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First time DUI offenders in Illinois can now get back behind the wheel more quickly -- as long as they use a breath alcohol ignition interlocking device. Like many states, Illinois has previously required ignition interlock devices for some repeat DUI offenders. Now, however, first time offenders can begin driving up to a year before they normally would by using the device.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, about 40,000 of the 50,000 DUI arrests each year are first offenders.
Normally, those convicted of DUI for the first time in Illinois have their license suspended for 6 months if they submitted to a breathalyzer test when arrested, or 12 months if they refused the breathalyzer.
Now, if they wish to drive during this time, they must install and use an ignition interlock device, with the judge to determine how long.
These devices work by not allowing the car to start unless the driver blows less than a 0.05 blood alcohol level. The device mandated by Illinois also requires the driver to blow again during the drive -- to hopefully insure that it was the driver who blew to start the car.
Many states give judges the discretion to require an interlock device for first time DUI offenders. Some states, like Illinois, are beginning to make it mandatory for all first time offenders who want exceptions to the normal DUI license suspension.
One potential hurdle to opting for Illinois' device is cost: $100 to install plus $110 per month to rent it and have the state monitor it.
According to an attorney quoted by the Tribune, there is also the embarrassment factor, with some finding it humiliating to have it on their car. Many, however, will no doubt find that the ability to get around outweighs any embarrassment factor.