Chicago is one of the harshest places when it comes to DUI penalties. You won’t just get a suspended license — you’ll also get a mark on your permanent record that won’t go away without a Governor’s pardon. While you can’t do anything about your history, you can get back behind the wheel as long as you fulfill specific requirements.
Before you even consider applying for a special driving permit, you might want to see if you can cover the cost of your car’s insurance. You’ll need to switch to SR-22 automobile insurance. This insurance covers high-risk individuals and usually applies to those with DUI convictions.
Since you blatantly disregarded your safety and the safety of others, the state will require you to pay higher premiums. An SR-22 insurance policy will cost you around $2,000 per year, and you will need to maintain this policy for at least 3-5 years.
If you fail in even one of your payments, the Illinois Driver Services Department will be immediately notified and your driving privilege and car registration will be suspended. Once enough time has passed and your records remain clean, you can ask the courts to allow you to switch to your original insurance policy.
A Breathalyzer Lock in Your Vehicle
In order to start driving, you’ll need to apply for a Monitored Device Driving Permit. This permit requires you to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) in your car and any other vehicle that you plan on using. BAIIDs connect to your vehicle’s ignition system, preventing your vehicle from starting without a successful Breathalyzer test.
The Breathalyzer unit is typically mounted underneath the dashboard of your vehicle, and a complete installation of a BAIID can cost around $200. BAIIDs need constant maintenance — usually costing $60-$80 a month. BAIIDs have prevented more than 2 million drunken car starts since their introduction, a testament to their efficacy in preventing DUI incidents from happening. Though it can be inconvenient, a BAIID in your vehicle will serve as a firm reminder of your transgression and prevent you from acquiring subsequent DUI violations.
Steps You Can Take to Prevent a DUI Conviction
DUI convictions require arresting officers to probable cause for flagging you down and administering a Breathalyzer test. Even if your blood alcohol level is through the roof, officers can’t flag you down if you are not driving haphazardly.
One way to prevent this by is installing a dashcam in your car. A dashcam will give the judge a clear insight on how you were driving before you were pulled over by police officers, preventing overzealous cops from targeting you just because they saw you exiting a bar. A DUI lawyer can also provide you with adequate representation and guide you through court proceedings if ever you choose to go to trial. However, the surest way to avoid a DUI is not to drink and drive.
Even with a DUI conviction, you can still drive. You’ll need a special permit, a Breathalyzer in your car, and expensive car insurance, but you deserve all that for putting yourself and others in danger.