When it comes to drugs and alcohol, Illinois has a lot of laws. Many of these are different from other states and have serious penalties for disobeying them. Below are explanations of the drug and alcohol laws in Illinois so you can be an informed and responsible member of the community.

DUI Laws in Illinois

The DUI laws in Illinois are more complicated than most people think. More than just drunk, you can’t have “physical control” of a vehicle if you:

  • Have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08%.
  • Are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Have any amount of a controlled substance in your blood or urine.
  • Have a blood concentration of THC (the drug in marijuana) of five nanograms or more within two hours of driving.

Zero Tolerance Laws for Illinois

Illinois is a zero-tolerance state. That means people under 21 cannot drive if they’ve had anything to drink. If you are under 21 and have a BAC more than 0.00%, you can be arrested for DUI.

Is Marijuana Legal in Illinois

Marijuana has been legal in Illinois for medical and recreational use since January 1, 2020. Of course, this does have restrictions:

  • You have to be 21.
  • If you are a resident of Illinois, you can only have 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, or up to 500 milligrams of pure THC in other products. If you are not a resident of Illinois, you can only have half those amounts.
  • You cannot take marijuana across state lines.
  • You cannot sell marijuana without a license.

Drug and Alcohol Related Crimes

Illinois has a lot of different laws about drugs and alcohol. The most common include:

  • Possession of illegal drugs: Illinois has a list of drugs with specific regulations. Some require a doctor’s prescription while others are illegal to have no matter what.
  • Manufacturing illegal drugs: Making drugs is a separate crime from having them. You can be arrested for chemically producing illegal drugs or growing plants like the opium poppy or coca plant.
  • Distribution of illegal drugs: Selling drugs or distributing them in another way is illegal in Illinois without a license, if there is one. Usually this is a more serious crime than possession.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI): You can’t drive a car if you’re intoxicated by illegal drugs. You also cannot drive with specific amounts of legal drugs like alcohol and marijuana.

Penalties for Drug or Alcohol Abuse in Illinois

If you break Illinois’s drug or alcohol laws, you may face strict punishments depending on the crime:

DUI Penalties in Illinois

Even your first DUI has serious consequences in Illinois. You might face the following penalties.

  • Up to 364 days in jail
  • Up to a $2,500 fine
  • License suspension up to 1 year

These punishments get a lot worse if there is a child under 16 in the car or if your BAC is over 0.16%. They also get worse for your second and third offenses.

Zero Tolerance Penalties in Illinois

The zero-tolerance law in Illinois means someone under 21 cannot drive if they’ve drunk any alcohol at all. If you are under 21 and get caught driving with a BAC of more than 0.08%, you can receive the same penalties as a DUI. If you are under 21 and get caught driving with a BAC less than 0.08% but over 0.00%, you can have your license suspended for up to 6 months your first time, and up to a year after that.

Cannabis Penalties in Illinois

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in Illinois, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still marijuana laws with punishments if you break them. For example:

  • Having between 30 and 100 grams is a misdemeanor with up to a year of jail time. Having more than 100 grams is a felony with severe penalties based on the amount.
  • Growing marijuana plants without a medical cannabis license could get you a $200 fine. Growing more than 5 plants is a felony that comes with jail time.
  • Selling marijuana without a license could result in up to 30 years in jail and a $200,000 fine depending on how much.

Get Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Illinois

If you’re worried about the legal consequences of drug or alcohol abuse, it may be time to make a change. Drugs and alcohol can be beaten. Call your nearest treatment center today to learn about your options.


  1. Bustos, J. (2019, June 7). Looking forward to legal weed? Here’s a Q&A about Illinois’ marijuana legalization
  2. Nolo. (2010, July 7). Illinois DUI Laws, Fines, and Consequences
  3. The State of Illinois. (n.d.). Illinois Compiled Statutes 720 ILCS 570/ Illinois Controlled Substances Act

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