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Federal safety agency proposed Interlock devices for all DUI offenders

While the benefits to public safety are questionable, the industry that provides Interlock Ignition devices is no doubt thrilled that the federal government has proposed mandatory use of their machines even for first time DUI offenders. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is probably the most influential voice in the nation as far as DUI arrests and prosecutions are concerned.

For instance, it was through NHTSA’s efforts that all 50 states have adopted a minimum drinking age of 21 years, a blood alcohol level (BAL) of .08 for all drivers and the requirement of a Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS) upon being arrested for DUI.

Under prior Illinois procedures, a driver who was suspected of DUI could be asked to take a chemical test (either breath or blood) to determine the driver’s BAL, if the officer suspected the driver was impaired from alcohol. In earlier days, the driver could refuse the test without any penalty either criminally or against the accused’s driver’s license or driving privileges.

Illinois then adopted the so-called “implied consent” concept. This means that anyone who is issued an Illinois driver’s license “consents” to submit to a chemical test if a police officer has grounds to believe the driver may be driving while impaired from alcohol. This of course is what is known as a “legal fiction” as “implied” by definition means pretend.

Throughout the 1970’s and up until 1986, a driver who refused a chemical test or who tested above what was the then-legal limit of .10 (down from the earlier .15 limit; today it is .08 and some are advocating for .05) could file a petition in the court where the DUI charge was filed in order to contest the suspension. Until a judge heard that petition, the driver was free to continue driving. The suspension stood only if a judge decided everything was valid.

Today, the procedure is quite different. Under current Illinois DUI law, as set forth in 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2, once the officer notifies the driver of an alleged test failure or refusal, a driver’s license suspension automatically goes into effect on the 46th day after the notice is provided to the driver. This typically occurs at the time of the DUI arrest.

It is then up to the driver to file and successfully contest the suspension. Upon that not happening, the suspension automatically begins.

The suspension has a defined ending date, which automatically results in driving privileges being restored upon payment of a fee, provided that driving privileges are not otherwise suspended or revoked, such as would occur if the driver is convicted of the DUI charge. However, even if the driver is successful in defending the DUI charge, the suspension does not go away unless the judge specifically and separately orders that is be rescinded (removed).

In Illinois, an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) is mandatory for anyone who wishes to drive during their suspension. The permit issued to them is known as a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). 625 ILCS 5/6-206.1 NHTSA wants all other states to adopt a similar provision, in addition to expand their use in situations in which the person is convicted of DUI and incurs a mandatory driver’s license revocation.

Related posts:

Under what DUI situations is the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) required in Illinois? February 1, 2013, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg
Federal officials continue to push states for tougher DUI laws August 24, 2012, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg

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