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DUI in Illinois

The state of Illinois has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the country. In the state of Illinois there is only one offense for drinking and driving, also known as a DUI. There is no opportunity to plead down to a DWI in Illinois. The penalty for a DUI conviction can vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest, including the driver’s age, whether or not there was a child in the car at the time of arrest, the driver’s blood alcohol level, and whether or not the driver has a prior history of DUI. In Illinois, as in all other 50 states, the legal blood alcohol limit is .08. However, a driver can be charged with a DUI with a blood alcohol level of .05 if there is supporting evidence of impairment.

What is a DUI Versus a DWI?

Many states have different names for drunk driving offenses. The most common, DUI, stands for driving under the influence. Other terms can include OWI, which stands for operating while intoxicated, or DWI, which can stand for either driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired, depending upon what state you’re in. In some states, a DWI is a lesser offense than a DUI, in terms of fines and penalties. But in Illinois, this ability to plead down to a DWI doesn’t exist like in other states.

Consequences of a DUI in Illinois

First time DUI offenders in Illinois lose driving privileges for one year. Drivers under the age of 21 lose driving privileges for two years. There is no minimum jail time for a first DUI offense, but it is possible to be sentenced to up to one year in prison, with a fine of up to $2500.00. If arrested with a blood alcohol level of .16 or higher, there is a mandatory addition of 100 hours of community service. If arrested while driving a child under the age of 16, there is an additional $1000.00 fine, 25 days of community service, and possible extended jail time of an additional 6 months.

A second DUI offense in the state of Illinois results in loss of driving privileges for five years and 5 days jail time or 240 hours of community service. A third DUI conviction results in losing driving privileges for ten years, while a fourth conviction results in permanent driving suspension.

Monitoring Device Permit

Many states allow first time DUI offenders to petition for limited driving privileges, such as to go to work or school. Illinois does not allow this priveledge. However, first time offenders can petition for a Monitoring Device Permit. This device works like a breathalyzer mechanism, not allowing the car to start without using it. There is monthly fee charged for use of the device, as well as paying for installation.

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