Illinois treats driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol very seriously. Even first time DUI charges have strict penalties to discourage drunk driving. Driving while inebriated is unsafe because driver’s have impaired senses and reduced reaction time. Drunk driving increases the chance of crashes with serious and possibly deadly outcomes.
Great Bodily Harm
When driving under the influence leads to significant harm then the penalties are even more severe. If a person is found to have been driving under the influence and consequently caused another person great bodily harm, he/she will be charged with an aggravated DUI. A regular DUI charge is a misdemeanor with possible jail time of up to a year and fines of up to $2,500. An aggravated DUI is a felony. For causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement, it is a class 4 felony. Penalties include:
- A minimum one-year loss of driving privileges.
- A mandatory ten days in jail or 480 hours of community service.
- Possible imprisonment for up to twelve years.
- A fine of up to $25,000.
The punishment for aggravated DUI reflects the severity of the offense. Since considerable damage resulted from negligent behavior, the consequences are likewise considerable.
What Constitutes Great Bodily Harm?
The term great bodily harm is vague and not very descriptive. Each case must be considered separately. In court, the jury must decide if they feel great bodily harm has occurred. Previous cases have helped to determine what could constitute great bodily harm. Lacerations, abrasions and bruises are not considered great bodily harm. Injuries that can be considered great bodily harm, include:
- severe cuts or burns
- major scarring or serious disfigurement
- broken bones
- lost functioning of a limb
- lost limb
- injury to head, neck or spine
Other Causes of Agg DUI
Causing great bodily harm is not the only way to get an aggravated DUI charge. Any severe DUI cases are charged with aggravated DUI. The following situations also result in aggravated DUI charges:
- a third or subsequent DUI
- a DUI while driving a school bus with a passenger under 18
- a DUI after previously being convicted of reckless homicide or Aggravated DUI with a death
- a DUI while in a school zone that involved in an accident with bodily harm
- a DUI on a revoked or suspended license
- a DUI without a license or permit
- a DUI without liability insurance
- a DUI when a child under 16 received bodily harm
- a Second or subsequent DUI while driving with a child under 16
- a DUI while transporting one or more person for hire (in a cab)
- a DUI resulting in a death
The penalties for aggravated DUI depend on the circumstances of the case. Agg DUIs can be classified as a class 2 or 4 felony.
Chicago DUI Defense Attorney
Any time you are charged with a crime, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. This is especially true if you are facing charges for an aggravated DUI. Felony convictions have high penalties and can negatively impact your life. Contact Dennis F. Dwyer, Chicago DUI defense attorney, if you have been charged with an aggravated DUI.