The evidence is clear. Alcohol and driving do not mix. Alcohol is the number one killer on American roadways. This page includes information on the following:
|alcohol as a drug|
|blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
||driving under the influence (DUI) laws
||drivers 21 and under
||DUI victims’ rights
Alcohol is a drug that affects your overall driving ability. Alcohol slows your reaction time so that it takes you longer to act in an emergency. It affects your vision. Alcohol may make you overconfident and unable to concentrate (think) well. Drivers who drink may make more mistakes.
Alcohol affects your driving even if you are below the level of legal intoxication. Drinking even a small amount of alcohol increases your chances of having an accident. Do not drink and drive.
BAC is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in your system based on a test of your breath, blood or urine. It is illegal to drive if your BAC is .08 percent or greater. However, you can be convicted of DUI if your BAC is less than .08 percent and your driving ability is impaired. Your BAC can be affected by:
|the amount you drink. Twelve ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or one
and one-half ounces of “hard” liquor contain the same amount of alcohol.
||time. Time is the only way to remove the effects of
alcohol. Food, coffee and showers do not speed up the elimination of alcohol
from your body.
||your body weight or size. Usually, heavier people have more blood and body
fluids to dilute the alcohol.|
Other things affect your reaction to alcohol. These include food eaten, your tolerance of alcohol and any drugs you may have taken.
In addition to alcohol, many other prescription and nonprescription drugs impair safe driving. Some of these drugs are: antihistamines, cold remedies, pain relievers and mood-changing drugs. Others are marijuana, hashish, LSD, heroin, cocaine, morphine and amphetamines (pep pills). Mixing even small amounts of alcohol with other drugs is very dangerous. It is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle on Illinois highways with any trace of a controlled drug substance or cannabis (marijuana) in your blood.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a very serious offense. If arrested and/or convicted, a driver may lose driving privileges and also may be fined and/or imprisoned. Repeat arrests or convictions may result in greater penalties.
Arrest and conviction for DUI can be embarrassing, costly and inconvenient. If arrested, you will be taken to a police station or county jail. You will be held there until bond is posted. Your car may be towed at your expense, and legal fees can run thousands of dollars.
|IMPLIED CONSENT LAW: When driving on Illinois roadways, you automatically
give your consent to submit to certain tests following arrest for DUI. These
can include breath, blood and/or urine tests to determine if you were
drinking or using any other drug before or while driving. A doctor or
registered nurse must perform the blood test. You may have a qualified
person of your own choosing administer more tests at your own expense.
||STATUTORY SUMMARY SUSPENSION LAW: If you are arrested and
found to have a BAC of .08 percent or more and/or any trace of a controlled
drug substance or cannabis (marijuana) in your body while operating a motor
vehicle, your driving privileges will be suspended for at least three
months. If you refuse to submit to testing, your driving
privileges will be suspended for at least six months. If you are a second
offender within a five-year period, your privileges will be suspended for at
least 12 months if you fail or 24 months if you refuse the test. The officer
will take your license at the time of the arrest and provide you with a
temporary receipt allowing you to drive for 45 days. Your suspension begins
on the 46th day from the notice date. When your suspension ends, you must
pay a $60 reinstatement fee to terminate the suspension. If you are charged
with DUI, your refusal to submit to testing may be used as evidence against
||DUI CONVICTION: In addition to a Statutory Summary
Suspension, you may be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol
and/or other drugs. The first DUI conviction will result in the loss of your
license for a minimum of one year. You also may be fined up to $1,000 and
given a jail sentence of up to one year. If you are convicted of a second
DUI offense within 20 years, you will lose your license for a minimum of
three years. You also will be sentenced to 48 hours in jail or 10 days of
community service. You also may be fined up to $1,000. A third conviction,
which is a class 4 felony, will result in the loss of your license for a
minimum of six years, a possible one to three years imprisonment and a fine
of up to $10,000.
If convicted of DUI while transporting a person under age 16, you will be fined a minimum of $500 and required to serve five days of community service in a program benefiting children.
A DUI also will subject you to high risk auto insurance rates for three years. Before your driving privileges are restored, you will be required to undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation and successfully complete a rehabilitation or an alcohol and drug education program and/or meet other requirements.
|ILLEGAL TRANSPORTATION OF AN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE: It is illegal for anyone
to drink alcoholic beverages in a vehicle. Both driver and passengers may be
issued a traffic citation. Passengers on chartered buses, motor homes and
limousines are exempt from this rule. It is illegal to have alcohol in the
passenger area of a vehicle if the container has been opened. If convicted,
you may be fined up to $500. If there is a second offense within one year,
your driver's license will be suspended or revoked for one year. Any driver
under age 21 also faces loss of driving privileges for the first conviction.
||TRAFFIC ACCIDENT SUSPENSION: If you, as a driver, are involved in a
personal injury or fatal accident and found to have a BAC of .08 percent or
more and/or any trace of a controlled substance or cannabis (marijuana) in
your body, your driving privileges will be suspended for at least three
months. If you refuse to submit to testing, your driving privileges will be
suspended for at least six months. If you are a second offender within a
five-year period, your privileges will be suspended for at least 12 months
if you fail or 24 months if you refuse to test. Your suspension begins on
the 46th day from the notice date. When your suspension ends, you must pay a
$30 reinstatement fee to terminate the suspension.
||ZERO TOLERANCE SUSPENSION: If you are under 21 and are
arrested for any traffic violation and found to have a trace of alcohol in
your system while operating a motor vehicle, your driving privileges will be
suspended for at least three months. If you refuse to submit to testing,
your driving privileges will be suspended for at least six months. If you
are a second offender, your privileges will be suspended for at least 12
months if you fail or 24 months if you refuse to test. Your suspension
begins on the 46th day from the notice date. When your suspension ends, you
must pay a $30 reinstatement fee to terminate the suspension.
||DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED OR REVOKED LICENSE: If you are convicted of driving
while your license is revoked or suspended, the suspension or revocation
will be extended. This offense carries a mandatory seven-day imprisonment or
30 days of community service. In addition, penalties may include fines up to
$1,000 and imprisonment for up to one year.
A second conviction of this violation is a class 4 felony. This means you may be fined up to $10,000 and given a jail sentence of one to three years.
|ALLOWING SOMEONE UNDER THE INFLUENCE TO DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE: It is illegal
for you to allow someone to drive your vehicle if you know that person is
under the influence. If convicted, you may be fined up to $1,000 and given a
jail sentence of up to one year.
||PROVIDING ALCOHOL TO A PERSON UNDER AGE 21: If you are convicted of
providing alcohol to a person under age 21, you may be fined up to $1,000
and given a jail sentence of up to one year and/or your driving privileges
may be suspended under the Illinois Liquor Control Act. |
In Illinois, the minimum legal drinking age is 21 years. All Illinois drivers are issued special color-coded licenses that clearly identify drivers’ ages. The Under Age 21 license has a red photo background and the words “UNDER 21.” If you are under age 21 and convicted of DUI:
|the Secretary of State’s office will revoke your driving privileges
for a minimum of two years. A second DUI conviction will result in a license
revocation for a minimum of three years or until you reach age 21, whichever
is longer. A third DUI conviction, which is a class 4 felony, will result in
a minimum six-year revocation. Your license also will be suspended for
conviction of illegal transportation or possession of alcohol.
||the Secretary of State’s office may issue you a restricted license after
one year; but, under no conditions will an RDP be issued until the age of
18. This license may be used between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. or as
otherwise provided. It is valid for one year. Then, you would be evaluated
again by the Secretary of State’s office.
||you may be fined up to $1,000 and given a jail sentence of up to one year.
||you may be directed to participate in a Youthful Intoxicated Driver's
||Zero Tolerance/Use It & Lose It Law will remove the driving privileges
of any person under age 21 who is caught driving with any trace of alcohol
or drugs in his or her system.
Each year many people are victims of DUI crashes. Victims of crashes involving personal injury or death have the right to:
|Be notified of all court dates and of decisions made affecting the
disposition of the case.
||Present written statements and make oral comments during the sentencing
hearing for a case involving personal injury or reckless homicide. Judges
are required to indicate “on the record” their reasons for sentencing
offenders in DUI cases involving personal injury or death.
Driving under the influence can be prevented by doing the following:
|DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE: If you drink alcohol, let a friend drive or call a
||BE A RESPONSIBLE HOST: Stop serving drinks early. Make sure intoxicated
guests do not drive.
||DESIGNATE A DRIVER: Have one person in your group refrain from drinking
alcoholic beverages to assure a safe trip home.
||DO NOT MIX ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS: For example, one antihistamine with a
drink may double the effect of both.
||WEAR YOUR SAFETY BELT: It is your best defense in a DUI crash.
||CELEBRATE SAFELY: Participate in community and school events for teens
promoting alcohol and drug-free activities.|