Illinois DUI Laws: 2023 Guide (2023)

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In 2020, 20,131 DUI arrests occurred in Illinois, according to records from the Office of the Secretary of State. A full 86% of those arrested for impaired driving were first-time offenders.

If you are arrested for drunk driving, it’s important you understand Illinois DUI laws so you will know what to expect during your case. This guide explains what constitutes unlawful impaired driving and what you can expect after an arrest.


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DUI Illinois Laws: The Basics

Under DUI Illinois laws, you could face charges for impaired driving if you are impaired by alcohol or any other drugs or intoxicating compounds including marijuana and prescription medications while driving.

You can be charged with DUI if you drive in any of the following situations:

  • If you have a BAC of .08 or higher
  • If you have a THC concentration of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood
  • If you have a THC concentration of 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of any other bodily substance
  • If you used any other controlled substance prior to driving
  • If you used prescription or over-the-counter medication that caused impairment

If you are under 21, zero tolerance laws also apply when you have a BAC exceeding .00. You could face a three-month suspension of your driver’s license for a first offense or a six month suspension of your license for refusal to undergo chemical testing. Repeat offenses result in longer license suspensions.

(Video) Illinois DUI Law Changes 2022

What Happens When You Are Arrested for an Illinois DUI?

In Illinois, you may be stopped by a police officer at a roadside safety check or if there is reasonable suspicion of unlawful behavior or unusual operation.

If a police officer suspects you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be asked to complete field sobriety tests. If this testing provides probable cause of intoxication, you can be placed under arrest. This can trigger both an administrative and criminal process.

The Administrative Process

Once you are arrested, you will be taken to the police station where you will be asked to undergo a chemical test such as blood or breath test to detect if there is alcohol or drugs in your system. If you refuse the test, you’ll face automatic suspension of your license. This is called a statutory suspension in Illinois. You face a statutory suspension if:

  • You have a BAC of .08 or higher
  • You have 5 or more nanograms of THC per milliliter of whole blood or 10 or more nanograms per milliliter of other bodily substances
  • You have any trace of other intoxicating compounds or illegal drugs other than cannabis

The police will give you a receipt that allows you to drive for 45 days if your license is going to be suspended by statute. After that time, the suspension will go into effect. You will have to pay a reinstatement fee when the time comes to get your license back. The timeline of your suspension will vary based on whether you are a repeat offender.

  • If you are a first-time offender who failed a chemical test, your license will be suspended for six months. If you have a second or subsequent offense, your license will be suspended for a year.
  • If you refuse to submit to a chemical test and it is your first offense, your license will be suspended for 12 months. If you are a repeat offender, it will be suspended for three years.

If you are a first-time DUI offender who refused chemical testing or failed your chemical testing, you may be eligible to get a permit that allows you to drive only if a monitoring device (such as an ignition interlock device) is installed on your vehicle. If you’re a repeat offender, you may be eligible for a Restricted Driving Permit that allows you to drive only for limited purposes.

Anyone whose license has been statutorily suspended also has the right to request a formal hearing to challenge the suspension and request the reinstatement of full or restricted driving privileges.

The Criminal Process

Once you have been arrested for a DUI, Illinois law specifies that your vehicle may be impounded and you may be required to post bond before you are released from police custody. Your case will be referred for prosecuting and you will face criminal charges.

The prosecutor has the burden of proving your guilt in court beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are convicted of a drunk or impaired driving offense, you will face penalties that could include jail time or probation, court-mandated drug and alcohol counseling or treatment and fines.

You may be able to enter into a plea agreement if you don’t want to try to fight your drunk driving charges. You could potentially get a plea deal where you agree to plead guilty to a less serious offense in exchange for admitting you violated the law. Diversion programs or deferred prosecution programs also exist that could allow you to avoid a criminal conviction if you are eligible.

(Video) These new Illinois laws take effect in 2023

If you don’t plead guilty or enter a diversion program, you will then proceed with a trial and face whatever penalties the court imposes if you are found guilty.


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Penalties for an Illinois DUI

Criminal penalties for a DUI conviction are separate from the statutory suspension of your license. The table below shows the potential penalties that you could face.

OffensePotential Jail TimePotential FinesLicense Revocation
1st Conviction (Class A Misdemeanor)No mandatory minimumUp to 1 year of imprisonmentFines up to $2,500Minimum of one year or two years if under 21
2nd Conviction (Class A Misdemeanor)Minimum jail time of 5 days or 240 hours of community service

Maximum of one year of imprisonment

Fines up to $5,000Minimum of five years for a second conviction within 20 years
Third Conviction(Aggravated DUI, Class 2 Felony)Possible imprisonment of 3-7 yearsFines up to $25,000Minimum of 10 years
Fourth Conviction (Aggravated DUI, Class 2 Felony)Possible imprisonment of 3-7 yearsFines up to $25,000Lifetime revocation of driving privileges
Fifth Conviction (Aggravated DUI, Class 1 Felony)Possible imprisonment of 4 - 15 yearsFines up to $25,000Lifetime revocation of driving privileges
Sixth or Subsequent Conviction (Aggravated DUI, Class X Felony)Possible imprisonment of 6-30 yearsFines up to $25,000Lifetime revocation of driving privileges

If there are aggravating factors such as a BAC of .16 or more, a child under 16 in the car, or a crash resulting from the DUI that causes bodily harm, then you can face more serious charges and harsher penalties.


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(Video) What will happen at my first DUI court appearance arraignment

Can You Get DUI Charges Dropped in Illinois?

You can try to get DUI charges dropped in Illinois when you are accused of impaired driving or you could try to defend yourself in court to avoid a guilty verdict.

If you believe your constitutional rights were violated when evidence against you was collected, you could argue that the evidence should be suppressed. If the court finds there was a violation of your rights, the evidence collected may not be used to secure a conviction against you. With insufficient evidence, the prosecutor might drop the charges or the judge might dismiss your case.

If you go to court you can present defenses, such as arguing your BAC was below the legal limit at the time you were driving even if it went up over time and was above the limit when you were tested. You could also argue there were problems with the test’s administration or with contamination of your sample.

Getting Help From an Illinois DUI Lawyer

An Illinois DUI lawyer will help you at every step of your drunk driving case. Your attorney knows DUI Illinois laws and works with you to fight to keep your license and avoid a criminal conviction or minimize potential penalties. Contact an attorney as soon as possible when you’ve been accused of impaired driving.

(Video) DMV Practice Test 2023 Study Guide: New Rules for Driver License Written Test Questions and Answers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens when you get your first DUI in Illinois?

A first DUI in Illinois can result in the statutory suspension of your license for six months or 12 months if you refused chemical testing. You could also face up to a year imprisonment if you are found guilty of this misdemeanor criminal offense, although many offenders do avoid jail time for their first offense.

Other penalties could include mandated drug and alcohol counseling, fines and a one-year revocation of your license by the court. If your BAC was above .16 or there were other aggravating factors, you could face even more serious consequences.

How likely is jail time for a first DUI in Illinois?

Jail time is possible but not likely for a first DUI offense. However, it is more likely you will have to serve jail time if you had a child under 16 in the car or had a BAC of .16 or above.

Is a first DUI in Illinois a felony?

A first DUI offense in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor unless there were aggravating factors. This is still a serious offense and you could face consequences including the loss of driving privileges, fines, mandatory community service and even possible jail time. Get help from a Illinois DUI lawyer to try to reduce the consequences of a drunk driving conviction.

(Video) What to expect with your first DUI.


What are the DUI laws in Illinois 2023? ›

It is illegal to drive if your BAC is . 08% or more. However, you can be convicted of a DUI if your BAC is less than . 08% and your driving ability is impaired.

What is the best case scenario for DUI in Illinois? ›

The best case scenario for a first time drunk driving offender in Illinois is a finding of not guilty or an opportunity for court supervision. It is important to note that the criminal sentencing and ramifications on your license will vary greatly with subsequent DUI arrests.

What is aggravated DUI in Illinois 2023? ›

An aggravated DUI is a DUI charge that is felony. Revocation of driving privileges for a period of at least ten years and suspends the driver's vehicle registration.

Who has the toughest DUI laws? ›

Toughest state for a first-time offense

There is a consensus that Arizona is the toughest state for a first-time DUI. The state is so stringent on first-time offenses that they have implemented programs typically reserved for repeat offenders.

What law changes january 1st to 2023 in Illinois? ›

The One Day of Rest Act includes two important changes. First, employees must get one day of rest in “every consecutive seven-day period.” And second, employees must get a 20-minute meal break for the first 7.5 hours worked.

Can you get out of a DUI in Illinois? ›

You can beat a drunk driving charge by identifying legal flaws or doubts about the evidence against you. Police report errors, medical conditions, inaccurate breathalyzer blood alcohol content tests, and many DUI defenses can fight a DUI charge.

What is the best outcome for DUI? ›

– Fines are ”the best” outcomes for DUI, because you may risk your freedom as well. Based on the DUI crime severity, the offender may face a probation or jail time.

How likely is jail time for first DUI in Illinois? ›

Because a first DUI offense is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, if you're arrested and charged with this crime you'll face a potential jail time of one year and fines of up to $2,500. Rarely are first-time DUI offenders sentenced to months or a full year in jail or prison.

What is the typical sentence for a first DUI in Illinois? ›

Illinois DUI Laws and Penalties Chart
General Penalties:
Jail / Imprisonment1-364 Days4-15 years
Periodic ImprisonmentUp to 12 months3-4 years
SupervisionUp to 2 yearsNone
4 more rows

How long does DUI stay on record in Illinois? ›

A drunk driving conviction in Illinois will stay on your driving record for life. Although the period between drunk driving charges can change the consequences of subsequent DUI offenses, your first DUI offense will always be viewed as a prior offense.

What is the difference between a DUI and aggravated DUI in Illinois? ›

Driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is a severe offense in Illinois. A first-time driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol offense is a misdemeanor offense; however, any drunk driving charge that results in felony charges is an Aggravated DUI in Illinois.

What makes a DUI aggravated in Illinois? ›

A first-offense DUI charge becomes an aggravated DUI if the driver caused a car accident that resulted in injuries to any passengers under the age of 16. Second-offense DUI charges also become aggravated if there was someone under the age of 16 in your vehicle, even if you did not cause an accident that hurt them.

What car is most common in DUI? ›

Most common model of car in DUI accidents: The most common car model involved in DUIs is the RAM 2500. Drivers of the RAM 2500 have a DUI citation rate of 45.3 per 1,000, meaning that 1 in every 22 RAM 2500 drivers have a DUI on their record, compared to the average of 1 in every 56.

What vehicle is pulled over the most for DUI? ›

The Acura NSX had the highest rate of DUIs in 2022, with an average 46.6 of 1,000 drivers reporting at least one DUI on record, or 253% more than the average American.

What rule change in Illinois 2023? ›

New Illinois laws in 2023 include the SAFE-T Act, Worker's Rights Amendment, improvements to health care and food access, and more. CHICAGO (WLS) -- With the start of the New Year, there is always a new set of laws going into effect.

What is the new bill for 2023 in Illinois? ›

Illinois SAFE-T Act for 2023

This statute passed with the Illinois legislature and will go into effect on January 1, 2023. The goal of the Illinois SAFE-T Act is to end cash bail and to promote racial and criminal justice.

What is the new Illinois law 2024? ›

Law and Policy Group Illinois requires paid leave for any reason starting in 2024. Illinois recently became the third state — joining Maine and Nevada — to require employers provide employees accrued paid leave to use for any reason. Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, the Paid Leave for All Workers Act (2023 Pub.

What is the best case scenario for a DUI? ›

A: The best-case scenario for a DUI is to have the charges against you dismissed or to be acquitted of the charges in court. However, the likelihood of this outcome will depend on the specific circumstances of the case.

Can you refuse DUI checkpoint in Illinois? ›

If you see a DUI checkpoint, you are not obligated to go through it; you may use a side-street or turn around to keep from going through the checkpoint.

Can you refuse DUI test in Illinois? ›

Under the Illinois Summary Suspension law, if you refuse to take the breath test, there is a mandatory 1 year license suspension imposed for a first-time DUI offender. However, if you take the test and the result is . 08 or above, a mandatory 6-month license suspension will be imposed.

Is a DUI going to ruin my life? ›

Getting a DUI can affect your current job in various ways, the most obvious being missed work time if you receive a prison sentence. In addition to that, a DUI conviction will go on your permanent record unless you are able to get it expunged.

How long do most DUI cases take? ›

A typical first-time DUI case will probably take between two and six months to conclude, depending on the complexity of the case and the schedule of the attorney.

What is the most likely outcome for a first time DUI? ›

First-time DUI offenders will likely face misdemeanor criminal charges unless there are extenuating circumstances such as causing an accident or having a child in the car. In most cases, offenders will have their licenses suspended and be sentenced to probation. Drug and alcohol counseling may be required.

What is the best outcome for a DUI in Illinois? ›

Dismissal. The first possible outcome in an Illinois DUI case is a dismissal of the DUI criminal charge. Obviously, the most sought after outcome in any drunk driving charge is to have the DUI case dismissed.

What is the first time offender program in Illinois? ›

The First Time Weapon Offender Program will allow certain individuals to be granted a special type of probation for a violation of the Unlawful Use of Weapon/Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapon laws.

How long do you lose your license for DUI in Illinois? ›

For a first DUI conviction, your driving privileges will be suspended for one year, unless you are under 21 years old, and then your license is suspended for two years.

What happens at first court date for DUI in Illinois? ›

The Trial. A DUI offense is a criminal charge. The driver facing the charge will be required to appear in front of a judge to be advised of the charge(s) against them during their court hearing. The prosecution and the defendant's attorney will exchange evidence and file different pretrial motions.

What makes a DUI a felony in Illinois? ›

A DUI conviction is a Class 3 felony if you had a previous reckless homicide DUI conviction or aggravated DUI conviction involving a death. Class 2 felony convictions carry possible sentences of three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

How much is the maximum fine for a DUI in Illinois? ›

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.

Can you get your license back after a DUI in Illinois? ›

An offender requesting a formal hearing for reinstatement of his/her driving privileges must pay a $50 nonrefundable filing fee when requesting the formal hearing. A reinstatement becomes valid when it is entered on the driver's record in the Secretary of State's office.

How do I remove a DUI from my driving record in Illinois? ›

Can a DUI be Expunged in Illinois? Unless you win your DUI case by having it dismissed or getting a not guilty verdict, you can never expunge or seal the DUI.

Do you always lose your license for DUI in Illinois? ›

Your license will only continue to be valid in Illinois for the first 46 days after your DUI Arrest. After the 46 day period of time, your license will be suspended automatically.

Is a DUI a violent crime in Illinois? ›

In Illinois, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is classified as a violent crime. Some sobering facts about Illinois DUI (driving under the influence): -The average blood alcohol content (BAC) of Illinois DUI arrestees is . 16 twice the legal limit of .

What are the levels of DUI in Illinois? ›

Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

It is illegal to drive if your BAC is . 08 percent or more. However, you can be convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if your BAC is less than . 08 percent and your driving ability is impaired.

What is a Class 2 felony DUI in Illinois? ›

A DUI conviction is a class 2 felony if you had a second DUI conviction while transporting a minor that resulted in bodily harm to the child, a third or subsequent DUI conviction, and a DUI charge resulting in death.

What is a conditional discharge for a DUI in Illinois? ›

The lowest sentence that you can receive for a second DUI is Conditional Discharge. A sentence of conditional discharge for a DUI, whether it's your first or second DUI, will result in the revocation of your drivers license and will cause you to lose your driving privileges in the State of Illinois.

What is agg DUI 4 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.

What class is aggravated DUI in Illinois? ›

convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof is guilty of a Class 4 felony. provision is a Class 2 felony.

What states have the worst DUI problems? ›

The four most dangerous states (Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana and Idaho) for drunk driving share the same geographic region. The three least dangerous states also share a geographic region: District of Columbia had the fewest drunk driving issues, followed by New York and Pennsylvania.

Can I drive to the states with a DUI? ›

Entering the United States with DUI offenses

A single Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction is not grounds to deny entry into the United States. However, a criminal offense may be a factor in whether your application is approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

What state has the lowest DUI penalties? ›

States With the Lowest Fines for Drunk Driving

Arkansas, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have the lowest DUI punishment by state for first-time offenders. Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Wyoming lead the list of states with most lenient drunk driving laws for a 2nd DUI.

What is the unsafest car to drive? ›

#1. Ford F-Series (F-150, F-250, F-350) The F-150 is the most popular vehicle of any kind in the U.S., a distinction it's held for many years. But along with its stablemates, the larger F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks, the F-150 accounts for more fatal accidents than anything else on the road.

What car do cops pull over the least? ›

10 of the Least Ticketed Cars
  • Range Rover.
  • BMW 320i.
  • Audi A3.
  • Cadillac Escalade.
  • Chevrolet Express.
  • Cadillac ATS.
  • Buick Encore.
  • Honda Civic.

What are the DUI requirements in Illinois? ›

Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

It is illegal to drive if your BAC is . 08 percent or more. However, you can be convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if your BAC is less than . 08 percent and your driving ability is impaired.

What is the penalty for a first time DUI in Illinois? ›

The first DUI offense is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois that carries jail time of up to a year and a fine that ranges from $500 to $2,500. Other consequences you could face if you've been charged with a DUI for the first time in Illinois include: Expensive court costs, fees, and surcharges.

What can a DUI be reduced to in Illinois? ›

The only way to get your charges reduced is to make a plea deal with the prosecutor. In exchange for the prosecutor dropping the DUI charge, you may be able to plead guilty to a reckless driving charge. Reckless driving is another Class A misdemeanor offense, so you can go to jail for it.

How long can you drive after a DUI in Illinois? ›

Can I Still Drive Right Now After My DUI Arrest? As long as you had a valid license on the date of your arrest, you can STILL drive for 46 days after your arrest. However, at midnight on the 46th day, your license will be suspended. If you have an Illinois driver's license, the officer probably took your license.

How many DUI can you get in Illinois before your license is revoked? ›

Having 4 or more DUI convictions in your record will result in your license being revoked permanently. When you have 3 DUI convictions no matter when they occurred, you face a minimum of a ten year revocation period.

Is your first DUI in Illinois a felony? ›

Because a first DUI offense is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, if you're arrested and charged with this crime you'll face a potential jail time of one year and fines of up to $2,500. Rarely are first-time DUI offenders sentenced to months or a full year in jail or prison.

How long is your license suspended for a DUI in Illinois? ›

For a first DUI conviction, your driving privileges will be suspended for one year, unless you are under 21 years old, and then your license is suspended for two years.

Is it illegal to turn around at a DUI checkpoint? ›

Yes, It's Legal to Turn Around at a DUI Checkpoint. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious problem in communities across the United States. To catch more impaired drivers, police departments sometimes set up what is known as a DUI checkpoint.

Can you legally turn around before a DUI checkpoint? ›

Is It Illegal To Turn Around At A DUI Checkpoint? No, you may legally turn around to avoid a checkpoint so long as you do so safely and without violating any traffic laws. For example, if you make an illegal or unsafe U-turn, you will likely be stopped and cited.

Why are DUI checkpoints unconstitutional? ›

Generally, whenever a police officer stops your vehicle, it is considered a “seizure” under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment provides that a person shall be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.


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