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New Illinois law gives drunk drivers another chance

Currently under Illinois law, people who are convicted of drunk driving four times lose their driver's licenses for good. That means a lifetime of having to depend on public transit and other people for rides to work, school and anywhere else they need to go that is not within walking distance.

However, this fall, the Illinois General Assembly passed a new law that gives these drivers the opportunity to drive again with a restricted license. If you or someone you love has had their license permanently revoked, then you know what a huge opportunity this is.

The law was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner and takes effect on Jan. 1, 2016. It was supported by both the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and it requires applicants to install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle they will be driving.

The law change is meant to provide a second chance to people who have turned their lives around. People who wish to take advantage must meet two requirements before they can even apply:

They must prove their sobriety by being free from drugs and alcohol for at least three years; and Five years must have passed since either the effective date of their license revocation or their release from incarceration, whichever is later.

Once these conditions are met, the application process can begin. The process follows the current reinstatement procedure for suspended licenses, and it involves informal and formal license reinstatement hearings before the Illinois Secretary of State. You can learn more about it here.

Because the process is complex and applicants must prove to the Secretary of State that they will be safe on the road, most people will require the assistance of an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about the new law.

New law applies to people in other states, too

The opportunity is also available to people who want to get licenses in other states but are currently blocked by Illinois' lifetime ban. These individuals may be able to obtain a "no objection letter" from the Illinois DMV, which permits other states to grant them a driver's license.

If the new law applies to you or someone you love, now is the time to contact an attorney to find out more information and begin building your case.

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