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Skokie and Northern Suburban DUI’s Decoded

Every year in the Village of Skokie and across the State of Illinois, driving under the influence (DUI) is a leading cause of property damage, physical injury, and even death. Accordingly, Illinois law prohibits any person from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of just about any substance. It does not matter whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of substances. Any person who consumes intoxicating substances and loses the capacity to drive safely can be guilty of DUI under Illinois law. It is important to keep in mind that north suburban DUI’s are treated differently than in the City of Chicago or other suburbs. The villages of Skokie, Wilmette, Morton Grove, and Des Plaines all aggressively pursue DUI offenses.

What is the Definition of DUI Under Illinois Law?

625 ILCS 5/11-501 outlines the Illinois laws against DUI. Under this section, it is unlawful to operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or similar substances. A person is considered under the influence of a substance is they lose the ability to drive safely.

More specifically, Illinois prohibits drivers from operating or controlling motor vehicles while they are under the influence of:

  • Alcohol;
  • Pharmaceuticals drugs;
  • Illegal drugs, such as cocaine or heroin;
  • Marijuana, even if medically prescribed;
  • Other intoxicating compounds; or
  • Any combination of the substances above.

From an alcohol standpoint, the legal limit under Section 11-501 is a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08. Any driver who registers a BAC of 0.08 or more is automatically considered to be under the influence of alcohol. The fact that a person is legally authorized to possess or use a substance is not a defense to Illinois DUI laws. If that person loses their ability to drive safely due to consumption of the substance or multiple substances, it qualifies as a DUI under Section 11-501.

What are the Penalties for DUI Under Illinois Law?

The Illinois penalties for DUI offenses also appear under Section 11-501. This section categories DUI offenses as Class A misdemeanors. Upon conviction for this class of misdemeanor, the offender can face up to 364 days in jail and $2,500 in fines.

That being said, Section 11-501 does outline specific mandatory minimum penalties for specific types of DUI offenses. First offenders are eligible for Court Supervision, which is not a conviction and does not result in a revocation of driving privileges. Additionally, any person who commits a first DUI with a BAC above 0.16, which is twice the legal limit, is subject to a mandatory minimum of $500 in fines and 100 hours of community service.

Second DUI offenses are subject to a minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service. More importantly second offenses are not eligible for Court Supervision and can only receive a conviction which will result in an automatic revocation of driving privileges by the Illinois Secretary of State. Also, a BAC above 0.16 subjects the offender to a minimum of $1,250 in fines and two days in jail.