How Did the DUI Charge Escalate to a Felony?
In Illinois, a conviction of driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a misdemeanor. This fact is not saying that Illinois does not take DUI seriously, as there are approximately 35,000 people arrested annually for DUI-related charges. A misdemeanor conviction is also not getting away easy, as the state estimates that the total cost of a first-time DUI totals approximately $16,000.00 after the loss of licensure resulting in loss of income, insurance rate increase, fines, and other court costs. However, not all cases are created equal, and occasionally, clients are surprised to discover their charges are more severe than anticipated, that they face felony DUI charges instead. How does that happen and what does that mean for the future, if convicted?
Even if this is your first experience with a DUI, it is possible to be facing felony charges. The prosecution must prove that the driver had a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or was impaired to have any leverage in court. These factors alone may result in the initial misdemeanor charge. However, if your situation involves another more severe factor, your case may jump to aggravated DUI, which is a felony charge. Factors that can make the difference include:
- Driving a school bus with at least one passenger,
- A DUI-related accident resulted in bodily harm,
- Driving through a school zone at a reduced-speed time,
- A DUI-related off-road vehicle accident led to death,
- The driver did not have a valid driver’s license, or
- The person driving did not have liability insurance.
Felony and the Future
When looking at felony versus misdemeanor penalties, it is apparent that one is just an escalation of the other due to the increased severity of the charges. For a first-time DUI penalized as a misdemeanor, there is licensure loss, possible imprisonment for up to one year, and fines of up to $2,500.00. However, in addition to the licensure loss, a Class 4 felony is punishable by:
- Mandatory ten days in prison or 480 hours of community service,
- Potential prison sentence of up to 12 years, and
- Fines of up to $250,000.
Save Your Future
Felony DUI is significantly more complicated than DUI, not to mention more of your future is at stake. It is advisable to hire an attorney that has proven experience and a clear understanding of your charges. Our goal is to use the details of your experience to build a credible defense to reduce or eliminate the charges held against you, and in doing so, protecting your rights and your future. If you would like to discuss your case with a reputable Lombard, IL DUI defense attorney, contact Stringini & Garvey, P.C. today by calling 630-834-9595. We are proud to offer 24-hour availability to our clients in Glendale Heights, Lombard, Bloomingdale, Maywood, and all surrounding Chicagoland area.