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Consequences of Illinois DUI with a Child Passenger Under Age 16

Posted on in DUI Defense

DuPage County DUI defense lawyersWith over 900,000 residents, heavy traffic is a fact of life for DuPage County drivers. It also means you have a good chance of being in a traffic accident. Whenever an accident involves significant vehicle damage or personal injury, Illinois law requires you to summon the police and file an accident report. Even if you were not at fault in causing the accident, you could still find yourself in serious trouble. If you consumed alcohol, marijuana, certain prescription drugs, or any other intoxicants before getting behind the wheel, you could be charged with driving under the influence.

Statistics on Vehicle Collisions and Children in DuPage County

DuPage County reported about 21,000 collisions involving over 42,000 vehicles in 2016, an increase of 16 percent from 2011. Given that 37 percent of DuPage County households have children, around one-third of collisions in the county likely involve children.

In other words, if you drive while intoxicated in DuPage County, there’s a strong probability that you will get into a collision that involves a child.

DUI With a Child Passenger Means Harsher Penalties

If you are charged with DUI while transporting a child under the age of 16 in your vehicle, you can expect a tougher sentence than if you did not have a child in the car. This offense is still a class A misdemeanor, same as any other first-time DUI. However, Illinois law calls for additional penalties that may include up to six months in jail, a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children (625 ILCS 5/11-501c3).

For a first-time DUI, a judge will typically grant the lenient sentence of court supervision. That  means, as long as you stay clean until the end of the supervision time period, you will not have a DUI conviction on your driving record for the rest of your life. However, if you had a child in the vehicle, your chances of being granted court supervision are significantly reduced, and even more so if you got into a collision and the child was injured.

If you commit DUI while transporting a child under the age of 16, and you are involved in a crash that results in bodily harm (but not great bodily harm) to a child passenger in your vehicle, you can be charged with Aggravated DUI (625 ILCS 5/11-501d1J). This specific type of Aggravated DUI is a class 4 felony. In addition to any other sentence a judge may impose, Illinois law calls for a mandatory minimum fine of $2,500 and 25 days of community service (625 ILCS 5/11-501d2H).

Bodily harm means minor physical injuries such as cuts and bruises. Great bodily harm is distinguished by more severe injuries such as broken bones, concussions, spinal injuries, or cuts that will leave significant scars.

If the crash results in great bodily harm to any person involved in the crash, including a child passenger - not just in your own vehicle but in any vehicle or on the street - the Aggravated DUI charge will be a class 2 felony (625 ILCS 5/11-501d1C). In Illinois, a class 2 felony is generally punishable by three to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. However, under the DUI law, a prison sentence is not mandatory; if one is imposed, the sentencing guideline is one to twelve years (625 ILCS 5/11-501d2F).

Call a DuPage County DUI Defense Attorney with 20+ Years’ Experience

If you have been charged with DUI with a child in your vehicle—especially if the child was injured in a collision—you could be facing serious criminal charges. Call an Oak Brook DUI defense lawyer right away. The attorneys at McMahon Law Offices know exactly how to navigate and negotiate within the DuPage County legal system because they have worked in it for 45 combined years as prosecutors and judges. McMahon has successfully defended hundreds of clients against DUI charges. Call us at 630-953-4400 for a free initial consultation.






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