Apr 6

In the interest of preserving public welfare and safe highways, the state of Illinois has enacted harsh penalties for driving under the influence (DUI). It does not matter if a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a driver is incapable of driving safely, then he or she runs the risk of a DUI charge. Illinois drivers must tread carefully in this arena, as the penalties for even a single DUI offense carry significant weight.

Illinois Penalties for DUI

When a person drives or otherwise operates a vehicle while impaired, there are severe consequences. For example:

  • A driver who commits a single DUI offense is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and subject to one year in jail, $2,500 in fines, and two years of probation. Additionally, there is a mandatory 12-month suspension of driving privileges.
  • A driver who commits a second DUI offense is also guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and faces the same penalties described above. The second offense requires either jail time or community service.

It is vital to note that the penalties above are not exhaustive. If the driver has a BAC of 0.16 or more or is transporting a child under 16 years old, then the DUI penalties escalate sharply.

Illinois Penalties for Aggravated DUI

In certain situations, a standard DUI charge can become an aggravated DUI charge. For example:

  • A school bus driver who commits a DUI while transporting minor children is guilty of a Class 4 felony;
  • A commercial driver who commits a DUI while transporting any number of passengers is guilty of a Class 4 felony;
  • A driver who commits a DUI and inflicts serious injury or disability is guilty of a Class 4 felony;
  • A driver who commits a DUI on a suspended or revoked driver’s license is guilty of a Class 4 felony;
  • A driver who commits a DUI without valid automotive insurance is guilty of a Class 4 felony; and
  • A driver who commits a DUI in a school zone that results in harm or injury is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Typically, the Illinois penalties for a Class 4 felony include one to three years in jail, $25,000 in fines and up to 30 months of probation. That being said, the penalties can change based on the individual circumstances of the offense.

Furthermore, there are other situations in which an aggravated DUI becomes an even more serious offense. For example:

  • A driver who commits three or more DUIs is guilty of a Class 2 felony.
  • A driver who commits a DUI that results in a fatality is guilty of a Class 2 felony.
  • A driver who commits a second DUI while transporting a child under 16 years old is guilty of a Class 2 felony.

Typically, the Illinois penalties for a Class 2 felony include three to seven years in jail, $25,000 in fines and up to four years of probation. That being said, the penalties can change based on the individual circumstances of the offense.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all criminal 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 johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or by completing an online form.