Illinois Ignition Interlock Requirements

In Illinois, driving under the influence is a very serious crime. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 10,000 people are killed in drunk driving accidents every year. To protect the safety of everyone on the road, a DUI conviction involves harsh penalties such as fines, license suspension and the use of an ignition interlock device (IID). These penalties are meant to dissuade drivers from getting behind the wheel while under the influence, but they are also incredibly unfair to people wrongly accused of the offense.

Being accused of driving under the influence can have a tremendous impact on every aspect of your life. Both your personal and professional life may suffer. Fortunately, there may be ways for you to avoid a DUI conviction. Chicago DUI lawyer Michael O’Meara has over 20 years of experience, with some of it as a prosecutor. A skilled and dedicated advocate, attorney O’Meara will give your case the thorough and results-oriented approach it deserves.

To learn more about the defense of your DUI case, call 312-909-0706 for a free consultation.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An IID is a device that is installed in your car and requires you to blow into it before you can start your engine. The device may also include a camera to determine the identity of the person taking the test. If, when you blow into it, the device determines that you have alcohol in your breath, your vehicle will be locked and will not start for a period of time. You may retest after a certain amount of time. However, the device also records attempts to drive the vehicle while intoxicated.

Like breathalyzer tests, IIDs can be inaccurate. If you’ve taken certain medications or recently used mouthwash, the IID may detect alcohol on your breath when you’ve not been drinking. This would result in your inability to drive a vehicle even though you are not intoxicated.

IIDs can be costly to install and maintain. Many private companies offer the devices, and installation and rental fees can cost thousands of dollars. Regular maintenance and calibration are required for the equipment to work properly. Maintenance can cost hundreds.

Who is Required to Use an Ignition Interlock Device?

In the state of Illinois, there are an estimated 12,000 drivers who are required to use a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID). Many of those people have been convicted of a DUI. When you get convicted of DUI, part of your sentence will always involve a statutory summary license suspension. This period may be as little as six months for a first-time conviction up to lifetime revocation of driving privileges for a sixth or subsequent conviction. In some cases, your may be granted relief that allows you to engage in essential driving activities, such as going to and from work. This is typical with first-time offenders or those who prove that they need limited driving privileges. If you qualify for these limited driving privileges, you will likely be required to install a BAIID in your vehicle at your own expense.

A BAIID is also required for people who obtain a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) after a second or third DUI conviction. However, unlike the penalties assigned for first-time offenders, the conditions of having temporary driving privileges are harsh. For example, anyone with an RDP is required to have an ignition interlock installed on their vehicle for no less than five years.

Declining an Ignition Interlock Device

After being convicted of DUI, it is possible to decline the use of an ignition interlock. However, this means that you will have to refrain from driving your vehicle during the lengthy suspension period. If you get caught driving without a license, you will face criminal charges. During this time, the penalties for an additional DUI are severe. Being arrested for driving under the influence with a suspended license is a Class 4 felony, with penalties including devastating fines and years spent in prison. Tampering with a BAIID device can also lead to a felony conviction in Illinois.

Let Michael O’Meara Protect Your Rights

To avoid the expense and hassle of installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, seek the help of an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney. A lawyer will be able to employ a number of defenses on your behalf. It may be possible to prove, for example, that your rights were violated at the time of your arrest. Maybe the police pulled you over without a valid reason, or perhaps you were subjected to an illegal vehicle search. In such cases, your lawyer can request the suppression of the prosecution’s evidence.

Chicago DUI attorney Michael O’Meara is dedicated to protecting your interests as you face the criminal justice system. When you are put on trial, it can seem as if the whole world is against you, especially if you do not have proper legal representation. Attorney O’Meara can guide you through every step of the process, and help ensure that you get the best-case outcome possible.

If you want to learn more about how you can avoid a DUI conviction, call 312-909-0706 now for a free case consultation.