Drivers have to follow the rules for driving restrictions. The rules say that a person cannot:
- Drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drive while using a cell phone
- Violate curfews
- Drive a car with too many passengers in it
These restrictions have different age limits, procedures, and penalties for not following the rules.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (DUI)
Driving under the influence does not only mean driving under the influence of alcohol. You can be arrested for DUI if you are under the influence of any drug.
For people who are 21 years or older, the legal limit for blood alcohol content while driving is 0.08. People under 21 cannot have any alcohol in their blood while driving.
Note: Driving, for the purpose of DUI, means you just have to be in control of the car. For example, sitting in the driver seat of the car may be considered being in control of the car. To have control of the car, you must have the ability to start the car.
Being stopped by police
Field sobriety test
If you are stopped by the police, and the police suspect that you may be under the influence, the officer may conduct a field sobriety test.
A field sobriety test is a test where you are asked to touch your hand to your nose, stand on one leg stand, and walk along a straight line and turn. The officer will watch you do these things, and take notes, which they can then use in court to show that you were intoxicated.
Under age drivers who are stopped and arrested for any traffic violation will be asked to submit to alcohol and drug testing. If you are found to have any amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, you will be subject to a 3 to 12 months suspension. If you refuse, the suspension will be 6 to 24 months.
If you drive in Illinois, you agree to give a breathalyzer test when asked. You do not have the right to speak to an a lawyer before testing, but you can refuse testing. If you refuse testing, your license will be suspended. Your license will also be suspended if you take the test, and the test shows that your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit.
A breathalyzer test is done with a small device with a tube on it. The police officer will ask you to blow into the tube. The device will then show how much alcohol is in your blood. If your blood alcohol level is .08 or other drugs are found in your system, you will be subject to a statutory suspension of 6 to 12 months. If you refuse testing which is your right, then the statutory suspension of your license will be longer, 12 to 36 months.
The suspension starts 45 days after you are given the notice of suspension.
For persons 21 and older, the suspension lasts:
- 6 months if you take the test but failed
- 1 year if you refuse to take the test
- 1 year if you failed the test and are not a first time offender
- 5 years for a second offense committed within a 20 year period
- 10 years for third offense
- Life time for a fourth offense but you can apply for a Restricted Driving Permit if requirements are met
For persons under the age of 21, your statutory summary suspension lasts:
- 2 years for first time offender
- 5 years or until 21st birthday (whichever is longer) for second offense
- 10 years for a third offense
- Lifetime for a fourth offense
The police officer may also request a blood or urine test.
Challenging a suspension of your driver’s license
The police officer that arrested you has to follow certain procedures and advise you of your statutory summary suspension rights. If these procedures are not followed you can ask a judge to cancel your summary suspension. Talk to a lawyer if you think this applies to you.
Driving with a statutory DUI summary suspension
If you are a first time DUI offender, you may able to drive with a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). An MDDP starts on the 31st day of the suspension.
The MDDP requires that you have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in your car. A BAIID lets you start your car only if you pass a breath test for alcohol. You may drive anywhere at any time once the BAIID is installed. You will have to pay the costs of the MDDP permit, and the BAIID device.
You cannot get an MDDP if you did not have a valid driver’s license. You also cannot get an MDDP if you caused death or serious bodily harm.
If you are a repeat offender, you may be able to get a Restricted Driving Permit.
If your license is valid, you will be allowed to drive for 45 days.
DUI is a class A misdemeanor. The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor is one year in jail.
A DUI may become a felony if you have past traffic convictions or if you were driving without a valid driver's license. A felony can be punished by more than a year in jail.
Getting a lawyer to represent you in a DUI case
If you qualify, the judge will appoint a lawyer to represent you in court. You may also hire your own private attorney or speak to the attorney assigned to the courthouse.