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Can a smartphone keep a DUI off your record?

One of the things that many Illinois residents complain about when it comes to the way courts may handle charges for driving under the influence is that the root of the problem does not receive the attention it needs. Alcohol treatment classes are temporary and do not provide the incentives many people need to remain sober, so they may end up as repeat offenders. However, one county is trying out some new technology for smartphones that could keep a DUI conviction off an individual's record.

If prosecutors and the court determine that an individual is a good candidate for the program, he or she receives the chance to do just that. In order to participate, the individual must enter a guilty plea. He or she still attends alcohol education classes and pays fines, but the conviction is put on hold for one year.

A participant also retains his or her driver's licenses, so the ability to get to work and provide for family is not interrupted. The catch is that the participant will need to provide a breath sample several times a day to show continued abstinence from alcohol. The device, called Trac, attaches to a smartphone through Bluetooth technology. Any breath tests that indicate alcohol consumption result in the filing of the conviction and enforcement of the penalties that accompany it. 

Right now, the program's availability is limited within the state of Illinois. However, as the program achieves more success, it could spread to other counties. Other diversionary programs exist that an individual may be able to participate in lieu of a DUI conviction until this type of program expands throughout the state. In order to determine whether such options are available in a particular case, it would be beneficial to discuss the matter with an attorney.

Source: bnd.com, "Get a DUI? You can have it dropped if you're willing to blow into your phone", Dana Rieck, July 27, 2017

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