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Lyft Uber and Taxi DUI in Illinois

When you are a taxi driver or a driver for a ride-hailing or ride-sharing company like Uber or Lyft, you have a responsibility to the passengers you drive from place to place. Part of the responsibility is to drive free of any intoxicating substances – no alcohol and no drugs, even if they are prescription drugs unless they do not impair your faculties. It goes without saying that a DUI charge while working can result in a criminal record that can effectively end your employment and your livelihood. 

Finding an experienced DUI defense attorney will be key to getting the best outcome in your case. At Dolci & Weiland, we understand how serious these cases are and how important it is to you to avoid incarceration at the least but at best to prevent a criminal record and avoid a conviction. We represent clients in Cook County and DuPage County. Contact us today to learn more about how we approach DUI defense and how our approach may best help you.

Taxi & Ridesharing Drivers: Consequences of an Illinois DUI Conviction

If you are a taxi driver, Uber driver, or Lyft driver in the greater Chicago metro area, then you know the business is booming and provides a good means to a livelihood, whether it is a full-time or part-time job. In other words, you don't want to risk a good thing. But you do put that good thing at risk if you are convicted of a DUI. There are three specific consequences that matter most to you if convicted of a DUI, and these include:


The penalties you face for a DUI conviction depends on how the offense is charged. DUIs can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies and the DUI penalties will reflect the classification of the charge as well as the existence of any aggravating factors.

first DUI offense and a second DUI offense are both Class A misdemeanors. Class A misdemeanors can result in up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.

Any third DUI offense or subsequent DUI convictions are considered aggravated DUIs and are felonies, starting with a Class 2 felony for a third and fourth offenses, a Class 1 felony for a fifth DUI offense, and a Class X felony for sixth and subsequent DUI convictions. Aggravated DUIs can start at three years of imprisonment up to 30 years imprisonment and fines of up to $25,000. 

There may also be certain facts present during the DUI that can cause the DUI offense to be classified as an Aggravated DUI. These aggravating factors can cause a DUI that would have typically been charged as a misdemeanor (a first or second offense) to be charged as a felony. Aggravating circumstances relevant to taxi drivers and ride-sharing drivers include things like:

  • DUI resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement (Class 4 felony)
  • DUI committed while transporting a child under the age of 16 and accident occurred causing bodily harm to the child (Class 2 felony)
  • Second or subsequent DUI committed while transporting a child under the age of 16 (Class 2 felony)
  • DUI committed while in a school zone with restricted speed in effect and an accident occurred causing bodily harm (Class 4 felony)
  • DUI resulting in death (Class 2 felony).

Obviously, if you have to spend any amount of time behind bars, this will impact your job as a taxi driver, Uber driver, or Lyft driver. 

Driver's License Suspension

In Illinois, if you are charged with a DUI – before you are ever convicted of a DUI – your driver's license may be suspended. This process is known as the statutory summary suspension or statutory summary revocation, which occurs 90 days after the notice date. You do have an opportunity to request a judicial hearing to avoid suspension or revocation. If the court rules in your favor, then the suspension is rescinded, but if it does not, you can still apply for a permit that would allow your restricted movement. 

If you are convicted of the DUI, you will face additional driver license suspension – up to two years or more depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. Obviously, you cannot perform your duties as a taxi driver, Uber driver, or Lyft driver if your driver's license is suspended or revoked.  

Employment Termination

To become a taxi driver, Uber driver, or Lyft driver, a review of your driving record and a criminal background check will most likely be conducted. Uber and Lyft have failed in the past to conduct these reviews thoroughly, but public backlash has pressured the companies to be more precise and to set policies.

Taxi Drivers in Chicago

Taxi drivers in Chicago are required to obtain a public chauffeur license. When applying for this license, you are specifically asked:

2. Have you EVER pled guilty, been convicted of, been found guilty, including misdemeanors for which supervision was given, in ANY court of ANY jurisdiction? ...

3. Have you EVER pled guilty, been convicted of, or been found guilty of a DUI (driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or narcotic drugs) or ANY criminal offense, including misdemeanors for which supervision was given, while driving or operating a motor vehicle? ...

4. Are there DUI (driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or narcotic drugs) or any criminal charges pending against you or otherwise unresolved? ...

When you renew your public chauffeur license, you will use a different form but the questions are still the same. Now, just because you have been convicted or have a case currently pending does not mean you will lose or will not have your public chauffeur license renewed, but it does put you at risk of losing it – and at risk of losing your livelihood. Note that you do not have to provide information on any DUI arrests, so if you are found not guilty, you do not have to provide that information.

But if you were arrested for a DUI, remember that there is an administrative process, too, and that will show up on your driving record unless you hired Dolci & Weiland to represent you at the administrative hearing and we were successfully able to get the summary suspension rescinded.

Uber Drivers in Chicago

Uber conducts a full background check when you apply to be an Uber driver. If a DUI or another alcohol or drug-related offense shows up, you will be denied a position. What's more, Uber conducts annual background checks, so you have to keep your driving record and criminal record clean of any DUIs or else your employment or contract with the company will be terminated.

Lyft Drivers in Chicago 

Lyft has a similar DUI policy as Uber. It conducts a full background check and review of an applicant's driving record. Among other crimes, it specifically looks for DUIs or other drug- or alcohol-related offenses. If one is found within the past seven years, it will disqualify your application.

Lyft also requires an updated background check and driving record on file, so if a DUI turns up during your employment, your privilege to drive for Lyft will be terminated.

Contact a Smart, Aggressive DUI Defense Attorney in Cook County or DuPage County Today

With the help of smart, aggressive DUI defense, you may be able to avoid a conviction of a DUI. In doing so, you may plea for a lesser charge or may have to go to trial, but in either case, you may still be able to keep your public chauffeur license or position as a ride-share driver. Contact Dolci & Weiland immediately if you are a taxi driver, Uber driver, or Lyft driver and have been arrested for a DUI offense.