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Felony DUIs in Illinois

April 23, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Most people facing their first conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) are charged with Class A misdemeanors. However, depending on the circumstances, a first time offender may be charged with the more serious felony DUI.

Under Illinois law, first time offenders who fit into one of the following categories at the time they were arrested for driving under the influence may be charged with felony (or aggravated) DUI:

  • Those involved in an accident causing great bodily harm, disability or disfigurement to another
  • Those in an accident in a school zone causing bodily harm to others
  • Those in a car, snowmobile, ATV, boat or other watercraft accident resulting in another person's death
  • Those who were driving a school bus with passengers 18 years old or younger
  • Those charged with a DUI when they knew or should have known the vehicle they were driving was not covered by a liability insurance policy
  • Those who were involved in an accident causing bodily harm to a child passenger 16 years old or younger

    Additionally, second time offenders meeting the following criteria also are charged with aggravated DUI:

  • Those who were previously convicted of reckless homicide in Illinois or its equivalent in another state while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Those who had a child passenger under 16 years old in the car with them at the time of the arrest
  • Those charged with a DUI while their driving privileges already were suspended or revoked from a previous DUI charge

    Lastly, those receiving their third or greater DUI offense are charged with aggravated DUI. Also, those who were driving without a valid license or permit at the time of their arrest will receive the more serious felony charge.

    Felony DUI charges carry minimum mandatory terms of imprisonment and/or community service. This means that the individual convicted of a felony DUI does not have the option of having the mandatory punishment suspended or reduced. The minimum mandatory sentence must be served.

    Penalties

    The penalties for DUIs in Illinois are among the toughest in the nation. As of January 1, 2009, the penalties for first time offenders doubled. Under the new law, those convicted of their first DUI will lose their driving privileges for six months (previously it was 3 months). Those who refuse to take a breathalyzer lose their driving privileges for an entire year (previously it was 6 months). Additionally, in order to regain any driving privileges, first time offenders are now required to have Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (BAIID) installed in their vehicles, in addition to receiving a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). Other penalties for first time and repeat offenders are outlined below.

    First time offenders

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to $2500 in fines
  • 6 month revocation of driving privileges for BAC of 0.08 or more
  • 1 year revocation of driving privileges if refuse to take a breathalyzer

    The punishments are increased if:

  • The driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.16 or more, which carries a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and mandatory minimum 100 hours of community service in addition to any other fines and penalties
  • The driver had a child passenger under 16 years old at the time of the DUI, which may result in up to 6 months in jail, $1000 mandatory minimum fine and 25 days of community service in addition to any other fines and penalties

    Second time offenders

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to $2500 in fines
  • Mandatory minimum 5 days in jail OR 240 hours of community service
  • Suspension of vehicle registration
  • 5 year revocation of driving privileges if second conviction happens within 20 years of the first conviction

    The punishments are increased if:

  • The driver has a BAC of 0.16 or more, which carries a mandatory 2 days in jail and mandatory minimum fine of $1250 in addition to any other fines and penalties

    Aggravated DUI

    Those receiving a third or greater DUI conviction are charged with aggravated DUI, a felony punished by far more severe fines than received by first or second time misdemeanor offenders. Aggravated DUI penalties include:

  • Third time offenders face 3-7 years imprisonment, fines up to $25,000, minimum 10 year loss of driving privileges and suspension of vehicle registration
  • Fourth time offenders face 3-7 years imprisonment, fines up to $25,000, loss of driving privileges for the remainder of their lives and suspension of vehicle registration
  • Fifth time offenders face 4-15 years imprisonment, fines up to $25,000, loss of driving privileges for the remainder of their lives and suspension of vehicle registration
  • Sixth or greater offenders face 6-30 years imprisonment, fines up to $25,000, loss of driving privileges for the remainder of their lives and suspension of vehicle registration

    All of the aggravated DUI offenses carry greater penalties in the driver had a BAC of 0.16 or greater (resulting in a $5000 additional fine); or if the driver had a child passenger under 16 years of age in the car at the time of the arrest ($25,000 fine and 25 days of community service).

    Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID)

    In addition to increasing DUI penalties, the Illinois legislature also introduced the requirement of Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (BAIID) for first time offenders who want to get back behind the wheel. Previously, first time offenders could apply for a judicial driving permit, which would allow them to drive to work or school. Only subsequent offenders were required to install BAIIDs in their cars.

    As of January 1, 2009, those receiving their first DUI conviction after this date cannot regain driving privileges until they receive a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) from the court and have a BAIID installed in their cars. Drivers are not eligible to apply for a MDDP until the 31st day of their license suspension.

    BAIIDs require drivers to blow into the device to check BAC levels before being able to start the car. They also require periodic checks after the car has been started. In order to start the car, the BAC must be below 0.025 - even though the legal limit in Illinois is 0.08. If a driver fails the breath test and still attempts to start the vehicle, the lights will begin flashing and the horn will honk, alerting others of the failed attempt. The Illinois Secretary of State's office is in charge of monitoring the results from BAIID devices.

    Drivers are required to pay to have the system installed in their cars. The costs can range from $800-$1500. Unlike judicial driving permits, those who have BAIIDs are not restricted in where they may drive their cars once the device has been installed. However, drivers can only operate vehicles with BAIIRD devices. If they are caught driving a car without a BAIID device, they face felony charges.

    Article provided by The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, visit us at http://www.chicagotrafficlawyer.com