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New Illinois Law Lets Recent DUI Arrestees Drive

Beginning on January 1, Illinois will dispose of the requirement that people arrested for a DUI are prohibited from driving for a minimum of 30 days. Instead, recent DUI arrestees will be permitted to keep driving, provided they install breath-measuring equipment in their cars to ensure their sobriety. This practice is quickly becoming the national trend.

The new law removes a type of punishment that has long been a major point of contention in the debate over appropriate DUI punishments.

For years, anti-DUI activists have advocated for laws requiring that first-time DUI arrestees be banned from driving for at least 30 days (and increased periods for repeat offenders). Defense attorneys, on the other hand, have contended that suspensions and revocations are counter-productive. DUI offenders often need to drive to maintain their jobs and family obligations, so many continue to drive illegally, without supervision or insurance. And others still continue to drive legally, since prosecutors frequently offer plea deals that chuck suspensions in exchange for substantial fines.

On a national level, the anti-DUI group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has pushed for increased use of electronic monitoring devices in lieu of suspensions and revocations. In a letter to the state of Illinois, MADD indicated that states that had abolished mandatory suspensions fared significantly better than than their counterparts, concluding that it was “dangerous” to keep Illinois’ laws unaltered.

In 2016, Illinois will eliminate mandatory suspensions for most DUI offenders, although drivers will still be required to obtain special permits and fund the devices and monitoring, which total over $100 per month. Some arrestees may still attempt to circumvent the process and drive illegally, but most will likely prefer to resume driving through the lawful process.

One concern is that the breath-monitoring devices do not detect illegal drug use, which is making up an increasing percentage of DUI offenses. But as the device requirements are often paired with mandatory treatment, there is an increased change of DUI offenders proving they can be trusted to drive free from state interference.

The new law will likely reduce the number of plea deals made to eliminate suspensions in return for heavy fines. Arrestees will have a diminished incentive to take deals when they can be approved to drive with the breath-monitoring devices while their cases are pending. Prosecutors will also be less likely to offer deals when they know arrestees have another lawful mechanism to continue driving.

Rita Kreslin, of the local advocacy group Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, said that while it was previously believed that “the biggest deterrent” was to remove someone’s license, it did not do much if, in the face of abundant plea deals, people were being given their licenses back regardless. The new law, she explained, is helping arrestees keep their jobs and take care of their families “safely and legally, and – hopefully – keeping them sober.” She optimistically concluded: “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

If you have been charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, or need a driver’s license, it is crucial to speak to an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Harvatin Law Offices, PC provides knowledgeable representation to people in Springfield and throughout Illinois. We have considerable experience defending individuals charged with DUI offenses and representing revoked drivers before the Illinois Secretary of State. To learn more and to set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 217.525.0520.

More Blog Posts:

New Law Regarding Four-Time DUI Offenders Effective January 1, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, December 21, 2015

Hospital Executive Receives 100-day Sentence for Vehicular Homicide, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, December 1, 2015.

Georgia Courts Suppress Blood Tests Where Driver Was Too Drunk To Consent, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, November 13, 2015.

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