First Offense DUI in Illinois

Illinois has good reason to be concerned about DUIs – over 35,000 people are arrested yearly for the offense in Illinois and 300 people a year die from alcohol-related crashes. A first offense DUI in Illinois entails both criminal penalties and prolonged license reinstatement process upon conviction. Note, the State of Illinois estimates that the total cost of a first time DUI (including raised insurance rates, temporary loss of income, court costs and other expenses at $16,000.

Administrative Penalties

  • First offense DUI in Illinois results in administrative license suspension of driving privileges for 6 months (the driver may be eligible for MDDP -- Monitoring Device Driving Permit -- on the 31st day of suspension). If driver refuses to consent under implied consent laws, license suspension stands at twelve (12) months.
  • Suspension is impending, but does not automatically start at date of arrest. In interim, driver can challenge impending suspension via petition to rescind summary suspension hearing. This will require the insight and representation of legal counsel, but if successful, will prevent license suspension and related license reinstatement complications
  • Reinstatement, if suspended, entails mandatory full suspension period of thirty (30) days, with possibility of serving remainder suspension with restricted license, plus ignition interlock device

How Much Will it Cost?

To get an idea of how much a first offense DUI will cost you, see our article on the cost of a DUI.

Criminal Penalties

  • First offense DUI in Illinois is Class A misdemeanor offense with potential of not more than one (1) year of incarceration, but in practice, offenders will face no minimum jail time
  • Fines can be assessed up to $2,500 usually with a minimum payment requirement of $500. Fine amounts do not include court costs and surcharges, nor do they cover costs of completing terms of sentence, such as alcohol awareness courses or reinstatement process costs. Alcohol awareness education likely required
  • Convictions remain a factor in future DUI arrests and for as long as you maintain driving privileges. That is, there is no limitation such as a "look back" period. Regardless of when you committed your first DUI, your next DUI arrest will be considered your second.

Do You Need a Lawyer

Although the state of Illinois explicitly forbids a plea option entailing reduction of charges to lesser offenses, using legal counsel can help with obtaining dismissal of charges, or if not feasible, an attorney can help you work towards gaining some favorable terms. If you intend to plead guilty and do not plan on challenging the charges, your need for an attorney for a first fofnese may decrease. For more information, consult with an Illinois DUI lawyer.

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