Illinois DUI Charges Increase with the Presence of a Child Passenger

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IL DUI lawyerDriving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and other drugs is a danger to all, including the driver, others on the road, and any passengers in the driver’s vehicle. Any DUI charges in Illinois can result in serious consequences, but certain factors make the charges more severe. For example, Illinois recognizes that children under the age of 16 often have little choice but to get into a vehicle with an intoxicated driver, such as a parent who has authority over them. Drivers who abuse their authority by putting minor children at risk are thus subject to additional consequences when they are convicted on DUI charges.

Additional Penalties for DUI With Passengers Under the Age of 16

In Illinois, a first conviction on DUI charges is a Class A misdemeanor. While state law allows a jail sentence of less than one year for a crime of this magnitude, the court will often issue a more lenient sentence for first offenders, perhaps including fines and court supervision in lieu of imprisonment. However, leniency is much less likely if there was a passenger under the age of 16 in the driver’s vehicle at the time of their arrest. In this case, a first conviction will likely include six months of imprisonment, and the offender will also be ordered to pay an additional $1,000 fine and complete 25 days of community service that benefits children.

The penalties only increase with subsequent convictions. A second DUI conviction in Illinois is usually still a Class A misdemeanor, albeit with increased administrative penalties and community service requirements. However, if the second conviction involves a minor passenger, it will instead be charged as a Class 2 felony. This means that conviction can include a sentence of up to seven years in prison, along with fines and community service requirements.

Third and subsequent DUI convictions qualify as at least Class 2 felonies regardless of the presence of a child passenger. However, if the offense does involve a passenger under the age of 16, the offender will have a fine of $25,000 and 25 days of community service added to any other terms of their sentence.

Contact a DuPage County DUI Defense Attorney

A conviction for DUI with a child passenger can affect the rest of your life, not just in terms of the criminal consequences, but also potentially in legal matters related to child custody and your parental rights. With this in mind, it is crucial to work with an experienced Wheaton criminal defense lawyer who can help you avoid an unnecessary conviction. Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, will determine the best possible defense strategy for your case, possibly by demonstrating that your charges are based on unreliable evidence or improper arrest procedures. Contact our office today at 630-260-9647 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501