A "misdemeanor", such as petty theft or DUI, is punishable by up to one year in county jail; a "felony", such as murder or rape, is punishable by imprisonment in state prison for one year or more. To elevate DUI to felony status normally requires either serious injury or death or a history of prior convictions. In the latest stage of MADD's War on Drunk Driving, however, that appears to be changing:
Drink, Drive and Pay
McHenry County, Illinois. Aug. 1 - As of this year, it is easier to be charged with felony drunken driving than ever before.
In one change in the DUI laws, now even a first-time drunken-driving arrest can result in a felony charge in certain situations, and some defense attorneys think it is targeting the wrong people.
If someone is arrested for drunken driving and does not have valid insurance or a valid driver's license, he or she can face a felony charge, said prosecutors and Illinois secretary of state representatives…
Under Illinois' new DUI law, then, a first offender with a .08% blood alcohol level who has neglected to renew his car insurance, for example, can be sent to prison for a year or longer — along with his fellow murderers, rapists and drug dealers.
The MADDness continues.
(Thanks to Jeanne Pruett.)