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Illinois DUI Laws

Illinois has three general types of driving under the influence laws. The first type is the basic driving under the influence law which defines a violation of the law as a person who drives under the influence and has at least a 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) or is unable to drive safely due to the influence of alcohol or other drugs. For a first time offense, a violator will be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor which includes a mandatory minimum jail sentence of both five days or 240 hours of community service and license suspension for a minimum of one year. Misdemeanor charges increase with the number of prior DUI violations. Once a person has violated the state DUI laws a third time, that person will be found guilty of a Class 2 felony which includes a license suspension for a minimum of 10 years. Felony charges will also increase as prior DUI charges for an individual increase. If a person is found to violate the State’s DUI laws while transporting a person under the age of 16, the violator will be subject to a six month jail term and a mandatory minimum fine of $1000 as well as twenty-five days in community service program benefiting children. These penalties increase to $25,000 and twenty-five days in a community service program benefiting children for three or more prior DUI convictions while transporting a person under 16 years of age.

The misdemeanor penalties may increase if the violator has a BAC of 0.16 or greater. In this case, a first time offender will be required to perform a mandatory minimum of 100 hours of community service in addition to any other penalties. If a DUI violation occurs a second time, regardless of what the violator’s BAC was at the time of the first violation, and the violator’s BAC is at least a 0.16 a mandatory minimum jail term of two days and a mandatory minimum fine of $1250 will be imposed. Once three or more prior violations have occurred, the mandatory minimum fine is raised to $5000 and a mandatory minimum jail term of 90 days.

Violations of the DUI laws which result in a motor vehicle accident which causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to someone other than the violator which result in jail time require a minimum term of not less than one year and no more than 12 years. If the DUI results in the death of someone other than the violator will result in a minimum felony and jail time will be increased based on the number of people killed.

Administrative sanctions and license suspension are also imposed for DUI convictions.

If a person is driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, the motorist is legally drunk and may be arrested for a DUI.

An officer may stop a vehicle under the following conditions:

(1)   At a roadside stop

(2)   For a moving traffic violation

(3)   For reasonable suspicion or unusual operation of the vehicle

The officer will then ask the motorist to submit to a field sobriety test. If the police officer has probable cause, based on the outcome of the field sobriety test to believe the motorist is driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, the motorist is then placed under arrest. The violator is then brought to the police station to submit to a chemical test, either blood or breath to determine the violator’s BAC. If the results of the chemical test reveal that the motorist was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, the motorist will not be charged with a DUI.


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