Is DUI a Misdemeanor or Felony?

cuffs2A first-time Driving under the Influence (DUI) offense in the state of Illinois is most often charged as a Class “A” misdemeanor. If you are a first-time DUI offender with a clean driving record, the Court will most likely sentence you to e period of Court Supervision. If found Guilty” at Trial, or if you plead “Guilty” to this criminal charge, you may face a sentence entailing one year of Court Supervision, fines up to $2,500.00 plus Court costs, the suspension of your driver’s license for at least 6 months and possibly 12 months, and a permanent criminal record that cannot be expunged or sealed.

Misdemeanor Driving Under the Influence

Court Supervision is not a conviction, though it does require you to plead “Guilty” to the DUI charge. Court Supervision requires that you successfully comply with several terms and conditions, usually within a one-year time period. You must pay your fine and Court costs, complete an alcohol evaluation and complete all recommendations for treatment, attend a Victim Impact Panel, make a contribution to the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) and commit no violations of the law while subject to the Court’s sentence of Supervision. This disposition ultimately allows you to retain your driver’s license.

If you successfully complete all requirements of your sentence of Court Supervision, the Court will terminate your Supervision successfully, without a conviction being entered, and the Illinois Secretary of State will not revoke your driver’s license (although your driver’s license may be temporarily suspended during the Statutory Summary Suspension imposed by the Secretary of State as an administrative action against you).

However, if you violate the terms and conditions of your sentence of Court Supervision, the Prosecutor will file a petition to revoke your sentence. If the Court revokes your sentence of Court Supervision, the Court will enter a conviction against you for the offense of Driving under the Influence (DUI) and the Illinois Secretary of State will revoke your driver’s license.

Court Supervision is only available to those motorists who have never before been arrested and sentenced for the offenses of DUI or Reckless Driving, either in Illinois or in any other State. Furthermore, under the law in Illinois, Court Supervision will only be granted once for the offense of Driving under the Influence (DUI). If you use one sentence of Court Supervision for the offense of Driving Under the Influence, or the offense of Reckless Driving amended from the offense of Driving Under the influence, and you are later arrested for and found “Guilty” of the offense of Driving under the Influence, then you will be considered a second-time offender for sentencing purposes and the only possible sentence will be a conviction, resulting in the Illinois Secretary of State revoking your driver’s license.

Felony Driving Under the Influence

Although a first-time Driving under the Influence (DUI) offense in the state of Illinois is usually charged as a Class “A” misdemeanor, there are certain circumstances under which a first-time Driving under the Influence offense may be charged as a Felony. A DUI offense may be charged as a Felony – frequently called Aggravated DUI or Felony DUI — if there are aggravating circumstances accompanying the DUI arrest. For example, and this list is not all-inclusive, if you are arrested for the offense of DUI, and any of the following apply to you, you will be charged with a Felony DUI:

  • Two (2) prior Driving under the Influence (DUI) offenses
  • Having a revoked driver’s license, or never having been issued a driver’s license
  • Driving without automobile insurance
  • Being involved in an accident that results in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to another person, even if the accident was not your fault
  • Causing the death of another person or persons

Have you been charged with DUI in McHenry County, IL?

If you are facing a DUI charge in McHenry County, you must retain the services of a qualified DUI attorney. Don’t attempt to fight your case without a lawyer–you will immediately lose several important advantages if you choose not to have an attorney represent you. Contact David Franks at 847.854.7700 to discuss your case. For more information on why you need an attorney, please read How A DUI Lawyer Can Help Your Case.