If you are arrested for a DUI in Illinois, your driving privileges are very likely to be suspended. This obviously causes a problem for most people as they need to drive to work, school, and go about their everyday lives.
However, all hope is not lost. There is a way that you can legally drive in Illinois. You must go through a number of steps required by the Illinois Secretary of State. If you properly complete these steps, you will be permitted to get an authorized breathalyzer device installed on our vehicle and be allowed to legally drive while your license is suspended due to the DUI.
If you fail to complete these steps and are caught driving while suspended for a DUI, you are likely facing a new Class A misdemeanor criminal case punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine plus court costs. Therefore, it’s very important to understand these steps, consult with your attorney, and allow yourself to drive legally.
The Driver’s License Suspension
If you’re arrested for a DUI, the officer likely requested that you take a chemical test. It could be a breath test, a blood test, or a urine test.
If you refused to take that test, your license will be suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State for 12 months. If you took that test but failed, usually by having a breathalyzer result of .08 or higher, then your license will be suspended for six months.
It is not required that you be found guilty in court. Your license may be suspended based simply on the fact that you refused or failed the test.
The first step after a license suspension is to receive confirmation of it. It is important to wait for this because officers can and do make mistakes. If the officer fails to submit the proper paperwork, your suspension will never go into effect. While it is rare for such a mistake to happen, you should wait for the Illinois Secretary of State to contact you about your suspension.
The Illinois Secretary of State mails a Notice of Suspension letter to you at the address on your driver’s license. Therefore, it is very important that you keep this updated. If your driver’s license reflects an old address, you need to contact the Illinois Secretary of State to inform them of the change of address. You do not want to risk missing this letter.
Unfortunately, we often see clients who do not get this letter and, as a result, do not realize they are suspended. If they are caught driving during this time, the fact that they did not get the letter or were not aware of the suspension is not a valid legal excuse to avoid additional charges for driving while suspended.
Monitoring Device Driving Permit
The letter about the notice of suspension includes a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) application form. This is a very simple application mailed to you by the Illinois Secretary of State. Put your driver’s license number, name, and address on that form. If you are asking for an employment exemption because you drive a work vehicle, provide your employer’s information on the form. Complete the form and send it back to the Illinois Secretary of State immediately. If you live in Cook County, you’ll want to submit this form to 17 N. State Street, Chicago along with these Terms & Conditions. If you live outside of Cook County, send this form to 211 Howlett in Springfield along with these Terms & Conditions.
Within about 10 or 14 days, the Illinois Secretary of State will let you know if your monitoring device driving permit application was approved. If it is approved, the cost is $30 per month to the Illinois Secretary of State plus an $8 one-time permit fee. So, if your suspension is for six months, the total cost will be $188. If your suspension is for 12 months, the cost will be $368.
You are eligible for an MDDP if you are over 18 years of age and meet the following criteria:
- You are a first-time DUI offender; or
- You have not received a previous statutory summary suspension, or have not been convicted of a DUI, or assigned court supervision for a DUI in Illinois, or have not been convicted of a DUI in another state within the past five years; and
- You had a valid driver’s license at the time of the DUI arrest. If your license was invalid at that time, you are ineligible for an MDDP.
Additionally, if there was an accident in which someone suffered great bodily harm or death as a result of your DUI arrest, you are ineligible for an MDDP. You are also ineligible if you have a prior conviction for reckless homicide or an aggravated DUI that resulted in a death.
You cannot drive a commercial vehicle with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) if your license has been suspended. You may still be eligible for an MDDP, but it is only to drive your personal vehicle.
Speeding Up The Process – Updated for 2022
You can speed up this whole process significantly by using this little trick instead. As soon as you receive the confirmation letter in the mail, complete the Application and Terms & Conditions. But instead of mailing it, you can fax it directly to the Secretary of State. About 30 minutes after faxing it, call them and make sure they received it. They will often approve it on the spot and allow you to make the payment via credit card over the phone. That saves you about 2 weeks waiting time.
If you live in Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, McHenry, or Will County:
If you live in any other Illinois County:
If you’re REALLY in a hurry, go to 17 N. State Street in Chicago. Go up to the 10th Floor and when you get off the elevator, walk to the right to the Chicago BAIID Division Office. You can fill out the form there and pay. Our clients often get a call the next day to come pick up their MDDP. They are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please note, in order to do this, you must be a resident of Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, McHenry or Will county.
Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device
Once your MDDP is approved by the Illinois Secretary of State, you will receive a confirmation number and information packet. The next step is to get a Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device, commonly called a BAIID, installed on your vehicle.
This is a device you must blow into in order to start and drive your vehicle. As long as you have the MDDP approval and have this device installed on your vehicle, you will be permitted to legally drive in the State of Illinois.
Driving with an MDDP and a BAIID device is unrestricted in terms of time or location, so you can drive at any time of day or night, and you can go anywhere. It is not limited to just work or school. However, you do need to drive the vehicle that has the BAIID device installed and you do need to comply with all of the terms and conditions of the BAIID device.
Installing the BAIID
To get the BAIID device installed on your vehicle, you must go to an authorized installer. There are installers located throughout the state. Your DUI attorney can refer you to one.
The cost is typically about $95 per month in order to lease the BAIID device and have it installed on your vehicle. Clients of Driver Defense Team get free installation and the first month free.
You must comply with all terms and conditions imposed by the Secretary of State for driving with the BAIID. These include the following:
- First, you must blow in the BAIID to start your vehicle.
- Random testing occurs within the first five to 15 minutes after starting the vehicle.
- You will receive at least two requests per hour for breath tests.
The breath results from starting your vehicle and the tests while you are driving must register below the standard for passing. It is a violation to give a breath test that registers 0.05 percent or more. A violation can result in the following actions being taken by the state:
- Extension of your suspension
- Impounding of your vehicle
- Seizure and forfeiture of your vehicle after too many violations
Additionally, you must return your vehicle to the BAIID installer every 30 to 60 days, or as instructed by the Illinois Secretary of State, in order for the data in the BAIID device to be downloaded and sent to the state. Failure to do this will be a violation.
If you complete all these requirements, you may legally drive in Illinois when you are suspended for a DUI. At the end of the suspension period, you may have the device removed from your vehicle and, after payment of a reinstatement fee, legally drive once again. However, a DUI conviction causes your license to be revoked.
The only way to get your license fully reinstated before the end of your suspension is by getting a rescission of the suspension. This is a court order, signed by a judge, removing the suspension. This may or may not be possible, depending on the facts and circumstances of your DUI case.
We understand how important it is to drive in order to support your family. We hope this is helpful and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the DUI lawyers at Driver Defense Team for a free DUI consultation.