When Is A DUI A Felony in Illinois?

Illinois DUI

Most DUI’s in Illinois are a misdemeanor.  If you are operating a motor vehicle on the public roads with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above, you could be charged with a DUI. The maximum criminal punishment for a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois is up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.00.  But there are situations where you could be charged with a felony.  This is known as Aggravated Driving Under the Influence, or Aggravated DUI.  This article discusses how you can be charged with an Aggravated DUI.

Special rules apply to people who have previously been convicted of a DUI.  If you are convicted of a 3rd or subsequent DUI, you could be charged with a Class 2 felony.  Generally, you could be facing a penalty of between 3 to 7 years in prison, probation up to 48 months, along with fines, fees and drug treatment.  If your blood alcohol level was .16 or above, you will be facing a mandatory 90 day jail sentence.   A fourth offense is non-probationable and carries a mandatory 3 to 7 year prison sentence.  A 5th offense is a non-probationable Class 1 felony that carries 4 to 15 years in prison.  A 6th offense is a non-probationable Class X felony which carries a mandatory 6 to 30 year prison sentence.  If the DUI results in the death of another, even if it’s your first DUI, you could be charged with a Class 2 felony.  You are eligible for probation, but in order to be sentenced to probation, the Judge has to find extraordinary circumstances to avoid imposing a prison sentence.  If you are sentenced to a prison sentence, you are facing 3 to 14 years for one death, and 6 to 28 years for 2 or more deaths.

The following instances allow the state to charge you with a Class 4 felony of Aggravated DUI:

  • If you commit a DUI while driving a school bus with 1 or more passengers under the age of 14;
  • If you commit a DUI while driving a vehicle for hire with 1 or more passengers;
  • DUI resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement.  You will also be facing a revocation of your license for 2 years;
  • DUI committed without a valid driver’s license;
  • DUI committed without vehicle liability insurance;
  • DUI committed in a school zone when the school zone speed limit is in effect and a crash involving bodily harm is involved;
  • DUI committed while driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license;
  • DUI committed involving a Reckless Homicide or leaving the scene of a personal injury or death.

 The following instances allow the state to charge you with a Class 2 felony of Aggravated DUI:

  • If this is your second, or subsequent DUI while transporting a child under the age of 16;
  • If you are driving a vehicle that is transporting a child under the age of 16 and you are involved in a crash that results in bodily harm to the child.  This will apply even if it’s your first DUI;

You could also be charged with a Class 3 DUI if you have previously been convicted of a Reckless Homicide if your DUI involves death.

In addition to any possible criminal penalties, Illinois imposes administrative penalties in all DUI cases.  This is generally known as the Statutory Summary Suspension process.  Not only will you face a suspension of your driving privileges if you test .08 or above blood alcohol content while driving a motor vehicle, you could face the suspension of your driving privileges if you refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test.  The Statutory Suspension process is entirely separate from the criminal consequences of a DUI charge.  It’s has it’s own set of rules but usually proceeds in court side by side with a criminal DUI case.

James Dimeas is an award-winning DUI lawyer with 25 years of experience handling DUI cases throughout Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, and Kane County. James Dimeas was been named a “Best DUI Attorney” in 2017. Expertise named James Dimeas a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago.” The National Trial Lawyers have named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer.” The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys named James Dimeas a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” James Dimeas is rated “Superb” by AVVO, the highest rating possible for any lawyer in the United States. If you are being charged with a DUI you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You can always talk to James Dimeas by calling him at 847-807-7405.

Additional Resources:

Illinois DUI Statute:  625 ILCS 5/11-501.

Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension Statute:  625 ILCS 5/11-501.1

More Blog Posts:

Arrested for a DUI.  Warnings to Motorist and Notice of Statutory Summary Suspension.  What Does This Mean,” by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, August 21, 2017.

What Happens if I Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test in Illinois, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, May 16, 2017.