Today’s online Chicago Tribune has a story entitled “New State Rules for accused, convicted drunken drivers takes effect,” which, like way too many stories about DUIs, paints an inaccurate portrait about DUI laws.
Here is a typical quote: “With the unanimous support of lawmakers, Illinois is doing away with the mandatory suspensions for most first-time and repeat offenders, although drivers still will have to apply for special permits and pay for the devices and monitoring, which typically cost more than $100 a month combined.”
No, Illinois is NOT doing away with mandatory suspensions.
If you get arrested for a DUI, and either fail a breath, blood or urine test (say, by having 0.08 blood alcohol or greater or any amount of a narcotic) or refuse a test, your license will be suspended.
And if you get caught driving illegally during that suspension, you will face jail time and vehicle forfeiture.
What will change is that if you are a first offender, you will be eligible to obtain a “Monitored Device Driving Permit” requiring you to drive with an ignition interlock system, during the entirety of that suspension. And if you are not a first offender, you will be able to apply for a Restricted Driving Permit through the Secretary of State once your case has been resolved, and you have completed alcohol treatment.
One important distinction between the permits available to first offenders and repeat offenders is that the first offender permit is (generally) available for the asking; whereas the repeat offender permit can only be obtained after a hearing has been held at the Secretary of State and you have been able to prove, to the Secretary’s satisfaction, that you will be a safe and responsible driver. If you can meet that hurdle, then you must drive for five continuous years with the BAIID equipped permit before becoming eligible for full reinstatement.
There is another section of the article which discusses new rules for persons convicted of “multiple convictions” of DUI which are actually new rules for people with four or more convictions. Those people, who have been ineligible for any driving relief since 1999, will now be able to apply for limited relief: a Restricted Driving Permit, but only after it has been at least five years since their last DUI or release from prison, and if they can demonstrate that he or she is no long a danger to the public, has completed alcohol treatment, been abstinent for three years, and has been actively attending a support group such as A.A.