Can I Be Charged With a Felony for a First DUI in Illinois?
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other drugs is a serious criminal offense in Illinois, with any conviction resulting in a revoked driver’s license and a permanent criminal record. Typically, a first offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which can come with fines, probation, and some time in jail. However, in some cases, a first offense can be elevated to a charge of aggravated DUI, which can have much more serious consequences.
What Qualifies as Aggravated DUI in Illinois?
Drivers in Illinois can be charged with felony aggravated DUI, even for a first offense, for many different reasons. Most of these reasons are related to risking or causing harm to other people. Some common aggravated DUI offenses include:
- Permanently disabling or causing great bodily harm to someone in an accident while driving under the influence
- Injuring a passenger under the age of 16 in your own vehicle while driving under the influence
- Injuring a person in a school zone while driving under the influence
- Driving a school bus or vehicle for-hire, such as a taxi, rideshare, or limousine, while under the influence
- Driving under the influence without a valid driver’s license, permit, or liability insurance
All of these offenses can be charged as Class 4 felonies, and this means that a conviction can come with severe penalties. Depending on the circumstances, Class 4 felony fines can be up to $25,000, and a prison sentence can extend from one to three years. Other penalties can include court-ordered community service, probation, and drug or alcohol education classes. The length of a driver’s license revocation can also be extended in an aggravated DUI case.
If your first DUI arrest involves the death of another person, you could be charged with a Class 2 felony. In this case, you could face imprisonment for up to 7 years in addition to fines and other penalties.
Aggravated DUI Defense
In light of the seriousness of aggravated DUI charges, it is crucial that you hire an attorney who can help you protect your rights. If your case involves unreliable or improperly obtained evidence, your attorney could help you get the case dismissed. If you are convicted, your attorney can help you negotiate for a fair sentence and avoid facing undue hardship.
Contact a Chicago DUI Defense Lawyer
At Moretti Law, P.C., we have extensive experience defending clients who have been charged with DUI, and we can help you present a strong defense in your case. Contact our Cook County DUI defense attorney today for a free initial consultation by calling 312-861-1084.