Martin & Kent, L.L.C. Martin & Kent, L.L.C.

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DUI bill will change some penalties

A bill pending in the Illinois state legislature would increase the penalties for a second DUI conviction by imposing a mandatory requirement for a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) to be installed on their vehicle. The bill would also require a BAIID for first time DUI offenders involved in accidents that result in severe injuries. And the bill would reduce some of the requirements for jail time for some DUI convictions where an ignition interlock is installed.

Illinois uses the BAIID as a means of protecting all drivers from repeat drunk drivers and as a way of helping those convicted of DUIs overcome their alcohol problem and stay employed or in school. One of the most damaging aspects of a DUI conviction with jail time is that it can cause an offender to lose their job.

When they complete their jail time, they are faced with the daunting prospect of finding a new job and put the lives back together. Often, however, while in jail they received little or no effective treatment for their substance abuse problem, and when they exit the criminal justice system, they still have their substance abuse issue and they are without a job.

Jail is not a substitute for an effective treatment program, and legislatures across the nation are beginning to recognize that punishment is not the answer.

Ignition interlocks are seen as a means of allowing offenders to safely drive to work or school, by prohibiting the driver from consuming alcohol before operating a vehicle. They require the driver to provide a breath sample when starting the car and at random points while driving.

The costs of these ignition interlocks are imposed on the driver, and run about $110 a month, and the driver pays the installation cost. The BAIID system is not flawless, and there are costs for law enforcement to monitor the output. Nonetheless, it is less expensive than incarceration and provides many drivers with a second chance.

Source: cyberdriveillinois.com, "Jesse White’s Comprehensive Drunk Driving Legislation Approved by House," May 26, 2015

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