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Drinking and Driving

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a very serious offense.  If arrested and/or convicted, a driver may lose driving privileges and also may be fined and/or imprisoned.  Repeat arrests or convictions may result in greater penalties.

Arrest and conviction for DUI can be embarrassing, costly and inconvenient.  If arrested, you will be taken to a police station or county jail.  You will be held there until bond is posted.  Your car may be towed and impounded, and legal fees can run thousands of dollars.

DUI Laws
Drivers 21 and Under
DUI Victims' Rights
DUI Prevention
Know Your Limit!

DUI Laws

Implied Consent Law -  When driving on Illinois roadways, you automatically give your consent to submit to certain tests following arrest for DUI.  These can include breath, blood and/or urine tests to determine if you were drinking or using any other drug before or while driving. A doctor or registered nurse must perform the blood test. You may have a qualified person of your own choosing administer more tests at your own expense.

Statutory Summary Suspension Law - If you are arrested and found to have a blood alcohol count (BAC) of .08 percent or more and/or any trace of a controlled drug substance or cannabis (marijuana) in your body while operating a motor vehicle, your driving privileges will be suspended for at least three months. If you refuse to submit to testing, your driving privileges will be suspended for at least six months. If you are a second offender within a five-year period, your privileges will be suspended for at least 12 months if you fail or 24 months if you refuse the test. The officer will take your license at the time of the arrest and provide you with a temporary receipt allowing you to drive for 45 days. Your suspension begins on the 46th day from the notice date. When your suspension ends, you must pay a $60 reinstatement fee to terminate the suspension. If you are charged with DUI, your refusal to submit to testing may be used as evidence against you.

DUI Conviction -  In addition to a Statutory Summary Suspension, you may be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs. The first DUI conviction will result in the loss of your license for a minimum of one year. You also may be fined up to $1,000 and given a jail sentence of up to one year. If you are convicted of a second DUI offense within 20 years, you will lose your license for a minimum of three years. You also will be sentenced to 48 hours in jail or 10 days of community service. You also may be fined up to $1,000. A third conviction, which is a class 4 felony, will result in the loss of your license for a minimum of six years, a possible one to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

If convicted of DUI while transporting a person under age 16, you will be fined a minimum of $500 and required to serve five days of community service in a program benefiting children.

A DUI also will subject you to high risk auto insurance rates for three years. Before your driving privileges are restored, you will be required to undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation and successfully complete a rehabilitation or an alcohol and drug education program and/or meet other requirements.

Illegal Transportation of an Alcoholic Beverage -  It is illegal for anyone to drink alcoholic beverages in a vehicle. Both driver and passengers may be issued a traffic citation. Passengers on chartered buses, motor homes and limousines are exempt from this rule. It is illegal to have alcohol in the passenger area of a vehicle if the container has been opened. If convicted, you may be fined up to $500. If there is a second offense within one year, your driver's license will be suspended or revoked for one year. Any driver under age 21 also faces loss of driving privileges for the first conviction.

Traffic Accident Suspension - If you, as a driver, are involved in a personal injury or fatal accident and found to have a BAC of .08 percent or more and/or any trace of a controlled substance or cannabis (marijuana) in your body, your driving privileges will be suspended for at least three months. If you refuse to submit to testing, your driving privileges will be suspended for at least six months. If you are a second offender within a five-year period, your privileges will be suspended for at least 12 months if you fail or 24 months if you refuse to test. Your suspension begins on the 46th day from the notice date. When your suspension ends, you must pay a $30 reinstatement fee to terminate the suspension.

Zero Tolerance Suspension - If you are under 21 and are arrested for any traffic violation and found to have a trace of alcohol in your system while operating a motor vehicle, your driving privileges will be suspended for at least three months. If you refuse to submit to testing, your driving privileges will be suspended for at least six months. If you are a second offender, your privileges will be suspended for at least 12 months if you fail or 24 months if you refuse to test. Your suspension begins on the 46th day from the notice date. When your suspension ends, you must pay a $30 reinstatement fee to terminate the suspension.

Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License - If you are convicted of driving while your license is revoked or suspended, the suspension or revocation will be extended. This offense carries a mandatory seven-day imprisonment or 30 days of community service. In addition, penalties may include fines up to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to one year.

A second conviction of this violation is a class 4 felony. This means you may be fined up to $10,000 and given a jail sentence of one to three years.

Allowing Someone Under the Influence to Drive Your Vehicle - It is illegal for you to allow someone to drive your vehicle if you know that person is under the influence. If convicted, you may be fined up to $1,000 and given a jail sentence of up to one year.

Providing Alcohol to a Person Under Age 21 - If you are convicted of providing alcohol to a person under age 21, you may be fined up to $1,000 and given a jail sentence of up to one year and/or your driving privileges may be suspended under the Illinois Liquor Control Act.

Back To TopDrivers 21 and Under

In Illinois, the minimum legal drinking age is 21 years.  All Illinois drivers are issued special color-coded licenses that clearly identify drivers’ ages. The Under Age 21 license has a red photo background and the words "UNDER 21."  If you are under age 21 and convicted of DUI:

  • The Secretary of State’s office will revoke your driving privileges for a minimum of two years.  A second DUI conviction will result in a license revocation for a minimum of three years or until you reach age 21, whichever is longer.  A third DUI conviction, which is a class 4 felony, will result in a minimum six-year revocation.  Your license also will be suspended for conviction of illegal transportation or possession of alcohol.
  • The Secretary of State’s office may issue you a restricted driver's permit (RDP) after one year; but, under no conditions will an RDP be issued until the age of 18.  This license may be used between the hours of 5:00am and 9:00pm or as otherwise provided.  It is valid for one year.  Then, you would be evaluated again by the Secretary of State’s office.
  • You may be fined up to $1,000 and given a jail sentence of up to one year.
  • You may be directed to participate in a Youthful Intoxicated Driver's Visitation Program.
  • Zero Tolerance/Use It & Lose It Law will remove the driving privileges of any person under age 21 who is caught driving with any trace of alcohol or drugs in his or her system.

DUI Victims’ Rights

Each year many people are victims of DUI crashes.  Victims of crashes involving personal injury or death have the right to:

  • Be notified of all court dates and of decisions made affecting the disposition of the case.
  • Present written statements and make oral comments during the sentencing hearing for a case involving personal injury or reckless homicide. Judges are required to indicate "on the record" their reasons for sentencing offenders in DUI cases involving personal injury or death.

Back To TopDUI Prevention

Driving under the influence can be prevented by doing the following:

  • Do not drink and drive - If you drink alcohol, let a friend drive or call a cab.
  • Be a responsible host - Stop serving drinks early. Make sure intoxicated guests do not drive.
  • Designate a driver - Have one person in your group refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages to ensure a safe trip home.
  • Do not mix alcohol and other drugs - For example, one antihistamine with a drink may double the effect of both.
  • Wear your safety belt - It is your best defense in a DUI crash.
  • Celebrate safely - Participate in community and school events for teens promoting alcohol and drug-free activities.

Know Your Limit!

Following is a drinking and driving chart.

Number of drinks consumed and the number of hours to wait after beginning of drinking and before driving:

Body Weight

1 Drink

2 Drinks

3 Drinks

4 Drinks

5 Drinks

6 Drinks

100 lb

0 hrs

3 hrs

6 hrs

9.5 hrs

12.5 hrs

15.5 hrs

120 lb

0 hrs

2 hrs

4.5 hrs

7.5 hrs

9.5 hrs

12 hrs

140 lb

0 hrs

1.5 hrs

3.5 hrs

5.5 hrs

8 hrs

10 hrs

150 lb

0 hrs

.5 hrs

2.5 hrs

4.5 hrs

6.5 hrs

8.5 hrs

180 lb

0 hrs

0 hrs

2 hrs

3.5 hrs

6.5 hrs

7 hrs

200 lb

0 hrs

0 hrs

1.5 hrs

3 hrs

4.5 hrs

5 hrs

220 lb

0 hrs

0 hrs

1 hrs

2.5 hrs

3.5 hrs

5.5 hrs

 

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