Illinois DUI Law

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Illinois DUI video transcription

A first-time or second-time DUI in Illinois is typically charged as a misdemeanor, not a felony. However, a third-time DUI or a drunk driving case where someone suffers great bodily harm will be treated as a felony in Illinois. If you’ve been arrested for DUI you should contact an attorney right away to protect your rights.

Illinois DUI / DWI cases are referred to as DUI, drunk driving, or driving under the influence. No matter what they are called, if you or someone you care about is charged with an Illinois DUI / DWI or other drunk driving offense, you would be well served to retain a qualified defense lawyer. Contact an Illinois DUI / DWI LAWS lawyer near you for a free consultation by calling 1.800.DWI.LAWS.

DUI / DWI arrests in Illinois trigger two separate cases: the court case, where the punishment can include jail, fines, a suspended driver's license, required alcohol education classes, and more. A drunk driving arrest will also trigger an administrative driver's license suspension that can only be fought if there is a timely request for a hearing. This is just one of the reasons it is so very important to contact a DUI / DWI lawyer immediately by calling Toll Free 1.800.DUI.LAWS if you or someone you care about is charged with drinking and driving.

Even though this may seem like double-punishment for one crime (a violation of the Double Jeopardy clause of the Constitution), the Illinois Supreme Court recently held that a summary suspension of a driver's license is not punishment and therefore does not violate the double jeopardy clauses of the Illinois or U.S. Constitutions.

The DUI Court Case

A first-time or second-time DUI / DWI is typically charged as a misdemeanor, not a felony. However, a third-time DUI / DWI, or a drunk driving case where someone suffers great bodily harm will be treated as a felony.

A first DUI / DWI offender can receive court supervision, only once, which will not be viewed as a conviction. The criminal case is dismissed after successful completion of court supervision, but can't be expunged from the public record.

DUI / DWI convictions: Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs will cause mandatory revocation of your driver's license, plus criminal penalties of up to 364 days in jail and a fine up to $2,500.

If you are convicted of a DUI / DWI, your driver's license and driving privileges will be revoked for a minimum of one year for the first DUI / DWI offense, five years for a second DUI / DWI offense committed within a 20-year period, and 10 years for a third or subsequent DUI / DWI offense.

DUI / DWI conviction for those under age 21 at the time will result in your driving privileges being revoked for a minimum of two years for your first DUI / DWI offense; for five years or until your 21st birthday, whichever is longer, for your second DUI / DWI offense; and for 10 years for a third or subsequent DUI / DWI offense. If you meet conditions set by the Secretary of State, you can get a restricted driving permit, good for 1 year, which generally allows driving only between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. After that, you can apply for (but are not assured of getting) a regular driver's license. Those are the penalties for a first DUI / DWI offense. For a second DUI / DWI offense within 20 years, the same criminal penalties apply, your license will be revoked, and you cannot apply for another license for 5 years. You can also be sentenced to 48 hours in jail or 10 days of community service. For a third conviction, which is a class 4 felony, you can be imprisoned up to 3 years and fined up to $25,000; your license will be revoked; and you cannot apply for another one for 10 years. For a fourth DUI / DWI offense, you can be imprisoned up to 3 years, fined up to $25,000, and can NEVER AGAIN legally drive.

The DUI / DWI Driver's License Case (Statutory Summary Suspension)

If you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence (alcohol, drugs or combination thereof) and test above the legal limit (.08%) or refuse to submit to a test, your license will be suspended starting 46 days after the arrest as the result of an action automatically taken by the Secretary of State. Before the suspension starts, you may request to have a hearing in court, which will stop the suspension. Also, you may be eligible for a Judicial Driving Permit license for work or medical reasons while your license is suspended.

If a person refuses to submit to chemical testing or submits to a test disclosing a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more, his or her license will be suspended on the 46th day from the date of service with a notice of suspension (also known as the law enforcement sworn report).

The length of suspension is as follows:

  1. Three months for "first DUI / DWI offenders" (those without prior DUI's in the past five years) who have an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
  2. One year for persons with a BAC of .08 or more who are not first DUI / DWI offenders.
  3. Six months for "first DUI / DWI offenders" who refuse any or all testing; and
  4. Two years for those who refuse chemical testing who are not "first DUI / DWI offenders."

The term "first DUI / DWI offender," as used in the above paragraph, is somewhat misleading. Those with a prior DUI / DWI conviction, court supervision, or reduction to reckless driving more than five years before the date of current arrest are considered first DUI / DWI offenders even though they are ineligible for court supervision on the criminal charge of DUI / DWI. It is proper to inform a person that he is a first DUI / DWI offender even though he is not eligible for court supervision because the civil suspension and criminal proceedings are separate and distinct.

Judicial driving permits

Only first DUI / DWI offenders are eligible for judicial driving permits. JDPs are issued by the judge, and allow a person to drive to and from home to work, school, medical treatments (for any family member) and alcohol treatment from the 31st day of the suspension until the end of the suspension period.

Non-first- DUI / DWI offenders who fail chemical testing may apply for a restricted driving permit from the Secretary of State. Non-first - DUI / DWI offenders who refuse chemical testing are ineligible for any hardship licensing during the entire two-year period. However, a recent case has held that the lack of hardship relief to non-first - DUI / DWI -offenders who refuse testing violates equal protection and due process, and thus the trial court rescinded the two-year suspension. This case is presently on direct appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Read more about Illinois DUI / DWI Law.


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