Tribune story paints an inaccurate picture of new IL DUI laws

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.

With new year, new law will end the 30 day “hard time” wait for DUI driving permits

As the Chicago Tribune noted over the weekend, as of January 1, 2016, there will no longer be a 30 day “hard time” period before people who are suspended for first time Illinois DUIs can get a driving permit.

The new law ends an anachronism that had kept a 1980’s era law on the books despite recent changes in Illinois drunk driving laws that made the hard time period unnecessary and counter-productive.

In Illinois, first time DUI offenders receive a license suspension if they either fail or refuse a breath, blood or urine test.  The suspension is six months for failing the test and twelve months for refusing.

This suspension law has been around in one form or another since the 1980s. The idea was to get drunk drivers off the road without having to wait for their DUI case to be resolved.

Since 2009, these first offenders have been eligible for a Monitored Device Driving Permit (“MDDP”) which allows the person to drive their car 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so long as their vehicle is equipped with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (“BAIID”).

However, as a holdover to the old law, there was still a 30 day “hard time” rule, which was designed to keep drunk drivers off the road.  Since now there is a BAIID requirement, there is enough of a safeguard that the person won’t drive drunk, so there was no longer any need for the wait.  In light of that, Congress removed the 30 day hard time provision that was a condition of Federal Highway appropriations back in 2012, with the blessing of MADD.

It took Illinois another three years to act on this and remove the 30 day wait time.

You may ask, “why should we do anything that helps drunk drivers?”

And here are the reasons:

  • They can’t drive drunk with a BAIID installed on their car.
  • If they do somehow drive drunk (or stoned), they will be charged with felony and face one to three years in prison, if not more depending on his or her background.
  • This will discourage people from driving while suspended during that 30 day time period, as well as skipping out on the BAIID restricted permit altogether since it wasn’t helping them during the hard time period.
  • It will also give prosecutors more reason not to agree to rescissions of the license suspension for people who have a hardship with the 30 day hard time provision (although it is still a useful tool for prosecutors as a carrot to dangle to encourage guilty pleas).

 

Illinois Secretary of State stops sending out License Plate Renewals

According to WGN9 News, the Illinois Secretary of State has stopped sending out license plate renewal forms, due to the state budget impasse.

WGN says:

CHICAGO — The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has suspended mailing out notices that your vehicle registration is expiring.

The move is blamed on the state’s budget impasse.

A spokesperson said it will save the state $450,000 a month.

Hundreds of thousands of Illinois license plates expired at midnight Dec. 1 – but many vehicle owners likely did not receive a notice in the mail.

E-mail notices are not affected.

Drivers can check when their registration expires on the secretary of state’s website at: cyberdriveillinois.com.

New stickers can be ordered online or at any state driver’s license facility.

So-called “Fifth Chance” for repeat DUI offenders getting pushback from the get tough crowd

Since the Governor signed into law the Illinois Legislature’s bill which would allow restricted driving permits for people who have had four DUI convictions, there has been some after-the-fact blowback.  First, the Chicago Sun-Times, whose editorial board endorsed the legislation, devoted a front cover story designed to scare readers about the “5,085” repeat DUI offenders who would be back on the road.

Then today, I saw this blog post from a personal injury law firm.

Here was my response on their facebook page:

The law does not allow people to drive drunk. It would allow these individuals to drive only on a restricted driving permit while using a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device which would prevent them from driving drunk. The permit would restrict the days and hours that they can drive and the reasons for which they could drive, typically for work and to attend support group meetings. These permits would only be allowed if the person has been through treatment, and has been abstinent for at least three years and been attending support group meetings. Over the years, I have heard from many people who committed multiple DUIs when they were much younger, and now, decades later, after they have reformed themselves and were trying to earn a living to support themselves and their family, were denied even an opportunity to have a hearing to show that they had made significant changes to their lives. All this law does is give them that chance. To say otherwise is give up on them, and encourage them to drive illegally, and take away any incentive for them to undergo treatment, maintain sobriety and attend a support group.

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.

A recap of the new laws effecting DUI license revocations

Click here to get a post on my official website to read a full recap of the two new pieces of major legislation signed into law by Governor Rauner effecting DUI revocations.

http://www.illinoisduilawyer.com/il-dui-lawyer/major-new-changes-to-license-reinstatement-laws-enacted

Gov signs into law bill requiring repeat DUI offenders to spend 5 years with a breath interlock permit before full reinstatement

Governor Rauner has signed into law HB 3533, which makes a major change to Illinois’s driver license reinstatement scheme after a person’s license has been revoked for a second DUI offense.

Under the new law, such a person would not be eligible for full reinstatement for five years.  However, under the new law, he or she would be eligible immediately for a Restricted Driving Permit.

And that permit must have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID).  So, under the new law, anyone revoked for a second or subsequent DUI will have to drive with a BAIID for five years.

Here is the synopsis of the bill:

Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that the Secretary of State shall require the use of ignition interlock devices for a period not less than 5 years on all vehicles owned by a person who has been convicted of a second or subsequent offense of driving under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination. Provides that a person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of driving under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination, or where the use of alcohol or other drugs is recited as an element of an offense, may not make application for a driver’s license until he or she has first been issued a restricted driving permit by the Secretary, and the expiration of a continuous period of not less than 5 years following the issuance of the restricted driving permit without suspension, cancellation, or revocation of the permit, or violation of a regulation requiring use of an ignition interlock device.