New Law Would Allow Rehabilitated DUI Offenders To Regain Driving Privileges

Suspended LicenseA new bill proposed by Democratic Representative Elaine Nekritz would allow rehabilitated DUI offenders in Illinois to apply for a restricted driving permit if they meet all the requirements.

Some residents may be resistant to let repeat DUI offenders back on the road, but the proposal outlines numerous guidelines with which applicants must follow in order to be eligible to drive. According to the bill:

  • Applicants must permanently install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, which prohibits the car from starting if alcohol is detected; and
  • Applicants would only be able to drive during certain hours and to certain destinations, like school, work or church.

As it currently stands, Illinois residents who have three DUI convictions on their record can apply for the above restricted driving privileges, but a license is permanently revoked if a driver has four DUI convictions. The new law would extend the above conditions to any driver with four DUI convictions.

Examining The Proposal

There are many drivers in Illinois who have or are at risk of having their license suspended or permanently revoked because of a DUI-related offenses. A DUI suspension is known as a statutory summary suspension (“SSS”). Being non-criminal in nature, an SSS is not dependent upon a conviction.

A DUI-related revocation is the withdrawal of driving privileges for a period of 1, 5 or 10 years following a conviction. At the end of that specified period, the restoration of an offender’s driving privileges are contingent upon a successful hearing before the Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois licensing authority.

Current laws state that a driver with four DUIs or more will have his or her driving privileges revoked indefinitely. While these are serious offenses, is it appropriate to punish these individuals for the rest of their lives for these mistakes?

Multiple DUI offenses can be a strong indicator that a person is dealing with an addiction to alcohol. Many of these individuals are in need of substance abuse counseling and rehab. Oftentimes, many individuals are able to get the help they need and turn their lives around, yet they are still unable to get their driving privileges back, which can significantly impact their daily lives.

This proposed bill would allow rehabilitated drivers to apply for a restrictive driving permit. The permit would allow them to drive under limited circumstances and only after their vehicles are equipped with breathalyzer ignition devices. It should also be noted that no application for a restrictive driving permit can be made until five years after the revocation took effect or five years following the applicant’s release from incarceration. Additionally, the petitioner would be required to demonstrate a minimum of three consecutive years of being completely alcohol and drug free immediately prior to the hearing.

These individuals will be required to meet other requirements of the Secretary of State. Moreover, they must show that they have some sort of hardship which could be the need to go to school, get to work to support their family, or attend medical appointments. Finally, the Secretary of State can only issue a restrictive driving permit, not a full license, and the driver would only be allowed to operate the vehicle that is equipped with an interlock device.

I will keep my eyes on this proposal, as I believe it has enough caveats to ensure only rehabilitated offenders will have the chance to pursue limited driving rights.

Related source: Fox Illinois

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