Monday, February 23, 2009

Explanation of New 2009 Illinois DUI Law

As we have previously informed our readers, the Illinois DUI law changed on January 1, 2009. Right from the beginning let's be clear that this new law does not change the statutory summary suspension hearings and procedures nor does it change the DUI criminal law in Illinois. We have had an opportunity to review this new law and want to inform our readers of the changes and highlights.

First, this new law changes the period of suspensions for DUI offenders. The period of suspension for first time DUI offenders has been extended from three months to six months. The period of suspension for second time DUI offenders has been extended from six months to 12 months. The period of suspension for a refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test has also been increased to 12 months. This period of suspension is in addition to any criminal penalties which may be imposed by the court. Previously, first time offenders had been eligible for a Judicial Driving Permit (JDP) allowing for limited driving during a statutory summary suspension. The new law has gotten rid of the JDP and replaced it with the Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). In order for a first time DUI offender to be eligible for a MDDP, the following conditions must be met:

* Possession of valid driving privileges except for the Summary Suspension.
* Death or great bodily harm did not occur during the DUI leading to the suspension.
* No prior conviction for Reckless Homicide or Aggravated DUI which resulted in death.
* No previous Summary Suspension with the 5 years preceding the suspension from the
current arrest.
* The driver is over 18 years of age.

A "first time offender" is essentially defined as someone who has had no DUI suspensions or findings of guilty in the past 5 years.

Once the driver appears in court, the judge must sign an order for the Illinois Secretary of State to issue the MDDP permit. This order will be issued unless the driver opts out of the program in writing. The judge cannot decline to issue such an order so long as the driver meets the criteria set forth above. The MDDP will not take effect until the 31st day after the suspension. So no matter what, any driver arrested for a DUI will not be allowed to drive for at least 30 days. A $30 Secretary of State monthly fee must be paid in advance for the Secretary of State to issue a MDDP permit. This monthly fee is solely for the Illinois Secretary of State and is in addition to the monthly fee paid for the device. For a 6 month suspension this Secretary of State fee comes out to $150 and for a 12 month suspensions the Secretary of State fee will be $330. Once the MDDP is issued, the driver will only have 14 days to have a Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device (BAIID) installed in their car. The MDDP holder will only be allowed to drive the vehicle equipped with the BAIID device. There is a one time installation fee of $150 and a monthly fee of $115 for the device. The total cost is estimated by us to be as follows:

* For a six month suspension, $875.
* For a twelve month suspension, $1,745.00.

The BAIID device will require a test of the driver's breath before the vehicle can be started and will require periodic tests while the car is running. If the driver fails a test while the vehicle is running, the vehicle will continue running but the horn will start blowing and the lights will start flashing so as to alert police officers of the situation.

Unlike with a JDP, there will be no restrictions on driving with an MDDP as to specific times and routes. When it comes to employment, drivers cannot operate commercial vehicles during the period of suspension. There is an exemption for employer owned vehicles. The suspended driver will be allowed to drive an employer owned vehicle during the period of employment, provided that the employer provide documentation to the Secretary of State but the vehicle and the company cannot be owned by the driver.

Finally, a violation of the terms of the MDDP is now a Class 4 felony.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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The Legal Defenders, PC

70 West Madison, Ste 1400 * Chicago * IL 60602 * Phone: (800) 228-7295 * Fax: (800) 604-0507