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What Is the Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony DUI?

 Posted on July 12, 2022 in DUI Defense

IL defense lawyerGetting charged with a DUI can be frightening. If you find out that you have been charged with a felony DUI, the situation is even direr. Felony charges can carry more than a year of prison time should you get convicted. While most DUIs are charged as a misdemeanor, even a first DUI can lead to felony charges in the wrong circumstances. Or, repeated DUIs can be charged as a felony. In some cases, it is possible for an attorney to help have your charges reduced back to a misdemeanor or dismissed. A lot will depend on the specific facts of your case, such as whether you injured someone and whether the police officers did everything correctly. The first thing you need to do is reach out to a qualified criminal defense attorney.

What Is Misdemeanor DUI?

A simple first or even second DUI is generally going to be charged as a misdemeanor. If you were simply pulled over with a BAC that was a bit too high, you are more likely than not looking at a misdemeanor, which carries less than a year of jail time. If this is your first offense, then a good attorney can typically make a strong case that jail time is not appropriate. Your attorney is very likely to suggest that you take the initiative of getting treatment for alcohol abuse.

Why Would a DUI be Charged as a Felony?

If you are being charged with a felony DUI, it is probably for one of these reasons:

  • Bodily harm - You injured someone while driving drunk.
  • No license - Your license was already suspended or revoked, or you otherwise did not have a valid driver’s license.
  • No insurance - You did not have car insurance.
  • Paying passenger - You were driving a vehicle for hire, such as an Uber, limo, party bus, or taxi.
  • Fatality - Someone died as a result of your driving while intoxicated. This is the most serious form of DUI and you may hear the term “manslaughter.” People who kill someone while driving drunk often face harsh sentencing.
  • Child passengers - If it is your second or subsequent DUI and one of your passengers was under the age of 16.
  • Third or subsequent - Your third DUI is automatically prosecuted as a felony.

Even if you are facing a felony DUI, your situation is not hopeless. There are steps an attorney can take to protect you.

Call a Cook County DUI Lawyer

If you are facing DUI charges, Luisi Legal Group can help. Our experienced Chicago DUI attorneys have a number of strategies we regularly employ to defend people who have been charged with DUI. Contact us at 773-276-5541 for a free consultation.




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