Illinois residents lose their driver’s licenses for six months after being convicted of DUI for the first time, but they may seek to have their driving privileges reinstated after 31 days by obtaining a Monitoring Device Driving Permit. Obtaining a MDDP involves installing an ignition interlock device, and Illinois also requires cameras that are used to ensure that breath samples are provided by the offender and not a friend, relative or acquaintance.

Approximately 12,000 Illinois residents currently have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles, and the technology is monitored by the Secretary of State’s office. The devices automatically send out an alert when they are tampered with or individuals attempt to drive after consuming alcohol. Those convicted of drunk driving may seek to circumvent the program by driving another vehicle, but doing this can result in Class 4 felony charges.

Offenders are expected to pay all of the costs involved in acquiring, fitting and monitoring ignition interlock devices. These include an $85 installation fee charged by authorized vendors, an $80 monthly rental fee and monthly monitoring fees of $30. Monthly monitoring fees are paid upfront to the Secretary of State’s office and are not refundable. The devices work in a similar way to the roadside breath testing equipment used by police officers, and they prevent vehicles from starting when blood alcohol levels of .025 or above are detected.

Experienced DUI attorneys will likely to support programs that allow offenders who have not been in trouble with the law previously to continue to earn a living. However, they may have questions about the reliability of ignition interlock devices. Many prescription medications and over-the-counter products either contain alcohol or have been shown to produce unreliable blood alcohol readings, and this may be of particular concern when the BAC level required to trigger official action is only .025 percent.