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 vary 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.
Illinois DUI Penalties
The state of Illinois stipulates that it is illegal for individuals 21 and older to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater. Stricter laws apply to minors and commercial drivers. Illinois has zero tolerance for minor drivers under the age of 21, who can receive a DUI with a .00 percent BAC. Commercial drivers with a BAC of .04 percent or greater can be found guilty of DUI.
Like many states, Illinois has an implied consent law, which authorizes police to subject suspected drivers to chemical blood, breath or urine tests for drugs and alcohol. Those who refuse to consent to test are subjected to fines and automatic suspensions of their driver’s license. First-time refusals are penalized by a one-year suspension. Second- and third-time refusals are subjected to three-year suspensions. Fines are similar to those imposed for DUI offenses.
First Offense Illinois DUI Penalties
At first DUI offense is punishable by up to one year in prison with an additional six months added if a minor under the age of 16 was a passenger. A driver’s license suspension for a minimum of one year and a fine of up to $2,500 may be imposed. A minimum fine of $500 and a minimum of 100 hours of community service are added if the driver had a BAC above .16 percent. An additional $1,000 minimum fine and a minimum of 25 days community service is added if a minor under the age of 16 was a passenger. Other possible penalties include the installation of an ignition interlock device, suspension of any vehicle registrations and a technology fee of $750.
Second Offense Illinois DUI Penalties
A second DUI offense is punishable by a minimum five-year license suspension if the previous offense was in the last 20 years and a fine up to $2,500. Also, a mandatory five days of prison time or 240 hours of community service is imposed. However, up to one year of prison time is possible. If the driver had a BAC above .16 percent, two additional days are added to the prison sentence and a minimum of $1,250 is added to the fine. If a child under the age of 16 was a passenger, the driver is guilty of felony aggravated DUI, which is punishable by an additional one to three years of prison time, an additional fine of up to $25,000 and a minimum of 25 days of community service. Other penalties include the suspension of any vehicle registrations.
Third Offense Illinois DUI Penalties
A third DUI offense is considered a Class 2 felony. It is punishable by a minimum 10-year license suspension, a fine up to $2,500 and from three to seven years of prison time. If the driver had a BAC above .16 percent, a mandatory 90 additional days are added to the prison sentence and a minimum of $2,250 is added to the fine. If a child under the age of 16 was a passenger, the driver is guilty of felony aggravated DUI, which is punishable by an additional one to three years of prison time, a mandatory fine of $25,000 and a minimum of 25 days of community service.