Illinois DUI Basics – First Offenses

This is an overview of the issues facing first time offenders.  Properly defended, DUI can be a complex area of law and this is not intended as an exhaustive guide.  I like to help people get their lives back on track and it is important to take all the steps in the process seriously.  Here are the basics for first time offenders:

In Illinois, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any intoxicant with a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater.  A BAC of .05% is also illegal if it caused impairment.

  • An arrest for DUI with a BAC level of .08% or greater involves a statutory suspension of your license, but allows a temporary 45 days of driving following the arrest.  The officer should provide such a receipt if your license was already in good standing.  Statutory summary suspensions do not apply when BAC is under .08% unless there is additional evidence against you.
  • What follows is a hearing in 90 days to determine your driving privileges. If the officer didn’t follow proper procedures or have probable cause to stop you, there may be grounds to reinstate your license.  Also, the court needs to prove you were driving at .08% BAC or greater or refused to submit to the chemical test.

The following rules apply to a first time offender:

If you take the breath test and the result is 0.08 or more, your license is suspended for six months.

If you refuse the breath test, then your license will be suspended for 12 months.

  • If your license was previously valid and there were no accidents causing bodily harm related to your stop, you’ll be eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) after the first 30 days of your suspension period.  This allows driving privileges for the remainder of your suspension period.  Other requirements include proof of financial responsibility via an Illinois SR22 insurance policy and a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed on your vehicle.  Even if not granted an MDDP (which allows unlimited driving), you may apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP) through the Secretary of State (allows you to travel to and from work).
  • For those under 21 years of age there is a zero tolerance law.  This means any trace of alcohol, drugs or intoxicants results in a 3 month license suspension (if you submitted to a chemical test) and a 6 month suspension for those who refused.  Eligibility for an MDDP or RDP applies after the suspension period.
  • Other Penalties:  A first time conviction carries a maximum one-year jail sentence and is a Class A misdemeanor.  Add six months if a child under 16 was in the vehicle.
  • Fines: A maximum fine of $2,500, an additional $500 for BAC readings over .16%. License reinstatements involve a $250 fee.
  • Your Record: Any DUI conviction in Illinois is a permanent part of a person’s driving record and cannot be expunged.
  • Community Service: If your BAC level was .16% or greater you will be required to perform a mandatory minimum of 100 hours of community service.  If the first offense involved a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle or the first offense was an aggravated DUI offense, you will have 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

Please contact DUI Attorney Kurt Larsen me if you are facing DUI charges and we can discuss your particular circumstances in greater detail.