Illinois DUI Laws: FAQ

What constitutes driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois?

You may be convicted of DUI in Illinois if you are driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08% or more, or have any amount of a controlled substance in your system.

Can I be arrested for DUI if drugs were found in my system in Illinois?

Yes. It is illegal to drive in Illinois with ANY amount of drugs in your system that impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. You will also face a Statutory Summary Suspension if any drugs are found in your system. This may apply even for prescription drugs.

What Is BAC?

BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Concentration and measures the amount of alcohol in your system. It is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or greater in Illinois.

What can happen under Illinois law if I refuse to take a chemical or field sobriety test when I am suspected of DUI?

If you refuse to take one or more of these tests, and are arrested as a result, you can face a harsher sentence, as well as a statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license, which requires a six-month license suspension for a first offense, and a three-year license suspension for a second offense.

How quickly will I lose my driver's license if I am arrested for DUI in Illinois?

If you are charged with DUI in Illinois, you will automatically lose your license 46 days following the notice of statutory summary suspension. However, you can challenge the statutory summary suspension by requesting a judicial hearing within 90 days of the notice date.

How many hours of alcohol classes will I have to take after a DUI conviction in Illinois?

The answer to this question varies and can be anywhere between 10 to 75 hours, depending on your BAC, driving history, and certain other factors.

How long can I lose my driver's license due to a DMV administrative action?

If the DMV determines that your license should be suspended under statutory summary suspension, your license will be suspended for three months for a first offense, and for six months if you refused chemical testing at the time of your arrest. If it is not your first offense, you will face a statutory summary suspension period of one year if you refuse chemical testing, or if the tests show that your BAC was 0.08% or greater.

How long will I lose my driver's license for a first DUI conviction in Illinois?

If it is your first conviction for DUI in Illinois, you will lose full driving privileges for at least one year, but you may qualified for some restricted driving privileges.

How can I get my license reinstated if it is administratively suspended for DUI in Illinois?

If you are subject to a summary statutory suspension of your license in Illinois, you will become eligible to reinstate your license at the end of the summary statutory suspension period, and can reinstate your license by paying a reinstatement fee. If you are convicted of DUI, you must not only pay a reinstatement fee, but also must complete an alcohol / drug assessment and treatment or education program, pass a driver’s license test, appear before an Illinois Secretary of State hearing officer, and file proof of financial responsibility.

Do the standards for DUI differ for minors under Illinois law?

Yes. Under Illinois’s zero tolerance law for underage drivers, you can be convicted if you have a BAC of 0.01% or greater, or if you have any amount of illegal drugs in your system.

Can law enforcement take my vehicle if I am arrested for or convicted of DUI in Illinois?

Vehicle confiscation is a possible penalty under Illinois law if it is your third or greater DUI conviction.

Can I get a probationary or temporary license if my driver's license is suspended for DUI in Illinois?

If it is your first DUI offense, you will become eligible for a Judicial Driving Permit 31 days into your license suspension period. If it is your second or more DUI offense, you are not eligible for a Judicial Driving Permit. You might also be eligible for a Restricted Driving Permit in some circumstances. Either of these permits authorizes you to drive for certain purposes, such as to go to work, or get medical care.

Are there different penalties for minors who are convicted of DUI in Illinois?

Yes. If you are under the age of 21 and are convicted under Illinois’s zero tolerance law (BAC over 0.01%), you face a three-month license suspension, and a six-month license suspension if you receive to take a chemical or blood test. If you are convicted as a minor of DUI (BAC over 0.08%), you face incarceration ranging from 0 – 12 months, a mandatory two-year license suspension, community service requirements, and fines. Second and third offenses for minors under either Illinois’s zero tolerance law or DUI law carry greater penalties.

Am I eligible for Court Supervision under Illinois DUI law?

If you have never had a DUI before, you may be eligible for Court Supervision. Court Supervision will not appear on your public driving record, nor will it affect your driving privileges. If you have been previously arrested for DUI and received Court Supervision, or a conviction, or plead guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving, you are not eligible for supervision. Depending on your driving history and facts of the case, you may be facing revocation of your license, fines, jail time, community service, alcohol classes, and vehicle impoundment/seizure. Your case may also be upgraded to a felony depending on your driving history and facts of the case. This may happen if you committed a DUI while your license was suspended or revoked for a previous DUI, you have committed at least two previous DUI's, or there were serious or fatal injuries.

What is Implied Consent and how do I know if I'm a First Offender under Illinois DUI Law?

You are deemed to have given your consent to submit to chemical testing following your arrest for DUI simply by driving on an Illinois roadway. A “first offender” for implied consent purposes is one who has not had a previous conviction, court supervision, or DUI suspension within the last five years.

Will I have to attend counseling or rehabilitation if I am convicted of DUI in Illinois?

All persons who are convicted of DUI in Illinois must complete an alcohol / drug evaluation and an education course and/or treatment program before driving privileges can be reinstated.

What is the difference between a Driver’s License Suspension and Revocation under Illinois law?

A suspension means you lose driving privileges for a set period of time and/or until you meet certain reinstatement requirements (usually payment of a reinstatement fee). A revocation means you lose your driving privileges indefinitely. You must petition the Secretary of State for a hearing and prevail before your driving privileges will be reinstated. The hearing process can be long and costly.

Any DUI offense resulting in felony charges is classified as Aggravated DUI. Any mandatory term of imprisonment or community service may not be suspended or reduced. Any person sentenced to probation or conditional discharge also must serve a minimum 480 hours of community service or 10 days imprisonment.

You will be convicted of Aggravated DUI if you commit any of the following offenses:

  • Third or subsequent DUI (Class 2 felony; penalties vary according to offense).
  • DUI committed while driving a school bus carrying persons age 18 or younger.
  • DUI resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement (Class 4 felony). Revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Second or subsequent DUI committed while transporting a child under age 16 (Class 2 felony; penalties vary according to offense).
  • DUI committed while transporting a child under age 16 and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm to the child (Class 2 felony; penalties vary according to offense).
  • DUI committed without a valid driver’s license or permit (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI committed without vehicle liability insurance (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI committed after a previous conviction for reckless homicide while DUI or Aggravated DUI involving a death (Class 3 felony).
  • DUI committed in a school zone while the restricted speed limit is in effect and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI committed while revoked or suspended for DUI, reckless homicide or leaving the scene of a personal injury or death (Class 4 felony). Any penalty imposed is in addition to the penalty for any subsequent DUI violation. Revocation period determined by offense.
  • DUI resulting in a death (Class 2 felony). Revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of 2 years from the effective date of the revocation or from the date of release from incarceration for the offense.

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The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.