For many people, the most frightening part about any DUI case is the possibility that the person could lose their driver’s license and driving privileges as a result of the arrest. But what happens if someone never had a driver’s license but is driving nevertheless and gets pulled over and arrested for a DUI? In cases like this, it is very important to speak with a qualified DUI attorney as soon as possible.
The typical first-time DUI offense is a Class A misdemeanor which is the highest level of misdemeanor offense in Illinois. All Class A misdemeanors are presently punishable by up to 364 days in jail and up to $2500 in fines or both. Under some circumstances however, certain conditions surrounding the DUI stop can enhance the gravity of the offense as well as the potential punishments for the charge. One such condition is getting pulled over for DUI at a time when the person did not have a valid driver’s license. This can enhance the typical DUI into what is called aggravated driving under the influence.
Aggravated driving under the influence is presently a felony in Illinois. As with misdemeanor offenses, felonies have a range of class categories which delineate potential punishments. The seriousness of felonies range in increasing order from Class 4 to Class 1, and then to Class X. An initial conviction for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a Class 4 felony. While Class 4 felonies are the lowest level of felony offenses, the potential punishments are still greater than the highest level misdemeanor. A Class 4 felony is potentially punishable by one to three years in State prison and up to $25,000 in fines. And while probation without incarceration is sometimes possible, this type of offense should never be taken lightly.
For someone who has had a prior DUI and now gets charged with aggravated driving under the influence, the stakes are even higher. Again, someone who gets arrested and charged with DUI at a time when they did not have a valid driver’s license should speak to an attorney as soon as possible.