Alcohol Crimes

Alcohol-related arrests most often involve drinking and driving. While these are the most common types of alcohol crimes, law enforcement personnel also detain people suspected of other alcohol-related offenses. Alcohol crimes mean any illicit activity that involves alcohol — for example, drinking in public, violation of open container laws, consumption of alcohol by a minor, or sales of alcohol to an intoxicated person or to a minor. However, Illinois does not have dry laws that significantly prevent the sale or distribution of alcohol to most adults.

First Offense DUIs

In all states, including Illinois, the maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) for the operator of a motor vehicle is .08 percent. However, for a driver under the age of 21, the laws require zero tolerance, a BAC of .00 percent. A first offense for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Illinois is a misdemeanor. However, if the driver has a BAC above .16 percent, he must pay an additional fine of $500 and complete 100 work order hours. If someone drinks and drives with a minor in the vehicle and they are in an accident that injures the child, the state will charge the driver with a felony. In that case, the driver must pay an extra $2,500 and complete 25 days of community service.

Other Offenses

The state of Illinois classifies almost all other alcohol offenses as minor crimes. Some minor offenses might not even result in criminal charges, and offenders may only receive a traffic ticket or a fine.

Repeat Offenses

Repeat offenses refer to commission of the same offense several times. . A repeat offense often also results in enhanced penalties and may change the classification of a misdemeanor to a felony. For example, while a first conviction for DUI is usually a misdemeanor, a second conviction increases the possible penalties and jail time. A third DUI is classified as a felony offense, which can mean prison time and a felony record.


Most alcohol crimes are misdemeanors, which are offenses that can carry a maximum of 364 days in jail. Misdemeanor convictions can also require counseling, community service, payment of court fees, fines, and probation. However, more serious DUI offenses resulting in injury or death are felonies. Additional penalties for drinking and driving can involve the installation of an ignition interlock device that requires use of a breathalyzer to checks the BAC of the driver. If the driver’s BAC registers above .025 percent, the vehicle will not start. An ignition interlock device will cost over $1,000. Another consequence is the revocation of the person’s driver’s license, which will require expensive fees to reinstate. In addition, an offender will be required to carry high-risk insurance, also called SR-22 insurance, for three years.