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Driving After a DUI Conviction in Illinois
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As of January 1, 2009 there are new rules for driving after you have been convicted of a DUI in Illinois. The new law requires everyone convicted of driving under the influence to install a breathalyzer device in his car to prove that they are sober. This breath-alcohol ignition-interlock device will only allow the engine to start if the driver registers a blood-alcohol content below 0.024. Those convicted of a DUI have 14 days to get the device installed in their car dashboards.
Drivers who register a 0.08 or higher blood-alcohol level when they are arrested are required to drive with the monitoring devices for 5 months. If a driver refuses to be tested for alcohol and is later convicted of a DUI, he must use the device for 11 months. The device costs the driver $80 for installation, plus $80 a month to rent. Furthermore, the secretary of state charges another $30 a month to monitor drivers and administer the program, so drivers convicted of a DUI will be required to pay $110 a month if they want to drive.
These breath-alcohol devices also require drivers to be tested periodically while the car is running. The driver first has to breathe into the gadget and ensure that he’s sober in order to start the engine; however, he must blow into it again within the first 5 to 15 minutes of a trip, and then at least twice per hour. If at any point it detects a blood-alcohol content above 0.024, the device warns the driver to pull over, and it stops the engine. It also sends a report to the secretary of state’s office for review; the state will then further punish the offender. This rule was enacted because often people who were trying to drive drunk would get sober friends to blow into the device when the car started. Now those people have to be along for the whole ride.
The penalties are severe for trying to get around the law. If you are driving in a car that doesn’t have one of these devices you would face up to 3 years in prison.
Before this law was passed, drivers convicted of a DUI for the first time lost their licenses for 30 days and had to ask judges for judicial driving permits so that they could still drive for work, school, medical treatment, or alcohol treatment. Now, first-time offenders still lose their licenses for 30 days, but this ignition-lock device replaces judge-issued driving permits.
Much of the rest of DUI law has not changed. If an officer pulls you over and, after administering a breathalyzer test, she determines that your blood-alcohol level is 0.08 or more, she will immediately suspend your license for 180 days, although this suspension does not take effect until 46 days after your arrest. However, if your blood-alcohol content is between 0.05 and 0.08, the officer may still cite you for a DUI if your behavior suggests that you are impaired; this is at the officer’s discretion. If your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08, your license is not automatically suspended. In addition, a conviction is still punishable by jail time at the discretion of the Judge.
We try to speak in plain English, but if you are looking for the statute itself, the definition of an “ignition interlock device” is in the Illinois Vehicle Code – 625 ILCS 5, Section 1-129.1. The law prohibiting drivers convicted of a DUI from driving any vehicle unless it’s equipped with one of these devices is 625 ILCS 5/6-205.
Remember, everything you read on this page assumes that a conviction for driving under the influence took place. If you are arrested for a DUI in Illinois you should do whatever you can to defend yourself. That means hiring the right lawyer for your case. If you would like our help in finding a DUI defense attorney please contact us.