Oct 19

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is one of the most common criminal offenses in Illinois. Once a driver loses the ability to operate a vehicle carefully — and thus poses a threat to other people or property — then it may qualify as a DUI offense under Illinois law.

What is the Definition of DUI in Illinois?

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle in Illinois while intoxicated or impaired and incapable of driving safely. Specifically, it is illegal for a driver to operate any vehicle while under the influence of:

  • Alcohol with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or more;
  • Any intoxicating compound or a combination of intoxicating compounds;
  • Any drug or a combination of drugs; or
  • A combination of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicating compounds.

That being said, Illinois law does carve out an exception for medical marijuana. If a person uses medical marijuana lawfully under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, then he or she may be able to operate a vehicle. But that person must be able to operate the vehicle safely and carefully. Otherwise, the driver may be deemed impaired and subject to the DUI penalties outlined below.

What are the Penalties for DUI in Illinois?

The penalties for a DUI in Illinois also appear in 625 ILCS 5/11-501. In most cases, DUI is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. The typical punishment for this misdemeanor includes up to 364 days in jail, $2,500 in fines and 24 months of probation.

On the other hand, Illinois law does feature additional penalties for DUI offenses committed under certain circumstances. For example:

  • Second Offense — If a driver commits a second DUI, then there is an additional penalty of five days in prison and 240 hours of community service;
  • Transporting a Minor — If a driver commits DUI while transporting a minor child, then there is an additional penalty of $1,000 in fines, six months in prison, and 25 days of community service;
  • High BAC — If a driver commits DUI and registers a BAC of 0.16 or more, then there is an additional penalty of $500 in fines and 100 hours of community service; and
  • Second Offense (High BAC) — If a driver commits a second DUI and registers a BAC of 0.16 or more, then there is an additional penalty of $1,250 in fines and two days in prison.

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.

(image courtesy of Andrew Peloso)