Illinois DUI Laws and Conviction Penalties

Learn about the penalties for DUI convictions in Illinois.

By , Attorney

In Illinois, the consequences of a DUI conviction are serious, the severity of which depends mostly on the number of priors. This article covers important definitions and the penalties you'll face for a first, second, and third DUI offense in Illinois.

Illinois's DUI Law: How the Offense is Defined

In Illinois, it's unlawful for a person to drive or be in "actual physical control" of a motor vehicle:

  • with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08%
  • while under the influence of alcohol
  • while under the influence of alcohol, intoxicating compounds, drugs, or a combination thereof to an extent that renders the person incapable of driving safely
  • with any amount of a controlled substance in the person's blood, urine, or other bodily substance, or
  • with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of five nanograms or more in the blood or ten nanograms or more in another bodily substance within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle.

So, basically, you can get a DUI based on actual impairment or the amount of substances (drugs or alcohol) in your system.

Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Illinois

A driving under the influence (DUI) arrest typically leads to an administrative "statutory summary suspension" of an offender's license under Illinois's implied consent law. And if the offender is convicted of DUI in court, there are criminal penalties imposed in addition to the administrative consequences.

Illinois's DUI Aggravating DUI Circumstances

Generally, the criminal penalties imposed for DUI convictions are more severe if:

These circumstances can increase the fines, jail time, and community service time for a DUI conviction.

Illinois's DUI Penalties are Structured Around Prior Convictions

The penalties you'll face for a DUI in Illinois depend mainly on the number of prior convictions. In Illinois, prior DUI convictions stay on your record forever.

You can jump ahead to read about the penalties for a:

In these sections, we detail the consequences of each type of DUI conviction.

First-Offense DUI Penalties in Illinois

A first DUI in Illinois is a class A misdemeanor and carries fines, license revocation, and possible jail time.

Jail Time and Community Service for a 1st DUI in Illinois

Generally, a first DUI carries up to 364 days in jail, though there is no minimum jail time.

For cases involving a BAC of at least .16%, the offender must also complete 100 hours of community service. Where the offender was transporting a minor under the age 16, there's a 25-day community service requirement that must be completed in a program that benefits children.

Fines for a 1st DUI in Illinois

For most first DUI convictions, the maximum fine is $2,500, but there's no minimum fine.

The minimum fine is $500 in cases involving a BAC of at least .16% and $1,000 in cases involving passengers under the age of 16.

License Revocation for a 1st DUI in Illinois

For a first DUI conviction, the driver faces a one-year license revocation (two years if the driver is under the age of 21).

Second-Offense DUI Penalties in Illinois

A second DUI in Illinois is generally a class A misdemeanor and carries fines, license revocation, and possible jail time.

Jail Time and Community Service for a 2nd DUI in Illinois

Standard second offenses. Generally, a second DUI conviction carries:

  • a minimum sentence of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service, and
  • a maximum sentence of up to 364 days in jail.

Second offenses with a high BAC. For cases involving a BAC of .16% or more, there's a two-day minimum jail sentence (community service isn't an option to avoid jail time).

Second offense with minor passengers. A second DUI conviction involving a passenger under the age of 16 years is an aggravated DUI and a class 2 felony. A conviction carries:

  • a minimum sentence of ten days in jail or 480 hours of community service (if sentenced to a term of probation), and
  • a maximum sentence of three to seven years imprisonment (if aggravating factors are present, seven to 14 years imprisonment).

For child passenger cases, the offender must complete 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children

Fines for a 2nd DUI in Illinois

For a second DUI conviction, the following fines are imposed:

  • the maximum fine is $2,500 for a second DUI conviction that's a class A misdemeanor
  • the maximum fine is $25,000 for a second DUI conviction that's a class 2 felony
  • the minimum fine is $1,250 if the defendant's BAC was .16% or more
  • the minimum fine is $2,500 if the defendant was transporting a passenger under 16 years of age (class 2 felony), and
  • the minimum fine is $5,000 if the defendant had a passenger under the age of 16 years who suffered bodily harm as a result of a motor vehicle accident (class 2 felony).

So, the fines vary significantly depending on the circumstances of the conviction.

License Revocation for a 2nd DUI in Illinois

For a second or subsequent DUI conviction within a 20-year period, the defendant's license is revoked for five years.

Third-Offense DUI Penalties in Illinois

A third DUI conviction is an aggravated DUI offense, which is a class 2 felony. A conviction generally carries fines, license revocation, and possible jail time.

Jail Time and Community Service for a 3rd DUI in Illinois

A third DUI conviction carries:

  • a minimum sentence of ten days in jail or 480 hours of community service (if sentenced to a term of probation)
  • a minimum sentence of 90 days in jail (if the defendant's BAC was .16% or more), and
  • a maximum sentence of three to seven years imprisonment (seven to 14 years imprisonment if aggravating factors are present).

Offenders who had a passenger under the age of 16 years in the vehicle are required to complete 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

Fines for a 3rd DUI in Illinois

For a third DUI conviction, the following fines are imposed:

  • the minimum fine is $2,500 if the defendant's BAC was .16% or more
  • the minimum fine is $25,000 if the defendant was transporting a passenger under 16 years of age, and
  • the maximum fine is $25,000.

In cases that don't involve aggravating factors, there's no minimum fine amount.

License Revocation for a 3rd DUI in Illinois

A third DUI conviction results in a ten-year license revocation.

Administrative and License-Related Consequences of an Illinois DUI

Under Illinois's implied consent law, all drivers are deemed to have given consent to chemical testing of breath, blood, urine, and/or another bodily substance if there's probable cause to believe the person is under the influence.

The Illinois Secretary of State will automatically suspend the license of any motorist who fails or refuses to submit to chemical testing. This administrative suspension is known as a "statutory summary suspension." This type of suspension is different than the revocation period the court imposed for a criminal conviction. However, the two are generally allowed to overlap.

Administrative Suspensions for Failed Tests and Test Refusals in Illinois

Motorists who fail or refuse to submit to chemical testing face the following suspension periods:

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Suspension Period for Failed Test

6 months

1 year

1 year

Suspension Period for Test Refusal

1 year

3 years

3 years

Suspension Period for Failed Test (Underage)

3 months

1 year

1 year

Suspension Period for Test Refusal (Underage)

6 months

2 years

2 years

For purposes of Illinois's implied consent law, a first offender is a person who hasn't had a prior DUI conviction or a statutory summary conviction within five years of the current offense.

Illinois's Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) Requirements

For second and subsequent convictions, the defendant is required to hold a restricted driving permit (RDP) for five continuous years as a condition of obtaining full driving privileges after the suspension. A defendant with an RDP can only drive for work, school, medical appointments, alcohol/drug treatment, and in other limited circumstances. An ignition interlock device (IID) must be installed and used in the defendant's vehicle for five years and the defendant must pay $30 for each month the IID is used.

Is a DUI a Felony in Illinois?

In most states, a standard DUI is a misdemeanor, but a DUI can be a felony when certain aggravating factors are present. Illinois follows the same basic system. However, Illinois uses the term "aggravated DUI" for any DUI that is a felony. Below are some of the most common circumstances that can elevate a DUI to a felony in Illinois.

Third and Subsequent DUIs are Felonies in Illinois

Third and subsequent DUI convictions are aggravated DUI offenses and felonies. The penalties become increasingly more severe with each subsequent offense. The defendant's BAC and having minor passengers can further increase the penalties.

DUIs Resulting in Injuries Are Felonies in Illinois

A DUI resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to another person is a class 4 felony. If a defendant is sentenced to imprisonment, it must be for at least one year but not more than 12 years.

DUI and a Prior Conviction for an Alcohol-Related Reckless Homicide Offense in Illinois

It's a class 3 felony to commit a DUI when the defendant has a prior conviction for:

  • an alcohol-related reckless homicide offense, or
  • a DUI that resulted in great bodily harm or death to another person.

A conviction carries a sentence of two to five years in prison.

DUIs Resulting in the Death of Another Person Are Felonies in Illinois

A DUI that involved a motor vehicle, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, or watercraft accident resulting in the death of another person is a class 2 felony. Unless the court determines that extraordinary circumstances exist that require probation, the defendant must be sentenced to prison for:

  • three to 14 years if the violation resulted in the death of one person, and
  • six to 28 years if the violation resulted in two or more deaths.

There's also a two-year license revocation for an aggravated DUI conviction that resulted in the death of another person.

DUIs Resulting in Bodily Harm to a Passenger Who Was Under 16 Years of Age Are Felonies in Illinois

A DUI that involved a motor vehicle accident resulting in bodily harm to a passenger who was under the age of 16 years is a class 4 felony. A conviction carries:

  • one to three years imprisonment
  • $2,500 mandatory fine, and
  • 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

In these circumstances, the driver could also face child endangerment charges.

A Second DUI With Underage Passengers Is a Felony in Illinois

A defendant who commits a second DUI while transporting a person under 16 years is guilty of a class 2 felony. A conviction carries:

  • three to seven years imprisonment
  • a $2,500 mandatory fine, and
  • 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

The mandatory fine is $5,000 if a passenger under 16 years suffered bodily harm in a motor vehicle accident.

Illinois's Underage DUI Laws and Penalties

Illinois is a zero-tolerance state for underage drinking and driving. In other words, state law makes it illegal for drivers who are under the age of 21 to operate a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system.

Zero-tolerance violations generally result in license suspension for a period of three months to two years, depending on the circumstances. The driver will also face penalties, such as jail time and fines, similar to those for standard DUI convictions.

Talk to an Illinois DUI Lawyer

It's pretty much never a good idea to represent yourself in a DUI case. If you've been arrested for driving under the influence, you should get in contact with a qualified DUI lawyer who can help you decide on how best to handle your situation.

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