Permit to Drive During Summary Suspension

I got a DUI in Illinois and my license is suspended. Can I get a permit to drive during the suspension?

by Sami Azhari on February 6, 2010

State law provides that when a person is arrested for DUI and either blows over the legal limit of 0.08 (blood alcohol) or refuses to take a breath test, his or her driver’s license will be suspended. The suspension is called a statutory summary suspension because it is mandated by statute and summary in nature. Summary means that the suspension will take effect on the 46th day after the arrest without a hearing. (The process to challenge the suspension is called a petition to rescind, and is explained elsewhere on this site.)

During the summary suspension, a driver may be eligible for a special permit to drive. The law provides the defendant with a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) if the driver installs a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in the vehicle and meets additional qualifications.

First, the driver must be at least 18 years old to receive the MDDP. If younger than 18, no MDDP is available.

Second, the person’s driver’s license must be valid. It cannot be suspended or revoked for any reason. (If the person’s license is expired, theoretically he could go to the Secretary of State and renew the license before the first court date. This issue is sticky because the Secretary of State will not renew a license if the license has been seized by the officer as bond for a DUI or traffic matter. The author has known clients to get renewed before the court date, though.)

Third, the driver must be a first-time offender under the summary suspension law. To be clear, a first offender for purposes of the summary suspension is a different issue than a first offender for DUI. You could be a first offender for the summary suspension even though this is your second DUI arrest. The reason is, the first offender for the summary suspension is a person who has had:

  1. no previous summary suspension,
  2. no conviction for DUI,
  3. no supervision for DUI, and
  4. no out-of-state conviction for DUI

within the the last five (5) years.  Therefore, if your last DUI arrest was more than five years ago,  then you should qualify as a first offender.

There are other restrictions for an MDDP which arise less frequently. For example, the defendant must not be charged with aggravated DUI resulting in death or great bodily harm. Also, the defendant is not eligible for an MDDP if he or she was previously found guilty of reckless homicide or aggravated DUI resulting in death.

A commercial driver’s license (CDL) will get cancelled for a summary suspension for a minimum of one year for a first summary suspension and permanently for a second. That person’s non-commercial driver’s license will also be suspended, but eligible for an MDDP as well.

The bad news: for all drivers, the MDDP will not be effective until the 31st day of the summary suspension.

Getting arrested for DUI is a serious matter. You must retain qualified counsel at the earliest opportunity.

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