Illinois DUI FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is DUI?
A: Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is defined by Illinois as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs (including medicinal marijuana and other legally prescribed drugs), or any intoxicating compounds and methamphetamine. In Illinois, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or above.

Q: What is BAC?
A: BAC stands for blood alcohol content. This is based on the ratio of alcohol to blood in your system. In Illinois, it is illegal to drive if your BAC is .08 or above. If you are under 21 or driving a bus, your BAC level must be 0. The illegal limit for commercial driver’s license holders is .04. It is also possible to be arrested for DUI if your blood alcohol level is between .05 and .08 if the officer has other evidence that your driving has been impaired.

Q: Can I drive while using medical cannabis?
A: No. In Illinois, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while using legally prescribed medical cannabis, also known as marijuana.

Q: What happens if I get pulled over for a suspected DUI?
A: In Illinois, an officer may stop a vehicle at a roadside safety check or for probable cause, reasonable suspicion or unusual operation. The officer will request a driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance card. Then, if the officer suspects the driver is under the influence, the driver is asked to perform field sobriety tests. Based on the field sobriety tests, if there is probable cause, the driver is placed under arrest for DUI and taken to the police station. The officer will ask the driver to submit to chemical testing of breath, urine or blood.

Q: What happens if I refuse to submit to chemical testing of breath, urine or blood?
A: In Illinois, the first time you refuse to submit to chemical testing, you will have your license suspended for 1 year. After 31 days, you may have the opportunity to get a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) which allows you to operate vehicles installed with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID). A subsequent offense within 5 years receives a 3 year suspension without the opportunity to get a MDDP.

Q: What is Statutory Summary Suspension/Revocation?
A: This is the automatic suspension of driving privileges for anyone that fails chemical testing, refuses to submit to chemical testing, or does not complete chemical testing. Automatic suspension takes places on the 46th day after the date of suspension notice. Any person with an Illinois driver’s license that refuses to take a chemical test in any other state will have their driving privileges suspended.

Q: Do I need an attorney if I get arrested for DUI?
A: Yes. Driving under the influence is a serious charge with severe penalties. It is essential to obtain a knowledgeable attorney that will help you through the court process. The police will do everything in their power to obtain evidence and ensure your conviction. You need an experienced Illinois DUI attorney on your side that will work hard to advocate for you.