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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerIn 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?

First-Time DUI?

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:

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