The Illinois 5-Year BAIID Law

Effective January 1, 2016, the Secretary of State began to enforce a new law requiring that revoked drivers with 2 or more DUI convictions who were granted a restricted driving permit (RDP) after an administrative hearing, drive on a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) for a period of 5-years before applying for full reinstatement.

Unfortunately, the Secretary of State made the decision to apply this law retroactively. As a result, applicants whose DUIs occurred before the effective date of the new law and, in many cases years, decades earlier, are subject to the new law, only because they failed to apply before the change in the law went into effect.

Many of our clients have asked for the reasoning is behind the law. The law was proposed by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM), which claimed that a study they had found demonstrated that until a person drives successfully for at least 5-years on a BAIID device, the chances that the person will return to abusive drinking is unacceptably high. However, further investigation demonstrates that the study relied on by AAIM says nothing of the sort.

The study only said that a person needed to be sober or abstinent for at least 5-years to be considered a good risk. The study based its analysis on a grand total of 56 people. Furthermore, the study had nothing to do with driving on a BAIID device.

Because the law is being applied to persons whose DUIs occurred years or decades earlier, in many cases by the time the person comes before the Secretary of State, he or she has many years of abstinence or a non-problematic drinking pattern. As a result, the supposed reasoning behind a 5-year BAIID requirement has absolutely no application to him or her. Nevertheless, they are forced into the program if they want to drive.

In some cases, the driver previously held a RDP that was cancelled or allowed to lapse and the person never obtained full reinstatement. Now, under a new policy announced by the Secretary of State, if the person obtained the RDP as the result of a hearing held before January 1, 2016 and successfully drove on the RDP before it was cancelled or expired, they may be exempt from the 5-year BAIID requirement.

Also, drivers should be aware that under certain circumstances, relatively new Secretary of State rules will allow drivers subject to the 5-year BAIID RDP law to drive for any reason, rather than being limited to work, school, etc.

Attorney Larry A. Davis of The Davis Law Group, P.C. serves on the legislative sub-committee of the Illinois State Bar Association’s (ISBA) Traffic Laws and Courts Section Council. The ISBA is actively working on legislative solutions to the current law. If you have questions about applying for driving relief before the Secretary of State or the application of the 5-year BAIID, please contact us to discuss your specific case. Our driver’s license attorneys have assisted thousands of clients across the country.

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