DUI Suspension in Illinois? Are You Eligible for the MDDP?
Over the last few months, several posts on this blog have talked about different ways in which you could have your driving privileges suspended in the state of Illinois—most of them related to driving under the influence (DUI) . Make no mistake about it; a license suspension is always a serious matter. But, did you know that you could possibly be permitted to drive even if your license has been suspended? Not every driver will qualify, but if you are eligible, the state’s Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) program could get you back on the road sooner than you may have thought possible.
Why the Program Exists
Prior to 2009, a person whose license had been suspended as the result of his or her first DUI conviction or a failed blood-alcohol content (BAC) test could apply for a judicial driving permit. He or she needed to prove that the suspension imposed an undue hardship on his or her life, and approval was left to the discretion of officials from the office of the Secretary of State.
In 2009, however, the Illinois legislature recognized that the goal regarding for first-time offenders should be to prevent future occurrences of DUI. As a result, lawmakers created the MDDP to allow suspended drivers to drive with a breath-alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed on their vehicles. The law specified that if a driver met all of the statutory criteria, no discretion was necessary. He or she would be approved for the program. The MDDP program has been expanded since it began, but it still operates in much the same way today.
Most first-time offenders—for a DUI conviction or a failed or refused BAC test—are automatically enrolled in the MDDP program when their suspension is processed by the Secretary of State’s office. Only certain drivers are not eligible, including those:
• Under the age of 18;
• Previously convicted of aggravated DUI involving death or reckless homicide;
• Whose driving privileges are otherwise invalid; and
• Those whose DUI arrest involved death or great bodily harm.
Program participants must agree to install the BAIID on their vehicles and are responsible for all associated costs. Employment-based waivers may also be granted for drivers whose jobs require them to drive employer-owned vehicles without a BAIID during work hours. It is also important to note that the holder of a commercial driver’s license may be eligible to receive an MDDP, but only for use in a non-commercial vehicle.
If you choose not to participate in the MDDP program, you are not permitted to drive at all during your suspension. Penalties for driving with a suspended license include a minimum of 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service and could result in imprisonment for up to three years.
Get Help Today
To learn more about driving relief programs in Illinois, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney . We will help you explore your options and find the solution that works best for your situation. Schedule your free initial consultation today.