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What Makes an Illinois DUI Charge an Aggravated DUI?In Illinois, any DUI charge that is classified as a felony charge is automatically considered to be an aggravated DUI charge. As the name suggests, aggravated DUI is more serious than a misdemeanor DUI and carries more serious consequences. Aggravated DUI charges can range anywhere from a Class 4 felony to a Class X felony, depending on the circumstances.

Class 4 Felonies

A Class 4 felony is the least serious classification of felony charges, though a conviction can still carry a sentence of one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Examples of Class 4 felony aggravated DUI charges include:

  • A first DUI offense while transporting a minor younger than 16 in the vehicle that resulted in bodily harm to the child;
  • A second DUI offense committed while transporting a child younger than 16;
  • DUI committed while driving a school bus with at least one minor on board;
  • DUI committed while driving a vehicle-for-hire with a passenger inside;
  • DUI resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement;
  • DUI committed without a valid driver’s license; and
  • DUI committed without vehicle insurance.

Class 3 Felonies

A conviction for a Class 3 felony means you will face two to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. A DUI conviction is a Class 3 felony if you had a previous reckless homicide DUI conviction or aggravated DUI conviction involving a death.

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Exploring Illinois DUI and Statutory Summary SuspensionsBeing convicted of driving under the influence means you might have to face some rather daunting penalties. Even a run-of-the-mill DUI conviction in Illinois can carry lengthy jail time, hefty fines and a loss of driving privileges. These are all criminal penalties, but unbeknownst to some people, you can also face civil penalties for violations of Illinois’ DUI laws that can affect your day-to-day life in many ways. One of these civil penalties of DUI is a statutory summary suspension, which can cause you to temporarily lose your driving privileges.

What is a Statutory Summary Suspension?

Like all states, Illinois has an implied consent law, which states that all those who are driving on Illinois roads or hold an Illinois driver’s license have given their implicit consent that police may perform a chemical test on their blood, breath or urine if police have reason to suspect that the person was driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. The statutory summary suspension policy allows the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office to suspend the driver’s license of any person who fails a chemical test, refuses to take a chemical test or does not finish a chemical test.

Consequences for Failed or Refused Chemical Tests

Failing a chemical test means that you were found to have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more, a THC concentration of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or a trace of any other type of drug, legal or illegal. Failing a chemical test a first time will result in a six-month driving suspension. Failing a chemical test a second or subsequent time within five years of the first means you will face a one-year driving suspension. 

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Cook County DUI defense lawyer underage drinking and drivingWhen examining traffic offenses or crimes that can be committed while driving, a DUI is one of the most serious charges one can face. The state of Illinois has cracked down on drunk driving in recent years for both underage drivers and adult drivers. Underage DUI is a very serious crime in Illinois. Not only is an offender violating DUI laws, but they are also violating the minimum drinking age laws. Having a teenage child who gets caught drinking and driving can be a nerve-wracking experience, but understanding the laws and the consequences for breaking them can help ease some of the uncertainty.

Zero Tolerance Laws

In an effort to reduce the number of teenagers who drink and drive, Illinois has adopted zero tolerance laws for drivers under the age of 21. Under these laws, any blood alcohol content (BAC) over .00 will result in charges. A first-time offender will lose their driving privileges for three months for any BAC that is over .00. They will lose their driving privileges for six months if they refuse to take a chemical test.

A second-time offender can expect to face much more serious consequences if he or she is caught drinking and driving while under the age of 21. A second offense under the zero tolerance laws will result in the loss of driving privileges for one year for a BAC over .00 or a loss of driving privileges for two years for refusing to take a chemical test.

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Orland Park DUI defense lawyerPolice officers are tasked with protecting our communities. However, as with any person of authority, laws exist to direct how and when police officers can use their power. One of these constraints involves the concept of “probable cause.” In order to pull over a motorist, a police officer must have a good reason for doing so. If you are facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI), and the officer who arrested you did not have probable cause to pull you over, your case may be dismissed.

Reasonable Suspicion of a Crime

To legally pull someone over, a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that the person has broken the law or soon will. The term “reasonable” in this context means that most officers of average training and experience would conclude that illegal activity has occurred or is about to occur. In order for a DUI arrest to be legally warranted, it must be reinforced by probable cause. Put another way, there must be some type of evidence that justifies the belief that the driver was intoxicated.

Some of the common reasons police officers pull over motorists and make DUI arrests include:

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Orland Park DUI defense attorney, Illinois police, drug userDUI does not just refer to drunk driving. It is against Illinois law to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any drug, legal or illegal. However, police must have reasonable grounds to believe that you are actually under the influence of drugs.

Officer Lacked “Probable Cause” Based on Questionable Drug Test

This can be a problem when an officer lacks appropriate training and simply jumps to the conclusion that a driver was using drugs without adequate proof. Given that a drug arrest can not only lead to a criminal charge, but also carries a “civil penalty” in the form of an automatic driver's license suspension, such mistakes can be devastating to innocent individuals.

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Orland Park DUI defense attorney, DUI arrestDrunk driving in Illinois carries both civil and criminal penalties. On the criminal side, a person convicted of a first DUI offense faces up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Separately, the Illinois Secretary of State's office can “summarily” suspend the license of any driver who either fails a blood-alcohol test or refuses to take one at a police officer's request.

A summary suspension is a civil matter. This means the Secretary can suspend your driver's license even if you are never charged or convicted of a criminal DUI offense. Additionally, while you can challenge a civil summary suspension in court, the state's burden of proof is much lighter than in a criminal prosecution.

License Suspension Upheld Despite Police Losing Evidence

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