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What is a DUI in Illinois?

In Illinois, DUIs are traffic offenses under the Illinois Vehicle Code. The Department of Driver Services upholds penalties imposed by Illinois courts on guilty offenders. The Clerk of Circuit Court in the county where the DUI was filed is the primary custodian of DUI records in Illinois. Likewise, DUI records may be obtained through certain third-party service providers such as

In Illinois, a DUI refers to an individual driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:

  • with a blood alcohol content of high than 0.08%
  • while under the influence of any drug to the point where the individual is not capable of driving safely
  • with five nanograms or more of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration in the blood
  • with ten nanograms or more of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

What happens when you get a DUI for the First Time in Illinois?

Under Section §11-501 of the Vehicle Code, the officer will impose administrative (license-related) penalties by issuing a Uniform Traffic Ticket. Then the officer will file the ticket with the County Circuit Clerk and seek an arrest warrant or a summons for the offender. The offender will be required to appear in court where if found guilty, the court may impose stiffer criminal penalties in addition to administrative sanctions. Usually, a first-time offender will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor is the highest and most severe class of misdemeanors in Illinois. If found guilty, under Section § 11-501 of the Vehicle Code, the court will impose:

  • Court-mandated supervision for at least one year
  • A minimum of 100 hours of active community service
  • Installation of an interlocking device
  • Automatic license suspension

How likely is Jail Time after a First DUI in Illinois?

Depending on the circumstance surrounding the DUI, jail time is not likely. While criminal sentencing and penalties become stiffer with subsequent DUI arrests, a first-time offender may face jail time if:

  • The offender's BAC was 0.16% or more
  • There was a minor in the vehicle
  • Use of fraudulent or fake ID
  • The DUI resulted in personal injury or damage to property

What are the Typical Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Illinois?

The penalties for DUI in Illinois depend on the circumstances surrounding the arrest and conviction, including the driver's age, BAC level, whether the driver was transporting a child under age 16, and if the driver was driving the wrong way on a one-way road. Typical Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Illinois include:

  • Completing an evaluation for alcohol/drug abuse
  • Completing a substance abuse treatment program
  • Attending a Victim Impact Panel (VIP)
  • Suspension of vehicle registration
  • Suspension of driver's license
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Insurance penalties: A convicted offender is required to carry high-risk auto insurance for three years.
  • Installation of a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID): (BAIID) is installed for five years as a condition of driving relief. BAIID requires a driver to complete a breathalyzer test before the party can unlock their vehicle. BAIIDs also have a camera unit that monitors the driver while performing the breath test. The responsible falls on the driver for the cost of installing the device and will pay a monthly fee to the Department of Driver Services.
  • Fines: The court may impose a fine of up to $25,000, depending on the severity of the offense.
  • Jail time: The maximum punishment for a first time DUI in Illinois is up to one year in prison plus fines. Subsequent convictions result in lengthier jail time.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Illinois?

A DUI conviction is a permanent offense on an offender's driving record. Likewise, Illinois law does not make provisions for guilty offenders to expunge or seal records of a DUI conviction. However, if a DUI offender was not charged with a crime, successfully contests the charges in court, or found not guilty of DUI, the party may petition the court to seal or expunge the records.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Illinois?

DUI Checkpoints that follow official guidelines are legal in Illinois. At DUI checkpoints, law enforcement officers may conduct an assessment test to determine a driver's fitness to drive or cause arrest.

What is an Aggravated DUI in Illinois?

Aggravated DUI is any DUI offense resulting in felony charges. Aggravated DUI includes the following offenses:

  • Third or subsequent DUI
  • DUI while driving a school bus carrying minors age 18 or younger
  • DUI while driving a vehicle-for-hire carrying one or more passengers
  • DUI that results in bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement
  • Second and subsequent DUI committed while transporting a child under age 16
  • DUI while driving a minor under 16 years of age and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm to the child
  • DUI without a valid driver's license or permit
  • DUI without vehicle liability insurance
  • DUI after a prior conviction for reckless homicide while under the influence
  • DUI in a school zone while the restricted speed limit is in effect and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm
  • DUI committed while a license is revoked or suspended for a past DUI
  • Reckless homicide or leaving the scene of a personal injury or death
  • DUI resulting in death

The punishment for DUI is imposed on a case by case basis. Individuals convicted of aggravated DUI will generally serve a mandatory term of imprisonment or community service that is not subject to suspension or reduction. Likewise, if the court sentences the offender to probation or conditional discharge, persons are also required to serve at least 480 hours of community service or ten days of imprisonment.

What Happens When You Get a DUI in Illinois?

Following a DUI offense, the offender may choose to contest the charges in court. In this case, the penalties imposed depend on the class of the DUI offense.

Class A misdemeanor:

  • Up to one year of imprisonment (subsequent convictions carry lengthier jail time)
  • Fines of up to $2,500
  • Mandatory completion of community service
  • Revoking of driving privileges for a minimum of two years

Class 4 felony:

  • One to three years imprisonment
  • Fines of up to $25,000
  • Aggravated DUI involving injury: one to 12 years imprisonment and fines of up to $25,000
  • Revoking of driving privileges for a minimum of 2 years

Class 3 felony:

  • Possible imprisonment of two to five years
  • Fines of up to $25,000
  • Revoking of driving privileges for a minimum of two years

Class 2 felony:

  • Three to seven years imprisonment; fines of up to $25,000
  • Aggravated DUI with one death: three to 14 years imprisonment; fines of up to $25,000
  • Aggravated DUI with multiple deaths: six to 28 years imprisonment and fines of up to $25,000
  • Revoking of driving privileges for a minimum of two years

Class 1 felony:

  • four to 15 years imprisonment
  • Fines of up to $25,000
  • Revoking of driving privileges for a minimum of two years

Class X felony:

  • Imprisonment of 6-30 years
  • Fines of up to $25,000
  • Revoking of driving privileges
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