Failure to Log DUI Arrests Allows Offenders to Keep Driving

A Tribune investigation revealed that the driver’s licenses of thousands of drunk drivers have not been suspended because the arrests of these drivers are not being logged into state computers. While state officials blame the police for failing to send their reports to the Illinois Secretary of State, the police departments say that they put all necessary paperwork in the mail. While the root of the problem is relatively unclear, the Tribune noted that the mistakes appear to be widespread. In fact, since 2010, more than 3,000 Chicago area drivers’ arrests were not logged and as many as one in 15 DUI defendants do not have suspended licenses in DuPage County.

Police in other states are permitted to log arrests electronically, making the process more efficient and reliable. However, Illinois has not yet made this change and does not expect to for at least a year or likely longer.

In Illinois, the suspension process begins with paper forms that the officers fill out by hand which are mailed to a state office building in Springfield. The state workers then enter the information into the computer, which requires deciphering the officers’ handwriting. There are many opportunities for mistakes to occur, such as the use of improper forms, forms getting lost in the mail or in Springfield and illegible handwriting.

After the Tribune investigation revealed these mistakes, a Secretary of State spokesman said that the agency will send a letter this week to all police departments to remind them that the law requires police to fill out and mail in their forms.

State will press cops to avoid DUI paperwork errors, March 3, 2015, www.chicagotribune.com
DUI paperwork mistakes allow thousands of drivers back on Illinois Roads, February 28, 2015, www.chicagotribune.com

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