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When is DUI a felony in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Traffic Offenses And DUI

Driving under the influence is a serious offense that can result in severe consequences, including felony charges, in Illinois. Several factors determine whether a DUI becomes a felony in the state.

Understanding these factors helps people recognize the potential legal ramifications of driving under the influence and take proactive steps to avoid felony charges.

Multiple DUI offenses

Multiple DUI offenses can result in felony charges. This is true regardless of the circumstances surrounding the arrest. A third or subsequent DUI offense is typically a felony. Those with a history of DUI may face enhanced penalties. These might include longer jail sentences, higher fines and mandatory participation in substance abuse treatment programs.

Aggravating circumstances

Certain aggravating circumstances can also elevate a DUI offense to a felony. These may include causing bodily harm or death to another person while driving under the influence or driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a previous DUI conviction. Having a blood alcohol concentration far above the legal limit may also constitute aggravating circumstances. These factors can result in more severe charges and penalties for those with DUI convictions.

Legal consequences

A felony DUI can have long-lasting legal consequences beyond jail time and fines. Felony convictions can result in the loss of certain civil rights, such as the right to vote or possess firearms. They may also impact employment opportunities, housing options and professional licenses. Those convicted of felony DUI may have to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles or participate in supervised probation programs.

Recognizing the potential consequences of driving under the influence helps people make responsible decisions and avoid putting themselves and others at risk.