Summer in St. Charles sees its fair share of drunk drivers. After all, summer is a time to celebrate happy hours, family picnics, the Fourth of July, backyard barbecues and more. Having a beer or two at these events may seem like no big deal, but a few drinks can become a major deal if you are convicted of drunk driving.

One serious consequence that some with a drunk driving conviction may face is the mandatory use of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device. In Illinois, even a first-time DUI offender may have to have a BAIID installed on their vehicle. If a first-time DUI offender wants to pursue driving relief while his or her driver’s license is suspended, a BAIID must be installed on their vehicle. If a subsequent DUI offender wants to pursue a Restricted Driving permit or two statutory summary suspensions, they also must have a BAIID installed on their vehicle.

BAIIDs work like Breathalyzers. The driver blows into the device. If the device registers a blood-alcohol content of 0.025 or more on the driver’s breath, the vehicle will not start. It is important to note that this BAC level is very low, so even one drink could stop a person’s vehicle from starting. Drivers will also have to submit to random testing throughout their trip.

BAIID information is routinely collected by the Secretary of State’s office. If there is a violation per the BAIID, the driver will have to provide the Secretary of State with an explanation. If the explanation is not sufficient, the use of the BAIID may be extended for three more months. Three such offenses could lead to having your vehicle impounded, and four offenses could lead to the seizure of your vehicle.

As this shows, having a BAIID on your vehicle can be inconvenient at best and a serious impediment on your daily life at worst. After all, many people in St. Charles rely on being able to drive to work, to appointments, to run necessary errands and more. It may seem unfair that a BAIID will keep you from driving, even if you are below the legal limit, but this simply shows how serious the state of Illinois takes drunk driving offenses. Because even a first-time DUI can result in the mandatory use of a BAIID under certain circumstances, it is important to understand what your rights are if you are charged with DUI, so you can develop a solid defense strategy.