Illinois Aggravated DUI

Learn about aggravating factors when charged with a DUI in Illinois.

In Illinois, as in all states, it’s a crime to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. If arrested and convicted for this crime, judges typically apply a set of minimum and maximum sentencing guidelines. When determining the sentence, judges and prosecutors commonly weigh mitigating and aggravating factors.

What are mitigating factors?

Mitigating factors reduce the punishment because they may explain or excuse the bad behavior. For example, if impairment was the result of a lawfully prescribed medication, or the driver had an otherwise spotless Illinois driving record and the driver’s .BAC just barely cracked .08, or the driver has voluntarily completed a substance abuse program, courts and prosecutors may be more inclined to apply a minimum rather than a maximum sentence.

What are typical aggravating factors?

On the other hand, if there are aggravating factors present, prosecutors and courts are less likely to provide a lenient sentence. This may be for two reasons: public pressure in higher-profile DUI arrests and state laws requiring stiffer sentences. DUIs are a hot button issue for elected (and appointed officials) and the days when a judge or prosecutor could sweep a terrible DUI accident off the record have faded away in most jurisdictions. At the same time, recognizing that not all DUIs are the same, lobbying groups such as M.A.D.D. have applied to state legislatures to build aggravating factors into the law. Typically aggravating factors include prior DUI convictions, reckless driving or speeding, driving while a license is suspended, causing serious personal injury to another person, or a DUI arrest with a child present (ages defining a child vary from state to state)

Illinois’s approach

In Illinois, any DUI offense resulting in felony charges is classified as Aggravated DUI. Any mandatory term of imprisonment or community service is not subject to suspension or reduction. Any person sentenced to probation or conditional discharge also must serve a minimum 480 hours of community service or 10 days imprisonment. Aggravated DUI includes the following offenses:

  • Third or subsequent DUI (Class 2 felony; penalties vary according to offense).
  • DUI committed while driving a school bus carrying one or more persons age 18 or younger (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI committed while driving a vehicle for-hire carrying one or more passengers (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement (Class 4 felony). Revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Second or subsequent DUI committed while transporting a child under age 16 (Class 2 felony; penalties vary according to offense).
  • DUI committed while transporting a child under age 16 and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm to the child (Class 2 felony; penalties vary according to offense).
  • DUI committed without a valid driver’s license or permit (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI committed without vehicle liability insurance (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI committed after a previous conviction for reckless homicide while DUI or Aggravated DUI involving a death (Class 3 felony).
  • DUI committed in a school zone while the restricted speed limit is in effect and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI committed while revoked or suspended for DUI, reckless homicide or leaving the scene of a personal injury or death (Class 4 felony). Any penalty imposed is in addition to the penalty for any subsequent DUI violation. Revocation period determined by offense.
  • DUI resulting in a death (Class 2 felony). Revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of 2 years from the effective date of the revocation or from the date of release from incarceration for the offense.

Seek an attorney’s advice

Although many DUIs can be handled without the assistance of an attorney, an attorney’s counsel is strongly recommended if arrested for a DUI with aggravating factors (such as an elevated BAC). That’s because when aggravating factors are present, the penalties are so much more severe and the effects can stay with you for much longer than a typical Illinois DUI.

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