Aug 11


After successfully decreasing the number of DUI-related deaths in the state for decades, that trend in Illinois seems to have flattened out, according to an article by the Daily Chronicle. To gain a better understanding of what this means, we need to look at the numbers.

Over the last 30 years, DUI fatalities dropped by approximately 60%. Over the last 15 years, DUI fatalities dropped by approximately 50%. Over the last several years, however, DUI fatalities have stayed constant.

Looking to the latest DUI statistics published by the Illinois Secretary of State, we can see this trend play out over a decade-long period.

  • 2004: 604 DUI fatalities
  • 2005: 580 DUI fatalities
  • 2006: 594 DUI fatalities
  • 2007: 507 DUI fatalities
  • 2008: 434 DUI fatalities
  • 2010: 354 DUI fatalities
  • 2011: 323 DUI fatalities
  • 2012: 393 DUI fatalities
  • 2013: 389 DUI fatalities
  • 2014: 369 DUI fatalities

Considering the information outlined above, it feels like a perfect time to review Illinois laws and penalties concerning DUIs.

What are the Illinois Laws Concerning DUIs?

We can find Illinois laws concerning DUIs in 625 ILCS 5/11-501. Under this section, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated and “incapable of safely driving.” Illinois sets the legal limit for motorists with a blood-alcohol concentration at 0.08. Illinois also sets the same penalties for intoxication due to drugs and other compounds, or any combination of alcohol and drugs.

It is important to note that subsequent DUI offenses and certain conditions, such as while driving a school bus full of passengers, can also increase a regular DUI to an aggravated DUI. As we will explore below, aggravated DUIs carry more severe penalties than regular DUIs.

What are the Penalties for a DUI in Illinois?

Illinois employs a tiered system to DUIs, with penalties increasing sharply for repeat offenses or under certain conditions. We will explore the minimum sentences for DUI convictions below.

  • First Offense: Class A Misdemeanor. Loss of driving privileges for one year (two years if under 21 years of age), vehicle registration(s) suspended
  • Second Offense: Class A Misdemeanor. Five days in prison or 240 hours of community service, Loss of driving privileges for five years (if both offenses committed within 20-year span), vehicle registration(s) suspended
  • Third Offense: Aggravated DUI, Class 2 Felony. Loss of driving privileges for 10 years, vehicle registration(s) suspended
  • Fourth Offense: Aggravated DUI, Class 2 Felony. Loss of driving privileges for life, vehicle registration(s) suspended
  • Fifth Offense: Aggravated DUI, Class 1 Felony. Loss of driving privileges for life, vehicle registration(s) suspended
  • Sixth Offense (and beyond): Aggravated DUI, Class X Felony. Loss of driving privileges for life, vehicle registration(s) suspended

Do You Need Legal Advice?

No matter what the criminal offense, all criminal charges are serious. Without a sound strategy and an aggressive defense, you could miss out on your best chance for a positive outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the law and navigate toward an effective resolution.

Serving the counties of Dewitt, Ford, Livingston, Logan, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford, The Prior Law Firm is located in Bloomington, Illinois. Our attorneys are dedicated to the practice of Illinois criminal law. If you need legal advice concerning any criminal offense, please do not hesitate to contact us immediately. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at or online by completing a simple form.

(image courtesy of Daniela Cuevas)