New Illinois DUI Law

New Illinois DUI law Feb. 15, 2011 – Positive for first offenders?

In 2009, Illinois established procedures allowing driving permits for those suspended based upon accusation of DUI.  Those have now been revamped as Governor Pat Quinn signed Public Act 96-1526 into law.

The problem has been that many judges simply don’t trust the comprehensiveness of our judicial record-keeping.  Likewise, they don’t want their names associated with any defendants that get into more trouble.

Background:  All first offenders facing DUI charges in Illinois have been eligible in most instances to petition the court to have their driving responsibilities reinstated (for all but the first month) through a breath alcohol ignition device (BAIID).  This permits the starting of a vehicle only after a breath test, thus allowing for a special permit to drive referred to as MDDP or Monitoring Device Driving Permit.

The definition of a first offender is someone who has not had a DUI in the past 5 years.  But a small number of judges did not want the responsibility of issuing permits and essentially determining their exact DUI history.

So, under this new law, judges are now eliminated from this screening process.  Motorists seeking this permit now go through the Illinois Secretary of State.  Since most judges erred on the side of caution and were reluctant to grant driving permits in some instances, this new law is probably a net positive for most first offenders. How this will influence the exact outcome for future applicants of these permits remains to be seen, but I am watching this process carefully.  I strongly suggest consulting with an attorney before applying for an MDDP and addressing a summary suspension.