If a person is charged with a DUI, they must be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, controlled substance, or a combination of these, when operating a motor vehicle. These controlled substances can include anything from illegal narcotics to prescription medications. You can get details of what constitutes a controlled substance in the Illinois Controlled Substance Act (720 ILCS 570/100).
Mostly, though, driving under the influence (DUI) is more closely associated with consuming alcohol before driving. If a person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.8 or above, they are considered to be driving under the influence. However, according to the Illinois 2020 DUI Fact Book, there is correlation between BAC and the likelihood of being involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident. As BAC rises towards and past the legal limit, this likelihood increases rapidly.
Limitations for different drivers, like commercial vehicle drivers and minors, vary in the state of Illinois. BAC must be under 0.4 if you are driving a commercial vehicle and drivers under the age of 21 and people who drive school buses must not have any alcohol at all in their systems. Hence, if a controlled substance is impairing your ability to drive, no matter how little you have consumed it, you can be charged with DUI.
Difference Between a Misdemeanor DUI and Aggravated DUI in Illinois
All DUIs are charged under the statute 625 ILCS 5/11-501, et seq. However, certain aggravating factors can turn a misdemeanor DUI into a felony DUI, also known as aggravated DUI.
Unlike misdemeanor DUI, an aggravated DUI in the state of Illinois will have a maximum sentence of one to three years in jail. If a person has been convicted of DUI, the court may sentence him or her to a minimum of 10 days in prison or serve them with 480 hours of community service. The defendant may also be required to serve one year of supervised and in some cases, may be eligible for probation, but not all.
What Offenses Constitute as an Aggravated DUI in Illinois?
Below are some of the factors that can cause a misdemeanor DUI to become an aggravated DUI:
History of DUI Violations: If the driver has been already committed two violations, the third and subsequent DUIs will all be felonies. The third and fourth DUI is a Class 2 felony, a fifth DUI is a Class 1 felony, and a sixth DUI is a Class X felony. The sentence may be 3 to 7 years in jail.
Driving with a Suspended License: The DUI will be aggravated if you are driving on a license that was revoked or suspended due to offenses like prior DUI, hit-and-run accidents involving injury and death, reckless homicide, or driving under a prior summary suspension. The sentence may be 1 to 3 years in jail.
Driving Without a Valid License: If the driver does not have a valid driver’s license or permit when the DUI occurred, they will have committed an aggravated DUI and may be sentenced to 1 to 3 years in jail.
Driving Without a Valid Insurance: If the vehicle an intoxicated person is driving is not covered by an insurance policy and the driver should have known that, they have committed an aggravated DUI. The sentence may be 1 to 3 years.
Accident Resulting in Severe Injury: A DUI accident that resulted in great bodily harm to another person like permanent disfigurement and disability is an aggravated DUI, regardless of who was at fault. The sentence can be anywhere from 1 to 12 years.
Accident Resulting in Bodily Harm To Persons Under 16: If an intoxicated person causes bodily harm to a person under the age of 16, they will be charged with aggravated assault, regardless of whether the injury is severe. The sentence can be 3-7 years.
Second DUI Involving Minors Under 16: A second DUI will be considered aggravated, not a misdemeanor, if it involves driving with minors under the age of 16. The sentence can be 3 to 7 years.
Accident Resulting in Death: If a DUI accident occurred that resulted in a homicide, the inebriated person must be partially at fault, unlike other aggravated DUIs. If there is one fatality, the person may be jailed for 1 to 12 years. For multiple fatalities, the person must be jailed for 6 to 28 years.
Second DUI After a DUI-related Homicide Accident: A second DUI will be considered aggravated if the person has a prior conviction of a DUI that resulted in the death of a person. The sentence can be 1 to 3 years.
Driving in a School Zone: An intoxicated person driving in a school zone with a speed limit of 20 miles per hour will be charged with an aggravated DUI if bodily harm befalls a person, regardless of whether it is serious or not. If bodily harm is severe, it will result in a harsher penalty. The sentence will be 1 to 3 years in jail.
Driving a School Bus With Passengers Under 18: If an intoxicated person is driving a school bus that contains at least one person under the age of 18, they will be charged with aggravated DUI with a sentence of 1 to 3 years.
Schedule an Appointment With Ktenas Law Attorneys
If you are involved in a drunk driving accident in Illinois, it can be nerve-wracking. However, keep in mind that you still have legal options for defense.
The criminal defense attorneys at Ktenas Law have extensive experience in representing clients in a wide variety of cases, including aggravated DUI charges, and we can help you determine what steps you need to take to create a strong defense for yourself.
We strive to aggressively defend your rights and will work with you to minimize the adverse consequences that a DUI charge may have on your life.
Contact us today and schedule your FREE consultation today!