Illinois DUI Law

Here's some information about DUI in Illinois.

In Illinois, you can get a DUI (driving under the influence, also known as drunk driving) if you drive or are in physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired. However, you can also get a DUI for driving or being in physical control of a vehicle while impaired if—as the result of ingesting alcohol, drugs, or intoxicating compounds, or any combination of these—you were “incapable of safely driving.”

And the law in Illinois says that if you’re driving or in physical control of a vehicle, you’ve given consent to submit to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in your blood. Here are some details on the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test in Illinois and other details about Illinois DUI law.

In Illinois, what are the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test (usually a breathalyzer or blood test) when suspected of DUI?

Here are the consequences for not taking a breathalyzer or blood test in Illinois, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

1 year license suspension

3 years license suspension

3 years license suspension

In Illinois, when do police have to measure your BAC?

In Illinois, law enforcement officers are supposed to measure your BAC at the time of driving. However, prosecutors may be able to prove your culpability for DUI even if your BAC is taken later than this time.

What is the maximum BAC for drivers under 21 in Illinois?

In Illinois, the maximum BAC for drivers who are under 21 (considered minors under some drinking and driving laws) is 0%. Illinois is a "zero tolerance" state. Drivers who are under 21 and drive with a BAC of over 0% face a three month administrative license suspension, and if convicted of a DUI (BAC of .08% or more or impaired), a two year suspension.

What are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Illinois?

Here are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Illinois, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third DUI offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

No minimum jail sentence

5 days jail or 240 hours community service

No minimum jail sentence but sentenced as an "aggravated DUI," a felony

How long will prior DUI convictions remain relevant for sentencing purposes in Illinois?

In Illinois, prior DUI convictions stay on your record (and can be counted against you when you are being sentenced for another DUI offense) forever for most criminal penalties. For purposes related to the revocation and/or susension of your license, convictions remain for five or 20 years.  

Can a DUI be “pleaded down” to a "wet reckless" in Illinois?

No, a plea bargain for a conviction of "wet reckless" (reckless driving involving alcohol) is barred by statute in your state. If you are interested in contacting a lawyer to assess your options, you can find a DUI lawyer in your area in Nolo's Lawyer Directory.

Are ignition interlock devices (IIDs) required for convicted DUI offenders in Illinois?

Yes. Drivers with second or third DUIs must get an IID to drive with a restricted permit, and must maintain the IID and restricted permit for five years to get their license back. Those with a first DUI can drive anywhere and at any time with an IID and a "monitoring device driving permit" (MDDP).

Where can I get more information about DUI laws in Illinois?

Nolo's DUI/DWI topic has many helpful articles, including a Drunk Driving, DUI, and DWI FAQ. For more help after a DUI arrest, see Nolo's Lawyer Directory, where you can view in-depth profiles of Illinois DUI attorneys in your area.

Last updated on 02/17/2016.

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