What is a DUI in Illinois?
DUI or "Driving Under the Influence" is a criminal offense in Illinois. It refers to the act of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance. Illinois is known for its rigid DUI laws. Within state limits, if a driver has a blood-alcohol-content (BAC) above .07 or is found to have any level of such controlled substance as methamphetamine, they are deemed guilty of DUI per the Illinois vehicle code. Offending motorists are typically arrested and prosecuted, and records of the DUI offense are included in the offender's Illinois criminal records.
When an officer of the Illinois State Police suspects a driver to be under the influence, the offending motorist is required to undergo chemical testing to determine their intoxication. These tests are usually undertaken according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) provisions.
What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Illinois?
While DUI is an acronym for "Driving Under the Influence," DWI is an acronym for "Driving While Intoxicated". In Illinois, both terms are used to refer to the offense of driving while inebriated.
The terms DUI, DWI, and OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) are usually used synonymously in Illinois, depending on the situation in which the driver or motorist is found. However, when either of these terms is used, it usually refers to similar offenses. A conviction for a DWI or OWI in Illinois is generally treated as a conviction for a DUI and carries the same legal penalty.
Illinois DUI Laws
The Illinois secretary of state outlines the state's provisions on road use, especially with relation to intoxication. The following are a summary of Illinois drunk driving laws:
- Non-commercial drivers who are 21 years or younger are considered drunk when their blood alcohol level is at or above .08 percent.
- Drivers of commercial vehicles, such as school bus drivers, are legally drunk in Illinois when their blood alcohol level is at or above .04 percent.
- A driver who is 21 or below is deemed drunk when their blood alcohol level is greater than zero.
- It is unlawful to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicating beverage in Illinois.
- It is illegal for a person medically confirmed to be addicted to the use of any drug to be found driving.
- In Illinois, it's unlawful for one to drive or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or any combination of both, to the extent that it renders them incapable of driving safely.
When a police officer suspects a driver to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they carry out a breathalyzer test to determine the presence of alcohol in the blood. They also confirm the driver's age and ultimately determine whether the driver can get a DUI either based on an obvious impairment or on the amount of alcohol in his system.
DUI Penalties in Illinois
The penalties for drunk driving in Illinois differ according to the nature or severity of each case.
The penalties for a person caught driving under the influence in Illinois are as follows:
- Fines of up to $2,500
- A minimum of 5 days in prison or ten days of community service if the offender has been convicted of a DUI offense in 5 years prior
- Between 3 to seven years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 for motorists with two or more prior convictions in the preceding five years
- Between 4 and 15 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 for motorists deemed guilty of a felony DUI offense or repeat offenders
- Between 6 and 30 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 if the offender has five or more prior convictions in the preceding five years
There are additional penalties for motorists found driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .16 or more in Illinois. The penalties are as follows:
- An individual convicted of a DUI for the first time with a BAC of .16 percent or more shall pay an additional fine of $500 and 100 hours of community service.
- An individual convicted of a DUI the second time in 10 years with a BAC of .16 percent or more shall serve an additional mandatory prison term of 2 days and a minimum fine of $1,250.
- One convicted of a DUI the third time in 20 years with a BAC of .16 percent or more shall serve an additional mandatory 90 days in prison and an additional mandatory fine of $2,500.
The penalties for a person caught driving under the influence while transporting a child of 16 or less in Illinois are:
- Additional minimum fine of $1,000
- A mandatory extra 140 hours of community service
- 40 hours of community service to benefit children
What Happens When You Get a DWI in Illinois?
In Illinois, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) are regarded as the same offense by the law. Persons caught driving under the influence may be charged for a DUI or DWI per the provisions of vehicle code at 625 ILCS 5/11-501.
In Illinois, DUI is used as a general term for impaired driving. Hence, motorists do not have to be intoxicated to be arrested for DUI in Illinois. If an officer observes any behavior that suggests an impairment in a driver, they may be arrested even if there's no proof of alcohol ingestion.
Usually, persons apprehended for a DWI in Illinois are subjected to chemical tests to ascertain intoxication. If these tests are positive, the motorist will be penalized and required to complete the recommended treatment program. If there are subsequent convictions, the motorist's driving license will likely be withdrawn, and they will be issued a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) in its place.
What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in Illinois?
A first-time DUI conviction in Illinois is classified as a Class A Misdemeanor. First-time DUI offenses are often penalized with a one-year jail term. However, other administrative and criminal penalties are issued to offenders in this category.
According to the Illinois DUI law, a driver arrested for DUI with a BAC of .08 or higher will have their driving license suspended. However, if the driver refuses chemical testing, their license shall be suspended for up to 18 months if they are below 21.
The penalties issued to a first-time DUI offense in Illinois include license revocation, fines, jail, and community service.
When convicted of DUI for the first time, the motorist:
- Will have their license revoked for one year or two years if they are below 21 years of age.
- Will be fined a minimum of $500 if their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is .16 percent or more, and $1,000 if they had a passenger below 16.
- Will serve a jail term of 6 months if they had a passenger below 16.
- Will be required to carry out 100 hours of community service if their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is .16 percent or more.
What is the Penalty for a Second DUI in Illinois?
In Illinois, a second DUI leads to more severe administrative and criminal penalties than a first DUI. According to the Illinois implied consent law, a second-time DUI offender is a motorist who has at least one DUI conviction or a statutory summary conviction in the last five years.
The penalties issued to a second-time DUI offender in Illinois include license revocation, fines, jail time, and community service. When convicted of DUI for the second time in Illinois, the motorist:
- Will be sentenced to between 5 days and 364 days of community service and between 10 days to 7 years if they had a passenger below 16.
- Will have their driving license revoked for five years.
- Will be fined a minimum of $1,250 if they had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .16 percent or more, and between $2,500 to $25,000 if they had a passenger below 16.
- Will serve a jail term of a minimum of 2 days if they have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .16 percent or more.
What Happens After a Third DUI in Illinois?
In Illinois, the consequences and penalties of a DUI conviction become worse if the defaulter has a record of prior DUI convictions. In Illinois, a third DUI conviction within five years is considered a class 2 felony. The offender may be sentenced to between 3 to seven years in prison and may face fines of up to $25,000, including other substantial penalties.
Drivers who refuse to submit to chemical testing will have their licenses suspended for three years or two years if they are below 21.
When convicted of DUI for the third time in Illinois, the motorist:
- Will have their license is suspended for ten years.
- Will be fined a minimum of $2,500 if their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is .16 percent or more, and $25,000 if you had a passenger below age 16.
- Will serve a jail term of a minimum of 90 days if they have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .16 percent or more
- Will be liable to carry out community service for a period of between 10 days and seven years, depending on the discretion of the judge presiding over the case.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Illinois?
In Illinois, DUI convictions are likely to remain on the offender's record for life.
A driver arrested for DUI but not convicted may have the DUI arrest removed from their record as long as they can provide documents showing that their case was indeed dismissed. However, the only way possible to get an Illinois DUI conviction removed entirely is if the offender can secure a governor's pardon.
The Illinois criminal identification act provides for the restriction of your criminal record from the general public. However, restricted DUI records can be made available to eligible persons following a court order.
DUI Expungement in Illinois
Expungement refers to the documents of a person's criminal records and excluding their names from the official records of that particular crime.
There are two ways a DUI can be expunged in Illinois:
- If the motorist was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) but is found "not guilty" after trial, the records of that DUI arrest can be expunged.
- The offender may secure a governor's pardon.
How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Illinois?
In Illinois, first-time DUI offenders are very likely to serve a jail term.
A first-time DUI conviction in Illinois is regarded as a Class A misdemeanor. First-time DUI offenders are likely to spend a maximum of 1 year in jail and pay a fine of up to $2,500. In the state of Illinois, it is possible to avoid a jail term for a first-time DUI conviction, primarily when the case does not involve any aggravating circumstance. To be eligible to avoid jail time, the driver must not have been carrying an underaged passenger in the vehicle, no accident occurred, and the offender did not resist arrest, etc.
What is the Average Cost of DUI in Illinois?
When arrested for a DUI in Illinois, offenders are likely to spend an average of $7,000 to $10,000.
Following the arrest, the offender's vehicle is impounded, and it'll cost between $500 to $2,000 to get the car released. A few factors affect the amount, including the length of time your vehicle remains impounded.
Offenders are then required to pay between $75 to $225 for an alcohol and drug assessment evaluation.
Where the motorist's driver's license is suspended, they may need to spend a lot to keep driving within that period. First, the offender would need to pay a total sum of between $933 to $1,683 (depending on the duration of your suspension) for the installation and use of the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID), along with an additional $8 permit application fee. And at the end of the suspension period, motorists will be required to pay a $250 reinstatement fee.
When charged to court and the driver pleas or is found guilty, he will be fined between $1,200 and $2,500. This also depends on if the driver has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .16 percent and above.
Because of the many variables involved, it is impossible to say what exactly a DUI in Illinois would cost, but the above information is meant to give you a clue.
How Much is Bail for a DUI in Illinois?
Bail fees in Illinois vary based on the location and gravity of the offense. It is often between $100 and $2,000.
After a DUI arrest in Illinois, the defaulters are booked in the county jail. Their photos and fingerprints are taken, and their belongings are searched to confiscate any contraband, then they are kept in the cell awaiting bail. The bail is set by a judge depending on the magnitude of the crime. Where the offender cannot afford bail, they can pay 10% of the bail amount to a bail bondsman, and they'd be released.
How to Get My License Back After a DUI in Illinois?
When a motorist is apprehended for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Illinois, one of their first penalties is the suspension of their driver's license. The duration of this suspension varies depending on the nature and magnitude of the offense.
Upon completing the duration of the license suspension, the offender can apply to the secretary of state for the reinstatement of your driver's license.
To reinstate an Illinois driver's license after a DUI conviction, motorists must:
- Undergo an alcohol and drug test
- Enroll for and complete an alcohol and drug education program
- Present records that they have been treated for alcohol and drug abuse
- Provide proof of financial responsibility for driving
- Book an appointment to speak with a hearing officer at a driver services facility
- Prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are no longer a threat to public safety
- Pass all portions of the driver's license exam
- Pay a reinstatement and application fee
After these requirements are met, the motorist will be offered a new driver's license, restoring their driving privileges once more.
Apart from being caught driving under the influence, other reasons why a driver may have their license revoked in Illinois includes:
- Failure to appear in court in case of a traffic violation
- Getting too many traffic violations (three traffic violations in a year would lead to the suspension of their license)
- Driving without an insurance
- Parking violations
How Does a DUI Affect Your Life in Illinois?
Getting a DUI in Illinois affects the defaulter in extreme ways, including:
- Losing job opportunities that have to do with driving because of a revoked driver's license
- High cost of driving during the period of suspension because of the cost of installing and using a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID)
- High cost of getting car insurance after the incidence as car insurance companies get to see the car as a risk
Can You Get Fired for a DUI in Illinois?
Yes, being convicted for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Illinois can get the offender fired. Illinois is an "At-Will Employment State," hence employers have the right to terminate any employee's appointment, especially in cases involving legal indictment.
A DUI would mean the end of the career of a commercial driver or healthcare practitioner who operates with a license because DUI violates the standard expected of such professions. Also, during a DUI conviction, the offender may either spend time in jail or time fighting the issue in court, which can lead to their spending too much time away from work, inadvertently causing the organization loss.
How Do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Illinois?
DUI checkpoints in Illinois are also known as sobriety checkpoints. According to the fourth amendment standard of "reasonable search and seizure" as ruled by the Supreme Court of the United States, they are legal in Illinois.
DUI checkpoints are specifically designed to apprehend drunk drivers and can be very difficult to find. These checkpoints are marked with signs and traffic cones that identify the area as a checkpoint, and the police officers are usually on their official uniforms. Using search engines to research "sobriety checkpoints" along a route may help motorists locate the DUI checkpoints they are likely to encounter on that road.
Once at a DUI checkpoint in Illinois, the motorist will be required to provide proof of their valid driver's license and insurance. An arrest may only occur if the police officers suspect that the motorist is intoxicated.
Which is Worse, DUI vs. DWI?
The terms DUI, DWI, and OWI are usually used interchangeably to describe drunk driving in Illinois, depending on the situation in which the driver or operator is found. Whether the motorist is convicted of a DUI, DWI, or OWI, their Illinois driver's license will be suspended for a minimum of one year.
However, the worst drunk driving charges are "Aggravated DWI or DUI" cases. Aggravated DUI and DWI in Illinois are deemed felonies because of the severity and nature of the offense.