May 25

In the interest of public health and safety, the State of Illinois has enacted strict laws against driving under the influence (DUI). To gain a full appreciation of these laws, the following sections will outline definitions of and penalties for DUI and aggravated DUI.

What is the Definition of DUI in Illinois?

The Illinois definition of DUI appears in 625 ILCS 5/11-501. In larger terms, Illinois makes it illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated. Intoxication can come from alcohol, illegal drugs, pharmaceuticals, or any combination of those compounds. In terms of alcohol, specifically, the legal limit in Illinois is a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08. If the driver is intoxicated or impaired — and, thus, incapable of safe driving conduct — then it may qualify as a DUI.

What are the Penalties for DUI in Illinois?

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, the penalties for DUI in Illinois change based on the number of offenses and circumstances of the offense. In most cases, DUI is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by up to 12 months in jail, $2,500 in fines, 24 months of probation and 12 months of driver’s license suspension. Though certain circumstances — such as a BAC above 0.16 or repeat offenses — may lead to more severe penalties.

What is the Definition of Aggravated DUI in Illinois?

The Illinois definition of aggravated DUI also appears in 625 ILCS 5/11-501. Essentially, a DUI can become an aggravated DUI under certain conditions. For example, a DUI becomes an aggravated DUI if the offender:

  • Was transporting adult or minor passengers;
  • Causes severe physical injury or permanent disability;
  • Had a suspended or revoked driver’s license;
  • Was driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license; or
  • Commits a third or subsequent DUI.

What are the Penalties for Aggravated DUI in Illinois?

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, most cases of aggravated DUI are classified as a Class 4 felony. At that level, the potential penalties include up to 36 months in jail, $25,000 in fines and 30 months of probation

That being said, the courts have discretion to adjust the penalties to fit the circumstances of the underlying offense. In certain cases, aggravated DUI can become a Class 2 felony. At that level, the potential penalties include up to 84 months in jail, $25,000 in fines and 48 months of probation.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all criminal charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or by completing an online form.

(image courtesy of Matt Popovich)