You’ve seen this movie at least twice. The police pulled you over for a traffic offense, smelled alcohol on your breath and the next thing you knew, you were under arrest. Because it’s your third time, the state has upgraded your charges to Aggravated DUI.

What can happen to you? What can you do?

In Illinois, a third or higher DUI can be charged as Aggravated DUI. Aggravated DUI based on a prior record is a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison, provided there are no other aggravating factors such as an overly high breathalyzer result or an accident.

To convict you of aggravated DUI, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) you had actual physical control of a vehicle, 2) you were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, and 3) you had at least two prior DUI violations. Proving those prior violations may be as simple as introducing your driving record into evidence. However, on at least one occasion, the state omitted this proof. As a result, the defendant’s conviction was later dismissed.

If you have been charged with Aggravated DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. For starters, did the police have probable cause to stop you? If not, an attorney may be able to petition the court in hopes of quashing the arrest.

Even if the arrest was legal, can the state prove all the elements of the offense? Did you violate any traffic laws or were you in an accident? Did anyone see you driving the car? (Note that Illinois law defines sleeping alone and intoxicated in the car with the keys as “driving.”) Did you take the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests? How well did you perform? Can the state prove your prior violations?

Even if the police acted properly and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you can on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

Source: Illinois Dui Statute and People v. Jophlin.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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