(UPDATED 1/16/24:  Illinois eliminated cash bond under the SAFE-T Act as of September 18, 2023.  However, you can still be held in jail if the state meets certain criteria. You should still consider hiring an attorney for any pre-trial detention hearing. See our related post at: What to Expect at Your Illinois Bond Hearing Now That Cash Bail is Abolished).

The answer is yes. An experienced criminal law attorney can present your situation in the light most favorable to a judge, which could mean the difference between waiting for your trial inside the county jail or out.

If you are arrested for DUI in Illinois, there are three types of bonds, an I-bond, D-bond and C-bond. If you have a first time DUI, you will most likely be released on an I-bond at the time of your arrest. An I-bond means you do not have to pay money or wait for a court hearing. You are allowed to go on your own recognizance.

Sometimes, the police will allow you to leave after posting a smaller bond of a few hundred dollars or less.

If your DUI is a felony, for example because it was your fourth DUI or someone was killed, you may be held in jail until the bond hearing, which is usually on the next business day. At that hearing, you may be ordered to pay either a D- or C-bond, or the judge may refuse to grant bond at all so that you must remain in jail. A D-bond means you must pay 10% of whatever amount the judge sets as bond. For example, if the bond is $10,000, you must come up with $1,000 to be released from jail. A C-bond means you must pay the entire amount set by the judge. A C-bond may be so high that it is like not having bond set at all. There are no bail bondsmen in the State of Illinois, so you will need to get that money from your own resources.

If you cannot pay your C- or D-bond, you will be held in jail until the disposition of your case by trial or plea agreement.

While having an attorney does not guarantee that you will be set free, an attorney can help persuade the judge to set a lower bond or to allow some other arrangement such as home monitoring. An attorney who is familiar with the judges in your courthouse is likely to have a better idea than most clients on what arguments are likely to sway a judge. If you cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be assigned for purposes of the bond hearing.

For information on posting bond, visit our website at Where to Post Bond.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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