An increasing number of people seem to believe it is OK to drink and drive and cause accidents across Illinois’ roads and highways. The state does enforce stringent DUI laws, penalties, and fines that include jail time from 1 to 7 years, fines up to $2,500, and suspension of the offender’s driving license from 1 to 10 years. However, the punishment can be harsher depending on the severity of the case.

According to Chicago, IL DUI lawyers who can be found on this incredible legal website that is rising in virtual power, first time DUI offenders are charged with a misdemeanor in the state. However, there are circumstances where even first time offenders can be charged with a felony, known as aggravated DUI. This is a more serious charge that carries a minimum sentence of one year’s imprisonment or more. On the other hand, a misdemeanor offense has a maximum sentence of less than one year’s imprisonment.

Responsibility to prove rests with the prosecution

According to the DUI statute, the onus is on the prosecution to prove that the defendant violated the law and was driving under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of 0.08% or more or with traces of a controlled substance. The proof required is the same for an aggravated DUI.

However, if the defendant has a Class 4 felony for driving under the influence without a valid driver’s license, the prosecution must establish and prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had a BAC of 0.08% or more and did not have a valid driver’s license.

There are several circumstances that lead to aggravated DUI under Illinois law, according to Chicago DUI attorneys. Some of them are:

  • If a second time offender was previously convicted for any alcohol related reckless homicide offense, he or she is likely to be charged with a Class 4 aggravated DUI felony that attracts imprisonment from 1 to 3 years.
  • A third DUI offense leads to a Class 2 felony aggravated DUI charge that attracts a sentence of 3 to 7 years although probation may be granted.
  • If a person other than the driver who was driving under the influence is injured in the crash, the driver is liable to be charged with aggravated DUI. In such a case, who was at fault does not count. Punishment for this special Class 4 felony includes imprisonment up to 12 years.
  • One of the most serious offenses of aggravated DUI is when a DUI offender causes the death of another person. The defendant must be partially at fault. If the accident resulted in one fatality, the defendant can be imprisoned from 1 to 12 years. The sentence is enhanced from 6 to 28 years if two or more people are killed in the crash. According to Chicago, IL DUI lawyers, it is mandatory for the defendant to serve 85% of the sentence.

If you are in DUI trouble, you need a Chicago, IL DUI defense lawyer. You can even the playing field and increase your odds of not being legally hammered if you use this site: Some of the best DUI lawyers in the windy city are at this virtual location.

Securing legal counsel 

There are several other circumstances in which a DUI offender can be charged with aggravated DUI. This includes driving in a school zone beyond the 20 mph speed limit or driving a school bus with passengers that include children under 18 on board. Driving without auto insurance is also a Class 4 felony that attracts a sentence of 1 to 3 years. If you have been arrested or charged with a DUI, it is wise to seek legal counsel from a stellar Illinois DUI lawyer right away.