Illinois Makes Driving Relief Available Sooner for First-Time DUI Offenders
There is a good possibility that you know at least one person who has been negative affected by the consequences of driving under the influence, or DUI. Of course, those who suffer only the criminal and administrative penalties are the lucky ones, as DUI contributes to thousands of accidents, injuries, and deaths each year around Illinois and throughout the country. Illinois lawmakers, though, have recognized the importance of allowing first-time offenders to learn from their mistakes rather than focusing on harsh punishments. With this in mind, recent changes to Illinois law provide that first-time DUI offenders may be eligible for certain driving relief programs sooner than ever before.
Statutory Summary Suspensions
The administrative penalties associated with DUI are handled by the Office of the Secretary of State, and directly impact a suspected offender’s driving privileges. If you are pulled over and asked by law enforcement to submit to chemical testing for blood-alcohol content (BAC), refusal or failure of such a test will result in the suspension of your driving privileges. For a first offense, failing a BAC test will result in a six-month suspension, while refusing the test results in a one-year suspension. Second or subsequent failures or refusals result in significantly longer suspensions. These penalties apply regardless of whether you are actually convicted of DUI or not, and a conviction will, as you might expect, impose additional consequences.
No More 30-Day Wait
Prior to the change in the law, the first 30 days of a statutory summary suspension were considered “hard time,” meaning that there were no programs available that would allow you the ability to drive legally under any circumstances. Beginning in 2016, however, the 30-day hard time provision has been eliminated for first-time offenders. Now, if your driving privileges have been suspended, you can apply for a program immediately that could allow you to get back on the road with certain restrictions.
MDDP and BAIID
The ability to apply is not the same as automatic qualification, but most first-time offenders are approved for participation in the driving relief program. If approved, you will be issued a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP), allowing you to drive vehicles that have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed. A BAIID requires the driver to provide a breath sample at startup and periodically throughout the drive to ensure that he or she is not driving under the influence. You are responsible for having a BAIID installed on your vehicle and unapproved operation of any other vehicle will result in increased penalties and possible disqualification from the relief program.
Reliable DUI-Related Legal Advice
If you have been charged with DUI and are currently facing a statutory summary suspension of your driving privileges, it is important to speak with an experienced Joliet criminal defense lawyer right away. Our knowledgeable team will help you understand your options for driving relief and will remain at your side throughout every step of the process. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free initial consultation today.