Driving under the influence is a serious crime in Illinois, punishable by serious penalties. Even a first offense can result in up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. Not only this, but a first offense can result in a minimum suspension of your driving privileges for a full year. These penalties and consequences can wreak havoc on your life: if you cannot drive, how will you get to work, buy groceries, or get your family members where they need to go?
Recognizing the severe consequences that even a first conviction for driving under the influence can bring, Illinois allows certain individuals to apply for a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP). Are you eligible for a MDDP? How do you apply for one? What special conditions must you comply with? Read on to learn more.
Eligibility for Monitoring Device Driving Permit
Just because you were convicted of driving under the influence does not mean you are automatically entitled to a MDDP. Only those who meet the following eligibility requirements may receive a monitoring device driving permit. The driver must:
- Be over 18 years of age;
- Be a first-time DUI offender, not previously convicted of DUI or assigned to court supervision in Illinois, and not convicted of a DUI in another state within the last five years;
- Not have received a previous statutory summary suspension;
- Have an otherwise valid driver’s license;
- Have been convicted of a DUI not resulting in death or great bodily harm to another;
- Have not been previously convicted of reckless homicide or aggravated DUI that resulted in death;
- Not operate a commercial vehicle while using a MDDP, if the driver is a commercial driver’s license holder.
Process for Obtaining a MDDP
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can obtain a MDDP by completing the following steps:
- Complete the MDDP application you receive in the mail and return it to the Secretary of State’s office;
- You will be told of the required fees that must be paid. Average fees include
- $8 permit fee;
- Approximately $85.00 for installation costs;
- Approximately $80.00 per month for rental fees;
- Approximately $30.00 per month in monitoring fees; and
- Approximately $100.00 to de-install the device once the applicable period is over.
- Once your MDDP is issued, you must get a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed by an approved vendor within 14 days. A list of certified BAIID vendors in Illinois can be found here.
Important Facts about MDDP and BAIID
Keep in mind the following facts about how the BAIID works:
- You will only be permitted to drive a vehicle installed with a BAIID.
- You must provide a breath sample into the BAIID before the device will allow you to start your car. You will also have to provide samples at random intervals as you drive.
- Anyone driving the car must use the BAIID. That is, if you have an MDDP and your spouse wants to use your vehicle, your spouse will need to provide breath samples into the BAIID as well. Also, you, the holder of the MDDP, are responsible for all data recorded by the BAIID. You will be found in violation of the MDDP program if you let someone else drive and that person has alcohol on his or her breath.
- A work exemption exists and can be applied for if you need to drive a vehicle for work and the vehicle is not specifically assigned to you. The exemption would allow you to drive the employer’s car even though it is not equipped with a BAIID. The work exemption is not available for self-employed individuals, those who work for a business owned by a family member, or if your employer allows you to use a company vehicle for personal use or allows you to take the vehicle home at night.
Consequences for Driving With Alcohol on Your Breath with a MDDP
What happens if you get a MDDP, get a BAIID installed, and try to drive while there is still alcohol in your system? It depends on how many times this has occurred. Information from your BAIID is downloaded every 60 days by the Secretary of State’s office. If the Secretary of State’s office finds a violation – that is, a time in which alcohol was detected by the BAIID – you will be contacted by the Secretary of State’s office to provide an explanation of the violation.
If you do not respond to the request for an explanation – or if the Secretary of State’s office finds your explanation insufficient – you may find that the mandatory one-year period of suspension is extended by three months per violation.
If you commit three violations/extensions while on the MDDP, your car may be impounded for at least 30 days. Four violations/extensions may cause your car to be seized and forfeited.
Opting Out of the MDDP Program
Whether you participate in the MDDP program is up to you. If you choose not to, however, the judge will have you complete an opt-out form in front of him or her during one of your court appearances for your DUI ticket. If you do opt out, you cannot drive a motor vehicle; doing so is a Class 4 felony punishable by up to 3 years of imprisonment, a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service, and up to $25,000 in fines.
If you have been charged with DUI in Illinois, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you lessen the impact of some of the legal consequences. For instance, a criminal defense attorney may be able to keep your license from being suspended, help defend you against the DUI ticket, and help you complete the MDDP Program successfully. Contact criminal defense attorney JohnPaul Ivec at Ivec Law, P.C. today at (815) 439-9909 for a free consultation; or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.