Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill on Thursday that would allow drivers with multiple drunk driving convictions to apply for a restricted driving permit if they can provide “clear and convincing evidence” that they have not used drugs or alcohol within the past three years.
Illinois law states that anyone convicted of four DUIs will automatically forfeit their driver’s license. They still have the ability to earn it back, but it won’t be easy. Under the old law, a repeat offender could apply for a restricted license and earn the ability to apply for an unrestricted license after 12 months of clean driving. The new law makes it harder for someone to earn back their unrestricted license.
In order for multiple DUI offenders to get their unrestricted license reinstated, they must:
- Apply for a restricted license, showing that they have been sober and drug free for at least three years prior to application.
- Install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for at least five years.
- Have the restricted driving permit for five years without suspension, cancellation or revocation prior to applying for an unrestricted license.
In short, a person has to wait three years to apply for a restricted permit, then they must drive with an ignition interlock and avoid any other citations that would revoke their restricted license for a period of five years before they could apply for an unrestricted license.
Some people have criticized Gov. Rauner’s decision to sign the bill, calling him soft on DUI offenders, but those people are misinformed. As you can see, the new law actually makes it harder for a person with multiple DUIs to get an unrestricted license. Prior to the law, a person with a restricted license only needed to wait a year before they could apply for an unrestricted license.
The main reason Gov. Rauner signed the bill is because of Caitlin Weese, a 17-year-old who was killed just weeks shy of her 18th birthday by a drunk driver. The driver who killed Weese was later released and again picked up for drunk driving, and Weese’s family thought it was too easy for their daugther’s killer to get back behind the wheel. They pushed for the tougher restrictions.
“Our ultimate goal was to stop this from happening to another family, and with the law that went into effect today, there’s a better chance that it won’t happen to another family,” said Caitlin’s stepfather, Joel Mains.
Related source: NW Herald