Any DUI charge, whether it’s your first or one of many, is a serious matter. But being charged with an aggravated DUI holds even more weight in court in terms of legal action and penalties than a standard traffic violation.
Is a DUI a felony in Illinois? An aggravated DUI is always labeled as a felony DUI.1 There are several different factors that can lead to an aggravated DUI charge, including the number of DUIs previously received, the driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC), and any injuries suffered by others due to the driver’s intoxication.
In this article, we delve into aggravated DUI Illinois law, the range of penalties that exist for aggravated Illinois DUI, and how you can build a strong legal defense in the face of a DUI charge.
Factors That Can Lead to Aggravated DUI
Aggravated DUI law covers a large range of DUI circumstances. In Illinois, a DUI is always considered an aggravated DUI if it is a person’s third charge.1 Other circumstances that lead to aggravated DUI include:
- If the driver has a BAC of 0.16 or higher.1 Remember that in Illinois, to receive any DUI charge, a driver’s BAC must be 0.08 or higher.
- If a minor was in the vehicle and/or harmed at the time of the DUI.1
- If the driver did not have a valid Illinois or out-of-state driver’s license, or if their license was suspended for a previous DUI- or reckless-driving-related charge at the time of the DUI.1
Any form of injury or death to another person as a result of driving under the influence will also lead to an aggravated DUI charge.1 Other circumstances include driving in an active school zone, or driving a bus or another public transit vehicle while under the influence.1
Legal Penalties for Aggravated DUI
An aggravated DUI Illinois sentence can look different depending on the specifics of the charge. Types of penalties can include:
- License revocation/suspension
- Jail time and/or community service
Penalties increase in severity depending on the number of previous DUIs received, as well as the severity of the DUI offense. Most aggravated DUIs carry a mandatory $2,500 fine, with a $25,000 cap.1
A driver’s license is suspended for ten years after their third DUI offense. To get it back, they must hold a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) for five years.1 An RDP is only for essential travel, for example, driving to work or doctor’s appointments.
The installation of a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) is also required. A BAIID is a breathalyzer that’s connected to a vehicle’s ignition. It will only allow the vehicle to start after a successful breath test is completed by the driver. A driver’s BAC must be below 0.025 to pass the breath test.2 Carefully following the Illinois BAIID rules will prevent any additional violations.
Jail time for a third or fourth DUI case can range from three to seven years, while someone with a sixth DUI can face up to thirty years.1 If a driver is granted probation, however, jail time can be exchanged for community service hours. Typically, there’s a mandatory ten-day jail time penalty with 480 hours of community service.1
Building a Strong Aggravated DUI Defense
The penalties for aggravated DUI are high. Fortunately, there are ways you can build a strong DUI defense.
With the help of a DUI attorney, you can ensure that your rights are defended and your trial is just. DUI lawyers can dispute:
- Results of field sobriety tests
- Results of breath, blood, or urine tests
- How the initial investigation was conducted
Even if you performed poorly on a field sobriety test, a lawyer can argue that other factors, such as age, disability, or weather conditions, contributed to your poor result.3 Similarly, they can question the accuracy of breath, blood, or urine tests that may have shown your BAC to be above the legal limit.3
A DUI attorney can also bring the initial investigation into question. For instance, they can try to prove that law enforcement didn’t have reasonable suspicion at the time of the arrest (which they must have in order to legally pull over a vehicle).3
Remember: You don’t have to defend against DUI penalties alone. With the help of a DUI lawyer, you can build a strong defense against an aggravated DUI conviction.
Smart Start Can Help You Get Back Behind the Wheel
After an aggravated DUI conviction, your license may be suspended or revoked. But gaining your driving privilege again is possible. Illinois law requires those with aggravated DUI charges to install a BAIID in their vehicles, which will ensure that the driver is sober before getting behind the wheel.
Smart Start’s Ignition Interlock Device is the cheapest BAIID Illinois has available. With 24/7 customer service and convenient installation and maintenance locations across the state, Smart Start is your best option for getting back on the road after a DUI.
Reach out to us today to learn more.
- DrivingLaws. Aggravated DUI in Illinois and Conviction Penalties. https://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/illinois-aggravated-dui.htm
- The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID). https://www.ilsos.gov/departments/BAIID/baiid.html
- HG.org. DUI Law Handbook. https://www.hg.org/dui-handbook.html
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