Sep 15

A Fairmont man received a five-year prison sentenced for aggravated DUI, after causing the death of a young woman last year, according to an article by The News-Gazette. The man was driving near the Vermilion-Edgar County line when he veered off the road to avoid an animal. The man overcorrected when roadside gravel caused the vehicle to slide. At that point, the vehicle flipped over and smashed into a utility pole.

The young woman was a passenger in the middle-front seat, wearing only a lap safety belt. She was ejected from the vehicle on impact and later died from her injuries. A second male passenger was treated for minor injuries.

Shortly after the crash, authorities measured the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at 0.12, above the legal limit. Authorities also found beer cans in the driver’s vehicle.

In light of this news development, this is a great time to review the laws and penalties for DUI and aggravated DUI in Illinois.

How Does Illinois Define DUI?

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, Illinois outlines its state-specific approach to DUI. This section of Illinois statutes makes it illegal to operate a vehicle while “incapable of safely driving.” The legal limit for intoxication in Illinois is a BAC of 0.08 or more. Illinois addresses intoxication due to drugs and other compounds, or any combination of alcohol and drugs.

On a related note, certain circumstances – such as repeat DUI offenses or driving a school bus intoxicated – can escalate a standard DUI to an aggravated DUI. As outlined below, the penalties for aggravated DUI are much more serious than the penalties for standard DUI.

How Does Illinois Penalize DUI?

Illinois employs a tiered system to DUIs, with penalties increasing sharply for repeat offenses or under certain conditions. We will explore the minimum sentences for DUI convictions below.

  • For the first or second offense, DUI is a Class A misdemeanor. The penalities include driver’s license and vehicle registration suspension as well as the potential for jail time or community service.
  • For the third or fourth offense, DUI escalates to aggravated DUI and is a Class 2 felony. The penalties include driver’s license and vehicle registration suspension as well as three to seven years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines.
  • For the fifth offense, aggravated DUI rises to the level of Class 1 felony. The penalties include driver’s license and vehicle registration suspension for life as well as four to 15 years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines.
  • For the sixth offense or more, aggravated DUI rises to the level of Class X felony. The penalties include driver’s license and vehicle registration suspension for life as well as six to 30 years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines.

Do You Need Legal Advice?

No matter what the criminal offense, all criminal charges are serious. Without a sound strategy and an aggressive defense, you could miss out on your best chance for a positive outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the law and navigate toward an effective resolution.

Serving the counties of Dewitt, Ford, Livingston, Logan, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford, The Prior Law Firm is located in Bloomington, Illinois. Our attorneys are dedicated to the practice of Illinois criminal law. If you need legal advice concerning any criminal offense, please do not hesitate to contact us immediately.

You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or online by completing a simple form.

(image courtesy of Zach Meaney)