Friday, August 3, 2012

What is a BAIID?

If you've been charged with a DuPage DUI - or a DUI anywhere in Illinois for that matter - the chances are that you also received a Statutory Summary Suspension. Although there are many ways to get this summary suspension thrown out or "rescinded" sometimes, despite the best efforts of your DUI Defense Lawyer, the judge will not rescind the summary suspension. When this occurs, first-time offenders are eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit in Illinois (MDDP). The "monitoring device" is called a "BAIID."

BAIID is short for “breath alcohol ignition interlock device.” These machines are installed at your expense by companies approved by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. The BAIID requires a driver to blow into the device when they first start their car. A driver of a BAIID vehicle must retest within the first 5 to 15 minutes, and when driving for longer periods of time the driver must also test about twice every hour. The device records each test and any violation is reported to the monitoring agency. The BAIID will not allow the car to be started if it detects a BAC of .025 or greater. If during operation it detects a BAC of greater than .025, then a warning signal will be emitted, and after coming to a complete stop the car cannot be re-started until the driver has a BAC of less than .025.

BAIID devices utilize “fuel cell technology” to measure the presence of alcohol in the sample chamber. Fuel cells, like many breath alcohol devices have limitations, specifically when it comes to discerning ethyl alcohol from other alcohols: A fuel cell is a device designed to continually convert fuel and an oxidant into direct current. As used for breath testing, alcohol is used as the fuel and oxygen from the atmosphere as the oxidant. Alcohol is converted in the fuel cell to acetic acid, producing two electrons for each alcohol molecule. These electrons produce an electrical current that serves to quantitate the amount of alcohol. Acetic acid further reacts at a much slower rate to form oxygen, carbon dioxide and water…Fuel cells can potentially respond to other alcohols such as methyl-, isopropyl-, and n-propyl alcohol, and to acetaldehyde.

It is important to know this because if you are ever charged with a BAIID violation the problem may be as simple as knowing that the device registered for ethyl alcohol (beverage alcohol) when the actual triggering substance was something else.

Sometimes, as part of a plea agreement, DUI offenders may be required to install a BAIID as part of their sentence.  This could mean that the BAIID is installed for  longer than just the period of the Statutory Summary Suspension.  In my experience as a DUI defense lawyer in Wheaton, I have seen an increase in the use of BAIID in sentencing particularly in Naperville DUI cases.  If you've been charged with a DUI and would like to discuss your case please feel free to call the Law Offices of Brent M. Christensen  at 630-665-5965, for a free, no-obligation consultation.


  1. Really informative and useful information. dui defense

  2. Nice explanation on BAIID. I hope this mechanism will work in curbing DUI cases in Illinois.

  3. I believe the use of BAIID has reduced repeat offenses in Illinois already. I think in order to reduce, if not eliminate, all DUIs in Illinois and elsewhere, legislation mandating BAIID technology on all vehicles would be necessary. Organizations like MADD and AAIM will likely be in favor of such legislation but I would expect organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, restaurant trade associations, the Tea Party, and, probably, municipalities which rely on DUI fines, to oppose such legislation. Where do you stand?