Illinois lawmakers recently approved a new measure that clamps down on repeat drunk drivers, requiring them to use a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device or BAIID for at least five years if they have been convicted for a second subsequent DUI offense.
The measure, signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner in August, is known as HB 3533 and takes effect in January. It also puts further restrictions on repeat offenders in that they will not be eligible to reapply for their driver’s license until they have completed a five year period with a restricted driving permit.
Such a permit allows a person to drive their vehicle if they can show there is a hardship imposed by not having their license. A person must show to the state that they have gotten a drug or alcohol screening, are taking steps for treatment and will not threaten the public safety.
Under the new law, any infractions during that five-year period including having their permit cancelled, suspended or revoked, could impede the application process.
The measure amends the state’s Vehicle Code which sets out the state’s driving laws. Here’s a synopsis:
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.
BAIID devices came into the equation a few years ago when the state wanted to find a way to make sure that people who had a prior DUI weren’t getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. The device is akin to a breathanalyzer and will not allow the car to start if it detects alcohol. An offender is required to obtain one at his or her expense. Worse, they are pretty obvious and can be embarrassing.
The law also requires a repeat offender to undergo treatment or prove they aren’t at risk for reoffending, a difficult task and one that could be very time consuming.
Five years is also a long time for a BAIID, not just in cost and embarrassment but to have that stress upon a driver, knowing that any screw up could be problematic.
But it’s not all bad news for defendants. Rauner also approved S.B. 627 which removes the 30-day waiting period before a person accused of DUI can obtain a driving permit. The senate bill also eliminates the one year waiting period that used to be in place when a person had their license revoked.
A three-year waiting period for a person whose license was suspended for a second refusal to take a chemical, blood or breath test is also removed by the new measure.
On some level, this is not a step back for public safety as the increased use by the state of the BAIID device means that anyone, in theory, who gets behind the wheel, cannot be using alcohol as even a test of 0.025 will not allow the car to start.
That’s why it is important to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side. The process can be difficult as the average layperson simply doesn’t know the law as well as an attorney who practices in this area. Also, the hearing officer, when it comes time to apply for your permit or even reinstatement, will see that you are serious if you show up with an attorney and not just yourself.
Here at Miller Law Offices, we understand how important driving privileges are to you and will fight as hard as we can to make sure your rights are protected. Feel free to contact us to find out how we can work for you.