According to Illinois DUI laws, a driver can be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of .08 percent regardless of whether or not their driving was impaired. Additionally, individuals may be charged with DUI if their BAC is below .08 percent but above .05 percent if that person shows signs of impairment. Those who drive a commercial vehicle can be arrested for a DUI if their BAC is 0.04 percent or higher. Illinois also employs a zero tolerance law, which means that anybody under the age of 21 with any alcohol in their system can be arrested for DUI. However, exceptions are made for minors who consume alcohol as part of a religious rite or by medical prescription.
As of Jan. 1, 2014, Illinois has authorized the use of medical marijuana for individuals who are 18 or older and have completed the necessary legal documentation required by the Illinois Department of Health. However, a person may not drive under the influence of prescribed marijuana.
Implied Consent and other DUI related charges
Illinois DUI laws include statutes regarding what is commonly referred to as implied consent. Under the statute, individuals who are in operation of a motor vehicle have implicitly consented to chemical testing for intoxicants. Officers are required by law to request chemical tests of individuals who may be suspected of DUI after an accident that causes injury or death. Those who refuse to take such a test will face immediate summary suspension of driving privileges.
State law also allows charges to be levied for a number of other offenses involving alcohol and motor vehicles. For example, it is unlawful for an individual to carry an alcoholic beverage in the passenger compartment of a vehicle. Alcohol must be kept in its original container during transport, and the seal of that container must remain unbroken. Exceptions to this law include limousines, taxis and chartered buses. The law also applies to marijuana. If the substance is not in a tamper-evident container or is accessible while the vehicle is in motion, a person may be charged with having an open container and may lose his or her cannabis card.
Illinois law designates any DUI felony charge as Aggravated DUI. Conviction of aggravated DUI requires minimum terms of incarceration and community service. These charges are levied in a number of circumstances, including third and subsequent DUI charges, charges of DUI while operating a school bus with at least one passenger under the age of 18 and DUI causing death. The classification and penalties of the felony varies due to the severity of the action.
Recent Legislative Changes to Illinois DUI laws
A number of changes were made to statutes related to DUI in recent history. In 2011, a law was passed broadening a law enforcement officer’s ability to request submission to a chemical test. Officers need only provide evidence of probable cause to lawfully request testing. Additionally, an individual who is operating a for-hire vehicle while under the influence may be charged with Aggravated DUI.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Illinois?
Illinois law enforcement officials typically arrest and charge people on suspicion of DUI after a breath or blood test shows that a person has a BAC over the legal alcohol limit. This limit – .08 percent in Illinois, as throughout the U.S. – applies to passenger motorists 21 and over.
People not of legal drinking age are subject to the state’s zero tolerance law and may be prosecuted for DUI with any trace of alcohol. Commercial drivers are subject to a legal limit of .04 percent.
While the limit for passenger motorists age 21 and up is higher than that for other classes of drivers, it’s important to note that a BAC need not necessarily be over .08 percent for an arrest to be made. Rather, motorists may also be arrested if they:
- Have a BAC level between .05 and .08 percent
- Show signs of impairment
Some of the behaviors that law enforcement might cite as signs of impairment include making an illegal turn, braking frequently, straddling the center line, making roadway stops for no apparent purpose and weaving in and out of lanes of traffic.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Illinois
In Illinois, all people who wish to regain driving privileges after a DUI conviction are required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) throughout the statutory license suspension period.
Some critical elements of state ignition interlock law include:
- The device must be installed at an owner’s expense.
- An offender must also pay for the device to be monitored and serviced.
- Failed BAC tests can result in more severe penalties for individuals.
While clearly preferable to not being able to drive at all, IIDs come with conditions that are costly and bring the possibility of further DUI sanctions.