parent and child near vehicle

Is a DUI With a Minor in the Car a Felony in Illinois?

Like most states, Illinois takes the crime of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol very seriously. Due to the danger to other drivers on the road, this is often considered an egregious act. However, a DUI with a minor in the car is even more heinous. As a result, you’ll find that the charges for this offense are much more intense. If you were charged, understanding the penalties you can face if convicted is critical. Continue reading to learn what you should know about these matters and why it’s vital to connect with a Peoria DUI lawyer who can help you examine your legal options during these times.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI with a Minor in the Car?

If you are charged with a DUI for the first time and there is a minor in the vehicle, you will face a misdemeanor charge, which carries a fine of $1,000, up to one year in jail, and the revocation of your license. However, if the child passenger was injured in a first offense, this is elevated to a Class 4 felony. As such, you will face between one and three years in jail and a potential fine of up to $25,000.

However, if you are caught driving with a minor in your vehicle for the second time within three years, you will face a Class 2 felony offense. This warrants three to seven years behind bars and a license revocation for three years.

It’s also important to understand that if you are charged for driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle, you will likely also face a child endangerment charge. This is because you willfully caused danger to the life and health of a child. As such, you can face a Class A misdemeanor in addition to the DUI charges you face.

Finally, you should understand that facing a charge can impact the rest of your life. If convicted, you may find that you lose custody of your children. Additionally, a criminal record can impact your employment opportunities.

What Should I Do if I’m Charged?

If you are charged with a DUI and there is a minor under 16 in your vehicle, understanding how to proceed is critical. You should invoke your right to remain silent and comply with the officers. However, you should not speak or offer any information until you have spoken with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

At Giraudo Law, our firm understands the severity of this crime, which is why we are dedicated to helping you by exploring all potential avenues for your defense. When you need legal help, our team is here. Contact us today to learn how we can fight for you during these complex matters.

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