The State of DUI Law in Illinois

How new laws in Illinois affect drivers facing the consequences of a DUI arrest and conviction

It’s no secret that a conviction for driving under the influence in Illinois, or any other state, can create serious hardships for you and your family. Aside from the fines, court costs and jail time that can come with a DUI conviction, a driver who is charged with a DUI can expect to pay attorney fees, have his or her license suspended and be required to install ignition interlock devices in each of his or her vehicles. For repeat DUI offenders in Illinois, driving privileges could be revoked for an offender’s entire life. All of this can make it difficult for DUI offenders—even first-time offenders—to keep a job, meet their familial obligations, and satisfy their court obligations.

New Laws and What They Mean for You

New laws that took effect on January 1, 2016 aim to provide some relief for Illinois drivers who’ve been convicted of a DUI. Under the new laws, Illinois residents and licensees with DUI convictions in their past may be able to obtain limited driving privileges. Here’s a brief summary of the changes to Illinois’ DUI laws:

  • Monitoring Device Driving Permit: First-time DUI offenders may now apply for and receive a MDDP, which would allow the offender to continue to drive so long as the vehicle is equipped with an ignition interlock device. Application for the permit must be made within the first 30 days of the statutory summary suspension period.
  • Restricted Driving Permit: Repeat DUI offenders who are prohibited from driving for life may apply for a restricted driving permit after serving a five-year revocation period, as well as proving abstinence from alcohol for three years. The permit enables the offender to drive a vehicle that is equipped with an ignition interlock device. Those who have two or three DUIs may also obtain a restricted permit, as well as drive vehicles equipped with interlock devices for five years. If no violations or convictions for DUI occur during this time, driving privileges are fully restored at the conclusion of the five-year period.
  • New Driver’s License: Sometimes an Illinois resident cannot get a driver’s license in Illinois because his or her license was revoked in another state. Under the new law, Illinois residents who have resided in Illinois for 10 years can now request an administrative hearing to obtain permission to get a driver’s license.

DUI laws in Illinois are constantly changing as the State Legislature enacts new laws to protect the public from drunk driving while attempting to remain fair to the drivers accused and convicted. Therefore, it is always advisable to speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable about current laws. This advice can assist you in determining how to proceed in your DUI case or what relief you may be entitled to following a conviction.

If you'd like more general information about this area of the law, see our DUI/DWI law overview.

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