Oct 16

DUI |

The Illinois Criminal Code prohibits any person from driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. When a person becomes impaired and loses their ability to operate their vehicle in safe fashion, it qualifies as a DUI in Illinois. Though in certain circumstances, a regular DUI can become an aggravated DUI and subject the offender to felony charges. 

How Does Illinois Define Aggravated DUI?

625 ILCS 5/11-501 provides the Illinois definition of aggravated DUI. The aggravated version of this offense applies if a person commits DUI:

  • For a third or subsequent time;
  • For a second time, if there was a child passenger under the age of 16 years old;
  • While transporting multiple passengers on a school bus or a vehicle-for-hire;
  • While also causing great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to someone else;
  • After a previous conviction for reckless homicide while under the influence;
  • While driving in a school zone and causing great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to someone else;
  • While also causing the death of someone else;
  • While driving without a license or on a suspended or revoked license;
  • Knowing, or having a reason to know, that the vehicle did not have insurance coverage; or
  • While also causing bodily harm to a child passenger under the age of 16 years old.

What is the Illinois Punishment for Aggravated DUI?

Section 11-501 also details the Illinois punishment structure for aggravated DUI offenses. Illinois features a multi-tiered punishment structure for this offense, as outlined below:

  • First or Second Offense — Results in Class 4 felony charges and a maximum punishment of imprisonment for three years and criminal fines up to $25,000;
  • Third or Fourth Offense — Results in Class 2 felony charges and a maximum punishment of imprisonment for seven years and criminal fines up to $25,000;
  • Fifth Offense — Results in Class 1 felony charges and a maximum punishment of imprisonment for 15 years and criminal fines up to $25,000; or
  • Sixth or Subsequent Offense — Results in Class X felony charges and a maximum punishment of imprisonment for 30 years and criminal fines up to $25,000. 

In addition to the statutory penalties listed above, certain types of aggravated DUI offenses are subject to mandatory minimum levels of punishment. These elevated penalties apply if a driver registers a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.16 or transports a minor under 16 years old during the offense. 

Furthermore, there is mandatory driver’s license suspension for any person convicted of aggravated DUI in Illinois. A typical suspension period in this context will last for 12 months. Though the applicable suspension period can change based on various factors. 

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 johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or by completing an online form.