Can you go to jail for a DUI in Illinois?

DUI Whether or not you go to jail for a DUI in Illinois depends on several factors.

Some of these factors include whether this is your first DUI or you have multiple drunk driving offenses and whether anyone was hurt while you were driving under the influence.

Other factors include:

  • Whether there was a passenger in the vehicle under the age of 16
  • The defendant’s age
  • The defendant’s blood alcohol level (BAC).

Generally, courts are tougher on repeat DUI offenders, and courts can impose serious jail time if a passenger or innocent bystander was injured or killed by a DUI driver.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, one of the first things you should do is call a DUI attorney to make sure your rights are protected.  Answer police questions briefly, but otherwise say as little as possible until after you’ve talked to a lawyer.  The skilled and experienced criminal attorneys at Wolfe & Stec know that you’re presumed innocent until proven guilty, and they will work tirelessly to aggressively defend you.  We have represented hundreds of clients charged with DUIs – whether a first offense or a repeat offense — and we understand that sometimes people make mistakes.  To find out more about how we can help, call us at (630) 305-0222.

How likely is it to go to jail for a DUI?

Do you spend a night in jail for a DUI?

A driver with a BAC of 0.08% or higher is considered intoxicated in Illinois.  Following are the potential jail time and financial penalties that can be imposed if a defendant is convicted of a DUI in Illinois:
First-Time Offense

  • Up to 364 days in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine
  • With a BAC of 0.16% or higher – a maximum of 364 days in jail and a minimum $500 fine
  • With a passenger age 16 or under in the car, a defendant spends 6 months in jail and pays a minimum $1,000 fine

Second DUI Conviction

  • From 240 hours of community service to 364 days in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine
  • With a BAC of 0.16% or higher – a minimum of 2 days in jail and a minimum $1,250 fine
  • With a passenger age 16 or under in the car, a defendant can face from 480 hours of community service to 7 years in prison

Third DUI Conviction

  • 480 hours of community service to 7 years in prison and a maximum $25,000 fine
  • With a BAC of 0.16% or higher – a minimum 90 days in jail and a minimum $1,250 fine
  • With a passenger age 16 or under in the car, 480 hours of community service to 7 years in prison and a minimum $25,000 fine

Driver’s License Suspensions for DUI Convictions

  • First Offense – 1 year (2 years if the driver was under 21 years of age)
  • Second Offense – 5 years
  • Third Offense – 10 years

As you can see, courts are not lenient on defendants convicted of a DUI.  That’s because DUI is a serious crime and can result in the serious injury or death of others.  Illinois has an “implied consent law,” which means that all drivers must submit to a chemical test of breath, urine, blood, or other bodily substance if a police officer has probable cause to believe the driver was under the influence.  If you fail or refuse to take a chemical test when asked, your driver’s license will be suspended as follows:

  • First Offense: Failed test = 6 months
  • First Offense: Refused test = 1 year
  • Second Offense: Failed test = 1 year
  • Second Offense: Refused test = 3 years

Motorists convicted of DUIs in Illinois are also evaluated for chronic substance abuse problems and can be required to enroll in an alcohol or drug treatment program at their own expense. All offenders usually are also required to attend Victim Impact Panels in which they must listen to speakers talk about the negative consequences of drunk driving crashes.

Intoxicated Drivers Under the Age of 21 Who Are Convicted of a DUI

Things are even worse for young drivers.  Drivers under the age of 21 face a “zero tolerance” policy if they fail or refuse a chemical test in Illinois.  For young motorists who fail, refuse, or test positive for alcohol with a BAC of 0.00% – 0.08%, the driver’s license suspension periods are as follows:

  • First Offense: Failed test = 3 months
  • First Offense: Refused test = 6 months
  • Second Offense: Failed test = 1 year
  • Second Offense: Refused test = 2 years

What qualifies as a DUI in Illinois?

In Illinois, there are various instances in which a person can be found guilty of a DUI. The defendant can be driving or in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. These include:

  • A blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher
  • Under the influence of an intoxicating substance – whether drugs or a combination of drugs, alcohol and other mind-altering compounds – to a level that impairs safe driving
  • With a THC concentration of 5 nanograms or more in the blood or 10 nanograms or more in another bodily substance within 2 hours of driving
  • Any amount of a controlled substance – including heroin, cocaine and LSD – in a person’s urine, blood, or other bodily fluid when driving

Contact a DUI Attorney at Wolfe & Stec Today

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI, it’s critically important that you get a lawyer right away. The longer you wait, the higher the potential that you might say or do something that could be used against you later in court. After being arrested, briefly answer police officers’ questions, but do not explain yourself and do not confess to driving under the influence until after talking to a lawyer. The attorneys at Wolfe & Stec will aggressively represent you and work hard to secure the best outcome possible for every client. To find out more about how we can help, call us today at (630) 305-0222. Don’t delay.