Illinois has passed several laws related to drunk driving including 625 ILCS 5/11-501 which states that “A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while the alcohol concentration in the person's blood or breath is 0.08 or more based on the definition of blood and breath units in Section 11-501.2…”
How Does Illinois Law Penalize Drunk Driving?
In an effort to reduce alcohol-related auto accidents, the Illinois legislature has enacted the following laws for motorist on Illinois roads when it comes to alcohol use. The fines and penalties for drunk driving come from 625 ILCS 5/11-501:
DEFINITION OF DRUNK DRIVING IN ILLINOIS
Illinois defines drunk driving in 625 ILCS 5/11-501 within section (a):
“(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while:
(1) the alcohol concentration in the person's blood or breath is 0.08 or more based on the definition of blood and breath units in Section 11-501.2;
(2) under the influence of alcohol;
(3) under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of driving safely;
(4) under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving;
(5) under the combined influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving; or
(6) there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person's breath, blood, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis listed in the Cannabis Control Act, a controlled substance listed in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, an intoxicating compound listed in the Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act, or methamphetamine as listed in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act. Subject to all other requirements and provisions under this Section, this paragraph (6) does not apply to the lawful consumption of cannabis by a qualifying patient licensed under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act who is in possession of a valid registry card issued under that Act, unless that person is impaired by the use of cannabis.”
PENALTIES FOR DRUNK DRIVING IN ILLINOIS
Driving while intoxicated comes with the penalties found in section (c) of 625 ILCS 5/11-501:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this Section, any person convicted of violating subsection (a) of this Section is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(2) A person who violates subsection (a) or a similar provision a second time shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of either 5 days of imprisonment or 240 hours of community service in addition to any other criminal or administrative sanction.
(3) A person who violates subsection (a) is subject to 6 months of imprisonment, an additional mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children if the person was transporting a person under the age of 16 at the time of the violation.
(4) A person who violates subsection (a) a first time, if the alcohol concentration in his or her blood, breath, or urine was 0.16 or more based on the definition of blood, breath, or urine units in Section 11-501.2, shall be subject, in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed, to a mandatory minimum of 100 hours of community service and a mandatory minimum fine of $500.
(5) A person who violates subsection (a) a second time, if at the time of the second violation the alcohol concentration in his or her blood, breath, or urine was 0.16 or more based on the definition of blood, breath, or urine units in Section 11-501.2, shall be subject, in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed, to a mandatory minimum of 2 days of imprisonment and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,250.
Additional Considerations For Drunk Driving In Illinois
There are some other things you should be aware of in regards to operating motor vehicles in Illinois. Here are some additional considerations.
- First, according to 625 ILCS 5/11-501(b), even if you are legally entitled to use alcohol or certain drugs, you cannot use this as a defense if you are driving while intoxicated.
- Second, if your blood alcohol content is over 0.08 you are considered legally drunk and are not allowed to drive under any circumstances. However, if your blood alcohol content is between 0.05 and 0.08 a police officer might cite you for driving while intoxicated if he or she believes you are impaired.
- Third, all fines and penalties can be increased if you among other things drive while intoxicated three or more times, drive a school bus while intoxicated, or seriously injure someone in a motor vehicle accident while intoxicated.
How Are Illinois’ Drunk Driving Laws Different Than Negligence?
The statutes that the Illinois legislature has enacted regarding drunk driving do not supplant common law rules regarding negligence, wrongful death, and other topics. Instead, they complement each other. Therefore, you can make a common law claim and allege that the defendant’s unreasonable conduct caused your injuries. Alternatively, you can point to the drunk driving statutes and claim that the defendant’s conduct fits what the government prohibits, punishes, and allows you to recover for. They are meant to allow victims to recover where they otherwise might not have been able to at common law. To learn more about how statutes interplay with cases, call our offices and someone from the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can walk you through which laws and cases afford you the most relief.
Can I Still Recover If They Find He Wasn’t Legally Intoxicated?
Yes, you can still recover even if the jury or judge finds that the driver was not legally drunk or intoxicated. There are strict statutory requirements you must meet to prove that someone was drunk driving. However, even if you fail to meet them, you can still make other arguments to justify your relief including negligence and wrongful death. These causes of action derive from common law (also called “judge-made law”) and have their own requirements outside of laws in some cases. To learn about what else you can do if your defendant dodges a drunk driving claim, call our offices.
Confused About Illiniois’ Dui Laws? Contact Our Offices!
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers helps victims of drunk driving. We know that the interconnecting set of laws surrounding this topic can be confusing. Therefore, we sit down with each of our clients and explain to them how the laws of Illinois affect their circumstances. We also explain to them how we represent DUI victims on contingency so that they don’t have to worry about the costs of trial. To learn about how our team of committed attorneys can fight for you today, call the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers now.
To learn more about drunk driving accidents in Illinois, please read the following pages: