The Illinois DUI Guide

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For Attorneys



Cook County



Aggravated DUI

Driving under the Influence of Alcohol

625 ILCS 5/11-501

Sec. 11-501


Statutory Summary Suspension




I just got arrested for an Illinois DUI charge.  What happens next?


ISSUE ONE:  The Implied Consent (Statutory Summary Suspension) Proceeding:  Your Illinois drivers license (or your right to drive in the State of Illinois if you're not an Illinois licensed driver) was most likely suspended for anywhere from six months to three years for failing or refusing a chemical (breath / blood) test.  This suspension is known as a statutory summary suspension.  Read your paperwork carefully.  This suspension typically begins on the 46th day following your arrest.  


If you would like to challenge this suspension, you or your attorney must file a Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension with the court.  This petition / challenge applies only to your statutory summary suspension and has nothing to do with the DUI criminal charge (see below).  Overall, about 15 percent of statutory summary suspensions are rescinded.



ISSUE TWO:  The Illinois DUI Criminal Offense:  Separate from the statutory summary suspension is the criminal charge for DUI or Aggravated DUI.  Under Illinois law, it is unlawful for any person who:


(a) is under the influence of alcohol; or

(b) has a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his blood or breath (sometimes known as a "per se DUI"); or

(c) is under the influence of an intoxicating compound; or

(d) is under the influence of drug(s); or (e) is under the influence of a combination of alcohol, drug(s), and / or an intoxicating compound


to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle.  Again, this charge is commonly known as driving under the influence or DUI.  Aggravated DUI's are essentially a regular Illinois DUI with some type of enhancement.  Refer to the chart below.


Important:  The statutory summary suspension proceeding and the DUI criminal charge are completely separate from one another. 


Will my Illinois driver license be revoked / suspended?


RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE:  Your Illinois drivers license (or your right to drive in Illinois if you do not have a valid Illinois license) may be suspended for failing or for refusing a chemical test for alcohol and / or drugs.  Again, you may challenge this statutory summary suspension by filing a petition to rescind with the court within 90 days of your arrest.  Filing the petition will not necessarily overturn the suspension; rather, it provides you with a chance to overturn the suspension.



RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE:  If you are convicted of the Illinois DUI offense, you will also lose your license (or your right to drive in Illinois if you don't have a valid Illinois license) for a year or more.  This revocation is separate and distinct from the statutory summary suspension.  Talk to your Illinois DUI lawyer for possible suspension and revocation lengths for your situation.



Also keep in mind that your license can be suspended for a variety of reasons unrelated to an Illinois DUI arrest e.g. excessive tickets, failure to pay child support, failing to appear for a traffic offense, hit and run etc.


What happens if I get caught driving while my license is suspended or revoked?


Driving while your license is suspended or revoked should be avoided as it is a new crime.  Penalties include fines, jail time, and an additional license revocation.  If you're on probation for an Illinois DUI offense when you get caught driving without a valid license, this will also result in a probation violation which can result in additional jail time.


I really need to drive.  Will I be able to get a restricted / occupational / conditional / probationary permit?


A Monitoring Device Driving Permit (sometimes called a Monitoring Device Permit) may be available to you if your license is suspended from a first statutory summary suspension and you had a valid Illinois Driver License at the time of your suspension.  The Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) allows persons to drive to and from work and for other limited purposes.  Note:  The MDDP has replaced the old Judicial Driving Permit (JDP).


If you are convicted of a DUI you face a separate revocation.  You may be eligible for a restricted driver permit or RDP during this revocation.


Speak to your Illinois DUI lawyer about whether you qualify and how to apply for this MDDP or RDP.  The State of Illinois does not issue MDDP's or RDP's to operate commercial motor vehicles. 


What is the difference between the terms DUI, DWI, OWI, OUI, OVI, etc.?


These terms are all acronyms that refer to the offense commonly known as "drunk driving."  Different states have different names for the crime.  For example, in Missouri the charge is known as DWI (driving while intoxicated).  In Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa, they use the term OWI (operating while intoxicated).  In Ohio, the charge is known as an OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence).  Oregon uses the term DUII (driving under the influence of an intoxicant).  Like Kentucky, Indiana, and most states, Illinois law refers to "driving while under the influence" or DUI. 


Is a DUI in Illinois a misdemeanor or felony charge?


In Illinois, a DUI offense is usually a misdemeanor crime.  However, Aggravated DUI's are felony offenses.  Refer to the table below for more information.


What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of an Illinois DUI offense?


Upon conviction of an Illinois DUI, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties including alcohol screening / treatment / education and attendance at a victims impact panel class.  A range of minimum penalties is set forth below: 



(Class A Misdemeanor)
  • one year license revocation (two years if under age 21);
  • suspension of vehicle registration;
  • if BAC = 0.16 percent or more, at least a $500 fine and 100 hours of community service;
  • if child under 16 is in car, at least $1000 fine and 25 days community service (if child suffers bodily injury, see below);
  • jail time possible but not mandated.
(Class A Misdemeanor)
  • five year license revocation (possible relief after one year with BAIID installation);
  • suspension of vehicle registration;.
  • at least five days jail or 240 hours of community service;
  • if BAC = 0.16 percent or more, at least a $1250 fine and two days jail;
Aggravated DUI
(Class 2 Felony)
  • possible three to seven years prison;
  • ten year license revocation (possible relief after one year with BAIID installation);
  • suspension of vehicle registration;
  • if BAC = 0.16 or more, at least a $2500 fine and 90 days jail;
  • if child under 16 is in car, at least $25,000 fine and 25 days community service.
Aggravated DUI
(Class 2 Felony)
  • possible three to seven years prison;
  • lifetime license revocation (no relief);
  • suspension of vehicle registration;
  • if BAC = 0.16 percent or more, at least a $5000 fine;
  • if child under 16 is in car, at least $25,000 fine and 25 days community service.
Aggravated DUI
(Class 1 Felony)
  • possible 4 - 15 years prison;
  • lifetime license revocation (no relief);
  • suspension of vehicle registration;
  • if BAC = 0.16 percent or more, at least a $5000 fine;
  • if child under 16 is in car, at least $25,000 fine and 25 days community service.
Aggravated DUI
(Class X Felony)
  • possible 6 - 30 years prison;
  • lifetime license revocation (no relief);
  • suspension of vehicle registration.
  • if BAC = 0.16 percent or more, at least a $5000 fine;
  • if child under 16 is in car, at least $25,000 fine and 25 days community service.

(all are felonies)

‣  DUI w/ child under 16 in car and child suffers bodily injury;
‣  2nd DUI w/ child under 16 in car;
‣  DUI resulting in great bodily harm;
‣  DUI w/out a valid license or permit;
‣  DUI w/out vehicle liability insurance;
‣  DUI resulting in death;
‣  DUI while revoked for another DUI, reckless homicide; or hit and run w/ injury or death;
‣  DUI in school zone and collision results in bodily harm;
‣  DUI driving a school bus w/ child(ren) on board;
‣  2nd DUI w/ prior reckless homicide while DUI or prior Aggravated DUI involving death.

  • possible prison terms of various lengths;
  • any person sentenced to probation must serve at least 10 days jail or 480 hours community service;
  • length of license revocations vary;
  • fines vary.

Will my defense attorney be able to plea bargain / negotiate my Illinois DUI offense down to another (lesser) offense?

Possibly.  Plea bargaining and charge reduction are two areas that any experienced Illinois DUI lawyer would discuss with the prosecutor on the client's behalf.  If you are charged with a first misdemeanor Illinois DUI offense, you may be eligible for "court supervision."  Successful completion of a court supervision will result in the dismissal of the DUI charge.  Court supervision can be an attractive option if you're eligible for it.

What goes on at my first Illinois DUI court appearance?


Your first court appearance is commonly known as an arraignment or an initial appearance.  At this appearance you receive formal notice of charge or charges against you.  At the arraignment, you may apply for a court appointed counsel if you cannot afford to retain your own DUI lawyer.  A second court appearance is then set for you. 

Will an Illinois DUI go on "my driving record?"

Yes.  A DUI conviction will go on your Illinois driving record and will stay on your record forever.  A successful court supervision will not go on your driving record.

Just how much jail / prison time will I have to do if I am convicted of a DUI offense in the State of Illinois?

The amount of incarceration (jail or prison) received will depend on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the following:

•  your prior driving record especially your DUI history (including any DUI's / DWI's outside of Illinois);

•  your level of intoxication / BAC (a BAC of 0.16 percent or greater can generate greater penalties);

•  whether there was an accident involved;

•  whether there was injury to another person in the collision;

•  which Illinois county or court your case is in;

•  what judge you are sentenced by;

•  whether there was a passenger / child in your car (especially a child under 16);

•  whether the judge feels you have accepted responsibility for your actions.


I am licensed to drive in a state other than Illinois and I was cited for a DUI in Illinois.  Will my driver license be suspended or revoked?

Illinois only has the authority to suspend or revoke your right to drive in the State of Illinois.  However, Illinois and 44 other states and the District of Columbia have adopted an agreement known as the "Driver License Compact."  Illinois will report a DUI conviction to the home state of the driver (assuming the home state has also adopted the Compact).  Your home state will then generally take action to suspend your license.

This also works in reverse.  If you are an Illinois licensed driver and you are convicted of a DUI charge in another state, Illinois will suspend your license if it learns of the conviction. 

Will I have to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device on my car?


A breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) is a breath alcohol measurement device that is connected to a motor vehicle ignition.  In order to start the motor vehicle, a driver must blow a breath sample into the device which then measures alcohol concentration.  If the alcohol concentration exceeds the startup set point (0.025 percent) on the interlock device, the motor vehicle will not start.


Under new legislation, you will likely have to install an ignition interlock device in your car if you are convicted of a DUI offense in the State of Illinois. Talk to your DUI lawyer about whether this requirement applies to your situation.

What will an Illinois DUI do to my insurability?

If your insurance company finds out about your DUI one of two things are likely to happen.  Either your Illinois insurer will raise your rates or you may be cancelled or non-renewed.  Your insurance company will absolutely learn of your DUI if you have to file an SR-22.

What is an SR-22 / Financial Responsibility Insurance?

An SR-22 is a form from an Illinois licensed insurance company certifying that you have purchased liability insurance that meets the minimum required coverage limits.  The SR-22 provides proof to the Illinois Secretary of State's Office that you are insured.  If you cancel your insurance or the insurance company cancels your policy before your suspension period is over, the company must notify the Secretary of State Department of Driver Services that the certificate is canceled.  The SR-22 requirement must be maintained for at least three years.

I'm not a United States citizen.  Will an Illinois DUI conviction result in my removal from this country?

Probably not.  Typical, run of the mill Illinois DUI offenses (no priors; no aggravating factors) are not considered crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies resulting in removal.  It is important to consult an experienced immigration lawyer about your situation just as you should consult with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer about your pending Illinois DUI charge. 

Keep two points in mind.  First, it is very important to answer honestly all questions about prior arrests / convictions on immigration and Visa applications and forms.  Lying on these forms is often considered more serious than any Illinois DUI.  Second, non-citizens must take extra care not to drive on a suspended or revoked license.

Are there special concerns for licensed pilots who get an Illinois DUI?


Yes.  The FAA has special reporting requirements for certain Motor Vehicle Actions including Illinois DUI convictions and certain statutory summary suspensions.  Learn more here.


What happens if I was on probation when I got arrested for my Illinois DUI offense?

Committing a new offense while you're on probation for a previous crime creates two problems.  First, you face the new Illinois DUI charge.  Second, you face a probation violation hearing for failing to obey all laws (a standard condition of probation).  The most serious scenario is when you receive a new Illinois DUI charge when you're already on probation for a previous DUI offense.  When this happens, its in your best interest to speak to an Illinois DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

I missed my Illinois DUI court appearance.  What do I do now?

Failing to appear (FTA) for court is to be avoided.  When you miss a court appearance, bad things happen.  At a minimum, the court typically issues a warrant for your arrest (commonly known as a bench warrant).  Talk to an Illinois DUI attorney as soon as possible.  Often, your only option is to turn yourself in on the outstanding warrant.  A new court date will then be scheduled.

Can I represent myself in court on my Illinois DUI and / or other criminal charge(s)?

Yes.  You have a constitutional right to represent yourself on any criminal charge no matter how serious including an Illinois DUI charge.  Keep in mind that Illinois DUI criminal defense is a complex area of the law as shown by the information in this website.  If you cannot afford to hire your own criminal defense lawyer, you definitely should apply for court appointed counsel (a public defender) to represent you.  You have no right to court appointed counsel at any implied consent license proceeding.


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Websites, including this one, provide general Illinois DUI information but do not provide legal advice or create a lawyer / client relationship.  General information cannot replace legal advice specific to your case, problem, or situation.  Consult qualified Illinois Drunk Driving - DUI - DWI lawyers / attorneys for advice about any specific problem or Illinois DUI charge that you have.  Illinois attorneys are governed by the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.  This website may be considered an advertisement for services under these Rules.  Information contained in this website is believed to be accurate but is not warranted or guaranteed in any way.  No lawyer associated with this website is specialized or certified in any way.  This site is not a solicitation for attorney services; rather, it is purely informational.  The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and that the certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois.


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