A dramatic shift in the Illinois Driving Under the Influence (DUI) law takes effect on January 1, 2009. The major changes are summarized as follows:
MONITORING DEVICE DRIVING PERMITS (MDDP) – A first offender may qualify for a MDDP, which requires motorists to have breathalyzer instruments (BAIIDs) installed into their vehicles. The MDDP replaces the Judicial Driving Permit (JDP) and allows a motorist to drive more liberally than that allowed by JDPs. MDDPs, while allowing greater mobility, are more expensive to the offender and come with greater compliance guidelines.
SUMMARY SUSPENSION PERIODS DOUBLE – As of January 1, 2009, a refusal to submit to field sobriety tests results in a 12 month suspension of driving privileges, up from 6 months under the prior law. Voluntary submission of a breath test resulting in a BAC reading of .08 or greater, will result in a summary suspension of driving privileges of 6 months, up from 3 months under the prior law.
Illinois has become progessively more conservative in its approach to driving under the influence arrests. The offense in some instances will be charged as a felony, carrying with it significant jail time. This trend toward tougher sentencing of DUI-related arrests shows signs of continuing in the future.