Illinois Changes Major DUI Punishment in 2016

 Posted on January 08, 2016 in DUI

DUI punishment, Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneyDrivers found guilty of a DUI in Illinois in 2016 can breath a small sigh of relief—thanks to a new law that went into effect January 1st, Illinois no longer requires a mandatory driver's license suspension for drivers caught driving under the influence.

Despite a steady push for mandatory license suspensions from anti DUI activists and lawmakers over the past few decades, Illinois now joins many other states across the United States in requiring that special breath monitoring devices be installed instead of license suspension.

In the past, drivers caught under the influence and found guilty of a DUI faced a mandatory driver's license suspension for a minimum of 30 days. Activists and lawmakers believed harsh punishments were necessary to combat drunk driving; however, opinions across America are changing. Instead of license suspensions that make it difficult for offenders to resume their daily lives, the current trend in many states nationwide is instead installing breath monitoring devices that prevent cars from starting if alcohol is detected.

Now, Illinois is part of that trend. Most drivers found guilty of a DUI will face being required to install breath monitoring devices into their vehicles, and even most repeat offenders will face this easier form of punishment. Still, even with the more relaxed consequence, experts say that getting a DUI is no walk in the park. Offenders will need to apply for special state authorized permits and will have to cover the costs of the device. All together, experts say, the program will cost offenders around $100 per month.

Surprisingly, even anti DUI activists and the same lawmakers who pushed for Illinois‘ initial mandatory suspension requirement are on board with the new policy. They say that many drivers ignored the mandatory license suspension and chose to drive illegally anyways. “It is a win-win for everybody to make sure that a person is driving legally and has insurance,” says one anti-DUI advocate. Where once DUI offenders faced lengthy time periods unable to drive, essentially making every part of their daily lives difficult, offenders can now get safely back on the road and carry out business as usual.

Advocates also hope that this new policy will curb the amount of questionable plea deals made between some prosecutors and DUI offenders. Prosecutors in the past commonly offered offenders a choice; they could either have their license suspended, or pay hefty fines. “We have always thought that the biggest deterrent was removing someone’s driver’s license.” says an advocate with the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists group. “But with all the plea bargaining going on and with the different loopholes, it was really not doing a whole lot of good if people were given their driver’s license back anyway.”

Supporters of the new policy hope that the changes helps motorists resume their daily lives legally, safely and soberly. Advocates do, however, warn that the devices are not a perfect cure for the problem of driving under the influence. They can not, for example, detect any illegal drug use, which is a growing problem as drivers impaired by drugs get behind the wheel. Still, advocates say that the devices are a major step in the right direction, and when they are paired with treatment requirements, they work quite effectively.

If you are facing DUI related charges, you need the help of a qualified Chicago criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, our skilled team of attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you get the best possible outcome. Call us at 312-629-0669 to learn more about our services and to schedule a meeting with our team today.


Share this post:
Back to Top