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DUI/DWI Information for Illinois

Driving under influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) is an offence committed when a driver operates a vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs or other intoxicants. Increased alcohol levels in the driver's blood lead to diminished mental and motor reactions which, in turn, reduce the driver's ability to control the vehicle. This significantly increases the risk of the driver committing errors of judgment and often results in accidents causing severe injuries and even death.

In Illinois, as in the rest of the US, drunk driving is the single largest cause of motor vehicle related fatalities and accounts for an alarmingly high 40% to 50% of the total number of motor vehicle related deaths every year.

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REGULATIONS FOR DUI/DWI IN ILLINOIS

In Illinois, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is set at 0.08% for drivers over 21 years of age and it is set at 0.04% for commercial drivers. Drivers under 21 years of age and school bus drivers should have no trace of alcohol in their systems (the limit is set at 0.00%).

Having an Illinois license automatically provides your consent to be tested if stopped by a law enforcement officer, while driving. This is the law of "implied consent" and can be used by the officer to test you if you are stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving, either through a breathalyser test or by an actual blood test to check the BAC. Refusing to take the chemical test may result in your license being.

If you are convicted of DUI/DWI your license will be suspended or revoked, and the offence will remain on your driving record permanently.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS OVER 21:

If you are over 21 years old, and are caught with BAC higher than the set limit of 0.08%, you may be subjected to criminal actions in addition to administrative actions. You may be convicted of DUI even if your BAC level is between 0.05% and 0.08% if there is additional evidence that shows that you are impaired, though Statutory Summary Suspension of license will not apply in such cases. If the DUI/DWI incident you are involved in is subjected to criminal action, it is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice.

  1. The first DUI conviction (BAC of 0.08% to 0.15%) is treated as a Class A misdemeanor and will result in loss of driving privileges for a minimum of one year and may also result in imprisonment for up to one year and/or up to a $2,500 fine. Also, if convicted:
    • You will be required to do 100 hours of community service.
    • You may be eligible to obtain a Judicial Driving Permit provided you meet the requirements of the Secretary of State's Administrative Hearings Department.
    • Your vehicle registration will be suspended or revoked (Your vehicle may be impounded).
    • You are required to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation and a substance abuse treatment program for your driving privileges to be reinstated.
    • You may have to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device to your vehicle.
    • You are required to carry high risk auto insurance for 36 consecutive months
  2. The second DUI conviction (Class A misdemeanor) within 20 years will result in loss of driving privileges for a minimum of five years and possible imprisonment for up to one year. You face a mandatory five days imprisonment or 30 days community service if convicted a second time within a five year period. You may also be fined up to $2,500.
    • You may be eligible to obtain a Restricted Driving Permit after the Statutory Summary Suspension period (one year) provided you meet the requirements of the Secretary of State's Administrative Hearings Department.
    • Your vehicle registration will be suspended or revoked (Your vehicle may be impounded).
    • You are required to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation and a substance abuse treatment program for your driving privileges to be reinstated.
    • You may have to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device to your vehicle.
    • You are required to carry high risk auto insurance for 36 consecutive months
  3. The third DUI conviction (Aggravated DUI) is treated as a Class 2 felony and will result in loss of driving privileges for a minimum of 10 years and possible imprisonment of 3 to 7 years. You also face a mandatory 10 day imprisonment or 480 hours community service and a fine of up to $25,000.
    • You may be eligible to obtain a Restricted Driving Permit after the Statutory Summary Suspension period (one year) provided you meet the requirements of the Secretary of State's Department of Administrative Hearings.
    • Your vehicle registration will be suspended or revoked (Your vehicle may be impounded).
    • You are required to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation and a substance abuse treatment program for your driving privileges to be reinstated.
    • You may have to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device to your vehicle.
    • You are required to carry high risk auto insurance for 36 consecutive months
  4. The fourth or subsequent DUI conviction (Aggravated DUI) results in the loss of your driving license for life. It is treated as a Class 2 felony with possible imprisonment of 3 to 7 years and fines of up to $25,000.
    • Your vehicle registration will be suspended or revoked (Your vehicle may be impounded).
    • You are required to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation and a substance abuse treatment program for your driving privileges to be reinstated.
    • You may have to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device to your vehicle.
    • You are required to carry high risk auto insurance for 36 consecutive months
  5. The fifth DUI conviction is a Class 1 felony and will result in possible imprisonment of 4 to 15 years and fines of up to $25,000.
    • Your vehicle registration will be suspended or revoked (Your vehicle may be impounded).
    • You are required to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation and a substance abuse treatment program for your driving privileges to be reinstated.
    • You may have to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device to your vehicle.
    • You are required to carry high risk auto insurance for 36 consecutive months
  6. The sixth or subsequent DUI conviction is a Class X felony and will result in possible imprisonment of 6 to 30 years and fines of up to $25,000
    • Your vehicle registration will be suspended or revoked (Your vehicle may be impounded).
    • You are required to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation and a substance abuse treatment program for your driving privileges to be reinstated.
    • You may have to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device to your vehicle.
    • You are required to carry high risk auto insurance for 36 consecutive months

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS UNDER 21

  1. Your driving privileges will be revoked for a minimum of two years if you are convicted for DUI. A second conviction will result in license revocation for a minimum of five years or until your reach 21 years of age. A third conviction is a Class 2 felony and will result in a minimum of10 year revocation of license. With a fourth conviction for DUI your license will be revoked for life.
  2. Other penalties may include fines of up to $2,500 and/or imprisonment for up to a year. You will also have to participate in a Youthful Intoxicated Driver Visitation Program.
  3. Under the "Use It and Lose It" zero tolerance law; you face a three months license suspension for a first offence for a BAC higher than 0.00%. If you refuse or fail to complete testing you will be given a six months suspension of license. For a second offence the suspension is for one year.
  4. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to minors if they are convicted of DUI/DWI.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS

If you drive a commercial vehicle and hold a commercial driver license (CDL):
  1. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for at least a year, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04%. The same applies for a conviction for DUI (regardless of BAC).
  2. You are placed out of service for 24 hours if any alcohol is found in your system.
  3. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for at least three years, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04% while transporting hazardous materials.
  4. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for life if you are convicted for any of these offenses for the second time.
  5. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to commercial drivers for their first and second offenses of DUI/DWI. The other penalties do not apply since they are barred after the second offense.

ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI:

Administrative action against DUI in Illinois involves the Statutory Summary Suspension of your driver's license. Your diver's license is automatically suspended if you fail chemical testing (0.08% or higher BAC or any other intoxicating drug in your system) or refuse or fail to complete the test. First offence will result in a three month mandatory suspension while the second carries a 12 month mandatory suspension. If you refuse to be tested you get a mandatory six months suspension for the first offence and a 36 month suspension for a second offence. For a commercial driver license holder the first offence will result in a suspension of 12 months and a second offence results in a lifetime disqualification. Statutory Summary Suspensions comes into effect automatically on the 46th day from the date on the notice. You may request a judicial hearing to challenge the legality of the arrest. It is a good idea to consult a DUI/DWI lawyer beforehand. You may be eligible to drive using a Judicial Driving Permit during the suspension period.

LICENSE REINSTATEMENT AFTER DUI/DWI SUSPENSION/REVOCATION:

If you are convicted of DUI/DWI, it will result in your license being suspended or revoked. This means that your driving privileges will be taken away and you will need to apply for a reinstatement of your license with the Secretary of State, once the period of suspension or revocation is over. To complete the reinstatement requirements at the end of the Statutory Summary Suspension period, other suspensions and revocation on the driving record must be cleared and you have to pay the reinstatement fee of $250 ($500 in case of repeat offenders). Payment can be mailed to:
Secretary of State
DUI Section
2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy
Springfield, IL 62723    
To complete the reinstatement requirements if convicted for DUI and license revoked:
  1. You must have a clean driving record, that is, any other suspensions or revocations on record must also be cleared.
  2. You must complete an alcohol and drug remedial education program. Also if your alcohol and drug evaluation indicates an alcohol or drug problem you should submit proof of treatment.
  3. You should appear before a Secretary of State hearing officer and demonstrate that public safety will not be endangered if your license is restored.
  4. You have to pass the license tests including the vision test, written test and the skill test all over again.
  5. You also have to pay the reinstatement fee of $500 ($1000 for repeat offenders), and file proof of financial responsibility (SR-22).
  6. If you are being convicted for a second time, it is mandatory for the court to order an ignition interlock device to be placed for breathalyser tests on any vehicle you drive.
  7. You can mail payment for revocation to:
    Secretary of State
    Traffic Violations Section
    2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy
    Springfield, IL 62723    
  8. For more information on reinstatements and permits contact the Secretary of State at (217) 782-7065 or mail them at:
Secretary of State
Administrative Hearings Department
291 Howlett Building
Springfield IL 62756    

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • DUI/DWI has been a major cause of death and injury in our nation and it is our duty to prevent such needless pain and suffering. Simply: If you drink, DON'T DRIVE! If we all follow this rule to the letter - thousands of lives will be saved each year.
  • If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI get help from a DUI/DWI Lawyer.
  • See also Suspended License, Point System and Traffic Ticket Lawyers.
  • If you are convicted for DUI with a BAC of 0.16% or more, you will receive additional penalties, fines and imprisonment. This also applies when you are convicted for DUI while transporting a child below 16 years of age.
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