What Is at Stake When an Alleged DUI Results in a Victim’s Death?
Drunk driving is dangerous. That is why it is illegal. Like every other criminal offense, the penalties an individual faces for a DUI charge can change depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. These are known as aggravating factors, and a DUI resulting in someone’s death is one of the most serious of these factors.
When an alleged act of drunk driving results in a victim’s death, the driver may be charged with a Class 2 felony. This can happen whether the driver has previous DUI charges on his or her record or not. A Class 2 felony is a far steeper charge than a driver would typically face for a first or second DUI offense. If you are facing a Class 2 felony DUI, here are a few of the penalties you are facing:
Years in Prison
You can face jail time for any DUI charge. For a Class 2 felony DUI, you are looking at a minimum of three years in prison if you are convicted. If your actions resulted in two or more deaths, you can face six to 28 years in prison.
Loss of Your Driving Privileges
For a Class 2 felony DUI, a driver faces a driver’s license suspension of at least two years. If the driver has multiple DUI charges on his or her record, he or she can face a much longer driver’s license suspension or even a permanent revocation.
Liability for the Victim’s Estate and Survivors’ Damages
If you are deemed to be responsible for a victim’s car accident death, you could be held liable for the damages his or her survivors suffered if they choose to file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim is a civil claim, not a criminal charge. If the victim’s loved ones choose to file this type of claim, it will be handled separately from your DUI charge. This means that even if you are found not guilty of DUI, you could still be determined to have caused the victim’s death through negligence, and you may be required to compensate his or her estate and loved ones for their losses.
A Permanent Charge on Your Record
In Illinois, you cannot expunge DUI charges from your criminal record. The only DUI-related act that can be removed from a criminal record is an arrest that did not lead to a charge. It does not matter if you are found innocent of DUI – if you are charged, the charge will remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life.
Work With an Experienced St. Charles Felony DUI Defense Attorney
When you are facing a Class 2 felony DUI charge – or any DUI charge – you are facing steep penalties that will change your life if you are convicted. To give yourself a better chance of having your case result in a favorable outcome, start working with an experienced Naperville DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a confidential consultation in our office, contact Donahue & Sowa at 630-505-5200.