A DUI charge in Illinois comes with penalties that can severely affect anyone’s life. However, a misdemeanor DUI charge can turn into a felony charge for several reasons. Once the charge becomes a felony, the penalties become harsher. Here is a look at how a misdemeanor DUI charge can become a felony charge in Illinois.
- Repeat Convictions
Illinois gives you two chances when it comes to typical DUI charges. The first and second convictions are Class A misdemeanors. Even as misdemeanors, these convictions can upset your routine and your life. Between the two convictions, those penalties can include:
- Loss of driving privileges from 1 to up to 20 years
- Up to a year in prison, and possible community service
- Fines up to $2,500
If you’re facing your third conviction, all those penalties increase. The third conviction is a Class 2 felony. The loss of driving privileges starts at a minimum of 10 years. Imprisonment becomes mandatory, starting at 18 months, and can go up to 7 years. The fine maximum shoots up to $25,000.
The third conviction also upgrades the charge to “Aggravated DUI.” A fourth conviction can lead to you losing your driving privileges for life. Also, each conviction after the first increases the amount of possible prison time. Too many convictions and you can face up to 30 years in prison.
- Driving Without Legal Documentation
If you drive under the influence without a current license, no insurance, or no registration, then the charge automatically becomes aggravated DUI. Aggravated DUI offenses come with felony charges by default. You will face additional charges as well. Driving without any one of the proper credentials represents an individual crime.
- Driving With Someone Under 16
All DUI convictions come with extra penalties for driving with a child under 16 in the car. The first DUI isn’t a felony, but if you receive another DUI and there’s a child in the car, then it becomes an aggravated DUI.
If you’re in an accident that causes bodily harm to someone under 16, you will receive a felony charge. DUI charges under such circumstances become felonies — even if it’s your first DUI conviction.
- Crashing and Causing Injury
If you’re in a car accident while under the influence, you will face felony DUI charges if anyone suffers bodily injury. This applies to passengers, pedestrians, or people in other vehicles. If the accident causes a death, then you will receive a reckless homicide charge, which comes with mandatory prison time.
Dealing With DUI Felonies
You should always fight a DUI charge no matter what type it is. DUI convictions don’t go away, and they can affect your life in many unexpected ways. Convictions remain on your driver’s record for life. Felony convictions on your record can add a lot of difficulties to your life.
You can lose your vehicle, your insurance, your license, and your ability to provide for your family. For those under the age of 21, a DUI or series of DUIs can negate your ability to drive for many years.
If you receive a DUI charge, you should speak to a legal service that specializes in dealing with DUI charges. Doing so can often help eliminate or lessen a charge. Even if a conviction sticks, a legal professional can often help you achieve the best possible results from your case.
You need to protect your rights and livelihood. At the law offices of Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC, we have the experience to help you fight your misdemeanor or felony DUI charge. If you’re facing a DUI, contact us immediately for a consultation.