In Illinois, there are three classifications of criminal offenses. Petty offenses are the lowest classification and include most traffic violations. The next level of offense a misdemeanor while the highest classification of crime, that which can carry the most serious penalties, is a felony. Those convicted of a felony usually face extended imprisonment as well as other serious punitive consequences. There are some instances in which a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) can be classified as a felony. Felony DUIs, also called aggravated DUIs, carry more severe disciplinary consequences than a misdemeanor DUI does and can seriously affect a convicted person’s ability to find employment or even a home in the future.
Most DUI Charges Are Considered Misdemeanors
If you are an Illinois resident have been charged with a DUI for the very first time, you will almost certainly be charged with a misdemeanor. Felony DUI charges come as a result of more serious violations of the law. Offenses which can result in a felony DUI charge include:
- Being caught driving under the influence of alcohol three different times;
- Drinking and driving which results in a passenger under the age of 16 being injured;
- Being charged with a DUI while having a prior conviction for alcohol-related reckless homicide;
- Driving under the influence with an expired, suspended, or revoked driver’s license;
- Drinking and driving without car insurance;
- Drunk driving which causes an accident in which someone is seriously injured or killed; and
- Driving a school bus with children on board while intoxicated.
The list of examples above is not exhaustive, and there may be additional special circumstances when result in a DUI charge being increased to an aggravated DUI charge.
Consequences of a Felony Conviction
The criminal sentence imposed on someone who has been convicted of a felony will depend on the specific charges and circumstances of the crime. Felonies in Illinois are divided into five categories. Class 4 felonies are the least serious felony offenses and Class X felonies are the most harshly punished offenses. Felony criminal sanctions include:
- Class 4 Felony: Punishable by 1-3 years in prison;
- Class 3 Felony: Punishable by 2-5 years in prison;
- Class 2 Felony: Punishable by 3-7 years in prison;
- Class 1 Felony: Punishable by 4-15 years in prison; and
- Class X Felony: Punishable by 6-30 years in prison.
In addition to imprisonment and fines of up to $25,000, those convicted of a felony face additional consequences such as difficulty finding employment, being excluded from certain job fields, forfeiture of gun ownership rights, and trouble finding a place to live.
Contact a Kane County Aggravated DUI Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, contact The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola for legal guidance with your case. To schedule a free initial consultation with an Elgin DUI defense attorney, call 847-488-0889 today.