Archive for the ‘DUI law’ tag

Misdemeanor DUI Bumped Into a Felony?

September 9th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

The Illinois Bar Journal featured our DUI defense attorney Donald J. Ramsell in a story about a possible future direction in DUI cases. According to the story, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that prior misdemeanor DUI convictions can be used to bump a later DUI charge to a felony.

In essence, this would mean that an earlier misdemeanor DUI conviction could be used to make your next DUI into a felony, even if you were not represented by a lawyer in your misdemeanor case. The Illinois Supreme Court decided that a valid uncounseled misdemeanor conviction can be used for enhancing a sentence in a subsequent conviction under section 11-501(d)(2)(C) of the Illinois Vehicle Code. The section mandates Class 2 felony imprisonment for defendants previously convicted of three or more similar violations.

To see more detail about the court cases being discussed, read the full story, but here are a few things that DUI attorney Donald Ramsell said about the matter:

“The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that uncounseled misdemeanor convictions cannot be used to enhance later crimes to a felony if there has not been a valid waiver of counsel in the underlying misdemeanor case.” In the cases discussed regarding the issue of enhancing sentences, “they really don’t make any reference to the fact of whether there was or wasn’t an effective waiver of counsel. It’s kind of bizarre,” Ramsell said.

Whether the courts will start using past misdemeanor convictions to enhance DUI sentences or not, you will need a skilled drunk driving defense attorney on your side when you are facing drunk driving charges. Get a DUI defense attorney you know to be a true professional, and contact our dedicated drunk driving attorneys in Illinois.

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