The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


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When Is a DUI a Felony in Illinois?

 Posted on July 04, 2024 in DUI

Kane County, IL DUI defense lawyerDriving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, typically shortened to DUI, is a crime in Illinois. However, there are different levels to DUI charges, and this charge may be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on a few different circumstances. It is important to understand the difference in DUI charges, as these charges carry varying penalties. An experienced Illinois DUI defense attorney can answer your questions if you face a DUI charge.

Understanding Illinois DUI Charges

In Illinois, the majority of DUI charges are misdemeanors. First-time DUI offenses and second-time DUI offenses are both Class A misdemeanors, though a second-time DUI offense is typically penalized more harshly. 

A first-time DUI becomes a felony DUI when at least one of the following occurs alongside the DUI:

  • The driver had a suspended or revoked license.

  • The driver did not have a valid license.

  • The driver caused an accident that resulted in death, permanent disability, great bodily harm, or disfigurement to another.

  • The driver did not have auto insurance.

  • The driver committed the DUI in a school zone.

  • The driver had a minor child under 16 in the car as a passenger.

  • The driver was driving a school bus with one or more children inside.

Additionally, third or subsequent DUI offenses are automatically felony DUIs.

What Are the Penalties for a Felony DUI?

Felony DUIs are taken seriously by Illinois, and this charge carries harsh penalties. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your DUI, you may be dealing with one of the following penalties:

  • Class 4 felony DUI – The least serious felony charge, this is a common charge for third-time DUI offenses. It carries one to three years of prison time.

  • Class 3 felony DUI – Previous reckless homicide DUI charges or aggravated DUI charges can lead to a DUI being a Class 3 felony. It carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

  • Class 2 felony DUI – If you have three or more DUIs on your record, or if you were charged with a DUI accident that resulted in death, you may receive a Class 2 felony. It carries a penalty of three to seven years in prison.

  • Class 1 felony DUI – This charge often applies to those arrested for a fifth or subsequent DUI. It carries a penalty of four to 15 years in prison.

  • Class X felony DUI – This is the most serious felony charge, and it typically occurs for sixth or subsequent DUI offenses. It carries a penalty of six to 30 years in prison.

All of the above also carry fines of up to $25,000 as a penalty, and penalties may be enhanced by the circumstances of a DUI, such as an accident that resulted in death or great bodily harm to one or more people, or DUIs with a child in the vehicle.

Contact a Kane County, IL DUI Defense Lawyer

DUI charges are complicated, and they change in severity depending on the circumstances of the DUI. If you have been arrested for a DUI, it is important to understand the charges you face and contact a skilled Elgin, IL DUI defense attorney for representation.

Attorney Brian J. Mirandola is a former Assistant State’s Attorney with significant experience in criminal law, and he will provide you with a personalized defense strategy. Call The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889 for a free consultation.

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