Drunk driving laws are complex, and because no two cases are the same, Illinois has to consider a whole host of options at their disposal when charging someone with a drunk driving offense. When looking at the whole picture, the judge considers both mitigating and aggravating factors to make a determination in drunk driving cases. But what are those mitigating and aggravating factors, and what role do they play in your charge and sentence? We explain in today’s blog.
Mitigating DUI Factors
Let’s start with the mitigating factors. As the word’s definition implies, to mitigate is to make less severe, and so mitigating circumstances help lessen the severity of your actions and hopefully your case outcome. Mitigating factors should not be used as an excuse, but they can help explain some of the thought process behind your actions. Some mitigating factors in your DUI case may include:
- Having a previously spotless driving record
- Just barely being over 0.08
- Voluntarily completing a substance/alcohol abuse course prior to trial
- Driving while under the influence of prescription drugs, not illegally acquired drugs
Again, these factors are not an excuse for your behavior, but when you look at the whole of the picture, the state is more inclined to impose a lighter sentence on someone who blew a 0.083, has had a clean driving record for the last 15 years and who voluntarily entered alcohol counseling prior to trial than someone who earned a third DUI in five years with a minor child in the car at the time of the arrest.
Aggravating DUI Factors in Illinois
On the flip side, aggravating factors can serve to upgrade the DUI charge. Each state has different laws regarding what constitutes an aggravating factor, but in Illinois, any DUI offense resulting in felony charges is classified as an aggravated DUI.
Under Illinois law, any of these actions can result in an aggravated DUI charge.
- Third or subsequent DUI arrest.
- DUI while driving a school bus or a vehicle for-hire carrying passengers.
- DUI resulting in great bodily harm.
- DUI committed without a valid driver’s license, without vehicle liability insurance or while revoked or suspended for a previous DUI, reckless homicide or for leaving the scene of a crash with injury.
- Second or subsequent DUI committed while transporting a child, or a first offense DUI with a child in which the child was injured in an accident.
- DUI committed after previous conviction for reckless homicide while under the influence or aggravated DUI involving death.
For more information on DUIs or DWIs in Illinois, swing on over to our drunk driving defense page.