Protecting the public from drunk drivers is a matter of public safety. No one thinks that intoxicated motorists should be allowed to roam freely on Illinois roads. But the fact is that many drivers are convicted of driving under the influence because they have serious alcohol abuse problems for which they need help.
Sometimes these substance abuse problems can lead to a stunning number of charges and Illinois DUI convictions in a very short period of time. Even after finding sobriety, these individuals can face long-lasting consequences from their past problems that prevent them ever getting back on the road. For many years, the State of Illinois refused to allow its citizens any driving privileges after their fourth DUI conviction regardless of their rehabilitation efforts. A new law has finally changed that.
Illinois Restricted Driving Permits for Habitual DUI Offenders
To be sure, the new law that went into effect in 2016 does not go easy on those who have four or more DUI convictions. Obtaining renewed driving privileges is not as simple as going to the DMV and taking a test. And, technically, what the law provides for is not actually a full license, but rather is a restricted driving permit or "RDP."
To obtain a restricted driving permit, an individual who has previously been convicted of four or more DUIs will face an investigation by the State, must obtain affidavits establishing that he or she has been sober for at least three consecutive years, and must have completed state-approved rehabilitation. The application process can only begin five years after the last license revocation or date of release from incarceration. Furthermore, the permit only provides for driving during certain times and for certain purposes, such as going to and from work. The law also requires that an interlock ignition device is installed in the vehicle of the petitioner. The State estimates that the new law will make 5,000 people in the state of Illinois again eligible to drive if they meet the program’s requirements.
In many ways, the provisions are similar to the driving privileges defendants may receive while a DUI case is pending. And the new law also makes it easy to again lose driving privileges if the RDP conditions are not scrupulously followed. Any new DUI conviction will result in the permit being immediately revoked, and the individual will then be permanently barred for applying for a new permit.
It’s a welcome change to the law to see Illinois allow those who have turned their lives around one final opportunity to get back their driving privileges, but getting a restricted driving permit is not an easy process. The new law still puts quite a few obstacles in your path if you are looking to get back your driving privileges. If you need a restricted driving permit, you should speak with an experienced criminal law attorney who can guide you through the process. For more information, contact Barney & Hourihane today for a consultation about how you can obtain a restricted driving permit.