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

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