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February 10, 2024

Illegal BAC Limits in Illinois

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When you’ve been charged with a DUI in Chicago, you need a good DUI Lawyer. Attorney Vince Pagano has a history of success in defending clients charged with a DUI in Illinois.

Blood alcohol concentration limits for various driver categories displayed in a chart.
Bar chart comparing the number of drinks to blood alcohol concentration (bac) levels for a 170-pound male and a 137-pound female over one hour of drinking.
Equivalence of alcohol content: one drink equals 0.54 ounces of pure alcohol, whether it's a can of beer, a glass of wine, or a shot of liquor.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

“Driving Under the Influence” is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, other drugs, including cannabis (marijuana) prescribed for medical purposes, or intoxicating compounds and methamphetamine. In Illinois, drivers are legally considered to be under the influence if they have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more, a tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) concentration (THC) of either 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of other bodily substance, have used any other controlled substance or are impaired by medication. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

A driver’s BAC is based on the ratio of alcohol to blood or breath. However, an individual with a BAC between .05 and .08 may be convicted of DUI if additional evidence shows the driver was impaired.

The effect of alcohol on an individual is determined primarily by two factors: the amount of alcohol consumed and the rate at which it is absorbed by the body. Other contributing factors include gender, body weight, alcohol tolerance, mood, environment and the amount of food consumed.

2016 pie chart showing the percentage distribution of drivers' blood alcohol concentration (bac) levels who failed a chemical test.

From the first drink, alcohol affects coordination and judgment. Even with a BAC well below .08, a person’s reaction time slows. The risk of being in a crash begins to climb with a BAC between .04 and .05 and increases rapidly thereafter. By the time drivers reach a BAC of .06, they are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as non-drinking drivers. By the time drivers reach a BAC of .08, they are 11 times more likely to be killed in a single-vehicle crash than non-drinking drivers.

The only way to rid the body of alcohol is time. Fresh air, coffee, a shower and food cannot help a person become sober. It takes about one hour for the body to metabolize one drink. Each of the following has a comparable amount of alcohol and counts as one drink: one 12-ounce mug of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine or one 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor. (The amount of alcohol in a poured/mixed drink is dependent on the type of drink and the person who pours it.)

Statistical profile of the average dui offender according to the illinois secretary of state.

Medical Cannabis (Marijuana)

Illinois allows for the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Individuals who are authorized to use cannabis must be registered with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and secure a written certification from a physician licensed in Illinois. The IDPH will issue a registry ID card and a notation will be made on the registrant’s Illinois driving record, which will be available to law enforcement.

A driver may not operate a motor vehicle while impaired by the use of cannabis, even if it is prescribed for medicinal purposes, and may not transport medicinal cannabis in a vehicle unless it is contained in a tamper-evident container and kept in an area that is inaccessible while the vehicle is in motion. If a police officer stops a vehicle driven by a person who holds a medical cannabis registry card and the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe the person is impaired by the use of cannabis, the driver must submit to field sobriety testing. Refusal to submit to testing or failure of the field sobriety tests will result in the suspension of the person’s driver’s license.

The only way to rid the body of alcohol is time. Fresh air, coffee, a shower and food cannot help a person become sober. It takes about one hour for the body to metabolize one drink. Each of the following has a comparable amount of alcohol and counts as one drink: one 12-ounce mug of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine or one 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor. (The amount of alcohol in a poured/mixed drink is dependent on the type of drink and the person who pours it.)

Driving while impaired by the use of medical cannabis or driving with an open container may result in the loss of driving privileges as well as revocation of the driver’s medical cannabis card.

Bar graph showing the 2016 illinois dui arrest rate by age group, indicating the highest rates among those aged 21-34.

Chronology of a DUI Arrest

  •  An officer stops a vehicle at a roadside safety check or for probable cause, reasonable suspicion or unusual operation.
  • The officer observes the driver and requests a driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
  • If the officer suspects the driver is under the influence, the driver is asked to submit to field sobriety tests.
  • If the officer does not suspect the driver is under the influence, the driver is released without any applicable violations.
  • If the officer has probable cause based on the field sobriety tests, the driver is placed under arrest for DUI and taken to the police station. The driver is asked to submit to chemical testing of breath, blood, urine or other bodily substance.
  • If tested drivers have a BAC of more than .05 but less than .08, a THC of less than either 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of other bodily substance and no drugs found in their system, no statutory summary suspension (see page 11) will apply; however, the associated DUI charge will remain until appropriate action is taken by the court.
  • If drivers refuse to submit to or fail to complete chemical testing, a statutory summary suspension will be imposed. If the driver is a first-time DUI offender, he/she may be eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit. (See page 18.) If the driver is a repeat DUI offender, he/she may be eligible for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP).
  • If the driver’s test results show a BAC of .08 or more, a THC of either 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of other bodily substance, or any trace of a drug (other than cannabis), illegal substance or intoxicating compound, the driver will be issued a law enforcement sworn report notifying the driver of a statutory summary suspension.
  • If the driver’s license is valid, a receipt is issued allowing driving for 45 days.
  • Drivers may obtain additional testing at their own expense; the results are admissible in court.
  • The offender is required to post bond and may be detained until bond is posted.
  •  The offender’s vehicle may be towed, impounded or seized.
Driving under the influence: nighttime alcohol impairment in fatal crashes is 3.5 times higher than daytime, reports the national highway traffic safety administration.

Proper Action When Stopped by Law Enforcement

For the safety of vehicle operators and law enforcement, drivers stopped by police should adhere to the following suggestions: 

  •  Slow down and safely pull over on to the right-hand shoulder of the roadway. If there is no shoulder or it is too narrow to pull over, find the next safest spot and pull over. 
  • Should not slam on the brakes or stop in the lane of traffic. Drivers should not stop their vehicle on bridges, on curves, next to guardrails, concrete walls or medians, or any place where it would be difficult for other vehicles to pass. Vehicles should not be stopped too close to the solid white line as they may get struck by oncoming traffic.
  • Stay in the vehicle with both hands clearly in sight on the steering wheel. Drivers should keep their hands on the steering wheel until the police officer instructs them otherwise or the traffic stop is complete.
  • Be prepared for the officer to approach from either the driver or passenger side of the vehicle. 
  • Should not exit the vehicle unless asked to do so. Getting out of the ve hicle can be perceived as aggressive behavior and a threat to the police officer’s safety.
  • Comply with the officer’s request to see a driver’s license and proof of insurance. If these items are in the glove box or under the seat or if the proof of insurance is stored for display on a cellphone, drivers should inform the police officer of that fact and then follow the officer’s directions before retrieving the information. Vehicle operators are required to have a valid driver’s license, registration and insurance in order to operate a vehicle.
  • If drivers cannot identify an unmarked police vehicle or the driver as law enforcement, they should drive slowly and carefully below the speed limit and either (1) pull over at a well-lit, populated spot (2) drive carefully to the nearest police station and attempt to attract the attention of a uniformed officer or (3) call 9-1-1. Drivers should activate the vehicle’s hazard lights as a helpful way to communicate intentions with the police officer.
  • If drivers are being stopped at night, it is acceptable for them to turn on the interior light of the vehicle. 

A traffic stop could indicate that drivers have committed a minor traffic violation without realizing it. For instance, there may be a problem with the vehicle of which they are unaware or the vehicle may be similar to one used in a serious crime. Many officers will not provide drivers with specific reasons for the stop until they have obtained the driver’s vehicle registration, driver’s license and insurance card from the driver. 

If the traffic stop results in a ticket or arrest for the driver, he/she:

  •  Should not debate the reason for the stop or argue with the police officer. 
  • Should not refuse to sign a ticket if issued. A traffic ticket requires the driver’s signature. Signing a ticket is not an admission of the driver’s guilt — only an acknowledgment of receiving the ticket. 
  • Should not be uncooperative with law enforcement at the scene. If a driver is suspected of drunk driving, refusal to submit to breath, urine, blood or performance tests can result in the loss of driving privileges. 
  • Should not argue about the ticket at the time of issuance. If drivers believe an offense was not committed or the ticket was issued unfairly, they will have the opportunity to present the case in traffic court.
  •  Should not resist arrest if taken into custody by the police.

Drivers are to be treated with dignity and respect by law enforcement officers. If a driver believes that an officer has acted inappropriately during a traffic stop or other encounter, he/she should report the conduct as soon as possible to the officer’s superiors. Officers are required to provide their names and badge numbers upon request.

Written complaints can be filed with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.

Regardless of what action is taken, police officers are legally required to document all traffic stops, which includes obtaining the driver’s name and address for data collection purposes. 

2016 Illinois DUI Facts

  • 272 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, which was approximately 25 percent of the 1,078 total crash fatalities.
  • 29,528 DUI arrests were recorded by the Secretary of State’s office.
  • 92 percent of all drivers arrested for DUI, who were eligible, lost their driving privileges.
  • 466 drivers under age 21 lost their driving privileges due to Zero Tolerance law violations.
  • 25 percent of those arrested for DUI were women, who represented 50 percent of all licensed drivers.
  • Males ages 21-24 had the highest DUI arrest rate (about 12 per 1,000 licensed drivers).
  • 86 percent of all drivers arrested for DUI are first offenders.

New Laws Concerning DUI in Illinois

Effective August 11, 2017

  • The Secretary of State shall be notified when a person has been convicted of or received a court supervision for operating a snowmobile or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or intoxicating compounds.

Effective January 1, 2018

  •  Enhanced penalties apply upon conviction for driving while revoked if the driver is revoked for aggravated DUI that resulted in a death. The prosecution of an Aggravated DUI resulting in the death of another person may be commenced at any time.

For a complete history of DUI laws in Illinois, visit the Secretary of State’s website at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

Statutory Summary Suspension/Revocation

A statutory summary suspension provides for the automatic suspension of driving privileges of a driver arrested for DUI who fails, refuses to submit to, or fails to complete

chemical testing. Failure of chemical testing means a driver has a BAC of .08 or more, a THC of either 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of other bodily substance, or a trace of other drugs. Statutory summary suspensions are automatic and effective on the 46th day from the date of the suspension notice. This suspension does not replace criminal penalties for a DUI conviction. An offender may request a judicial hearing to challenge the arrest; however, the request does not stop the suspension from taking effect. 

If Illinois drivers refuse to submit to chemical testing in another state, their driving privileges will be suspended. A statutory summary suspension does not apply to a person with a BAC of less than .08. A statutory summary suspension does not apply to a person with a THC of less than either 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of other bodily substance unless the person is a CDL holder. If a person has a BAC of more than .05 and additional evidence such as an open container warrants a DUI arrest, the outcome of the court case will determine if penalties apply. If commercial driver’s license holders receive a statutory summary suspension, their CDL privileges will be disqualified for one year for a first offense; a lifetime disqualification applies for a second offense.

A person convicted of DUI whose driving privileges were suspended because of a statutory summary suspension will have that time credited to the minimum period of revocation of driving privileges. The DUI criminal charge is prosecuted and adjudicated in the courts. This charge is separate from the statutory summary suspension

penalties, which is the administrative process. For more information on the criminal penalties for a DUI conviction, see pages 13-15.

Failing Chemical Testing

  • First offense — Suspension of driving privileges for six months (eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit).*
  • Second or subsequent offense within five years — Suspension of driving privileges for one year.

Refusing to Submit to Chemical Testing

  • First offense— Suspension of driving privileges for six months (eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit).*
  • Second or subsequent offense within five years — Suspension of driving privileges for three years.

*A DUI offender who is eligible for driving relief and issued a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) must operate only vehicles installed with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID), unless exempted by employment. The offender is subject to all MDDP rules and BAIID fees. For more information, see page 16.

A police officer is required to request a chemical test when there is probable cause to suspect DUI is a factor when a crash results in personal injury or death. Drivers who refuse to submit to such testing will have their driving privileges revoked for a minimum of one year.

Drivers who are subject to chemical testing may be liable for the medical costs associated with the blood test (up to $500) if they are consequently convicted of DUI.

A person’s driver’s license may be subject to multiple suspensions or revocations simultaneously. No single suspension or revocation serves to negate, invalidate, cancel, postpone or lessen the effect of any other suspension or revocation.

Judicial Hearings

A driver may request a judicial hearing to challenge a statutory summary suspension or statutory summary revocation within 90 days after the notice date. The hearing must be conducted within 30 days of the request or on the first court date scheduled to consider the criminal charges. Legally, only five issues may be considered:

  • Whether the person was arrested for DUI.
  • Whether there were reasonable grounds to believe that at the time of arrest the person was driving or in physical control of the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Whether the driver, after being informed of the impending summary suspension, refused to submit to chemical testing. 
  • Whether, after being advised of the suspension, the driver submitted to chemical testing that showed a BAC of .08 or more, a THC of either 5 nanograms or more
  • Whether, in the case of a statutory summary revocation, the driver was involved in a motor vehicle crash that caused personal injury or death. 

The suspension/revocation is rescinded if the court rules in favor of the driver. The result of the hearing is entered on the driver’s record.

Administrative Driver’s License Revocation

An administrative driver’s license revocation, administered by the Secretary of State’s office in cooperation with county state’s attorneys, allows for the quick revocation of driving privileges of a person who has been involved in a serious injury or fatal crash. Drivers who are charged with DUI or another serious offense may have their driving privileges revoked without a hearing only after the Secretary of State’s office receives sufficient evidence from a state’s attorney. Unless the revocation is contested through an administrative hearing, the privileges remain revoked until the case is adjudicated. 

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that an administrative revocation does not violate a person’s right to due process. While acknowledging a driver’s license is a privilege deserving of protection, the court ruled the privilege is outweighed by the public interest to promote safe highways.

Penalties for a DUI Conviction

Penalties for DUI in Illinois vary depending on the circumstances of the arrest and conviction. These circumstances may include the driver’s age, the driver’s BAC level, whether the driver was transporting a child under age 16, and whether the driver has previous DUI convictions. Any DUI offense resulting in felony charges is classified as Aggravated DUI. (See page 29 for specific penalties for misdemeanor and felony convictions.)

First Conviction

Class A misdemeanor; minimum revocation of driving privileges for one year (two years if driver is under age 21); suspension of vehicle registration.

  • If committed with a BAC of .16 or more — In addition to any penalties or fines, mandatory minimum fine of $500 and mandatory minimum 100 hours of community service.
  •  If committed while transporting a child under age 16 — In addition to any penalties or fines, possible imprisonment of up to six months, mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.
  • If committed while transporting a child under age 16 and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm to the child (Aggravated DUI); Class 4 felony — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory fine of $2,500 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

Second Conviction

Class A misdemeanor; mandatory minimum imprisonment of five days or 240 hours of community service; revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of five years for a second conviction within 20 years; suspension of vehicle registration.

  • If committed with a BAC of .16 or more — In addition to any penalties or fines, mandatory imprisonment of two days and mandatory minimum fine of $1,250.
  • If committed while transporting a child under age 16 (Aggravated DUI); Class 4 felony.
  • If committed while transporting a child under age 16 and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm to the child (Aggravated DUI); Class 2 felony — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory fine of $5,000 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

Third Conviction (Aggravated DUI)

Class 2 felony; revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of 10 years; suspension of vehicle registration.

  • If committed with a BAC of .16 or more — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory imprisonment of 90 days and mandatory minimum fine of $2,500.
  • If committed while transporting a child under age 16 — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory fine of $25,000 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

Fourth Conviction (Aggravated DUI)

Class 2 felony; revocation of driving privileges for life; suspension of vehicle registration.

  • If committed with a BAC of .16 or more — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory minimum fine of $5,000.
  • If committed while transporting a child under age 16 — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory fine of $25,000 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

Fifth Conviction (Aggravated DUI)

Class 1 felony; revocation of driving privileges for life; suspension of vehicle registration.

  • If committed with a BAC of .16 or more — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory minimum fine of $5,000.
  • If committed while transporting a child under age 16 — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory fine of $25,000 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children. 

Sixth or Subsequent Conviction (Aggravated DUI)

Class X felony; revocation of driving privileges for life; suspension of vehicle registration.

  • If committed with a BAC of .16 or more — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory minimum fine of $5,000.
  • If committed while transporting a child under age 16 — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory fine of $25,000 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children. 

Aggravated DUI

Any DUI offense resulting in felony charges is classified as Aggravated DUI. Any mandatory term of imprisonment or community service is not subject to suspension or reduction. Any person who is sentenced to probation or conditional discharge also must serve a minimum 480 hours of community service or imprisonment of 10 days.  

Aggravated DUI includes the following offenses:

  • Third or subsequent DUI (Class 2 felony; penalties vary according to offense).
  • DUI committed while driving a school bus carrying one or more persons age 18 or younger (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI committed while driving a vehicle for-hire carrying one or more passengers (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement (Class 4 felony). Revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of two years.
  • Second or subsequent DUI committed while transporting a child under age 16 (Class 2 felony; penalties vary according to offense).
  • DUI committed while transporting a child under age 16 and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm to the child (Class 2 felony; penalties vary according to offense).
  • DUI committed without a valid driver’s license or permit (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI committed without vehicle liability insurance (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI committed after a previous conviction for reckless homicide while DUI or Aggravated DUI involving a death (Class 3 felony).
  • DUI committed in a school zone while the restricted speed limit is in effect and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm (Class 4 felony).
  • DUI committed while revoked or suspended for DUI, reckless homicide or leaving the scene of a personal injury or death (Class 4 felony). Any penalty imposed is in addition to the penalty for any subsequent DUI violation. The revocation period is determined by offense.
  • DUI resulting in a death (Class 2 felony). Revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of two years from the effective date of the revocation or from the date of release from incarceration for the offense.

Reckless Homicide

A person may be charged with reckless homicide if he/she operates a motor vehicle, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle or watercraft while under the influence that results in the death of an individual. If convicted, the driver will serve a minimum two years of imprisonment (possibly longer depending on the circumstances and location of the crash). If a person is driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license as the result of an Aggravated DUI conviction and is involved in an alcohol-related crash where a death occurs, he/she may be charged with reckless homicide.

Additional Consequences of DUI

  • A DUI conviction is a permanent part of an offender’s driving record.
  • The offender may lose work time.
  • The offender is required to complete an alcohol/drug evaluation and an alcohol/drug remedial education course or substance abuse treatment program
  • before driving privileges are reinstated.
  • The offender must meet the requirements of the Secretary of State’s Department of Administrative Hearings prior to obtaining an RDP.
  • A Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device may be installed on the offender’s vehicle as a condition of driving relief.
  • The offender is required to carry high-risk auto insurance for three years.
  • The offender’s vehicle registration will be suspended.

Vehicle Impoundment

The vehicle of any driver may be seized or impounded by local authorities for:

  • Committing a DUI while driving privileges are suspended/revoked for a previous DUI or reckless homicide.
  • Committing a DUI with a previous conviction of reckless homicide, Aggravated DUI with death or great bodily harm.
  • Committing a third or subsequent DUI.
  • Committing a DUI without a valid driver’s license or permit.
  • Committing a DUI while uninsured.

Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID)

The majority of states, including Illinois, require first-time DUI offenders to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed on their vehicles. Illinois also requires a camera unit on the BAIID to capture the image of the driver as he/she performs the breath test.

On average, approximately 8,300 individuals are driving with a BAIID device installed on their car or truck.

First-time DUI offenders who wish to obtain and are eligible for driving relief during the period of statutory summary suspension are required to have a BAIID installed on their vehicle. 

To be eligible for driving relief, offenders must obtain a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP), and a BAIID will be installed on their vehicle through the Secretary of State’s office. An MDDP and installation of a BAIID allow offenders to drive anywhere at any time as long as they are driving a vehicle installed with a BAIID. The Secretary of State’s office monitors the BAIID throughout the duration of the permit. The BAIID will alert the Secretary of State’s office if the driver attempts any incidents of driving under the influence or tampers with the BAIID device.

A DUI offender may decline to have an MDDP and a BAIID and instead choose to restrain from driving during the suspension period. However, an offender who chooses not to participate in the program and is subsequently caught driving a vehicle during the suspension period is guilty of a Class 4 felony. Additionally, an offender who participates in the BAIID program and is subsequently caught driving a vehicle without a BAIID device installed is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

A BAIID also is required as a condition of receiving a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) for a person who has two or three DUI convictions (no time limit between offenses); or two statutory summary suspensions (as a result of two DUI arrests); or one DUI conviction with a statutory summary suspension from a separate DUI arrest. 

An RDP allows individuals to drive on a restricted basis according to their permit. (For more information on the RDP, see page 18.)

Individuals who have two or three DUI convictions must obtain an RDP, drive only vehicles equipped with a BAIID and install a BAIID on all vehicles registered in their name for a period of five continuous years as a prerequisite for full reinstatement of driving privileges. A judge also may require a driver to have a BAIID installed on a vehicle. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the courts to monitor and record all information, not the Secretary of State’s office.

Drivers with four or more DUI convictions may apply to the Secretary of State’s office for an RDP after serving five years of their revocation. If the RDP is granted, drivers must have a BAIID installed on all vehicles registered in their name for the remainder of their driving lifetime, and drive only vehicles equipped with a BAIID. 

Public awareness message stating that one alcohol-impaired driving fatality occurs every 51 minutes, according to the national highway traffic safety administration.

A DUI offender is responsible for all costs associated with the issuance, installation and monitoring of the BAIID. For a listing of certified BAIID vendors and installation sites, visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com (click Departments, BAIID).

For more information on the BAIID program, contact the Secretary of State’s BAIID Unit at 217-524-0660 or 312-814-4598 for Cook County BAIID information.

Driving Permits

Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP)

  • A DUI conviction is a permanent part of an offender’s driving record.
  • The offender may lose work time.
  • The offender is required to complete an alcohol/drug evaluation and an alcohol/drug remedial education course or substance abuse treatment program
  • before driving privileges are reinstated.
  • The offender must meet the requirements of the Secretary of State’s Department of Administrative Hearings prior to obtaining an RDP.
  • A Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device may be installed on the offender’s vehicle as a condition of driving relief.
  • The offender is required to carry high-risk auto insurance for three years.
  • The offender’s vehicle registration will be suspended.

Restricted Driving Permit (RDP)

  • If eligible, a person convicted of DUI may apply to the Secretary of State’s office for an RDP.
  • A driver under age 16 whose driving privileges are revoked is not eligible for an RDP.
  • To obtain an RDP, the offender may have to prove a hardship exists, provide a current professional alcohol/drug evaluation and, when appropriate, provide proof of remedial education or treatment.
  • An offender must appear before a hearing officer in the Secretary of State’s De part ment of Administrative Hearings. The driving record is reviewed to ensure that the driver would not threaten public safety if allowed to drive on a limited basis.
  • Offenders with two or more alcohol-related driving incidents on their driving record are required to have a BAIID installed on their vehicle for the duration of the RDP. The offender is responsible for all costs associated with the BAIID during this period.
  • Upon application for a formal hearing for an RDP or reinstatement of driving privileges, a $50 nonrefundable filing fee is required.

For more information on driving permits, contact the Secretary of State’s Department of Administrative Hearings at 217-782-7065 or 312-793-2429.

Driver’s License Reinstatement

Statutory Summary Suspension

Driving privileges may be reinstated at the end of the statutory summary suspension period. Before driving privileges can be reinstated: 

  • Other suspensions or revocations on the driving record must be cleared.
  • A $250 reinstatement fee must be paid to the Secretary of State’s office for the first offense.
  • For a second or subsequent offense, a $500 reinstatement fee must be paid to the Secretary of State’s office.
  • Reinstatement of driving privileges becomes valid when entered on the driver’s record in the Secretary of State’s office provided the provisional termination date          has passed.
  • The most efficient payment method for reinstatement fees is by credit card through the Secretary of State’s website at www.cyberdriveillinois.com. (Click on “Driver’s License Reinstatement,” which is listed under “Online Services.”) Payment is processed immediately, and the driver will receive an email confirmation number indicating the receipt of the payment and that the driving record has been updated. Payment may also be mailed to: Secretary of State, DUI Section, 2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy., Springfield, IL 62723.

Revocation (Including Statutory Summary Revocation)

To have driving privileges reinstated, a driver convicted of DUI must:

  • Have a clear driving record other than the revocation sanction.
  • Undergo an alcohol/drug evaluation. If an alcohol/drug problem is indicated, proof of treatment must be submitted. 
  • Complete an alcohol/drug remedial education program. Even if the evaluation does not recommend treatment, the driver is still required to complete a remedial education program.
  • Appear before a Secretary of State hearing officer. For a first offense, an informal hearing may be conducted by visiting a hearing officer at one of the regional Driver Services facilities. Multiple offenders must make a request in writing, pay a $50 nonrefundable filing fee and attend a formal hearing in Chicago, Springfield, Mt. Vernon or Joliet.
  • Demonstrate during the hearing that public safety will not be endangered if driving privileges are restored. The hearing officer considers the seriousness of the offense, the offender’s overall driving record and the driver’s remedial efforts.
  • File proof of financial responsibility prior to reinstatement, pay a $500 reinstatement fee for each revocation, pass the driver’s license exam (written, vision and driving) and pay the appropriate application fee.
  • Payment for a revocation must be mailed to: Secretary of State, Traffic Violations Section, 2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy., Springfield, IL 62723. If paying by credit card, please call 217-785-8619.

A reinstatement becomes valid when it is entered on the driver’s record in the Secretary of State’s office.

For more information on driver’s license reinstatements, contact the Secretary of State’s Department of Administrative Hearings at 217-782-7065 or 312-793-2429.

Case Dispositions

The Secretary of State’s office has the ability to track DUI cases from arrest to case disposition.

If a judge grants a driver court supervision for an offense, the driver is not subject to the mandatory penalties of the conviction; the judge determines the penalties. Judges

are prohibited from granting court supervision to a driver more than once in a lifetime for a DUI offense, and then only if there was no previous conviction. Because the

Secretary of State’s office records all court supervisions, repeat offenders are more easily identified, enabling judges to impose appropriate penalties.

During 2016, 29,528 statutory summary suspensions were recorded by the Secretary of State’s office. As of Dec. 31, 2016, court dispositions were reported for 38 percent (11,153) of these cases. Of those dispositions, 31 percent (3,493) resulted in convictions and 64 percent (7,163) received court supervision. In 4 percent (497) of the cases, other dispositions, such as convictions for reckless driving, were received. Of the dispositions received, 21 percent of first offenders received a DUI conviction and 92 percent of multiple offenders were convicted.

2016 dui case dispositions pie chart showing 64% supervisions, 31% dui convictions, and 4% other outcomes.

Average Cost of a DUI Conviction in Illinois

ItemCostsFinal Cost
InsuranceHigh-risk insurance. (Additional $2,000
per year, required for three years.)
$6,000
Legal FeesUncontested plea and hardship driving
permit.
+
*$2,000*
Court CostsFine of up to $2,500. Court costs — $750.
Reimbursements to law enforcement, towing
and storage fees — $250.
+
*$3,500*
Income LossLoss of four weeks income due to jail or
community service, evaluations and remedial
education classes. (Loss based on
average yearly income of $55,000.)
+
$4,230
RehabilitationRemedial substance abuse class; counseling
fees; evaluations for the courts and
Secretary of State.
+
$300
Driver’s License
Reinstatement
$500 plus $30 for a new license;
Formal hearing fee — $50.
+
$580
BAIIDInstallation — $100; rental fee — $80 per
month/$960 per year; monitoring fee —
$30 per month/$360 per year.
+
$1,420
Total Average Cost =$18,030

*These fees may vary depending on the defendant’s geographic location.

Additional Costs Associated with a DUI

Medical treatment for a crash involving injuries or fatalities.$100,000 +
Compensatory damages awarded to crash survivors.$10,000 +
In-patient substance abuse programs.$3,500 +
Legal fees for jury trials and civil proceedings.$5,000 +

Average Cost of a DUI Conviction in Illinois

Drivers under age 21 face a minimum two-year driver’s license revocation for a first DUI conviction in addition to the penalties that apply for DUI offenders age 21 and older. The offender is not eligible for an RDP until the second year of the revocation period. Offenders under age 18 on a statutory summary suspension are not eligible for an MDDP and may be subject to remedial education and/or retesting prior to reinstatement of their driving privileges.

A person under age 21 convicted of DUI may be ordered by a judge, as a condition of probation or discharge, to participate in the Youthful Intoxicated Driver’s Visitation Program. The offender will undergo a comprehensive counseling session prior to visitation to determine if the program is appropriate. If approved, the offender may be sent on a supervised visit to a location where the results of alcoholism or DUI crashes may be viewed.

From 1986 to 2016, DUI arrests have decreased for drivers under age 21. The decline can be attributed to many factors, including tougher laws for DUI and fraudulent IDs, youth DUI prevention programs, visually distinctive driver’s licenses and state ID cards, and training programs, such as Operation Straight ID.Zero Tolerance

  • First offense — Suspension of driving privileges for three months for a BAC of more than .00; suspension of driving privileges for six months for refusal to submit to or failure to complete testing.
  • Second offense — Suspension of driving privileges for one year for a BAC of more than .00; suspension of driving privileges for two years for refusal to submit to or failure to complete testing.
Decline in under 21 dui arrests & zero tolerance violations from 2012 to 2016.

During 2016, 466 drivers under age 21 were suspended for driving with a BAC of more than .00 or for refusing to submit to chemical testing. Additionally, 1,688 underage drivers were arrested for DUI and received suspensions. For a listing of arrest numbers by county, see pages 30-31.

Under the Zero Tolerance law, a police officer also may initiate a DUI arrest based on field sobriety tests or additional evidence.

Use of Fraudulent or Fake ID by a Person Under Age 21

It is illegal to use a fake ID card or use the ID card of another person for the purpose of consuming alcohol. Using another person’s ID card or allowing an ID card to be used by another may cause both individuals to have a suspension or revocation of driving privileges for up to one year. It may also result in a permanent criminal conviction on both individual’s records and lead to later career consequences in a person’s professional endeavors. Parental Responsibility

It is illegal for parents or legal guardians to allow persons under age 21 to consume alcoholic beverages on their private property, or on any property under their control or any vehicle or water craft under their control by either allowing the consumption of alcohol or by failing to control access to the alcohol. If a death or personal injury occurs as a result of consumption, the parent or legal guardian may face criminal penalties.

Purchase, Possession, Receipt or Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor 

  • Persons under age 21 who are convicted of violating the Liquor Control Act for the illegal purchase, possession, receipt or consumption of alcohol will have their driving privileges suspended for six months for a first conviction, 12 months for a second conviction and revocation of driving privileges for a subsequent conviction.
  • Persons under age 21 who receive court supervision for violating the Liquor Control Act for the purchase, possession, receipt or consumption of alcohol will have their driving privileges suspended for three months.
  • Persons under age 21 may not be charged with possession or consumption of alcohol by a minor if they requested medical assistance out of concern for another person. They must remain at the scene after contacting authorities and must cooperate fully with law enforcement, providing their full name and all relevant information pertinent to the incident.

Providing Alcohol to a Person Under Age 21 

  • Class A misdemeanor.

Illegal Transportation of Alcohol

  • First offense — Suspension of driving privileges for one year.
  • Subsequent offense while under age 21— Revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of one year.

Hotel/Motel Responsibility

This offense applies to any hotel/motel employee who rents a room to a person under age 21 knowing that alcoholic beverages will be consumed there; or any person age 21 or older paying for a hotel room or facility knowing alcoholic beverages will be consumed there by individuals under age 21.

  • Class A misdemeanor.
  • Persons over age 21 paying for the hotel/motel room are held liable for any injuries or damage to persons or property caused by the underage drinker(s).

Other DUI-Related Offenses & Penalties

Possession of Drugs in a Vehicle

Illegal possession of a controlled substance or cannabis by a driver; violations must be entered in court records and reported to the Secretary of State.

  • First conviction — Suspension of driving privileges for one year.
  • Second conviction— Revocation of driving privileges.

Knowingly Permitting a Driver 

Under the Influence to Operate a Vehicle

  • Class A misdemeanor; possible imprisonment of up to one year; fines of up to $2,500.

Out-of-State DUI Conviction

If drivers are convicted of DUI in another state, the conviction will be added to their Illinois driving record and result in the revocation of driving privileges. The length of the revocation will be based upon the driver’s previous Illinois driving history.

DUI Involving Motorboats or Snowmobiles

A person who is involved in a personal injury or fatal boating crash while operating or in physical control of a motorboat and is issued a citation for any offense (other than an equipment violation) is deemed to have given consent to a breath test. People who refuse, do not complete or fail chemical testing will have their driver’s license suspended. The length of the suspension will be the same as those listed on page 12 under Statutory Summary Suspension/Revocation.

A juvenile who has committed an alcohol violation or received a court supervision for an alcohol violation while operating a snowmobile or watercraft will be reported to the Secretary of State’s office for appropriate action.

Electronic Court Monitoring of Alcohol/Drugs

The chief judge of the circuit court of any Illinois county may order the electronic monitoring of a defendant for any alcohol or drug use following an arrest and prior to sentencing regardless of whether the defendant is charged with an alcohol/drug crime.

Dram Shop

An employee or owner of an establishment may be held liable for a crash resulting from the unlawful selling, giving or delivery of alcohol in that establishment to a minor, intoxicated person or person known to be under legal disability or in need of mental treatment.

Illegal Transportation/Open Container

It is illegal to transport, carry, possess or have any alcoholic beverages or medical cannabis in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. Alcohol must be in the

original container with the seal unbroken. Cannabis must be in a tamper-evident container and kept in an area that is inaccessible to the medical cannabis card holder. Limousines, motor homes, mini motor homes and chartered buses not hired for school purposes are exceptions to the law.

  • Maximum fine of $1,000 and points-assigned violation on driver’s record.
  • Suspension of driving privileges for one year or revocation for a second conviction within one year.
  • If the offender is under age 21 — Mandatory suspension of driving privileges for one year for first offense; mandatory revocation of driving privileges for a second offense.
Bar chart showing the total number of illegal transportation convictions and the subset of those under 21 from 2012 to 2016, with a clear decline over the years.

Fraudulent IDs and Driver’s Licenses 

It is illegal to assist in obtaining or to fraudulently obtain, distribute, use or possess a fraudulent state ID card or driver’s license. The Secretary of State has the authority to suspend or revoke driving privileges for up to one year without a conviction for anyone involved in the following offenses:

Class A misdemeanors (subsequent offenses are Class 4 felonies)

  • Attempting to obtain a fraudulent driver’s license.
  • Allowing another person to use your driver’s license or permit.
  • Displaying or representing as one’s own any driver’s license or permit issued to someone else.
  • Allowing any unlawful use of one’s driver’s license or permit.

Class 4 felonies (subsequent offenses may be Class 3 felonies)

  • Possessing or assisting another in obtaining a fraudulent driver’s license or permit.
  • Issuing or assisting in the issuance of a fraudulent driver’s license.
  • Manufacturing, possessing or providing any document for the purpose of obtaining a fraudulent driver’s license.
  • Possessing a driver’s license-making or permit-making implement.

Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

  • First conviction — Class A misdemeanor; mandatory imprisonment of 10 days in jail or 30 days of community service; fines of up to $2,500; suspension of driving privileges for double the original suspension period or additional revocation of one year; may result in seizure or forfeiture of vehicle.
  • Second conviction — Class 4 felony; minimum 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service; suspension of driving privileges for double the original suspension period or additional revocation of one year; may result in seizure or forfeiture of vehicle. If the original suspension or revocation was for reckless homicide, DUI, refusing a chemical test or leaving the scene of a crash involving personal injury or death, it is a Class 2 felony.
  • Third conviction — Class 4 felony; minimum 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service; suspension of driving privileges for double the original suspension period or additional revocation of one year; may result in seizure or forfeiture of vehicle. If the original suspension or revocation was for reckless homicide, DUI, refusing a chemical test or leaving the scene of a crash involving personal injury or death, it is a Class 1 felony.
  • Fourth through ninth conviction — Class 4 felony; minimum 180 days in jail; suspension of driving privileges for double the original suspension period or additional revocation of one year; may result in seizure or forfeiture of vehicle. If the original suspension or revocation was for a reckless homicide, DUI, refusing a chemical test or leaving the scene of a crash involving personal injury or death, it is a Class 1 felony.
  • 10th through 14th conviction — Class 3 felony; not eligible for probation or conditional discharge; suspension of driving privileges for double the original suspension period or additional revocation of one year; may result in seizure or forfeiture of vehicle.
  • 15th or subsequent conviction — Class 2 felony; not eligible for probation or conditional discharge; suspension of driving privileges for double the original suspension period or additional revocation of one year; may result in seizure or forfeiture of vehicle.

Victims’ Rights

Illinois recognizes DUI as a violent crime; therefore, victims of DUI are recognized as victims of violent crimes. Victims’ rights are protected by statute and guaranteed by the Illinois Crime Victims’ Rights Constitutional Amendment.

Victims of DUI have the right to:

  • Be treated with fairness and respected for their dignity and privacy and to be free from harassment, intimidation and abuse throughout the criminal justice process.
  • A notice and to a hearing before a court ruling on a request to access any of their records, information or communications that are privileged or confidential by law.
  • Be notified in a timely manner of all court proceedings.
  • Communicate with the prosecution.
  • Be heard at any post-arraignment court proceeding in which their right is at issue and any court proceeding involving a post-arraignment release decision, plea or sentencing.
  • Be notified of the conviction, sentence, imprisonment and release of the accused.
  • Timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused.
  • Be reasonably protected from the accused through the criminal justice process.
  • Be present at the trial and all the court proceedings on the same basis as the accused, unless they are to testify and the court determines that their testimony would be materially affected if they hear other testimony at the trial.
  • Have present at all court proceedings, subject to the rules of evidence, an advocate and other support person of their choice.
  • Restitution.

Secretary of State Jesse White will notify a DUI-related crash victim(s) and their family of an offender’s driver’s license hearing if requested. To make a request, send a letter to: Secretary of State, Director of Administrative Hearings, 291 Howlett Building, Springfield, IL 62756.

This request is separate from any court notification or victim impact statement.

Reporting of Injured Impaired Drivers

Illinois law requires emergency medical personnel to report to law enforcement agencies, if requested, the results of blood or urine tests performed to determine the content of alcohol and/or drugs of an individual receiving emergency medical treatment as the result of a motor vehicle crash. This law has proven to be an important tool in the fight against drunk driving.

Emergency room physicians and nurses are in a unique position to identify injured impaired drivers because of their access to hospital test results. By bringing the injured impaired driver to the attention of law enforcement, these medical professionals increase the likelihood that the driver will receive alcohol and/or drug evaluations and treatment because of legal or administrative requirements.

Under the law, the reporting of test result information does not violate physician patient confidentiality. In addition, no one will be held liable for civil damages or receive professional discipline for making a report.

Secretary of State DUI Programs

The Secretary of State’s office offers a variety of DUI programs for adults, high schools and middle schools. 

The Secretary of State’s office also offers the Operation Straight ID program for law enforcement and owners/employers of liquor stores and establishments were alcohol is served. This program offers training on identifying fraudulent and fictitious driver’s license and ID cards. For more information about this program, call 800-596-2522.

DUI Penalty Chart

Class A misdemeanor

  •  Possible imprisonment of up to 1 year; fines of up to $2,500.

Class 4 felony

  •  Possible imprisonment of 1-3 years; fines of up to $25,000.
  • Aggravated DUI involving injury — Possible imprisonment of 1-12 years; fines of up to $25,000.

Class 3 felony

  • Possible imprisonment of 2-5 years; fines of up to $25,000.

Class 2 felony

  • DUI — Possible imprisonment of 3-7 years; fines of up to $25,000.
  • Aggravated DUI with 1 death — Possible imprisonment of 3-14 years; fines of up to $25,000.
  • Aggravated DUI with multiple deaths — Possible imprisonment of 6-28 years; fines of up to $25,000. 

Class 1 felony

  • Possible imprisonment of 4-15 years; fines of up to $25,000.

Class X felony

  • Imprisonment of 6-30 years; fines of up to $25,000.
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