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As the New Year approaches, the Evanston Police Department reminds everyone of the DUI laws in Illinois as well as the importance of using a designated driver, a cab or public transportation to protect both yourself and those around you. Just like any other time of year, the Police will be vigilant and out enforcing DUI laws.

“Driving Under the Influence” is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, other drugs or intoxicating compounds and methamphetamine. In Illinois, a driver is legally considered to be under the influence if he/she has a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more, has used any illegal substance, or is impaired by medication. A driver’s BAC is based on the ratio of alcohol to blood or breath. However, an individual with a BAC between .05 and .08 may be convicted of DUI if additional evidence determines that the driver was impaired.

Last year, Illinois became one of only six states to require a first-time DUI offender to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed on his or her vehicle as a condition of driving relief. Since implementation of the law, the number of vehicles utilizing a BAIID has increased approximately 150 percent. This new law ensures that fewer drivers get behind the wheel after drinking.

“Use It & Lose It” penalties apply to any driver under age 21 who has any trace of alcohol in his/her system or who refuses to submit to chemical testing. First offense— Suspension of driving privileges for 3 months for a BAC of more than .00; suspension of driving privileges for 6 months for refusal to submit to or failure to complete testing. Second offense — Suspension of driving privileges for 1 year for a BAC of more than .00; suspension of driving privileges for 2 years for refusal to submit to or failure to complete testing.