Governor signs into law bill removing waiting period for DUI driving permits

Governor Rauner has signed into law a bill (SB 0627) which removes the “hard time” waiting periods before a motorist could apply for a DUI-related driving permit.

Effective January 1, 2016, the bill will remove the 30 day waiting period before a person could obtain a Monitored Device Driving Permit (“MDDP”) after getting a first offense DUI suspension for either failing or refusing a breath, blood or urine test.

The law also removes the one year waiting time for a person whose license has been revoked for DUI to apply for a Restricted Driving Permit, and the three year wait for a person who has a summary suspension for a second offense refusal..

In addition, the law will require DUI arrestees to sign a form acknowledging that they have been warned of the license suspension consequences for either failing or refusing to take a breath test.  This is an advantage for prosecutors, who routinely lose suspension hearings on this issue when officer can’t make it to court and the defendant is able to testify that he or she wasn’t warned.

Overall, this law is a big win for both defendants and the public.  With the advent of breath interlock devices, there is no compelling reason to make people wait to obtain a driving permit when there is technology out there that will prevent them from driving drunk.

Why the 30 day hard-time rule for first offense DUI offenders is outmoded and should be replaced

This weekend, there was a Chicago Tribune story about how “activists” are trying to get rid of the 30 day “hard-time” rule that keeps DUI arrestees from getting a driving permit until after their license has been suspended for 30 days.

What is the history and purpose of the hard time rule?

When our statutory summary suspension laws went into the books in the 1980s, the stated reason for the hard-time period was that it would created a “cooling off” period in which “drunks” would be taken off the roads.  Ultimately, a judge could issue him or her a Judicial Driving Permit to allow him or her to drive to work.  In reality, it was as much of a “tough on DUI” measure as anything else.

The 30 day hard-time rule was required under Federal Highway subsidy laws.  A state would have to have a 30 day hard-time period in order to get federal funds.

Why is it time to change?

Several years ago, Illinois changed its DUI suspension law, doubling the length of time of suspension, in return for a more “liberal” driving permit, which allows a person to drive 24/7 so long as he or she installs a BAIID in his or her car.

The BAIID removes the need for the 30 day period, since you can’t drive drunk if you have a BAIID.  The BAIID prevents a person from starting a car with a BAC of 0.025 or higher.

As mandatory BAIID laws became popular, the federal government removed the 30 day hard-time rule from its highway funding bills for states that required them.  But Illinois didn’t do anything when this happened.  Instead, they kept the 30 day hard time.

As a result, people who are accused of DUI have to worry about that hard-time period.  How will they get to work?  How will they get their kids to school?  What if their mom needs to go to the doctor?  They put pressure on their attorneys to get that suspension lifted so they don’t lose their job because our legislature has failed to act.

There can be no question that the 30 day hard time rule is outdated and needs to be removed.  Let people get Monitored Device Driving Permits from day one of their suspension.

Bill to end lifetime license revocations advances through House Committee

The bill that would end the “lifetime license revocation” for anyone convicted of four DUIs has made it through a major hurdle — getting out of House Transportation Committee.

Elise Dismer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports on her blog:

SPRINGFIELD-Legislation giving Illinoisans with four DUI convictions another chance to get back on the road moved through a House committee Wednesday with backing from a prominent anti-drunk-driving organization.

By an 8-3 vote, the House Transportation: Vehicles & Safety Committee signed off on House Bill 4206, which would let four-time drunk-driving offenders apply for a restricted driving permit five years after their last offense—so long as they have logged three years of uninterrupted sobriety and a successful rehabilitation record.

“I believe in giving people a chance,” said Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, the bill’s chief House sponsor. “For someone who’s truly turned their life around, we ought to be giving them opportunities.”

Under existing state law, anyone with four or more drunk-driving convictions faces a lifetime revocation of their driving privileges…

Nekritz’s bill also drew support from a police officer from northwestern Illinois.

Lt. Donnie Pridemore, of the Fulton Police Department, testified in support of the bill, saying he’s seen people—including his own alcoholic brother—turn their lives around.

“For those who have proven they have numerous years of sobriety, who have become productive members of society, and who don’t pose a threat to themselves or other drivers out there, they do deserve a chance to have independence—to drive to work, to drive to meetings—and they’ve earned that privilege,” Pridemore said.

But Nekritz’s opportunity comes with conditions: Those who obtain a restricted driving permit under her legislation must also drive a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device, which would affirm their identity through video technology and prevent them from driving without initially passing a breathalyzer.

Nekritz’s bill bars anyone convicted of a DUI-related crash resulting in a fatality from applying for the permit.

Rita Kreslin, executive director of the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, said she supported the legislation in light of the permit eligibility requirements listed in the bill. Her group did not testify Wednesday…

The future of DUIs?

ct-met-aj-1-dui-technology-0628-jpg-20130627From today’s Chicago Tribune:

Starting Monday, just in time for Fourth of July celebrations, Illinois will add a high-tech tweak to its fight against drunken driving: a camera installed near the dashboard of motorists charged with driving under the influence.

Of the estimated 11,000 motorists in the state required to have Breathalyzer ignition interlock devices on their vehicles, more than 3,000 of them are caught each year trying to drive after drinking too much, said Susan McKinney, administrator of the state’s program. The Breathalyzer locks the ignition and stops them.

“We get an inordinate amount of people telling us it wasn’t them (blowing into the Breathalyzer),” McKinney added. “They say it was anybody but me. Now, the technology will allow us not to have to make a judgment call.”

Adding the cameras is the latest step in a movement that may bring even more technology to bear in the fight against drunken driving, a movement quietly gaining momentum even as it draws fire from those who think it would ensnare responsible drinkers and devastate the restaurant industry.

Prototypes in development would measure blood alcohol concentration through a touch pad on the dashboard or steering wheel, or perhaps through sensors that gauge the driver’s breath.

Illinois is far from installing that sophisticated technology, although Secretary of State Jesse White is “very interested” in the devices, spokesman David Druker said.

Motorists arrested on DUI charges can drive only with restrictions that include the ignition device. As of Monday, those restrictions also will require a camera on a visor, roof column or other unobtrusive spot that takes a snapshot when the driver blows into the Breathalyzer to start the car.

The camera activates again when he or she takes a Breathalyzer at random prompts three times an hour while driving.

I posted about this before (Smile while you blow?), and here were my thoughts then:

As you may know, the Illinois Secretary of State requires that most people who have been suspended or revoked in Illinois for one or more DUIs have a BAIID installed on their vehicle as a condition of a driving permit.  The BAIID will only allow the individual to start a motor vehicle so long as there is not a BAC reading of 0.025 or higher.  This means that a person can have a BAC that is well below the legal limit yet not be able to start his or her vehicle.  Because of this, it is quite common for people to find that they are locked out and unable to start their vehicle despite not having consumed alcohol for over 12 hours, and feeling completely sober.  When this happens, not only is the person unable to start the car, but he or she will then face repercussions for their “high” BAC, including but not limited to extensions of the suspension, revocation of the driving permit,and  impoundment or forfeiture of the vehicle.

 

Faced with such consequences, it is commonplace for the person in this situation to attempt to claim that someone else was responsible for the BAIID result.  Sometimes this is true, sometimes it isn’t.  Currently, the person may contest the action of the Secretary of State and request a hearing, at which time he or she can present their evidence.  This requires the Secretary of State to weigh the credibility of the witnesses and evidence.  A photograph of the actual test will make this determination a lot easier, for both the Secretary of State and motorist involved.

Smile while you blow?

This was brought to my attention by Champaign attorney Mark Palmer.

The Secretary of State has proposed an new rule for breath ignition interlock devices (“BAIID”), requiring that they have cameras capable of photographing the motorist while he or she is taking the breath test necessary to start the vehicle.

The proposed rule states:

IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICES

SOS also proposed amendments to “Procedures and Standards” (92 Ill Adm Code 1001; 37 Ill Reg 720), concerning Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (BAIIDs) issued to persons with restricted driving permits or monitoring device driving permits (MDDPs, for first-time DUI offenders). No later than July 1, 2013, all BAIIDs installed shall include a camera that captures a clear image of the individual blowing into the BAIID, at a sufficiently wide angle to determine whether a circumvention device has been inserted into the mouthpiece of the BAIID. Captured images shall be stored by the vendor of the BAIID device and made accessible to the SOS, as prescribed by the SOS. For persons in the first-time monitoring driving permit program, preventing the camera from taking clear and accurate photos of the permittee blowing into the mouthpiece is a violation.  Permit privileges shall be suspended for an additional 3 months when an image shows the MDDP permittee has used a product that allows the permittee to avoid blowing directly into the mouthpiece, or has tried to prevent a clear picture of the driver. BAIID providers and installers are affected by this rulemaking.

As you may know, the Illinois Secretary of State requires that most people who have been suspended or revoked in Illinois for one or more DUIs have a BAIID installed on their vehicle as a condition of a driving permit.  The BAIID will only allow the individual to start a motor vehicle so long as there is not a BAC reading of 0.025 or higher.  This means that a person can have a BAC that is well below the legal limit yet not be able to start his or her vehicle.  Because of this, it is quite common for people to find that they are locked out and unable to start their vehicle despite not having consumed alcohol for over 12 hours, and feeling completely sober.  When this happens, not only is the person unable to start the car, but he or she will then face repercussions for their “high” BAC, including but not limited to extensions of the suspension, revocation of the driving permit,and  impoundment or forfeiture of the vehicle.

Faced with such consequences, it is commonplace for the person in this situation to attempt to claim that someone else was responsible for the BAIID result.  Sometimes this is true, sometimes it isn’t.  Currently, the person may contest the action of the Secretary of State and request a hearing, at which time he or she can present their evidence.  This requires the Secretary of State to weigh the credibility of the witnesses and evidence.  A photograph of the actual test will make this determination a lot easier, for both the Secretary of State and motorist involved.