Driving under the influence or DUI is a serious crime. It is illegal to operate a car, motorcycle, or another motorized vehicle after consuming a certain amount of alcohol or using illicit drugs. DUI consequences increase if they are second, third, or subsequent offenses. However, different underlying factors can increase a DUI sentence regardless of a driver’s criminal history.
Understanding Underlying Factors
With all crimes, underlying factors or exceptional circumstances can exacerbate the degree of the crime, leading to a longer, more severe sentence. For example, if you steal a shirt from a store, you may be facing misdemeanor shoplifting charges. However, if you stole that same shirt from the same store but were armed, you could face aggravated theft charges. The same is true for DUI charges. Some common aggravating factors that could increase a DUI sentence include:
Driving without a valid driver’s license
Underage drinking or marijuana use
Driving public transportation
Prior DUI charges
Driving with an underage child in the vehicle
These circumstances could result in what is known as an aggravated DUI, leading to more severe consequences.
Minor Involvement in a DUI
Minor involvement includes being charged with a DUI while transporting a child, 16 years old or younger, in the vehicle during the DUI offense. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a minor involved can result in an aggravated DUI charge. The purpose for the elevated sentence with a minor involved is due to the grave danger that the adult is placing the child in. An aggravated DUI charge is a class 4 felony. Usually, class 4 felony charges are met with a prison sentence of up to three years. However, suppose the child sustains any injuries resulting from drunk driving, including abrasions, broken bones, concussions, other traumatic brain injuries, or sprains. In that case, the driver may face a class 2 felony. In Illinois, a class 2 felony can result in three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
What to Do If You are Facing Felony DUI Charges
If you have been charged with an aggravated DUI due to minor involvement during the offense or other aggravating circumstances, it is in your best interest to seek professional legal counsel. A skilled defense attorney with experience in the field can help use defense strategies to represent you in court.
Find an Arlington Heights DUI Defense Attorney
The law office of Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law helps clients defend themselves against criminal charges. Our Rolling Meadows, Illinois, defense lawyer has experience representing clients in DUI and aggravated DUI cases. To schedule a free consultation with our office, please reach us by calling 847-253-3400.