Driving under the influence (DUI) in Chicago has severe consequences, in fact, in many instances a DUI can be charged as a felony. Felony status is reserved for the more serious offenses. This shows that Illinois lawmakers regard driving under the influence as a great danger to its citizens and assigned penalties accordingly. Most first time DUI offenders will be charged with a class A misdemeanor. Repeat offenders are targeted for more strict punishment. A third DUI is charged as a class 2 felony. There are some circumstances that will lead to a felony charge even on a first time DUI.
Misdemeanor Vs. Felony
- Misdemeanor: Misdemeanors are minor offenses, have penalties of less than a year in jail, and can only be fined up to $2,500. They are classified by severity of offense: A, B and C. Class A are for greater misdemeanor offenses, while class C are for more minor misdemeanor offenses.
- Felony: Felonies are serious crimes. Punishment ranges from one year to life in prison and can have fines up to $25,000. They are also classified by severity of offense: X, 1, 2, 3 and 4. Class X are for the most horrendous crimes while class 4 are the least serious of felonies.
DUI a Felony
DUI can be charged as a felony for a variety of reasons. When a DUI is a felony it is considered an aggravated DUI. The following DUI offenses can be charged as felonies:
- Third or fourth DUI violation, class 2 felony
- Fifth DUI violation, class 1 felony
- Six or subsequent DUI violation, class X felony
- DUI while driving school bus with a passenger under 18, class 4 felony
- DUI while driving a vehicle for hire with one or more passengers, class 4 felony
- DUI resulting in great bodily harm, class 4 felony
- Second or subsequent DUI with a passenger under the age of 16, class 2 felony
- DUI involved in a crash where a child under 16 received great bodily harm, class 2 felony
- DUI without a valid driver’s license, class 4 felony
- DUI without vehicle liability insurance, class 4 felony
- DUI committed after a previous reckless homicide while DUI or a previous aggravated DUI involving a death, class 3 felony
- DUI in a school zone with restricted speed limit involving a crash that resulted in bodily harm, class 4 felony
- DUI committed when license is revoked or suspended for DUI, reckless homicide, or leaving the scene of a personal injury or death, class 4 felony
- DUI resulting in death, class 2 felony
Chicago DUI Defense Lawyer
Any felony conviction becomes part of your permanent record and can haunt you for the rest of your life, making it difficult to find jobs or seek advancement. If you are facing a DUI felony charge, contact a Chicago DUI defense lawyer immediately. Attorney Dennis Dwyer, a Chicago DUI lawyer, has handled a multitude of DUI felony cases and knows the best ways to protect your freedom. Call him today to discuss your DUI felony case.