May 28

The State of Illinois features strict laws against driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, drugs, or similarly intoxicating substances. Any driver who commits DUI in Illinois can face a variety of consequences, including confinement, fines, and license suspension.

On top of the standard DUI laws mentioned above, Illinois also has an elevated charge of aggravated DUI. The aggravated version of this offense applies to certain repeat offenders and in various other circumstances. Any driver who commits aggravated DUI can expect to face even more severe punishment under Illinois law. 

What is the Illinois Definition of Aggravated DUI?

Illinois law at 625 ILCS 5/11-501 provides the state-specific definition of aggravated DUI. Under this section, the situations in which a regular DUI becomes aggravated DUI include but are not limited to:

  • A driver commits DUI for a third or subsequent time;
  • A person commits DUI while operating a school bus with passengers on board;
  • A driver commits DUI and causes serious physical harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to any victim;
  • A person commits DUI on a suspended or revoked driver’s license;
  • A driver commits DUI while operating a vehicle-for-hire with passengers on board; or
  • A person commits DUI and causes the death of any victim.

How Does Illinois Punish Aggravated DUI?

Section 11-501 also establishes the Illinois punishment for aggravated DUI. Though the punishment does change, largely based on the number of previous offenses, as explained below:

  • First or Second Violation — Class 4 felony, which includes a statutory punishment of imprisonment for one to three years and criminal fines up to $25,000;
  • Third or Fourth Violation — Class 2 felony, which includes a statutory punishment of imprisonment for three to seven years and criminal fines up to $25,000;
  • Fifth Violation — Class 1 felony, which includes a statutory punishment of imprisonment for four to 15 years and criminal fines up to $25,000; or
  • Sixth or Subsequent Violation — Class X felony, which includes a statutory punishment of imprisonment for six to 30 years and criminal fines up to $25,000.

In addition, Illinois law also requires mandatory minimum levels of punishment for certain types of aggravated DUI offenses. There are mandatory minimums for any person who commits aggravated DUI while transporting a child under 16 years old. The same is true for aggravated DUI offenses where the driver registered a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16 or more. 

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 or by completing an online form.