A BAIID is a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device. First-time DUI offenders can get special permission (a Monitoring Device Driving Permit) that lets them drive during their suspension as long as they have one of these devices installed in their vehicle. The device prevents the vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol content is over a certain amount.

The driver blows into the device, which measures alcohol content and then either allows the car to start, or prevents it from starting if it measures a BAC of .025 or above. The device randomly requires the driver to blow into it again while driving. This prevents an intoxicated person from getting around the device by having a non-intoxicated person help them start the car.

All of the readings on the device are monitored by the Illinois Secretary of State. If you try to start the car and give a breath sample that registers over the limit, you might get a letter from the Secretary of State asking you for an explanation. Depending on your situation, you might not get a letter unless there is a pattern of failures or if your particular reading was above a certain limit.

If you do get a letter, and you don’t respond, or if your explanation is determined to be insufficient, your driver’s license suspension period might be extended by a few months. In some cases you can lose your permit that allows you drive with the monitoring device. Multiple incidents can lead to your car getting impounded or even taken away.

These devices don’t always work perfectly, and people make mistakes. It could be that someone else was using your car. Don’t freak out. You will hear from the secretary of state if they want an explanation. In the meantime, write down any failed readings and call your DUI attorney for reassurance and to see if there’s anything else you need to do while you wait. They can also help you write a letter of explanation to the Secretary of State if necessary.

It might seem like a hassle, but if you need to drive during your Illinois license suspension, a monitoring device is your best bet. If you are caught driving without permission during your suspension, it’s a felony, which in Illinois can include possible jail time, community service and fines up to $25,000. It’s worth it despite the monthly rental and monitoring fees of having the BAIID in your car.