Illinois has required Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (BAIID) for some years. Since 2009, even first-time offenses triggered the requirement. The Illinois Secretary of State, which administers the program, recently proposed several changes. More DUI offenders would be subject to the requirement and those driving without the devices could face jail time.

A BAIID-equipped vehicle requires the driver to provide a breath sample before starting the vehicle. If a driver has a blood alcohol content of .025 or higher, the device will not allow the car to start. One of the proposals would send a report of the failed tests to the secretary of state’s office. Failures would be grounds for extending the length of time required to utilize the device.

Tougher penalties, if driving without the device

The ignition interlock device can become costly. Initial installation runs approximately $100 with continuing monthly charges of about $110. A payment plan may help to defray the costs. Another option to avoid a license suspension or ignition interlock requirement in some cases may be to appeal the driver’s license suspension.

For those who do not install the system and continue to drive on a suspended license stiffer penalties could become a reality in the near future. According to law enforcement, the increased penalties would be a greater incentive to install the system.

Photographic evidence of who provided the sample

A proposal closer to becoming law would require that the BAIID include a digital camera, which could snap a picture of the person providing the sample. Currently, some worry the system is open to manipulation and a sober passenger might help a driver start a vehicle. It is unclear how often this actually occurs though.

A database would store the photo evidence. If a driver later claimed that someone else had taken the vehicle and failed the test, the photo evidence would show who blew into the device.

The Secretary of State’s Office requested that the Joint Committee of the Administrative Rules change the law to include a camera requirement. The proposal will still need to move through the Illinois General Assembly. If the measure becomes law, Illinois will be the sixth state nationwide to require ignition interlock cameras.

Any DUI charge comes with the potential for serious penalties if you are convicted. Conviction even for a first-time offense may include jail time, fines, court fees, license suspension and community service. Following an impaired driving stop, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.