When is a DUI a Felony?
There are a few circumstances under which an individual can be charged with a felony-level DUI in Illinois. A felony DUI charge is also known as an aggravated DUI due to the presence of one or more aggravating factors, facts about the incident that render it more destructive, more severe, or due to a greater level of malice or recklessness on the offender’s part. It is possible for one’s first DUI to be charged as a felony if there are aggravating factors present in the case.
The penalties an individual faces for a felony DUI conviction are far steeper than those for a misdemeanor DUI, the “regular” type of DUI conviction for first time offenders. For a felony DUI conviction, a defendant can face one year or longer in prison and thousands of dollars’ worth of fines. With any DUI conviction, the driver can also potentially have his or her driver’s license suspended or revoked. When a DUI is charged as a felony, the circumstances present in the case determine its charge level.
Class 4 Felony DUI
Most felony-level DUIs are charged as Class 4 felonies. Among these, the penalties a convicted individual faces vary depending on his or her charge. Class 4 felony DUIs include:
- Driving a school bus with passengers under the age of 18 on board while intoxicated;
- Being involved in a collision that causes permanent injury or disfigurement to a party other than the intoxicated driver;
- An individual’s second DUI charge if he or she has a previous alcohol-related reckless homicide conviction on his or her criminal record;
- Being involved in a collision in a school zone that causes minor to moderate bodily harm to a victim due to the driver’s intoxication;
- If the individual’s driver’s license was suspended or revoked previously due to a DUI conviction, leaving the scene of an accident, a summary suspension, or a reckless homicide conviction; and
- If the individual did not have a valid automobile insurance policy or a valid driver’s license at the time of his or her DUI arrest.
Class 2 Felony DUI
A DUI can also be charged as a Class 2 felony. These cases include:
- If the intoxicated driver was involved in an accident that caused a victim under the age of 16 to suffer severe bodily harm; and
- If the individual is facing his or her third or subsequent DUI charge.
Work with an Experienced St. Charles DUI Defense Lawyer
If you were charged with DUI, you have the right to fight your charge. In fact, it is in your best interest to fight the charge to potentially reduce the penalties you are sentenced or even to have the charge dropped. Contact our team of experienced Naperville DUI defense lawyers at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today to schedule your initial legal consultation in our office and learn more about your rights and legal options following a DUI charge.