Illinois has a great reputation for strong DUI laws. Last year the state expanded ignition interlock access for more DUI offenders than ever. This year Illinois continued that expansion policy, but this time focusing on those offenders who may have a habitual problem: four-time DUI offenders. As of January 1, 2017, a 4th Illinois DUI conviction is a felony with a lifetime interlock requirement.
Prior to 2017, four Illinois DUI convictions resulted in a license revocation for the rest of the offender’s life. There was a small chance of obtaining a restricted license after that revocation:
In 2016, the law read: “A person whose driver’s license has been revoked for life as the result of 4 DUI convictions may apply for a Restricted Driving Permit after serving a 5-year revocation and proving a minimum of 3 years of abstinence. The person may only drive vehicles that have been equipped with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device.”
The problem with that scenario is that it didn’t take into account that a DUI offender could still drive illegally and without an ignition interlock. So Illinois decided to step up its laws again.
Now a felony DUI offender with four or more convictions has a mandatory lifetime ignition interlock requirement on top of a felony criminal record. That means the offender will be monitored closely to ensure they install and maintain an interlock, reducing the chances that they will drive illegally and possibly intoxicated, ever again.
It goes without saying that any DUI is entirely preventable and that we should all have a plan to get home if we will be out drinking. Unfortunately, we all make mistakes that can lead into a DUI. Perhaps with the stronger Illinois DUI law, we’ll try even harder to make sure we never drive if we’ve been drinking and help our friends make the same choices.