Wednesday, January 14, 2009


As of January 1, 2009, Illinois has a new system for permitting first time DUI offenders to drive. The Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) allows a qualified driver more leeway than the old system, but involves a new set of rules and costs.

Prior to this year, first time DUI offenders could request a Judicial Driving Permit in order to drive to work. The permit outlined specific routes and times to drive. The new MDDP allows a driver to use the car at any time and drive anywhere once a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) is installed.

When you are charged with a DUI, the Secretary of State automatically suspends your driver’s license for a certain period. The new law has doubled these time periods. Your license is suspended for 6 months if you do take the breathalyzer and 12 months if you don’t. Please keep in mind that an experienced attorney may be able to fight a driving suspension, and that if you have been drinking, you will have a greater chance of winning your case if you refuse the breathalyzer.

To qualify for an MDDP, you must be a first offender for a DUI with no previous conviction or supervision for DUI within the last five years. You must be at least 18 years old and have an otherwise valid driver’s license. Your DUI must not have resulted in death or great bodily harm and you cannot be previously convicted of reckless homicide or aggravated DUI involving death.

Once the Judge approves your MDDP, you must pay to have the BAIID installed on your car. You must then pay up to $30 per month to the Secretary of State for administration. The entire Secretary of State fee is due up front. Then you must pay a private company for installation at an average cost of $150 with average monthly fees of $115.

The BAIID operates like a portable breathalyzer machine. You must blow into the BAIID before starting the car. The BAIID analyzes your alcohol level and will not let you start the car unless you are below .025. (The legal limit in Illinois is .08) The BAIID records its activity.

The BAIID also requires that you perform a retest at random intervals. If you fail the retest while driving, your car will begin honking repeatedly to alert law enforcement. The car also honks if you tamper with the BAIID.

Other rules include taking your BAIID-car for retesting within 5 days upon notice and at least every 30 days, or you will be permanently locked out. You must keep a journal of problems with using the BAIID including any failures to pass a test or retest.

If you have any question about the new rules, feel free to contact me or another attorney. You can reach me at or call 847-568-0160. Also see our related DUI blog at


You are sitting in an empty parking lot late at night when a police car pulls up behind you. The officer says he needs to ask you a few questions. You start worrying about that joint you hid in your wallet or that open beer bottle under your seat. You just want to leave. Can you?

The police can make three types of stops. The first type involves the polices’ community caretaking function. An officer can ask you to voluntarily cooperate in giving information. The officer need not have a specific basis to stop you. However, you need not answer any questions, and you can walk away.

The second type is an investigatory stop. Now, the officer must have a reasonable and articulable suspicion of wrongdoing at the time he or she made the stop. The officer cannot act on a hunch and cannot justify the stop after the fact just because illegal activity was discovered. This type of stop must be brief and non-intrusive. You may still refuse to answer any questions and you are still free to go.

The third type of stop is a seizure or detention under the Fourth Amendment. In other words, you are no longer free to leave. Before seizing you, the police must have probable cause to believe you have commited a crime.

If you are ever stopped by the police, ask them “Am I free to go?” If the answer is no, then you have been seized and the police must have probable cause to detain you. The police may indicate that you have been detained in some other fashion: They may block your car. They may activate their signal lights. They may use physical force.

If you do get detained, my advice is to stay calm. Do not consent to a search of your car or personal effects. Also, do not answer any questions. You may think you are explaining your way out of a situation only to dig yourself deeper into a hole. If you are arrested, you should immediately request an attorney. Feel free to contact me at or 847-568-0160.

See our related DUI blog at