First DUI Offense in Illinois

The administrative and criminal penalties for a first DUI in Illinois.

In Illinois, a person can be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) for driving or being in “actual physical control” of a vehicle:

  • with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more
  • while under the influence of alcohol
  • while under the influence of any intoxicating compound, drug, or a combination of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicating compounds to a degree that the person is incapable of driving safely
  • while there’s 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.

Following an arrest for DUI, there are generally administrative (license-related) penalties. Criminal penalties will also be imposed if the defendant is later convicted of DUI in court.

Administrative Penalties

License suspension. Under Illinois’s implied consent law, all motorists are deemed to have given consent to a chemical test or tests if there’s probable cause to believe the person is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination thereof. The Secretary of State will automatically suspend the license of any driver arrested for DUI who fails, refuses, or fails to complete chemical testing. This administrative process is known as a “statutory summary suspension.”

A person fails a chemical test if it discloses:

  • a BAC of .08% or more
  • the presence of five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood or ten nanograms or more per milliliter of another bodily substance, or
  • any amount of a controlled substance in the person’s blood, urine, or other bodily substance.

An offender who doesn’t have a prior DUI conviction and hasn’t had a statutory summary suspension within the last five years is subject to the following suspension periods:

  • six months for a failed test, and
  • one year for refusing or failing to complete a test.

Monitoring device driving permit. A monitoring device driving permit (MDDP) allows a person to drive for any purpose and at any time during the statutory summary suspension, as long as the vehicle is equipped with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID). Generally, a first offender whose driving privileges have been summarily suspended will be issued an MDDP. However, drivers who refused chemical testing aren’t eligible for the permit.

Criminal Penalties

Jail. A first DUI conviction is a class A misdemeanor in Illinois. A conviction carries:

  • a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail, and
  • six months in jail if the defendant had a passenger under the age of 16 years in the vehicle.

Fines. The fines imposed for a first DUI conviction are:

  • the maximum fine is $2,500
  • the minimum fine is $500 if the defendant’s BAC was .16% or more, and
  • the minimum fine is $1,000 if the defendant was transporting a passenger under 16 years of age.

Community service. Community service is imposed for first DUI convictions in the following circumstances:

  • a first offender whose BAC was .16% or more is required to complete a minimum of 100 hours of community service, and
  • a defendant with a passenger under the age of 16 years must complete 25 days of community service in a program that benefits children.

License suspension. In addition to the statutory summary suspension discussed above, a person convicted of DUI for the first time will face a license suspension of one year. Any time the offender’s license was administratively suspended is credited towards the one-year suspension.

The defendant may apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP) to drive to work, school, medical appointments, and alcohol/drug treatment. In other limited circumstances, a person with an RDP can drive children, the elderly, and disabled persons. To obtain an RDP, the offender must demonstrate that a hardship exists and there’s no danger to public safety. If the person’s license has been suspended for a first DUI conviction and a statutory summary suspension, an IID must be installed in the vehicle for the duration of the RDP.

Alcohol/drug evaluation and treatment. All DUI offenders must complete an evaluation to determine if they have a substance abuse problem. If a substance abuse problem exists, the offender must undergo recommended treatment. Offenders can also be required to attend a victim impact panel (VIP). Generally, offenders are responsible for the costs of the evaluation, treatment, and VIP.

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