Jul 24


Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a common problem in Illinois and across the United States. To dissuade this type of dangerous behavior, there are strict laws against intoxicated or impaired driving across the nation. In Illinois, there is a specific definition of what qualifies as DUI, including testing benchmarks for alcohol or marijuana consumption. 


What is the Illinois Definition of DUI?


The Illinois definition of DUI appears under 625 ILCS 5/11-501. This section makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of various substances. 


In this context, under the influence means that a person is impaired and incapable of driving in a safe manner. It does not matter if that person is legally entitled to consume the substance in question. 


More specifically, Section 11-501 makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of:

  • Alcohol;
  • Intoxicating compounds;
  • Pharmaceutical drugs;
  • Illegal drugs; or
  • Any combination of alcohol, intoxicating compounds, or drugs.

There are specific provisions of Illinois law that govern the DUI testing requirements for alcohol and marijuana. Illinois law presumes that a driver is under the influence if they register a:

  • Blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more;
  • Marijuana concentration of 5 nanograms or more in whole blood; or
  • Marijuana concentration of 10 nanograms or more in other bodily substances.

How Does Illinois Penalize DUI?


Section 11-501 also explains the penalties for DUI offenses in Illinois. At a baseline level, DUI is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor on the first offense or second offense. If convicted, the maximum statutory penalty features 364 days in jail and $2,500 in fines. 


That being said, Illinois law provides mandatory minimum levels of punishment for certain types of offenses. For example:

  • Second Offense — Includes a minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service;
  • High BAC (0.16 or more) — Includes a minimum of $500 in fines and 100 hours of community;
  • High BAC (2nd offense) — Includes a minimum of two days in jail and $1,250 in fines; or
  • Transporting a Minor — Includes a minimum of six months in jail, $1,000 in fines, and 25 days of community service.

In the event of a third or subsequent charge — or in the presence of certain aggravating factors — DUI becomes a felony offense in Illinois. At that point, the corresponding penalties increase exponentially. 


Do You Need Legal Help?


No matter what the criminal offense, all 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.