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The Definition and Consequences of Aggravated DUI in Illinois

Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois DUI lawyerYou might think of driving under the influence (DUI) as a mere traffic ticket, a misdemeanor violation, with punishments limited to fines and some temporary restrictions on your driving. But all Illinois drivers should be aware that the consequences of DUI can be far more severe than that.

Consequences of Aggravated DUI in Illinois

Consider the facts of this recent DUI conviction in DuPage County. A 31-year-old man was driving up Route 59 in West Chicago around 11 pm on December 5, 2014. Later testing would show that his blood alcohol content was 0.16, twice the legal limit in Illinois. As he approached an intersection, he collided head-on with a car that was making a left-turn in front of him, and both cars caught on fire. While the man suffered severe burns in the crash, the other driver was killed.

That 31-year-old man has spent, and will continue to spend, many years of his life dealing with the consequences of his decision to drive while intoxicated. First, he was confined to the DuPage County Jail for over three years, from the time of the crash in 2014 until the end of his trial in 2018. His bond was set at $500,000, meaning he would have had to come up with $50,000 in cash in order to bond out of jail. He was finally convicted in February 2018, of Aggravated DUI Causing Death, a class 2 felony, and Reckless Homicide, a class 4 felony. He now faces a sentence of three to fourteen years in an Illinois state prison. Upon his release from prison, his driver’s license will remain revoked for a minimum of two years. Perhaps worst of all, he will live the rest of his life as a convicted felon, with the memory and physical scars of this crash.

Factors that Elevate DUI to Aggravated DUI

In Illinois, the difference between a “regular” DUI (a misdemeanor) and an Aggravated DUI (a felony) is defined by the circumstances of the crime. Here are some (though not all) of the most common circumstances that lead to Aggravated DUI charges.

  • Multiple DUIs. While a first or even second DUI is classified as a misdemeanor, Illinois law classifies third and subsequent DUI convictions as Aggravated DUIs.
  • Harm to Others. Any DUI, even a first DUI, may be elevated to Aggravated DUI if the incident results in great bodily harm, permanent disability, disfigurement, or death.
  • Presence of children. DUI committed while transporting a child under age 16 is designated a Class 4 felony. This rises to Class 3 felony if the incident involves a crash that results in bodily harm to the child.
  • No License or Insurance. DUI committed without a valid driver’s license or without vehicle liability insurance is deemed a Class 4 felony.

As you can see, DUI charges depend on the unique circumstances of your case, and the consequences can be far more severe than most drivers realize. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can investigate and negotiate on your behalf to reduce or even eliminate DUI and related charges.

DUI Defense Attorneys in the Oakbrook, Illinois Area

If you have been charged with DUI or Aggravated DUI in DuPage County or a neighboring county, you have a limited window of time (as little as four weeks) to prepare for your first court appearance. Contact an experienced DuPage County DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to understand your options and develop a plan of action. For a free consultation, call 630-953-4400. Evening and weekend hours are available.

 

SOURCES:

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

https://www.dupageco.org/States_Attorney/States_Attorney_News/2017/54596/

 

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