Most people with multiple drunk driving offenses do not assume they will be (legally) behind the wheel for quite a while following their arrest. Illinois has strict mandatory driver’s license suspension laws that make it difficult for even first time offenders to start driving again. For those with more than two or three convictions, they may have given up hope of driving legally ever again. However, a new law that went into effect this year opens up the possibility that even a four-time convicted drunk driver may have the opportunity to be on the road again.
Restricted Driving Permit Eligibility
The revised law aims to reward those that have exhibited good behavior and compliance with rehabilitative efforts following their most recent arrest. It also recognizes that unfortunately, many people with suspended licenses continue to drive anyway—there is hope that this new law will increase the amount of drivers legally, and safely, operating their vehicles on Illinois roads.
After a period of five years of license suspension and no additional convictions have elapsed, eligible offenders with up to four drunk driving convictions may be eligible for a restricted driving permit. At a minimum, the individual seeking the permit must demonstrate to the court through clear and convincing evidence that:
(1) they have not used drugs or alcohol within the last three years; and
(2) they have completed a rehabilitation program since their arrest
Demonstrating this may require a formal legal hearing and testimony from friends, colleagues, and family members regarding the status of the offender’s rehabilitative efforts.
Even if the restricted permit is issued, there are many rules accompanying this privilege. The driver will only be allowed to drive at certain times (largely during the day) for certain purposes (work, school, parenting responsibilities, etc.). Additionally, the driver must install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID), which monitors for the presence of alcohol on the driver’s breath before the vehicle will turn on and operate. The BAIID will require intermittent testing during the drive to ensure full compliance with the law as well. If the driver is eventually convicted of yet another DUI offense, the driver’s privileges will be revoked indefinitely. Regardless of the restrictions, however, this new law gives eligible DUI offenders new possibilities to move on from their past mistakes.