When you are arrested for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge in Illinois, you are dealing with two separate but related issues. One issue involves only your driver’s license. The other involves the criminal aspect of the case, the DUI arrest and the possible consequences involving jail, fines, probation etc.
At the time of a DUI arrest, the police will almost always ask you to submit to some sort of testing (blood, breath or urine). The purpose of the test is to determine if you have a certain level of alcohol in your system (in Illinois, the legal limit is .08) or any amount of illegal drugs. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1
It is your decision whether to agree to testing. If the tests show something illegal, your driver’s license is subject to a suspension for 6 months if you have not had a DUI in the previous 5 years or 12 months if you have. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1
These are “first offender” suspensions. That can be confusing because this may not be your first DUI offense. However, if the last one was more than 5 years ago, you are considered a first offender at least for the purpose of this suspension.
You may refuse the tests. If you do and this is you have had a DUI offense in the past 5 years, your driver’s license is subject to a suspension for one year. If you refuse under those circumstances, you will be suspended for 3 years. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1 Persons in this situation are non first offenders.
All of the above suspensions are known as statutory summary suspensions (SSS). This is a legal term that means the suspension is basically automatic. However, because it is a suspension, it ends automatically at the designated time (6, 12 or 36 months).
The primary difference between a first offender and non first offender is that a non first offender cannot seek any type of permission to drive, not even for work. All the time on the suspension is known as “hard time”, meaning no driving relief is available.
In contrast, during the SSS, a first offender is eligible for a special license knows as a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) During all but the first 30 days of an SSS, the first offender can, with a few exceptions, drive anywhere, for any reason.
Once an SSS ends, you are free to drive without the BAIID provided your license is otherwise valid. Assume that you are convicted of the DUI, your license will be revoked and you must have a hearing with the Secretary of State.
One type of license you may request at a Secretary of State hearing (formal or informal) is known as a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP). Unlike an MDDP, an RDP is not automatic and involves a very intense driver’s license hearing process.
The type of hearing you have will depend upon your overall driving record. If you had a previous DUI arrest and were convicted of the previous DUI or if an SSS was placed on your driving record as a result of the first arrest, then you would be required to have a formal hearing upon being convicted of your second (or later) DUI arrest.
Other than in a very limited number of circumstances, if you are required to have a formal hearing, you will also be subject to the program known as Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device (BAIID) 92 Illinois Administrative Code 1001.441
The other type of hearing is known as an informal hearing. In the past, if this was your first DUI arrest, you were eligible for an informal hearing and were not subject to BAIID.
However, the Secretary of State is preparing to adopt an emergency rule that will change this in one circumstance: if you are eligible for an MDDP and if during that eligibility period you are convicted of the DUI, your MDDP and your driver’s license will be revoked.
In that case, you must have a hearing with the Secretary of State. However, because you were MDDP eligible, you must submit to the BAIID program. Because you must submit to the BAIID program, the Secretary of State will not allow you to have a formal hearing. 92 Illinois Administrative Code 1001.441(c)