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Can Illinois Reclassify an Out of State DUI Conviction as a Felony?

Although all states criminalize driving while intoxicated, a DUI conviction does not carry the same penalty in each state. Further, the states do not necessarily categorize subsequent DUI convictions in the same manner. Discrepancies in the treatment of DUI convictions among states can pose a problem if a person convicted of DUI offenses moves from one state to another, as demonstrated recently when a Pennsylvania resident relocated to Florida where his DUI conviction was treated as a felony. If you are charged with a subsequent DUI offense, it is important to understand the consequences you may face if you are convicted, and you should speak to a knowledgeable Illinois DUI defense attorney regarding your rights.

Florida’s Treatment of a Third Pennsylvania DUI

Reportedly, a Pennsylvania resident was convicted of a third DUI, which was charged as a misdemeanor crime. Following his conviction, he was sentenced to five years of probation. While he was still subject to the terms of his probation, he moved to Florida. Four years later, while he was still on probation, he attempted to rent a house, when he was informed that Florida treated his Pennsylvania misdemeanor DUI conviction as a felony.

Subsequently, the man was informed that the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision advises states to apply their own standards to residents who move to their state while they are on probation for convictions in another state. The man ultimately sued multiple Florida government entities, arguing that increasing the severity of his conviction violated his civil rights, but his lawsuit was dismissed.

Previously, the Pennsylvania courts dealt with a similar issue and ultimately ruled that Pennsylvania must treat offenders who commit an offense in other states as they would treat a person convicted of the same offense in Pennsylvania. A Pennsylvania civil rights attorney noted, however, that the treatment of the man’s conviction as a felony rather than a misdemeanor may violate his right to due process.

Illinois Classification of a Third DUI

The Illinois courts have not explicitly addressed the issue of whether Illinois may reclassify a misdemeanor DUI conviction in another state as a felony if the person convicted moves to Illinois while on probation. The Illinois courts have upheld the revocation of a man’s license for a DUI conviction in Colorado, however, despite the fact that Colorado did not require a revocation, rejecting the argument that the revocation violated the man’s civil rights or the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. Therefore, it is likely that Illinois, like Florida, would treat out of state DUI convictions in the manner such convictions are treated in Illinois. Notably, a person convicted of three DUIs in twenty years in Illinois will lose his or her license for ten years.

Speak with a Trusted Illinois Attorney

If you are charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, it is wise to speak with a trusted Illinois DUI defense attorney regarding your potential defenses. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is skilled at defending people charged with DUI, and he will work tirelessly to help you seek a just outcome. Mr. Harvatin can be contacted at 217.525.0520 or via the form online to set up a conference.

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