Back in March 2015, the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board wrote an editorial on pending legislation that would remove “hard time.” Generally, “hard time” is a period of time when a person charged with a DUI cannot drive, period. The amount of “hard time” depended on whether a person was a first time offender or a repeat offender. At the time, the legislature probably thought it was important to punish people by not permitting them to drive at all in addition to the potential conviction, insurance costs, fines, alcohol abuse and dependency treatment, and other collateral consequences.
Unfortunately, a lot of people kept driving during the the “hard time” suspension. One of the major problems with “hard time” is/was that some people feel compelled to drive because of their job or their family obligations. This is especially true for men and women living and working in the suburbs or in rural communities. Consequently, these drivers would get pulled over and charged with driving while under suspension. Some of these drivers would continue to rack up charges and fines and they would not be able to overcome the debt.
As of January 1, 2016, the current 30 days of ‘hard time’ is eliminated. If an offender is able to receive a monitored device driving permit it will be available on the first day of suspension. Further, a second offender under summary suspension law may apply for a restricted driving permit immediately upon suspension. Finally, a person with two or three DUI convictions may apply for a restricted driving permit immediately upon revocation. The current one year waiting period will be eliminated.
The new law is tougher on DUI offenders in other areas, but removing “hard time” is a fairly progressive step. In Ohio, certain offenders still have to serve hard time in a lot of cases. For more information on the law or articles on the new law check out:
Chicago Tribune Opinion
Sun Times Article
Bruce Rauner Signs Tougher Law