What Are The Common Aggravating Factors For A DUI Charge?


In Illinois, aggravated DUI is distinguished, because that is generally a Class 4 felony. Unlike the first or second DUI, it is going to be a higher class of offense with more serious sentencing options. It is a felony which has a significantly higher impact upon conviction than a misdemeanor. A DUI can be enhanced to a felony aggravated DUI for a variety of reasons other than a prior DUI conviction. For example, if you have a DUI with no valid driver’s license at the time, or you have a DUI where your license is suspended at the time, both of those situations are eligible for upgrade to aggravated DUI. If you have a DUI and you did not have valid liability insurance. That is also a basis for upgrade.

Other factors include if you have a motor vehicle accident that results in great bodily harm, or if there is a motor vehicle accident that results in death. If you have an accident that just results in bodily harm, not great bodily harm, but bodily harm to somebody sixteen years old or younger, that is a basis. If you are acting as a chauffeur, and you are charged with DUI while driving a limousine, a taxi or Uber, that is another basis. Any of those could be a basis to upgrade it to an aggravated DUI, which is a felony offense, even if it is your first DUI arrest.

How Will A DUI That Involves An Accident Be Charged By The State?

It is always up to the state’s attorney how to charge the DUI. Generally, an accident with great bodily harm is a basis to charge as an aggravated DUI even for a first DUI offense. As far as other charges in an accident or in any DUI arrest, the police are going to issue multiple tickets. They generally will issue as many as they can for any offense that may have occurred during the incident. We see all kinds of other tickets like failure to yield or disobeying a traffic control device or failure to stop at a stop sign, speeding, improper lane use and driving too fast for conditions. Those are all very common. A first or second DUI arrest with an accident where no one was injured will generally be charged as a misdemeanor.

What Are The Potential Penalties If Someone Dies As A Result Of A DUI In Illinois?

A DUI involving a fatality would be charged as a felony aggravated DUI, and that is a special Class 2 felony that carries a mandatory prison sentence of three up to fourteen years if one person died, and a sentencing range of six years up to twenty-eight years if there are two or more deaths involved. This is an unusual situation because probation, although it is generally not allowed, probation is possible if the court holds a separate hearing and determines that there are extraordinary circumstances that would require the court to give probation. This is a grey area because the term “extraordinary circumstances” is not defined by statute. It could mean different things to different judges.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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I have seen situations where a judge found that an individual whose child was killed in a crash, that that person had suffered enough, and found that that was an extraordinary circumstance to justify probation, but I have heard other judges say that they consider extraordinary circumstances to mean that the person should not go to jail because maybe they are on the verge of discovering the cure to cancer, and if they are imprisoned, they cannot continue working on the cure. That is an extraordinary circumstance. It is a very vague area in the law that is still developing.

How Has Your Experience Been In Handling DUI Cases Involving Fatalities?

I have a lot of experience in this area. I have represented countless individuals charged with aggravated DUIs based on great bodily harm. I have represented numerous individuals who were charged with a DUI involving a death. These cases are very difficult, because a DUI that does not have an accident, that is essentially a victimless crime, whereas in a situation involving great bodily harm or death, you have a real victim that has reportedly been harmed by my client. These cases are challenging, but I have successfully defended many people in these situations.

How Do You Defend A DUI Involving A Fatality?

The process in defending somebody in a DUI is the same, whether it is the first or their tenth, or whether no accident occurred or whether there was a death involved in the accident. All my strategies and techniques are the same in terms of contesting the chemical test, evaluating the field sobriety tests and just looking at the evidence as a whole. All my methods hold true. It is just that when you have a situation where there is great bodily harm or a death involved, the stakes or potential consequences are much higher. Many lawyers that will handle first time offenders don’t feel comfortable handling DUI cases involving great bodily harm or death. However, this is not an issue for me. In fact, many lawyers unwilling to take such complex DUI cases refer them to me because of my ability and experience.

What Are The Typical Outcomes In DUI Cases Involving A Death?

It is a broad spectrum, and certainly every case turns on its own facts. I have had many individuals who were found not guilty after trial in cases involving great bodily harm and terrible vehicle accidents. However one cannot really say that there is a general or typical outcome, every case will be determined by the specific facts involved.

For more information on Aggravating Factors for a DUI Charge, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (815) 290-9170 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

Get your questions answered - Call now for FREE case evaluation (815) 290-9170.

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