Illinois Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Private retailers sell alcohol, as do grocery and convenience stores. Closing times are at the discretion of local authorities. In many parts of the state alcohol cannot be sold before noon on Sunday.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
As in all states, the legal drinking age is 21, and this age requirement carries through to transporting or selling alcohol at package stores in many counties as well. Restaurant servers and bartenders can be 18.
Open Container Laws
All previously opened containers of alcohol must be transported in a car’s trunk to comply with open container laws prohibiting drinking in a vehicle by the passengers or driver.
Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are brought against any driver testing .08 percent BAC (blood-alcohol content) or higher. This evidence is sufficient proof in a court. A BAC of .08 percent or above means the driver is ‘per se intoxicated’ in the view of the law.
Drivers under the age of 21 may not have any blood-alcohol content upon testing. If so, they are subject to DUI penalties.
Stricter penalties are prescribed for drivers with a BAC .20 percent or more over the legal limit of .08 percent and drivers who refuse to comply with BAC testing.
The contract to receive a driver’s license is an agreement to abide by ‘implied consent laws.’ These state that the driver will, upon the request of a law enforcement officer, show their driver’s license and proof of insurance. The driver also agrees to comply with chemical testing through breath, blood, or urine for alcohol content. Refusing to cooperate incurs penalties that can include mandatory suspension of a driving license for up to one year.
The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) can suspend a driver’s license for DUI for 90 days for the first offense; one year for the second offense; and for the third offense, the suspension times are at the discretion of the court system.
With a second DUI conviction, the state of Illinois may require that an ignition interlock device be attached to a driver’s vehicle at the driver’s expense. Third-time DUI offenders in Illinois may be subjected to having their vehicle confiscated. This means significant expense for the convicted driver. Treatment or assessment for alcohol abuse can be required for anyone convicted of DUI.
DUI is a felony after the third conviction.