DWI as Defined by Illinois Law

  • If there is a BAC of 0.08 or more.
    • or under the influence of alcohol (even if the BAC is less than 0.08)
    • or under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination that renders the person incapable of driving safely
    • and more ... Full details can be found on the ILGA website.
  • If under 21 years of age, any trace of alcohol will cause the driver to lose their driving privileges.  Read more about Zero Tolerance Driving in Illinois.

More information can be found in the DUI Fact Book.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to your driver's license if you refuse to take a chemical test (breath or blood) when stopped?

Your driver's license will be automatically suspended.

What if I'm carrying passengers younger than 16 years old and then convicted of a DWI?

The penalties will be increased including potential imprisonment up to 6 months.

If I'm physically fit, will my Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) be lower?

No, your BAC can be affected by your weight, how much your drink and how much time passes between drinks.

Will drinking coffee, exercising, or taking a cold shower reduce my BAC?

No, you must wait for your body to metabolize the alcohol. That takes time.

What if a passenger is drinking in the car with me, but I'm not drinking?

It's illegal to have an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of your vehicle if you're driving or parked on a public highway.

DWI Punishments

The potential punishment varies based on how many previous convictions you've had.

A First Offense:

  • Loss of driver's license up to a year (two years if under 21 years old)
  • Suspension of vehicle registration.
  • If BAC was 0.16 or higher, additional penalties of a minimum fine of $500 and mandatory minimum 100 hours of community service.
  • If committed while transporting a child under age 16 — In addition to any penalties or fines, possible imprisonment of up to six months, a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.
  • If committed while transporting a child under age 16 and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm to the child (Aggravated DUI); Class 4 felony — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, a mandatory fine of $2,500 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

Your Second Offense:

  •  Mandatory minimum imprisonment of five days or 240 hours of community service;
  • Revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of five years for a second conviction within 20 years;
  • Suspension of vehicle registration.
  • If committed with a BAC of .16 or more — In addition to any penalties or fines, mandatory imprisonment of two days and mandatory minimum fine of $1,250.
  • If committed while transporting a child under age 16 (Aggravated DUI); Class 4 felony.
  • If committed while transporting a child under age 16 and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm to the child (Aggravated DUI); Class 2 felony — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, a mandatory fine of $5,000 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

 

For more information read the Illinois 2016 DUI Fact Book site.