New DUI laws to take effect in Illinois

The legislation surrounding DUI law is constantly up for discussion, and this year was no different. Very important laws had recently been pending before the Governor which could greatly impact a defendant in DUI matters, and the Governor just signed 2 new bills into law.

Many played a role in the debate on these laws, including the Traffic Laws & Courts section council of the Illinois State Bar Association. Sarah Toney, founder of the Toney Law Firm, is a member and past-Chair of the section council.

The laws passed will greatly improve life for individuals with DUI convictions and who are facing driving while under the influence charges. Specifically, House Bill 1446 was signed into law as Public Act 99-290, and it gives those with 4 DUI convictions the chance to apply for a restricted driving permit after 5 years from the last conviction. If they are successful in pleading their case for a permit, such as by showing change in behavior, being free of alcohol and having gone through treatment, they may be granted a permit. In such a case, they will need to permanently use a breath alcohol ignition interlock device in their car (a BAIID machine). They will never have full driving privileges however, but this is better than a permanent bar to driving.

This is a huge victory because it shows a true realization that a permanent bar to driving does not serve a purpose when people have rehabilitated their lives but are prevented from taking care of their families by doing simple things like driving their kids to school or getting themselves to work. Further, it helps alleviate the risk of people driving illegally, without insurance and without the limitations of a permit and BAIID machine.

The other law that was signed permits those who have been arrested for a DUI to immediately apply for limited driving privileges. Before, they would have to wait at least 30 days, depending on whether it was a first or subsequent DUI arrest. For a person who needs to drive for family or work purposes, this is extremely important.

These new laws show that the law is always changing and can, with effort, be changed for the better.

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