Last month, Governor Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly decided to give four-time DUI offenders – whose licenses were permanently revoked under former state laws – a second chance. Recent data from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office suggests the law will effect 5,085 drivers, 55% of whom live in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Under the new law, which becomes effective on January 1, four-time DUI offenders can apply for restricted driving permits, enabling them to drive in specific circumstances, such as going to work, driving their kids to school, or visiting the doctor.
The law only applies to those whose licenses have been revoked for at least five years. Additionally, applicants must prove that they’ve been sober and that they’ve equipped their cars with breath ignition interlock devices, which prevent their cars from starting if they’ve consumed alcohol. Eligible drivers will be overseen by one of nine companies the state employs to supervise breath ignition interlock devices.
Democratic state representative Elaine Nekritz sponsored House Bill 1446 to help constituents who have become sober but who can’t get jobs because their licenses have been permanently revoked. “I see it as a matter of redemption and safety because a lot of these people are driving anyway,” she said. “So we might as well make it legal.” She isn’t sure whether all 5,085 individuals on the list will actually be able to get permits.
Thirty-five-year-old David Armstrong lost his license in 2009 after his fourth DUI. He said a restricted permit would allow him to take his children to school. “It will allow me to be a dad,” he said.
Nekritz got support from both the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which have spent decades attempting to pass laws to crack down on drunk driving yet still encouraged Rauner to sign the bill. AAIM’s executive director Rita Kreslin said the new bill is not a cause for concern but is instead “for the individual that has proven to be sober.” She also echoed bill sponsor Nekritz’s point that many people with revoked licenses continue to drive anyway.
Every county in Illinois has at least one person who will be affected by the new law. The Illinois counties with the highest rates of drivers who have four DUIs per capita include: (1) Pope; (2) Clay; (3) Gallatin; (4) White; (5) Winnebago; (6) Jersey; (7) Alexander; (8) Wayne; (9) Edwards; and (10) Rock Island. The Illinois counties with the highest numbers of drivers with four DUIs include: (1) Cook; (2) Lake; (3) DuPage; (4) Winnebago; (5) Will; (6) Kane; (7) McHenry; (8) Rock Island; (9) Peoria; and (10) Sangamon.
If you have been charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, it is crucial to speak to an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Harvatin Law Offices, PC provides knowledgeable representation for people in Springfield and throughout Illinois. We have considerable experience defending individuals charged with DUI offenses. To learn more and to set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 217.525.0520.
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Kentucky Corrections Officer Lies Under Oath, Puts 200 DUI Cases at Risk, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, August 3, 2015.