Although driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a dangerous activity in every circumstance, certain situations are more extreme than others. When a driver exhibits such reckless behavior, he or she could face criminal charges for aggravated DUI.
For readers interested in reviewing Illinois laws and penalties for standard DUIs, please do not hesitate to check out this recent blog post from The Prior Law Firm — How Does Illinois Define and Penalize Driving Under the Influence?
Circling back to the subject of aggravated DUI, the following sections will provide an overview of important definitions and penalties under Illinois law.
What is the Illinois Definition of Aggravated DUI?
The Illinois definition of aggravated DUI appears in 625 ILCS 5/11-501. The aggravated version of this offense applies when a driver commits a DUI under specific circumstances. Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, a regular DUI becomes an aggravated DUI when a person:
- Commits a DUI offense for a third or subsequent time;
- Operates a school bus while intoxicated and transporting at least one passenger;
- Drives drunk and causes severe physical injury or permanent disability to another person;
- Commits a DUI offense after committing reckless homicide or a similar offense;
- Drives drunk in a school zone, exceeds the school zone speed limit and causes minor physical injury to another person;
- Operates a motor vehicle, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle or watercraft while intoxicated and causes the death of another person;
- Commits a DUI offense while driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license;
- Drives drunk without obtaining a valid driver’s license or permit;
- Operates a vehicle while intoxicated and with the knowledge that there is not a valid automotive insurance policy in effect;
- Causes minor physical injury to a minor passenger under the age of 16;
- Commits a DUI offense for the second time while transporting a minor passenger under the age of 16; or
- Operates a vehicle for hire while intoxicated and transporting at least one passenger.
What are the Illinois Penalties for Aggravated DUI?
The Illinois penalties for aggravated DUI also appear in 625 ILCS 5/11-501. Mirroring the sentencing structure for other criminal offenses in Illinois, the penalties for aggravated DUI intensify for repeat offenders. For example:
- First or Second Offense: A first or second aggravated DUI is usually a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by 12 to 36 months in prison, $25,000 in fines and 30 months of probation;
- Third or Fourth Offense: A third or fourth aggravated DUI is usually a Class 2 felony, which is punishable by 36 to 84 months in prison, $25,000 in fines and 48 months of probation;
- Fifth Offense: A fifth aggravated DUI is usually a Class 1 felony, which is punishable by 48 months to 15 years in prison, $25,000 in fines and 48 months of probation; and
- Sixth or Subsequent Offense: A sixth or subsequent aggravated DUI is usually a Class X felony, which is punishable by 72 months to 30 years in prison and $25,000 in fines without any chance for probation.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.
(image courtesy of Matt Popovich)