What Is the Difference Between an Illinois Misdemeanor and Felony DUI?

St. Charles felony DUI defense lawyer

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law in Illinois just as it is in every other U.S. state. If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more in Illinois, you can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The criminal penalties associated with an Illinois DUI conviction will depend heavily on the circumstances of the offense. Some individuals who are convicted of a DUI may qualify for a diversion program and are able to avoid jail time entirely. Others, however, will face years of incarceration for a DUI conviction. Read on to learn more about Illinois DUI law and what you can do if you have been charged with this serious offense.

Misdemeanor DUI

If you are caught drinking and driving and you have never previously been convicted of DUI, you will likely face a Class A misdemeanor DUI charge. The penalties associated with a first-time DUI conviction include the revocation of your driver’s license for one year, a maximum jail sentence of six months, and a maximum fine of $1,000. You may be able to regain your driving privileges if you participate in the Monitoring Device Driving Permit program (MDDP) and install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) in your vehicle. A BAIID works like a breathalyzer and requires the driver to submit breath samples for blood alcohol content (BAC) analysis. A second DUI conviction is also a Class A misdemeanor, but it carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days and a maximum sentence of one year.

Felony DUI

There are many circumstances that can cause a DUI charge to be elevated to a felony offense. A driver can be charged with a Class 2 felony DUI if he or she:

  • Has received two or more prior DUI convictions

  • Has previously been convicted of DUI and a child under age 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the arrest

  • Causes an accident that injures a passenger under the age of 16

  • Causes an accident that results in death

A DUI can be charged as a Class 3 felony if the offender has previously been convicted of reckless homicide or aggravated DUI resulting in death. A driver can be charged with a Class 4 felony DUI if:

  • The driver did not have a valid driver’s license or permit.

  • The driver was uninsured.

  • The driver had a suspended driver’s license due to a previous DUI conviction, leaving the scene of an accident, or reckless homicide.

  • The driver was speeding in a school zone and caused another individual to suffer bodily harm.

  • The driver was intoxicated while transporting children on a school bus.

  • The driver caused an accident that resulted in major bodily injury, disfigurement, or disability.

  • The driver was operating a for-hire vehicle with passengers.

The specific criminal consequences associated with a felony DUI conviction vary depending on the circumstances of the offense. If you are charged with felony DUI in Illinois, you could go to prison for up to 30 years.

Contact a St. Charles Drunk Driving Lawyer

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is against the law in every state, and this offense carries significant penalties. A DUI conviction in Illinois has the potential to affect the rest of your life. For help defending against DUI charges, contact an accomplished Illinois criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC. We will carefully examine the details of your traffic stop to determine if your rights were violated. Schedule a free, confidential consultation by calling our office today at 630-232-1780.