An article in this month’s Illinois Bar Journal highlights the legislative accomplishments of the Traffic Laws Section of the Illinois State Bar Association. The Traffic Laws Section, including attorney Larry A. Davis, assisted in advancing several key pieces of DUI-related legislation this year. The article, written by Ed Finkel, discusses the changes to the lifetime revocation law and removal of ‘hard times’ related to MDDPs/DUI Statutory Summary Suspensions as well as Restricted Driving Permits (RDPs). The article also explains the desired reforms to the marijuana ‘trace’ law related to DUI, which was amendatorily vetoed by Governor Rauner.

A link to the full article is available here: Keeping the Road Safe and the Law Sane

On January 1, 2016, significant changes to Illinois DUI law will become effective. These changes to the lifetime revocation laws, RDP/MDDP laws, and BAIID Requirements have been described as the biggest reforms to DUI law in a decade.

Attorney Samuel Partida, Jr. invited Larry Davis to come onto his podcast to discuss these major changes in DUI law. Full audio of the interview is available at the link below:

Podcast available here!

On August 26, 2015, Public Act 099-0467, eliminating statutory hard times, was signed into law by Governor Rauner. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. John D’Amico and will become effective January 1, 2016.

The legislation eliminates all ‘hard times’ under current law. Simply put, these are statutory periods during which a driver could not obtain relief from certain periods of a statutory summary suspension (‘SSS’) or DUI revocation. This includes:

1. First offender SSS – Drivers will be eligible for a Monitored Device Driving Permit (MDDP) from day 1 of the suspension (currently cannot obtain a permit until the 31st day of the SSS);

2. Second offender SSS – Drivers will be eligible to apply for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) from day 1 of the suspension (currently cannot obtain any driving privileges during the entire length of the suspension – generally ranging from a period of 1-3 years). Additionally, drivers with extensions of these suspensions due to convictions for driving while suspended will also be able to apply for a RDP (currently not eligible to apply);

3. Individuals with 5-year and 10-year revocations will now be able to apply for a RDP from day 1 of the revocation (currently unable to apply for the first year of the revocation);

Attorney Larry A. Davis assisted in drafting the legislation.

On August 6, 2015, Public Act 099-0290, changing the lifetime revocation law, was signed into law by the Governor Rauner. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Elaine Nekritz.

Previously, Illinois law prohibited anyone with 4 or more DUI convictions from obtaining driving privileges (with the last arrest occurring on or after 1/1/99). This meant that if you had been convicted of driving under the influence 4 or more times, the Illinois Secretary of State imposed a lifetime revocation of your driving privileges.

Illinois law now allows these individuals to apply for a restricted driving permit (i.e. work permit) through an administrative hearing with the Secretary of State under certain limited conditions. These individuals are eligible to apply for driving relief after a five-year period from the later of the date of the last order of revocation or release from incarceration. The person must have three-years of abstinence, complete all required treatment and otherwise meet all requirements set forth by the Secretary of State. The law does not allow full reinstatement for Illinois residents.

Out-of-state residents are able to apply for full reinstatement after a period of ten years from the date of the last order of revocation. Of course, there are additional requirements that must be met.

On behalf of the Illinois State Bar Association, Attorney Larry A. Davis drafted the legislation and led negotiations to allow persons who have rehabilitated their lives to finally apply for driving relief.

Rauner signs bill to let four-time DUI offenders get restricted permit,, August 6, 2015

Federal officials have announced a new technology that they say could put an end to DUIs. The technology would automatically register the level of alcohol in the bloodstream of the driver, either by a passive set of breath sensors or touch sensitive contact-points on a starter button or gear-shift. It would prevent a driver from starting their car if the blood-alcohol content is above the legal limit. The technology is expected to start appearing in cars in five to eight years but the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said he would like to see the technology in use even sooner.

It has not been determined whether there will be a federal mandate for the devices in all new vehicles and the estimated cost per vehicle is about $150-$200. Researchers are working on how to package the technology for the passive set of sensors inside the car. They have figured out how to package the touch sensitive contact points and are now working to ensure accuracy. It is expected that touch-based sensors would be put into production sooner than the passive set of breath sensors.

New technology could put an end to drunken driving, officials say, June 4, 2015,

The decision to decriminalize possession of marijuana in Illinois is now in the hands of Governor Bruce Rauner. The new legislation has passed the House and the Senate despite some Republican opposition. The legislation would fine individuals $55 to $125 for possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana and any record of the ticket would be expunged after six months.

Rauner, who supports prison reform, has an opportunity to make progress on his goal of reducing the prison population by 25 percent in 10 years. However, there has been no indication from the Governor’s Office of whether he will sign the bill into law.

There is some debate over whether this bill would actually decrease the prison population. Rauner’s prison and sentencing reform task force showed there would not be a significant impact on prison populations because individuals charged with such small amount of marijuana are rarely sentenced to prison.

Decision to decriminalize pot in Illinois lies in Gov. Rauner’s hands, June 3, 2015,
Pot decriminalization decision in Illinois in Rauner’s hands, June 3, 2015,

To listen, CLICK HERE

House Bill 218, co-drafted by Larry A. Davis, has now passed both the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. This bill will make possession up to 15 grams of cannabis punishable by fine only (up to $125.00). Additionally the bill eliminates cannabis from 11-501(a)(6), commonly referred to as the ‘trace DUI law’ which, until now, has allowed prosecutions for DUI without proof of impairment.

The new DUI provision (11-501(a)(7)) creates a per se level for cannabis impairment (15 ng/ml of whole blood and 25 ng/ml of other bodily substances). The cannabis found must be the active metabolite and testing must be performed within two hours of driving. While the science for cannabis impairment is sorely lacking, the whole blood level of 15ng/ml is three times the limit of any other State.

Today, we are pleased to announce that HB1446 passed both the Illinois House and Senate and will now be sent to the Governor for signature. We have worked hard on this issue for the last four years. This law will allow drivers who have turned their lives around and previously had no chance at driving privileges (i.e. a lifetime revocation as the result of multiple DUI convictions) the chance to apply for and obtain hardship relief. The fight will not be over until the Governor acts on the bill this summer.

Mr. Davis continues to work under the direction of the Illinois State Bar Association as lead attorney on this issue. Our office will post additional updates as they become available. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Pending legislation could change DUI and cannabis laws throughout the state of Illinois. HB 218 would decriminalize the possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana. While decriminalization prohibits any criminal penalties for the offense, the proposed bill would impose a maximum fine of $125. The same bill would change the DUI statute, 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(6) which currently provides that an individual may be charged with DUI for having a trace of marijuana in their system. This means that even if the driver smoked marijuana 30 days before the arrest, and there is no evidence of impairment, the driver may still be charged with DUI.

HB 218 would change the DUI statute to tie liability to cannabis impairment. Just as a .08 is per se impairment for alcohol-related DUIs, this bill would create per se impairment for cannabis DUIs. The bill would set the legal limit at 15 nanograms of active cannabis in the blood and 25 nanograms of cannabis in the saliva. This would be the highest legal limit in the United States. Both Washington and Colorado have 5 nanogram limits. HB218 has passed the house and is awaiting approval in the Senate. The Cook County Sherriff, the Illinois State Bar Associate, the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Association and the ACLU are among the vast amount of supporters of HB 218.

SB 753, which has stalled in committee, seeks to legalize the possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana as well as the cultivation of five cannabis sativa plants. These provisions would only apply to those over the age of 21.

Bill would decriminalize pot possession, tie DUI to impairment, May 19, 2015,

A Chicago Tribune investigation revealed that federally backed DUI patrols and sobriety checkpoints in Illinois usually result in ticketing drivers for minor infractions rather than drunk driving. Of the 270,000 citations issued across the state through these patrols, 93% were for less serious offenses than DUI. Records from 2008 to 2013 reveal that ten police agencies throughout the state accounted for more than half of the citations issued by these patrols. These agencies include Chicago, Skokie, Elgin, Will County, Waukegan and Illinois State Police.

The Skokie Police Department logged 14,000 citations through their drunk driving patrols, but only about 3% of the citations were for DUI. The Elgin Police Department issued around the same number of citations, but arrested more than twice as many drunk drivers as Skokie. About 7% of Will County’s citations through these patrols were for DUI and about 11 percent of Waukegan police’s citations were for DUI.

Last year, a Des Plaines commander padded the number of DUI arrests made by his department in an effort to collect federal grant money. At his sentencing hearing, his attorney spoke of the pressure the commander was under in meeting the department’s quotas.

While there are no ticket quotas attached to the federal grant money for these patrols and checkpoints state officials have adopted quotas as a “performance measure.” Illinois now prohibits ticket quotas, but grant-funded policing initiatives, including DUI patrols, are an exception.

Sobriety checkpoints yield thousands of minor citations but dew DUI arrests, May 8, 2015,