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The January 1, 2016 law that allowed DUI drivers to avoid the "hard time" suspension period has serious practical application flaws. Read this to best prepare yourself in such a case.

Brian L. Polinske
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Edwardsville Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer

As of January 1, 2016 Illinois allows DUI drivers to avoid the first 30 day period of suspension called "hard time".  The new law allows a person to avoid the "hard time" if they fill out and mail in their MDDP application and get the BAIID installed prior to the first day of the Statutory Summary Suspension.  On paper it looks like a great idea.  And it can be a great option if the driver moves extremely quickly to begin the process.  Waiting more than a week or two may actually result in the driver NOT being able to drive on the first date of their suspension.  

Procedurally, the SSS takes effect on the 46th day following their receipt of the notice of suspension.  Most times the notice date is the same date the person is arrested (if there is no chemical test).  If a person wishes to apply for the MDDP (permit to drive) they have to install a BAIID (Breath Alchol Ignition Interlock Device) prior to the permit being valid.  The driver will receive notification from the Secretary of State in the mail about 2.5 weeks after their arrest.  The confirmation of suspension is mailed to them along with the MDDP form.  The MDDP form is filled out and mailed to the Secretary of State who in return mails back a permit to drive.  The SOS takes 3-4 weeks to process the information.  Simple math results in a determination that the process of receiving the confirmation (2.5 weeks) added to the MDDP processing time (3-4 weeks) may take up to 6.5 weeks.  The suspension begins 6 weeks after the notice / arrest of the driver.  In order to benefit from this new law the driver must assume that they will not prevail in attacking their SSS before they receive any discovery in the case or have a chance to review the dash cam video.  They must send in their payment to the Secretary of State prior to any meaningful review of the paperwork with their attorney.  They must effectively agree to pay the fees and forfeit the money to the State if they do in fact negotiate or win at hearing the rescission of the SSS.  

Obviously, it is of great benefit to a person subjected to the DUI suspension to be able to drive on the very first day of the suspension.  The new law allows that.  The new law also creates a very quickly moving timeline that must be adhered to should the driver wish to benefit from this new ability to drive as soon as possible.  The new law in reality will cost the average driver an additional amount of money ($180.00 or $360.00) representing forfeited SOS MDDP fees should they negotiate or prevail at an SSS hearing.  Given the benefit of being able to drive for an additional money it seems like money well spent.  However, this is a consideration that all attorneys should discuss with their clients charged with a DUI.  

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