What To Anticipate In Illinois If You Are Charged With DUI

Jan 31, 2024

If a person is drinking and then subsequently pulled over by the police while operating a vehicle, they are likely to be charged with a DUI. If a police officer suspects that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, they may ask the driver to perform a series of tests to determine if they are intoxicated. They will also be asked to provide a sample of their breath. If the driver does not perform the tests or provide a breath sample, they will be arrested.

According to Illinois DUI law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol, drugs, or other substances with a blood alcohol level of.08% or higher. An arrest can be made with a blood alcohol content of.05% or higher if an officer believes the driver’s ability to drive is impaired due to alcohol, medication, or intoxication. 

If you are charged with a DUI because your BAC was above.05 or.08%, here is a brief outline of what you can expect:

Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension Hearing

If the BAC is 0.08% or higher, the license is summarily suspended. If the license is valid and hasn’t been suspended, you can drive for 45 days after the arrest. If your BAC is under 0.08%, the statutory summary suspension does not apply. The issue is whether the prosecutor or state’s attorney can use other evidence against you for any penalties.

To retain your driving privilege after an Illinois DUI arrest, you must petition the court to prove that your license should not be suspended. This involves requesting an administrative judicial hearing within 90 days of the arresting officer’s notice. The hearing will address four factors: 

  1. Did the arresting officer’s follow proper protocol? 
  2. Was their sufficient amount of probable cause to warrant an arrest? 
  3. Did you refuse to take a chemical test?
  4. What was your BAC?

If the court finds the arresting officer met the burden of proof, your license is suspended. If the prosecution does not meet the burden, your license will be reissued. To have a favorable outcome, an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer is needed at the judicial hearing.

DUI Penalty Guidelines

Every situation has different circumstances, and the penalties can be different based on the circumstances. Illinois DUI penalties vary based on the number of prior DUI offenses, the number of prior DUI offenses within a specified time frame, the BAC level, and the presence of any aggravating factors. But here are the general penalties for misdemeanor DUI.

Jail Time

  • First Offense: The maximum jail sentence for a first offense is 1 year. In the majority of first-offense cases, the offender does not serve jail time.
  • Second Offense: The maximum jail sentence is up to 1 year in county jail. In a second offense, the judge has the authority to substitute jail time for a probationary period of up to 2 years.
  • Third Offense:; A person convicted of a third offense may face up to 3 to 7-years in jail. There is a mandatory 90 day jail sentence for those with a high BAC level. The court may impose 4 years of probation in lieu of jail time.


  • First Offense: Maximum fine for conviction of $2,500. The minimum mandatory fine is $500.
  • Second Offense: The minimum fine for a second DUI is $1,250 and the maximum fine for a second DUI is $3,500.
  • Third Offense: A third offense carries up to a $2,500 fine or as much as $25,000 if the vehicle was occupied by a child under 16 at the time of the offense.

Community Service

  • First Offense: First-time DUI offenders must complete 100 hours of community service if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.16 or higher.
  • Second  Offense: 240 hours of community service (or 5 days in jail for a high BACoffender).
  • Third Offense: 480 hours of community service (or 10 days in jail) for a high BAC offender.

Test Refusal

  • First Offense: A chemical test refusal will result in a 1 year license suspension. An individual will not be able to drive during the suspension period.
  • Second Offense: A chemical test refusal will result in a 3 year license suspension. An individual will not be able to drive during the suspension period.
  • Third Offense:  A chemical test refusal will result in a 3 year license suspension. An individual will not be able to drive during the suspension period.

Ignition Interlock Device

  • First Offense: An ignition interlock system will be mandatory if the person is allowed to drive during the suspension period.
  • Second and Third Offense: An ignition interlock will be necessary if the person is given a restricted permit during the suspension period.

License Revocation

In Illinois, a first offense results in a one-year license suspension, with the possibility of a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP) for the first 30 days. If all the minimum requirements are met, they can participate in the MDDP. If they are not eligible, they can apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP) with the Secretary of State’s office.

To reinstate a license or issue an MDDP or RDP, the individual must purchase an Illinois SR-22 policy and file proof of insurance with the Department of Driver Services. A $250 license-reinstatement fee is required.

For a second offense within twenty years of a first offense conviction, the driver’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle will be revoked for a minimum of five years. 

For a third offense, the driver’s driving privilege will be revoked for a minimum of 10 years. A person convicted of two or more offenses within 10 years may apply for a restricted driving permit.

To reinstate a license or issue an RDP, the individual must provide proof of financial responsibility in the form of a SR22 insurance policy and pay a $500 license reinstatement fee.

Illinois DUI Offenses Under 21 Years of Age

Under Illinois’ ‘zero tolerance’ law, anyone under 21 found with any amount of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicants in the system will lose their driver’s license for 3 months for the first offense (as long as they submit to a chemical test). If you refuse a chemical test, your license will be lost for six months. If his BAC is.08 or more, your license will be suspended for not less than two years. At the end of the suspension, most people are permitted to apply for either an MDDP or an RDP. 

For a second ‘zero tolerance’ offense, your license is suspended for one year, and if you refuse a chemical test for a second time, your license is suspended for two years. Typically, aggravated DUI can be enhanced depending on the circumstances of the arrest.

Factors That Contribute To Aggravated DUI In Illinois

In Illinois, a first-time DUI is a Class A misdemeanor punished by a small fine and up to 12 months in prison. However, certain conditions might result in a charge of aggravated DUI, a Class 4 felony. A conviction for aggravated DUI carries a 10-day prison sentence, 480 hours of community service, or both. The criteria for a misdemeanor DUI to be elevated to ‘aggravated’ include:

  • having two or more prior convictions, 
  • driving while suspended or revoked, 
  • having no driver’s license, 
  • driving without insurance, 
  • causing substantial injury to another, and 
  • driving with a minor under the age of 18 when arrested for DUI. 

In other situations, the punishment might last many months or even years. The aggravated DUI penalty is strengthened if the drunk driver knew or should have known that the car did not have current insurance coverage at the time of the tragic accident.

Do Your Life A Favor—Call MRLS Today!

Whether this is your first DUI or second, third or other offense, you need a great DUI attorney who knows the Illinois law and is able to represent you in court. At Michael Reid Legal Solutions we will protect your rights and fight to obtain the best possible results within the law, to ensure that your driving privileges are not suspended, that you do not go to jail, and that you pay only minimum fines and penalties. 

You can rely on MRLS to provide you with the best legal representation possible and give you the best chance for a successful outcome. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you!