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Breath test devices required if you want to drive following an Illinois DUI

It is no secret that police forces throughout the country have been stepping-up DUI enforcement in recent years. As part of this enforcement, Illinois lawmakers have enacted some of the strictest laws in the nation when it comes to DUI offenders. For instance, even first-time DUI offenders in Illinois must install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) on their vehicles if they want to preserve their ability to drive during their suspension period.

Basically, a BAIID is a device that, when installed in a vehicle, requires drivers to blow into the machine and prove they have not been drinking alcohol before the engine will start. While several states require BAIID installation after multiple DUI arrests, Illinois requires DUI offenders to have one installed after their very first offense if they want to drive.

Illinois Statutory Suspension & BAIID requirements

Under Illinois law, a motorist will have his or her driver's license suspended after a DUI arrest - otherwise known as a Statutory Summary Suspension. This particular punishment is administrative in nature and is overseen by the Illinois Secretary of State. It is important to note that this suspension is automatic - effective on the 46 th day following a suspension notice - and completely separate from any criminal prosecution for DUI charges.

According to the Illinois Secretary of State, a motorist's license will be suspended for six months for first-time DUI offenders if the motorist had a blood-alcohol-content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher when arrested - this increases to 12 months if the motorist refuses to submit to a breath test.

However, first-time DUI offenders aged 18 or above are eligible for driving relief during this suspension period if they apply for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). To be eligible for a MDDP a first-time DUI offender must agree to have a BAIID installed on his or her vehicle, which will be monitored for impaired driving by the Secretary of State. Offenders are responsible for all costs related to the installation and monitoring of BAIIDs in their vehicles.

While first-time DUI offenders are free to decline participation in the MDDP program - and thus not have a BAIID installed on their vehicles - if they are caught driving during their suspension period after electing not to obtain a MDDP they can be charged with a Class 4 felony, according to the Secretary of State. Conversely, if first-time offenders elect to install a BAIID and then are caught operating a motor vehicle that does not have a BAIID installed, they will also likely be charged with a Class 4 felony.

As this article demonstrates, the consequences associated with a DUI arrest in Illinois can be quite severe, even for first-time offenders. Accordingly, if you have been arrested for a DUI it is important to speak with an experience DUI defense attorney in order to ensure your rights are protected.

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