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New Illinois DUI Laws Effective This Year

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Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer,Alcohol-related car accidents remain one of the biggest causes of fatalities in Illinois, and the state has imposed harsh penalties on even first-time offenders. Prior to January 1, 2016, anyone arrested and convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol was penalized with a mandatory 30-day license suspension, with longer suspension periods for repeat offenders. While this law was intended to keep dangerous drivers off of the roads, it seemed to backfire in the long-run.

Why Change the Old Law?

Many DUI offenders found legal loopholes and avoided license suspensions thanks to plea deals, while others continued to drive illegally out of necessity to keep their jobs or get their kids to school. Defense attorneys and anti-DUI activist organizations alike supported the removal of mandatory suspensions, instead arguing that ignition interlock devices could allow drivers to remain legally on the road and be monitored to ensure they drive safely.

An ignition interlock device is a dashboard-mounted breathalyzer that requires the driver to blow into the device to detect the presence of alcohol before operating the car. If alcohol is detected above a certain predetermined level, the car will not start and the driver will not be able to operate the vehicle, thus preventing drunk driving. Proponents of the new law argued that such devices could accomplish the same goals of keeping drivers sober without the risk of drivers simply ignoring the suspension and driving illegally with no oversight, potentially making them even more dangerous on the road. MADD wrote a letter to Illinois lawmakers urging them to eliminate mandatory suspensions, pointing out that other states that did so ultimately had better results in DUI rates.

The New Laws

With unanimous support, the 30-day mandatory suspension was removed from Illinois drunk driving laws beginning January 1 this year. Instead, DUI offenders are eligible to apply for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit during the first 30 days of a summary suspension. Drivers would be allowed certain driving privileges provided that they pay for and install an ignition interlock device, along with ongoing monitoring of the device to ensure that they remain sober behind the wheel. Repeat offenders would likewise be eligible to apply for Restricted Driving Permits during the statutory summary suspension period. The hope is that such laws reduce DUI-related car accidents, and most believe that the devices will encourage offenders to remain on the right side of the law.

Yet another change effective in 2016 will impact four-time DUI offenders, who were previously banned from ever driving again in Illinois. The new law will allow four-time offenders to apply for a restricted driving permit, which would give them limited driving privileges during certain times of the day or for certain purposes, if they can show they have been alcohol- and drug-free for three years, and install the interlock devices for ongoing alcohol monitoring. If a driver with a restricted permit receives another DUI, they would once again be permanently banned from driving.

Injured in a Drunk-Driving Collision?

If you or a loved one has been injured in an drunk driving accident in Lake County or surrounding areas, let the experienced Lake County personal injury attorneys at Salvi & Maher, L.L.C help. We have handled numerous auto accident cases and will tirelessly work to get you the compensation you deserve from the negligent driver. Contact us at 847-662-3303 to schedule your free case consultation today.




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