Police and prosecutors take all DUI offenses seriously, but when it comes to felony DUI cases, they take an especially aggressive approach. A conviction for a felony DUI carries life-changing penalties, including mandatory jail time. However, getting arrested for a DUI does not mean you will be found guilty—there are defenses to even the more serious DUI charges. At the Fotopoulos Law Office, our Orland Park DUI defense attorney has more than two decades of experience investigating, negotiating and litigating drunk driving cases. With his help, you can rest assured that your driver’s license, future, and freedom are in good hands.What Makes a DUI a Felony in Illinois?
By default, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a misdemeanor. However, certain aggravating circumstances will turn a misdemeanor DUI into an aggravated DUI, which is a felony.Repeat DUI Convictions
If you have two prior DUI convictions and then get arrested for a third DUI, your previous convictions make the third offense an aggravated DUI. In this case, the crime is a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years of incarceration. A fourth DUI conviction is also a Class 2 felony. A fifth DUI conviction is a Class 1 felony, punishable by a jail sentence between four to 15 years. Finally, a sixth DUI conviction is a Class X felony, which carries up to 30 years in prison. Importantly, for the purposes of repeat DUI sentencing, out-of-state DUIs count.Transporting a Child Under 16
Even a first-time DUI arrest can result in felony charges if a passenger under 16 was injured. In this case, you will face a Class 4 felony, which carries a punishment of one to three years in jail. However, if you have a prior DUI conviction, carrying a passenger under the age of 16 is automatically a Class 2 felony. If the child was injured, you will likely be charged with a Class 3 felony aggravated DUI, exposing you to a jail sentence between two to five years.DUI Without a Valid License or Insurance
If you are arrested for DUI and don’t have a valid driver’s license or insurance, prosecutors can bring Class 4 felony aggravated DUI charges against you.DUI Causing Death
A DUI accident resulting in the death of a pedestrian, a passenger in your car, or an occupant of another vehicle is considered a Class 2 felony aggravated DUI. In addition, prosecutors may also bring reckless homicide charges, which carry a mandatory term of two years in jail.
If you have felony DUI charges hanging over your head, it is important that you don’t give up hope. Facing felony DUI charges can be overwhelming; however, this is not something you need to deal with on your own. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help by conducting a thorough investigation into the evidence against you, negotiating with prosecutors in hopes of securing a favorable resolution, and aggressively litigating on your behalf in front of the jury.Are You Facing Felony DUI Charges?
If you were recently arrested for aggravated DUI, it is essential that you reach out to an experienced Orland Park DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. While these charges are incredibly serious, there are defenses that can mitigate your exposure or result in an outright acquittal. At Fotopoulos Law Office, Attorney John Fotopoulos aggressively defends the rights of clients charged with felony DUIs. As a former Cook County Circuit Court judge, Attorney Fotopoulos has unrivaled knowledge and experience when it comes to drunk driving charges in Illinois. To learn more, reach out to the Fotopoulos Law Office by calling 708-942-8400. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form, and our criminal defense attorney will be in touch shortly. We proudly represent clients in Cook, Will, DuPage, Champaign and Kankakee counties.