Are you facing felony DUI charges in Chicago? Contact the Kostopoulos Law Group today for immediate legal assistance. Driving under the influence is a serious crime and, when charged as a felony, you will face especially harsh consequences. Hiring an attorney to defend you will increase your chances of securing the best possible outcome in your criminal case. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with our Chicago felony DUI attorneys and learn more.
When is a DUI Charged as a Felony?
It is a crime in Illinois to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Illinois, you are considered to be under the influence of alcohol if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) registers at .08 or greater. Most first-time DUI offenses will be charged as misdemeanors. However, there are certain situations where first-time DUI offenses can be aggravated to a felony under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d).
You can face charges for felony DUI, which is also known as aggravated DUI, if you drive under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and:
- Have at least two prior DUI convictions;
- Drive a school bus with at least one passenger;
- Cause a victim to suffer great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement;
- Have a prior conviction for reckless homicide involving alcohol;
- Cause a victim to suffer great bodily harm while driving in a school zone;
- Cause another person’s death while operating a snowmobile, ATV, or watercraft;
- Your driver’s license was suspended or revoked at the time of your arrest;
- Did not have a valid driver’s license or permit;
- Drove with the knowledge that your car was not covered by liability insurance;
- Cause bodily harm to a passenger under the age of 16.
Criminal Consequences of a Felony DUI In Chicago
What are the consequences of a DUI when the charges are aggravated to a felony? The answer will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case, including the degree of harm suffered by your victim(s), the age of the victim(s) involved, and your existing criminal record. In most cases, aggravated DUI charges will be classified as a Class 4 Felony or a Class 2 Felony.
Aggravated DUI: Most first-time aggravated DUIs are charged as Class 4 Felonies and are punishable by 1-3 years in an Illinois state prison.
Aggravated DUI, Harm to Minor: If your DUI causes a child under the age of 16 to suffer bodily harm, you will face Class 2 Felony DUI charges. This crime is punishable by 3-7 years in an Illinois state prison.
Second Aggravated DUI Involving Minor: If this is your second conviction for a DUI while transporting a child under the age of 16, regardless of whether that child is harmed, you will face Class 2 Felony charges.
Third and Fourth Aggravated DUI Offenses: If this is your third or fourth aggravated DUI, you will face charges for a Class 2 Felony.
Fifth Aggravated DUI Offenses: A fifth aggravated DUI offense will be charged as a Class 1 Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Sixth Aggravated DUI Offense: A sixth aggravated DUI offense will be charged as a Class X Felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Penalties for a felony DUI may be extended if the conduct involves a child under the age of 16 or causes a victim to suffer death or great bodily harm.
Collateral Consequences of a Felony DUI In Chicago
In addition to time in prison, you will also face significant administrative, social, and civil consequences after a Felony DUI. In Chicago, you will have your license suspended and/or revoked. This will limit your ability to get to work, care for your family, and live a normal life. The DMV proceedings are distinct and separate from your criminal DUI proceedings. It is important to speak with an experienced DUI attorney to make sure that you fight both the administrative and criminal aspects of your Felony DUI.
Once you are convicted of a felony in Chicago you will be burdened with a criminal record for the rest of your life. Simply having a criminal record will expose you to a variety of collateral consequences. These collateral consequences are basically social and civil penalties that are imposed because you have been convicted of a felony. Collateral consequences of a felony DUI conviction include:
- Inability to secure a job in certain fields, including healthcare, education, and government;
- Inability to secure a job that requires the use of vehicles or heavy machinery;
- Inability to participate in government welfare programs;
- Loss of gun ownership rights;
- Difficulty renting a home or apartment; and/or
- Limitations on child custody and/or visitation rights.
Defending Felony DUI Charges
When you are facing criminal charges in Chicago you have the right to assert any defense that can help to explain or excuse your alleged behavior. When these defenses are successful, the prosecution will have a difficult time establishing your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney will use this as leverage to negotiate reduced charges or convince the prosecutor to dismiss the case altogether. Defenses that may be helpful in a felony DUI case include:
- Your BAC was not over the legal limit of .08,
- You were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- There are inaccuracies in the chemical testing;
- Police improperly administered field sobriety tests;
- You were not operating a motor vehicle;
- There was no probable cause to pull you over; and/or
- Other violations of your Constitutional rights.
Fighting Felony DUI Charges in Chicago
Have you been arrested for an aggravated DUI in Chicago and are currently facing felony charges? You have the right to defend yourself against any criminal charges you face, and the Kostopoulos Law Group can help. Our attorneys, led by former prosecutor Gus Kostopoulos, know that a felony DUI conviction would be devastating for you and your family. We will thoroughly investigate your case, argue any defense that will limit the consequences of your arrest, and fight to secure the best possible outcome in your case. Call our experienced Chicago felony DUI attorneys today to schedule a free consultation and learn more. We will review your case, explain your rights, and answer any questions you have.