Decatur, Illinois Multiple and Felony DUI Lawyer
Not all drunk driving charges are the same. While a first-time DUI is usually considered a misdemeanor–meaning the maximum penalty will not exceed a year in jail–there are factors that can quickly elevate a DUI to felony status. This most commonly occurs when a person has a prior history of drunk driving convictions or there is a specific aggravating factor in their case that justifies a felony charge as a matter of law.
When it comes to any felony charge, you cannot afford to mess around with the state. You need to work with a skilled Decatur, Illinois multiple and felony DUI lawyer who understands the law on this subject. At Patel Law, PC, attorney Baku N. Patel has worked felony cases on both sides–as a former prosecutor and public defender–and he can put his expertise to work for you.
What Makes a DUI a Felony in Illinois?
In its most basic form, a DUI occurs when someone drives or is in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or some other substance that impairs their judgment. Illinois law also defines several “aggravated” DUI felonies that carry more significant criminal penalties than a first-time, misdemeanor DUI charge.
Some common reasons for prosecutors to charge drunk driving in Illinois as a felony include:
- The driver had at least two prior convictions for DUI
- The driver was transporting a minor under the age of 16 at the time of the DUI and that minor suffered some “bodily harm” as a result.
- The driver was driving a school bus with at least one child aboard.
- The driver’s impaired driving caused someone else “great bodily harm.”
- The driver’s impaired driving led to the death of one or more other persons (i.e., DUI manslaughter).
- The driver is charged with DUI while driving on a suspended, revoked, or restricted driver’s license.
- The driver is charged with DUI while transporting at least two other people as “passengers for hire,” such as in a taxicab or ride-sharing situation.
- The driver is charged with DUI for operating a motor vehicle while knowingly failing to carry the minimum required insurance.
- The driver is charged with a DUI after a prior conviction of DUI manslaughter or any other aggravated DUI conviction that involved death.
A felony conviction of any type usually means jail time. In some aggravated DUI cases, that can mean multiple years–even decades–in prison. For example, in a DUI manslaughter case with multiple victims, the defendant faces upwards of 30 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. And even when someone else is not injured or harmed, a multiple DUI may still be prosecuted as a top-level felony based on the number of prior convictions.
Contact Attorney Baku N. Patel Today
A felony drunk driving charge is not something you should attempt to handle on your own. A qualified Decatur, Illinois multiple and felony DUI lawyer can advise you of the best course of action and represent your interests in court. Contact Patel Law, PC, today to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our team.