Illinois Drunk Driving Laws

While many Chicago residents enjoy a couple of beers, combining alcohol and driving is never a good idea. Illinois has some very strict drunk driving laws on the books, including more severe penalties if you have children in your car and are driving drunk. If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or a related offense, you should understand your rights and find a knowledgeable Illinois DUI defense attorney to help resolve your case.

Illinois Drunk Driving Laws

Illinois law criminalizes driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with a BAC of .08% or more. Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21 years old, so driving with any alcohol in their system may result in a DUI charge. The commercial driver BAC level is .04%.

When arrested, the state executes administrative penalties or a statutory suspension of the driver’s license. Upon a conviction, the court will hand down additional criminal penalties.

Implied Consent: Yes

Enhanced Penalties: BAC of .16% or more; driving under the influence with a child in the car; causing an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death; prior convictions

First-time offenders may face a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year of imprisonment, up to $2,500 in fines, and potentially probation, substance abuse treatment, and community service.

second offense increases these penalties to a 5-day mandatory minimum jail term or 240 hours of community service. These penalties are in addition to a license suspension.

third offense is punished by imprisonment for up to 6 months, a fine of $1,000 or more, and community service for 25 days. If the driver has a BAC level of .16% or higher, there may be increased penalties.

An aggravated DUI conviction is a Class 4 felony punishable by increased penalties, such as 1-3 years of imprisonment and up to $25,000 in fines. Any subsequent convictions may lead to a higher felony classification. Felony DUI charges can include:

  • Having two prior offenses or more
  • Operating a school bus under the influence
  • Causing serious bodily harm or death
  • Having a previous reckless homicide conviction
  • Speeding in a school zone
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license or permit
  • Transporting a child under 16 years of age
  • Knowing the car does not have liability insurance

Defending Against Illinois Drunk Driving Charges

It doesn’t matter how sober you feel. If your BAC is over the legal limit, law enforcement considers you intoxicated. People arrested for drunk driving can challenge the BAC testing equipment, the procedures used by law enforcement, and the reason for the traffic stop, among other things. An experienced DUI defense attorney can explain the post-arrest process, guide you through your legal options, and help protect your rights.

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