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Kevin O'Flaherty

There have been no significant changes to  Illinois DUI laws for 2024. This article will provide a cursory overview of the DUI laws for Illinois and any recent updates to the DUI law.  

What does “DUI” Mean?

625 ILCS 5/11-501 outlines the Driving Under the Influence laws, commonly known as (“DUI”).  Driving under the influence means a person is in control, possession of a moving vehicle while under the impairment of alcohol, drugs, such as marijuana, even if it is prescribed for medical reasons, other intoxicating compounds, and methamphetamine.  

A driver in Illinois is considered driving under the influence if they:

  • Have a blood-alcohol content, more commonly known as (“BAC”) of .08 or more;
  • A BAC is the ratio of alcohol to blood in an individual; and  
  • A driver with a BAC lower than .08% may still be convicted of a DUI if the state can prove with supporting evidence that demonstrates the driver was impaired at the time of arrest;
  • Under the influence of other intoxicating compounds that impairs a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle;
  • Other drugs, including, cannabis, even if it is prescribed for medical purposes;  
  • A THC concentration of either 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of blood or ten nanograms or more per milliliter of other bodily substances.
  • Have used any other controlled substance; or
  • Is impaired by medication, including prescription medication.
DUI Driver's License Check Point

What is a Statutory  Summary Suspension in Illinois?

A statutory summary suspension is one aspect of the DUI law that occurs in civil courts.  A statutory summary suspension is the automatic suspension of driving privileges of an individual arrested for a DUI charge who refuses to submit to, fails, or refuses to perform chemical testing. A Statutory Summary Suspension becomes automatic on the 46th date from the notice of suspension.   The statutory summary suspension does not relieve the driver of criminal penalties.  A statutory summary suspension is an administrative process, which is a type of statutory civil-type law. A civil law circuit court judge may become involved if the driver challenges the DUI arrest, but this challenge does not restrict in statutory suspension of driving privileges.  

What are the Statutory Summary Suspension Penalties?

The penalties vary by the number of times the driver has been arrested for a DUI and if the driver failed chemical testing or refused to submit to chemical testing.

  • Driver fails chemical testing;
  • First offense: suspension of driving privileges for six months, but eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit;
  • A Monitoring Device Driving Permit, or MDDP, is special permit to those drivers that are eligible for monitored device to check in with the driver to make sure the driver is not operating a motor vehicle under any impairment of alcohol;
  • This device is called a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device, or “BAIID.” The device requires the driver to submit to random breath tests and if alcohol is detected, the ignition will be locked and the driver will not be able to operate the motor vehicle.  Illinois also now requires a camera on the BAIID to capture the image of the driver performing the breath test on the BAIID.
  • Second or subsequent offense within five years of the first offense requires a statutory summary suspension of driving privileges for one year.  
  • Driver refuses to perform chemical testing;
  • First offense is the automatic suspension of driving privileges for one year.  The driver is also eligible for a MDDP and the BRAIID.
  • Second offense or subsequent offense within five years of the first offense;
  • The driver will have his or her driving privileges suspended for three years.  

What are the Penalties for a Conviction of a DUI in Illinois?

The penalties for a conviction of DUI in Illinois vary depending on the number of times the driver has been convicted of DUI offenses and the conditions of the arrest. Penalties can range from a misdemeanor to a class one felony. The classes of crimes that are considered felonies are those crimes that are punishable by at least a year of more of prison time.   Misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by a jail sentence of less than one year. This list is an overview and is not intended to be exhaustive.  

First time DUI Conviction

  • Misdemeanor, the minimum of a year of revocation of driving privileges depending upon the age of the driver, and suspension of vehicle registration;
  • If the convicted driver has a BAC of 0.16 in his or her breath, blood, urine or other bodily fluids, a mandatory minimum of 100 hours of community service is imposed as well as a $500 minimum fine.  
  • If a convicted driver was transporting a minor child 16 and under, the penalties can include possible imprisonment for up to six months, twenty five days of community service that is to benefit children, and a minimum fine of $1,000.00.  

One of the most severe penalties applies to first-time DUI offenders involved in a crash resulting in a child’s bodily harm while the child was being transported. In such situations, the offender may face Class 4 felony charges, which can lead to:

  • 1-3 years of imprisonment
  • fines of up to $25,000
  • a mandatory fine of $2,500
  • 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children

Moreover, declining to undergo a chemical test can result in a one-year license suspension.

Second time driver is convicted of DUI

  • Misdemeanor, minimum jail term of at least five days or 240 hours of community service,  and revocation of driving privileges for at least five years if this is the driver’s second DUI conviction within a twenty year period;
  • If this is the driver’s second DUI conviction, his or her vehicle’s registration is suspended.
  • If the driver’s BAC was 0.16 at the time of the arrest and convicted, there is a mandatory jail sentence of two days, and a minimum fine of at least $1,250.00.

Third time driver is convicted of a DUI

  • This considered an aggravated DUI and this is now Class 2 felony, which carries a jail term of at least a year or more;
Driver convicted of DUI felony
  • An aggravated DUI is a DUI charge that is felony.  
  • Revocation of driving privileges for a period of at least ten years and suspends the driver’s vehicle registration.
  • Although a third DUI conviction is in theory eligible for probation, judges in many counties in Illinois, will not grant probation and will instead order a prison sentence.  

Fourth time a driver is convicted of a DUI

  • This carries the classification of a Class 2 felony and also includes:
  • Removes driving privileges for the lifetime of the convicted driver as well as suspending the vehicle registration;
  • If the convicted driver had a BAC of 0.16 or more, a minimum fine of at least $5,000.00 in addition to criminal sanctions that are imposed.  

Fifth time a driver is convicted of a DUI

  • This a considered to be Class 1 felony.  Illinois has five classes of felonies ranging from the most serious Class X felony with the other class of felonies ranging from Class 4, which is punishable with a prison term of one to three years and Class 1, which carries a prison term between four and fifteen years.
  • Other consequences of a driver’s fifth DUI conviction include the removal of driving privileges for the driver’s lifetime as well as suspending vehicle registration.  

Sixth and further subsequent DUI convictions

  • A driver’s sixth and additional convictions now constitute a Class X felony, which is the most serious class of felonies outside of a murder conviction.  A Class X felony carries with it a possible prison term of up to sixty years.
  • Further penalties imposed by the DUI law includes the removal of the driver’s driving privileges for the driver’s lifetime and suspension of the driver’s vehicle registration.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there new DUI laws in Illinois 2023?

No, there have been no significant changes to Illinois DUI laws for 2023.

Will a DUI stay on your record forever in Illinois?

Yes, a DUI conviction in Illinois will stay on your driving record for life, leading to long-term consequences for your driving privileges.

What is the DUI rule in Illinois?

In Illinois, you can be convicted of a DUI if your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08 g/dL and there is evidence of impairment. A first DUI can result in license suspension, possible imprisonment, and other penalties.

How can an Illinois DUI lawyer assist in a DUI case?

An Illinois DUI lawyer can assist in a DUI case by challenging charges, advocating for rights, negotiating plea deals, and potentially securing a reduction or dismissal of penalties related to a DUI conviction.

How do community service and rehabilitation programs impact the sentencing of DUI offenders in Illinois?

Participation in community service and rehabilitation programs can lead to more lenient sentences for DUI offenders in Illinois, such as decreased fines or shorter probation periods.

While 2024 didn’t bring any changes to Illinois DUI laws, this article provided an overview of Illinois DUI laws.  If you have any questions regarding Illinois DUI laws, contact one of our experienced DUI lawyers at (630) 324-6666.  

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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