How Could The Presence Of A Minor Impact A DUI Charge?
Just having a minor in the car is not enough to upgrade it from a misdemeanor to a felony aggravated DUI, but there are minimum sentences imposed upon conviction. For a first DUI offense, having a minor in the vehicle would add twenty-five days of community service in a program benefiting children, plus a mandatory $1,000 fine to any sentence imposed by the judge. A second violation with a minor can result in an upgrade to Aggravated DUI, a class 4 felony.
Who Is Deemed A Minor In Illinois?
In Illinois, the operative age is sixteen. Anybody who is sixteen or younger, that will trigger those additional penalties.
Could Having Aggravated DUI Charges Impact A Family Law Case Like Child Custody?
I have seen situations involving a DUI with a minor in the vehicle where the prosecutor brings additional criminal charges of child endangerment. If that occurs then basically, you treat it like any other criminal offense. You look at the evidence, and you evaluate whether you think the state can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. As far as losing custody of their children, it is rare to have a situation where the state comes in and the Department of Children and Family Services are trying to seek custody of the child and terminate parental rights.
A more common situation would be where two parents were fighting over custody of the child. In that situation I think that the fact that an individual was charged with a DUI and the child was in the car, the other parent could use that as leverage in the case. Whether or not that would actually be enough for them to lose custody, I do not think so, but it depends on the judge. It also depends on the other facts of both the DUI case and custody case. If you have a DUI in the Virginia area then you could check out Virginia Child Support & Custody Info to see if that might affect your case and find out what other things may affect your custody battle.
Does Illinois Have a Blood Alcohol Level Threshold Where The Defendant May Be Charged With An Aggravated DUI?
Blood alcohol level alone is not enough to trigger an upgrade to an aggravated DUI. In other words, you could have an extremely high blood alcohol level in a first time DUI, perhaps double or triple the limit, but your case would remain a misdemeanor DUI. There might be some additional misdemeanor penalties imposed because of the high blood alcohol content, but a high BAC is not enough by itself to trigger an upgrade to aggravated DUI.
What Are The Potential Penalties Associated With An Aggravated DUI?
Aggravated DUI generally is a felony case with fines ranging up to $25,000. The penalties could be anything from a felony conviction and probation up to multiple years in prison, depending on the class of the felony. Also, there are other enhancing or aggravating factors that could trigger mandatory prison sentences, but they run along the same lines as what we have already discussed.
Can An Aggravated DUI Charge Be Reduced To A Lesser Offense?
Yes absolutely. I have successfully reduced aggravated DUIs to misdemeanor DUIs on many occasions. This is accomplished through negotiating with the prosecutor, and actually this is a situation where I would want to use evidence of alcohol treatment or in-patient rehab to our advantage. That generally would play an important part in this negotiation. I would also emphasize any other favorable or mitigating factors to the prosecutor in an effort to get the charge reduced.
What Sets You Apart In Handling Repeat DUI And Aggravated DUI Cases?
I have extensive experience in representing people in aggravated and felony DUI cases. I also have extensive experience representing individuals with prior DUI arrests. The approach I take is the exactly the same whether it is your first offense or whether somebody died in an accident as a result of a DUI arrest. The difference is my experience, knowledge, and courtroom skills. The potential penalties are much higher, so the stakes are much higher. Many lawyers do not take aggravated DUI cases because it is very easy to be intimidated by the potential consequences. I have the mental strength and determination to persevere through that, and produce successful results for my clients, just like I’ve been doing for almost 20 years.
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