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Illinois driver’s license hearings and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in a boat or snowmobile

Illinois law makes it illegal to operate a boat or other watercraft or a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol. 625 ILCS 45 /5-16 (Boating Under the Influence (BUI))and 625 ILCS 40/5-7 (Snowmobiling Under the Influence (SUI)) The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) enforces these laws and maintains a record of violations, suspensions and revocations.

If you lose your Illinois driver’s license due to a DUI conviction, you must have an administrative hearing with the SOS. The SOS takes the position that all negative consequences that have arisen in your life pertaining to alcohol and other drugs are relevant to determining whether you present a future driving related risk.

In other words, even non-driving related alcohol and drug offenses come into play in determining the risk you represent to public safety if the SOS restores your driving privileges. Legal situations such as drug arrests, disorderly conduct charges while consuming alcohol or other drugs, minor in possession and other under aged drinking tickets, fake IDS and DUI arrests that occur in another state or on a military base are all factors that the SOS will consider.

BUI and SUI offenses also enter the picture, indirectly. Offenses for operating a boat or snowmobile drunk are not entered directly on your driver’s license, at least not in Illinois. A DUI disposition includes a conviction, court supervision, a statutory summary or implied consent suspension or a DUI pled down to reckless driving. Therefore, BUI and SUI are not considered a “DUI disposition“.


The risk levels (minimal, moderate, significant and high) are determined by several factors, one of which is the number of DUI dispositions. A first disposition would allow you to be minimal risk if your BAC level is under .15. If you did not provide a breath sample or the sample was between .15 and .19, you are eligible for moderate risk if this is a first DUI disposition.

If you have a BAC of at least .20, or if you a previous DUI disposition, your risk level must be at least significant. Three or more DUI dispositions in a period of 10 years requires you be placed at the high risk level. Three or more dependency symptoms, regardless of your driving record, would place you at the dependent classification.

Your evaluator must disclose the BUI or SUI even though it will not automatically affect your risk level. Failure to do so will cause the SOS to reject your paperwork.

Keep in mind that the permissible risk levels are only the minimum. Other factors, including BUI and SUI, can form the basis for the evaluator to raise your risk level.