rights. Skilled and knowledgeable, Attorney Jack L. Zaremba will work hard to protect you from the consequences of conviction. Get the representation you deserve. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.