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Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI)

In Illinois, it is against the law to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – including cannabis, and prescription medication (under certain circumstances). The penalties for offenses of this nature are two-fold and can be severe.

  • Initially, your driving privileges may be suspended for a period of time. This is a quasi-criminal issue.You are entitled to a hearing to determine whether you can maintain your driving privileges; however,there are strict time limits within which you must request this hearing.

  • Secondarily, you are charged with a criminal offense which could include jail time as a penalty.

When an officer observes a driver committing any type of traffic offense such as speeding or improper lane usage, the officer may pull the driver over. Once the driver approaches the vehicle and smells an odor of an alcoholic beverage, and other signs of impairment, he will ask the driver to step out of the vehicle and begin performing field sobriety tests. The Illinois DUI laws are codified at 625 ILCS 5/11-501 which lays out the different ways a driver can get charged with a DUI along with the potential penalties.


Generally, first time DUI offenders in Illinois are eligible for a sentence of court supervision, which is a finding of guilty, but it is not a conviction. You are required to complete certain requirements, including alcohol education classes. You may also be required to complete public service/community service hours, attend a Victim Impact Program, pay fines and submit to random drug or alcohol screens to prove that you are not using. Drivers are eligible for Court Supervision only once in their life. If this is a second or subsequent offense, you will be convicted and you will lose your license for a period of time. The Illinois Secretary of State sets out how long you lose your driving privileges.


The penalties vary greatly between the first and second offenses for DUIs.

                                                  First Offense         Second Offense

Revocation:                         No                            Yes

Length of suspension:        6 mo’s / 12 mo’s        1 year / 3 years

MDDP / BAID available:    Yes                            No

Community Service:            100 hours                  240 hours

The first two DUI arrests in Illinois, absent any aggravating circumstances, will be class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to 364 days in jail. A third offense for a DUI will be a class 2 felony punishable by 3-7 years in jail.


Contact Lamp Law LLC to find out more about charges specific to your situation.

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