Oct 21


Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most serious offenses under the Illinois Vehicle Code. This offense applies criminal charges to any person who operates or controls a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances. Furthermore, Illinois imposes strict penalties for this type of violation. 

How Does Illinois Define DUI?

The Illinois definition of DUI appears under 625 ILCS 5/11-501. This section prohibits any person from driving or being in physical control of any vehicle:

  • With a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more;
  • While under the influence of alcohol;
  • While under the influence of any intoxicating compound or a combination of intoxicating compounds;
  • While under the influence of any other drug or a combination of drugs;
  • While under the combined influence of alcohol, other drugs, or intoxicating compounds;
  • With any amount of a drug, substance, or compound resulting from the use or consumption of any controlled substance; or
  • With a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of 5-10 nanograms or more within two hours of driving. 

In this context, “under the influence” has a specific meaning. Under Illinois law, a person is considered under the influence if they are incapable of operating a vehicle in a safe and legal fashion.

What are the Illinois Penalties for DUI?

The Illinois penalties for DUI also appear under Section 11-501. Generally speaking, DUI offenses result in Class A misdemeanor charges. But the punishment can change greatly depending on the circumstances of the offense. 

On the first offense, DUI offenders are subject to penalties that include a maximum of 12 months in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines. On the second offense, the penalties include a mandatory minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service — in addition to any other sentence. 

If a person commits DUI while transporting a minor under the age of 16 years old, however, the punishment changes. In these cases, DUI offenders are subject to a mandatory minimum of six months in jail, 25 days of community service benefiting children, and at least $1,000 in criminal fines. 

Finally, Section 11-501 creates another penalty structure for DUI offenses where the driver registers a BAC of 0.16 or more. In these cases, DUI offenders are punishable as detailed below:

  • First Offense — Mandatory minimum of 100 hours of community service and at least $500 in criminal fines; or
  • Second Offense — Mandatory minimum of two days in jail and at least $1,250 in criminal fines.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense is, 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.