Illinois DUI Laws

Representing Clients in Complex and Serious DUI Cases

While most people realize that driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is against the law, some people still make mistakes. In DuPage County, almost 3,000 drivers get arrested every year for DUI.

These drivers may not understand the many different complicated laws regarding DUI in Illinois. For this reason, many people facing DUI charges may not realize all of the possible consequences or opportunities to defend against these charges. This is when you need a highly experienced DUI defense lawyer on your side and handling every aspect of your case.

When you call the Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., at (630) 474-8000, we can evaluate the circumstances of your case and advise you of all defense possibilities. Do not wait to consult with a DUI attorney regarding your specific situation. The following is a brief overview of DUI laws in Illinois.

What Constitutes a DUI?

Illinois law prohibits anyone from “driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds or any combination thereof.” The law goes on to say that a person may not operate or even be in physical control of a vehicle under any of the following circumstances:

  • With a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit
  • While under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicating substance that prevents them from safely driving
  • With any amount of illegal drugs in their system
  • With a certain concentration of THC in their system

“Physical control” can mean sitting the driver’s seat with the keys, even if you are parked and not driving. This means you can face charges for trying to “sleep it off” in a parking lot or on the side of the road.

Legal Limits Under Illinois Law

When a person’s BAC is over a certain amount, the law presumes that person is in violation. This limit differs depending on the circumstances, as follows:

  • 0.08 percent for most drivers
  • 0.04 percent for commercial drivers
  • 0.00 percent for school bus drivers
  • 0.00 percent for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21

Even if you are under the legal limit, an officer can allege that you seemed impaired. However, with valid test results showing you over the limit, the prosecutor does not have to offer additional evidence of intoxication.

Medical Marijuana DUI

The law allows that patients with valid medical marijuana cards can have THC in their systems and not automatically face a DUI arrest and charges. However, medical marijuana patients cannot drive while they are under the influence of cannabis. If the marijuana impairs their ability to drive, they can still face DUI charges.

Aggravated DUI Charges

Illinois also has a charge for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Prosecutors can enhance a DUI charge if any of the following apply:

  • The defendant has three or more DUI convictions on their record
  • The defendant was driving a school bus with at least one passenger
  • The driver caused an accident that resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disabilities to another person
  • The defendant has a prior conviction for reckless homicide involving intoxication
  • The driver was in a school zone with a reduced speed limit and caused an accident that resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disabilities to another person
  • The driver caused an accident involving a motor vehicle, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, or watercraft and caused the death of another person
  • The driver’s license was suspended due to a prior DUI or reckless homicide conviction
  • The driver did not have a valid driver’s license
  • The defendant knew or should have known that there was no insurance coverage for the vehicle
  • The driver caused an accident that resulted in any bodily harm to a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle with the driver
  • The driver had a prior DUI conviction and was transporting a child under the age of 16
  • The driver was transporting at least one passenger as a driver-for-hire

Penalties for DUI Under the Law

Prosecutors and courts must abide by the law when issuing charges and sentences for DUI and related offenses. The following penalties may apply:

  • Driving under the influence – Class A misdemeanor charge, up to one year in jail, fines up to $2,500, license suspension for one year, 100 hours community service, ignition interlock device on your car for one year, suspended vehicle registration
  • Second offense of driving under the influence – Mandatory 240 hours of community service OR five days in jail, up to one year in jail, $2,500 fine, license suspension for at least five years
  • Third offense of driving under the influence – Class 2 felony charge of aggravated driving under the influence, driver’s license suspension for ten years, up to seven years in prison, up to $25,000 fine
  • Fourth offense of driving under the influence – Class 2 felony charge of aggravated driving under the influence, permanent driver’s license suspension, up to seven years in prison, up to $25,000 fine
  • Fifth offense of driving under the influence – Class 1 felony charge of aggravated driving under the influence, permanent driver’s license suspension, up to 15 years in prison, up to $25,000 fine
  • Sixth offense of driving under the influence – Class X felony charge of aggravated driving under the influence, permanent driver’s license suspension, up to 30 years in prison, up to $25,000 fine

In addition to penalties set out by law, you can face many types of collateral consequences for DUI convictions, especially felony convictions.

Contact Our Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyers for Help Immediately

The laws regarding DUI in Illinois are complicated. You should always speak with an experienced DUI lawyer who can explain all applicable laws and possible penalties to you. Our criminal defense team will thoroughly review your case and allegations, investigate what happened, and determine what defense strategy will be most effective.

At Martin & Kent, L.L.C., we regularly represent clients facing DUI charges and help reduce the penalties they face. After an arrest, call (630) 474-8000 to discuss how we may help you.