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New Illinois DUI Laws Offer a Second Chance

Rolling Meadows DUI Defense Lawyer

We all know that it is against the law to drink and drive a vehicle. Most of us are aware of the steep penalties associated with drinking and driving, which range from fines and probation to jail time and permanent driver’s license revocation. A new Illinois law implements a program that permits those who have lost their license as a result of drinking and driving the possibility of receiving a limited driving permit if they meet certain criteria. The program is designed to reward those who have taken steps to become rehabilitated and to live a drug and alcohol free life. New Illinois laws simultaneously provide stricter regulations for convicted DUI offenders to get unrestricted licenses back—requiring a five-year waiting period for many offenders. Understanding the impact of these laws on your DUI case is critical and requires the consultation of a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney.

The New Illinois DUI Laws

Offenders with as many as four prior DUI convictions may be eligible to have their licenses reinstated for limited purposes as a result of this new law that will become effective on January 1, 2016. The law also specifically prohibits a driver with two or more DUI convictions from driving a vehicle without an ignition interlocking device. These laws are contained within Senate Bill 627, which was signed into law in August 2015 and House Bill 3533.


  • The applicant with four or more offenses must be able to prove they have been sober for three years;
  • If any of the applicant’s convictions involved an accident resulting in great bodily harm or death, the applicant must wait one year before receiving any driving permit; and
  • Repeat DUI offenders can only get an interlocking device removed after 12 consecutive months passing without the device detecting alcohol.

The Rules

  • The driver’s vehicle will be equipped with an ignition interlock device to prevent the car from operating if the individual has been drinking alcohol;
  • The car will not start if the driver blows higher than a .025 BAC;
  • The driver must pay the installation fee and monthly maintenance costs of the ignition interlock device; and
  • The driver with a restricted license may only use the vehicle for acquiring groceries, travelling to and from work, attending school, or in emergency situations.

The laws attempt to strike a balance between protecting the safety of the public by requiring the use of ignition interlock devices, while allowing for the chance for rehabilitation for the convicted drunk driver. Those drivers who are shown to have made changes will be allowed to resume some of their normal routine—building up to the time in which they may be eligible for unrestricted licenses after proving alcohol and drug free driving.

Drunk Driving Punishments in Illinois

While most first-time offenders in Illinois will not see jail time unless they have caused serious bodily harm or killed another individual due to their actions, the penalties cannot be understated. A first-time offender will be guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor, characterized by mandatory license suspension, court supervision, fines and/or jail time. A second-time offender will receive jail time or community service in lieu thereof, but may require additional fines, jail time, and a license suspension for a minimum of five years.

These punishments can be significantly enhanced if there was a minor in the car at the time of the incident or if the blood alcohol content of the driver is significantly greater than .08, the legal limit. Being under the influence of drugs, driving with a suspended or restricted license, or being a repeat offender will also impact the designation and sentence of the drunk driver.

Hiring an Experienced Cook County DUI Defense Attorney

Attorney Donald J. Cosley is an experienced Cook County DUI defense attorney who can help you navigate the criminal justice system regardless of whether this is your first or fifth criminal offense. Cosley knows the specifics of the justice system and can ensure that your rights are protected from the very beginning. At the Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley, we will ensure that the police treated you fairly during your arrest, that evidence against you will not be misstated, that the equipment used to test your blood alcohol content was not faulty, and that you receive the representation you deserve. Contact our convenient Rolling Meadows office at 847-253-3100 to get started on your defense today.

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