Oct 4


Any person who drives under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs represents a serious danger to the general public. Accordingly, the State of Illinois features harsh laws against DUI. Any person who violates these laws can face criminal punishment, including jail time, fines, and license suspension or revocation. 

Illinois Definition of Driving Under the Influence

Illinois law under 625 ILCS 5/11-501 makes it unlawful to operate motor vehicles while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both. It qualifies as a DUI if a person is incapable of driving safety due to:

  • A blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more;
  • The influence of alcohol;
  • The influence of intoxicating compounds or a combination of intoxicating compounds;
  • The influence of drugs or a combination of drugs;
  • The influence of controlled substances or a combination of controlled substances;
  • The combined influence of alcohol, intoxicating compounds, drugs, or controlled substances; or
  • Recent consumption of marijuana or medical marijuana. 

Whether or not a person has a valid prescription is irrelevant in this context. If that person is impaired and incapable of driving safely, DUI charges are appropriate. This applies even if that person lawfully obtained the drug, compound, or substance in question. 

Illinois Punishment for Driving Under the Influence

Section 11-501 also governs the Illinois punishment for DUI offenses. Under this section, DUI is typically a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. The standard punishment for this class of misdemeanor ordinarily includes a maximum of 364 days in jail, $2,500 in fines, and 24 months of probation. 

On the other hand, Illinois law also provides minimum levels of punishment for various types of DUI offenses. For example:

  • Elevated BAC Levels — If a person commits DUI and registers a BAC of 0.16 or more, the punishment includes a minimum of $500 in fines and 100 hours of community service; 
  • Repeat Offenders — If a person commits a second DUI offense, the punishment includes a minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service; or
  • Transporting a Minor — If a person commits DUI while transporting a minor, the punishment includes a minimum of $1,000 in fines and 25 days of community service.

Additionally, any person who commits DUI in Illinois will likely lose their driving privileges for a period of time. Whether that person experiences driver’s license suspension or revocation depends on various circumstances. But either way, DUI offenders normally surrender their driver’s license upon conviction. 

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.