Chicago Felony & Aggravated DUI Attorney

Driving under the influence is an incredibly common charge in Illinois. Tens of thousands of people are arrested in the state each year for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Statistics from the Secretary of State’s Office show that the vast majority of DUI arrests were for misdemeanors. However, there are circumstances in which DUI can be a felony in Illinois.

DUI felonies are exponentially worse than DUI misdemeanors and can have a lasting impact on your criminal record. If you’re convicted of a felony DUI charge, the possible consequences may include:

  • A lengthy prison sentence — perhaps decades
  • Revocation of your driver’s license for years — or permanently
  • Tens of thousands of dollars in fines
  • A permanent felony record

Because of the high stakes, a felony DUI charge can be extremely worrisome and stressful. Your freedom — and perhaps your entire future — are at stake if you’re convicted. However, there is hope if you obtain the help of the right DUI defense attorney to fight your charge.

When DUI is a Felony in Illinois

There are several different circumstances in which a DUI might be a felony in Illinois. In general, those include:

  • Involvement in an accident which results in great bodily harm — Class 4 felony
  • Driving in a school zone while a restricted speed is in effect — Class 4 felony
  • Driving a school bus carrying a person aged 18 or younger — Class 4 felony
  • Driving without a valid driver’s license or permit — Class 4 felony
  • Driving a vehicle-for-hire with passenger(s) — Class 4 felony
  • Driving without vehicle liability insurance — Class 4 felony
  • After a previous conviction for reckless homicide or aggravated DUI — Class 3 felony
  • Second or subsequent DUI committed while transporting a child — Class 2 felony
  • Bodily harm of a child (under 16 years of age) as a result of an accident — Class 2 felony
  • DUI resulting in death — Class 2 felony
  • Third DUI — Class 2 felony
  • Fourth DUI — Class 2 felony
  • Fifth DUI — Class 1 felony
  • Sixth or subsequent DUI — Class X felony

Felony DUIs are charged as “Aggravated DUI” in Illinois. A conviction for aggravated DUI is punishable with potential jail or prison time or community service that cannot be suspended or reduced.

Penalties for a Felony DUI Conviction

Depending on the classification of a DUI felony, a court may impose the following penalties for a conviction:

  • Class 4 Felony — 1 to 3 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
  • Class 3 Felony — 2 to 5 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
  • Class 2 Felony — 3 to 7 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
  • Class 1 Felony — 4 to 15 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
  • Class X felony — 6 to 30 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines

A felony DUI involving the death of another person is punishable with specific prison terms that are different than the usual felony penalties. Those include:

  • An aggravated DUI involving one death is punishable with a prison term of 3 to 14 years
  • An aggravated DUI involving two or more deaths is punishable with a prison term of 6 to 28 years

Additionally, felony or aggravated DUI offenses may involve mandatory sentences that are not subject to the option for court supervision. The mandatory minimum sentence for an aggravated DUI conviction is:

  • 10 days of incarceration, or
  • 480 hours of community service

Other Consequences of a Felony DUI Conviction

There are numerous ways that a felony DUI conviction may affect your life beyond the possibility of a prison sentence and fines. Other consequences you may experience include:

  • Revocation or suspension of your driver’s license
  • Having to pay for high-risk auto insurance for three years
  • Being required to complete an alcohol/drug evaluation and attend a substance abuse treatment program
  • Having a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in your vehicle as a condition of driving
  • Losing time from family and work or school
  • Having to pay thousands of dollars in bail, fines, court-ordered assessments, and remedial education or treatment programs

How Chicago Felony DUI Attorney Michael O’Meara Can Help

A felony DUI conviction can be life-altering. This type of conviction not only comes with the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence but also the stigma of being a convicted felon, which can prevent you from getting a job and rebuilding your life once you’ve served your sentence. You may lose your driver’s license permanently with no recourse for getting it back, which also can have a serious detrimental effect on your life and your livelihood.

If you’ve been charged with a felony DUI, you need a dedicated Chicago felony DUI attorney on your side. With the help of a great lawyer, you may be able to avoid a conviction and the resulting consequences. Alternatively, a skilled Chicago felony and aggravated DUI lawyer may be able to get your charge reduced so that the consequences of a conviction are minimized.

Illinois DUI defense attorney Michael O’Meara has a proven history of helping people like you to fight felony DUI charges, preserve their records, and protect their driver’s licenses. O’Meara has two decades of legal experience that includes more than a decade of criminal defense and having worked for several years as a prosecutor in Cook County.

O’Meara has a detailed understanding of all facets of the process of felony DUI cases and how to craft strong arguments for your defense. He also understands what’s at stake for you and will fight to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

To schedule a free consultation, contact O’Meara Law LLC today at 312-909-0706. During your appointment, you’ll receive an honest assessment of your case, an explanation of what to expect from the legal process, and learn what O’Meara can do to help you fight your felony DUI charge.