Monday, November 3, 2014

Chicago DUI Attorney Reminds You To Vote

Tomorrow is election day.  And like many people, I am busy.  My husband is busy.  We have to work.  I have to pack after work for a flight for a memorial service.  But we voted already.  We prefer to vote early so that nothing gets in the way on election day.

This year, we decided to vote by mail/absentee ballot.  If you do not already have a mail/absentee ballot you are not able to do so for tomorrow's election.  And please note, your ballot must be "postmarked before Election Day and received no later than 14 days after Election Day in order to be counted."  So that means your ballot must be postmarked no later than today ( this is for Chicago registered voters).  Otherwise you, or your authorized agent, can hand deliver it to the Board of Elections no later than 7 pm on Election Day.  Your ballot cannot be turned in at an Early Voting Site, nor can it be turned in at your actual Polling Place to be counted.

But why is voting important? In Cook County over seventy judges are on the ballot, many to be retained.  This is your chance to give voice to what you think is important.  And yes there are guides from an array of Bar Associations who are recommending, and in some cases not recommending which judges you should vote for and which judges should be retained  That said, it is a small, and important act for you to do your own research.  Some of the judges have been featured in the news for their own legal woes.  Some have been featured in the news for how they treat citizens who come to court to watch proceedings.  Still others have been featured for their actual rulings.  

You have the power of the Internet.  Yes.  Please take your guide on the judges, but go ahead and check the names for decisions they've made and to learn a bit more about them.

There are also, in the City of Chicago, referendums on the ballot.  One is about universal background checks for the purchase of guns.  Another is about medical cannabis dispensaries and whether local municipalities should decide where they are located.  There are even referendums about insurance companies paying for prescription birth control methods and increasing the minimum wage.  Finally, there is also a bill that would expand the rights of victims in court proceedings.  All of these are important.  You can take a bit of time before you vote and harness the Internet for more than sports scores or what happened on the Kardashians, you can research every candidate. You can research every referendum.  You may very well be like me and surprise yourself with your choices.

GOTV!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on DUIs Without Alcohol Consumption

This Chicago DUI attorney regularly gets told that you can't be charged with a DUI because no alcohol was consumed.  I've posted here, here, and here that this is not true.  Still it is clear that people really think you can't get charged with a DUI because there was no alcohol, perhaps there was marijuana, or another substance, but not alcohol.

Unfortunately, sometimes people find out the hard way that yes, you can be charged with a DUI when there was no alcohol consumed.  And yes, you can be found guilty of a DUI when there was no alcohol consumed.


With less than a month to go until her trial date, the Highland Park teen accused of huffing chemicals and getting into a crash that killed a 5-year-old girl has not reached a plea agreement with the state, according to the Lake County State's Attorney office.

In Illinois you can be charged with a Driving Under the Influence(DUI) charge for being impaired based on the consumption of alcohol, regardless of whether you submit to a breath test or not.

You can also be charged with Driving Under the Influence of marijuana, other illicit substances, prescription drugs, or a combination of any of the aforementioned with alcohol.

It happens every day.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicago DUI Lawyer Knows It Is Cold Outside, But The Courts Are Open

This Chicago DUI lawyer knows today is one to stay inside.  The windchill levels could make today, and the rest of the week, the lowest recorded temperatures on record for the city of Chicago.  How low you ask?  Schools are closed in the City of Chicago.   Public transportation is delayed.  Non-essential, excluding court personnel, County Services are closed.  Cook County Department of Corrections inmates will not have jail visits prior to Wednesday of this week. Additionally,  if an inmate is slated for release but lacks transportation and/or shelter, the inmate can choose to remain in custody.  But the courts are open.  Inmates will not be transported to any courthouse in Cook County today, except for Leighton, also known as 26th and California.  And yes, that courthouse is literally a couple of doors down from the residence of Cook County Inmates.

Now what happens if you have court today and can't appear?  If it is a civil matter, call the courthouse and get connected to your judge's clerk.  Some judges are automatically giving status dates.

If you have a criminal matter, this includes misdemeanor courts and traffic courts where there is the possibility of jail as a sentence, you should also call the courthouse, but I've been informed that no warrants will be issued for the accused if she or he is absent today.

I will update as I get additional information.

The most important thing you can do today is stay safe.


Note:  This post also appears today on Chicago Criminal Law Blog.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Chicago DUI Attorney Wonders About the Effectiveness of Roadblocks

This Chicago DUI Attorney wants you to know that tomorrow night you do not want to start your weekend trapped in an invasive, and in some jurisdictions illegal, roadblock.  So I've already done the leg work for you and here are the details.

The Chicago Police Department will conduct a Roadside Safety Check in the Calumet (5th) District at 11800 S. Halsted. The Roadside Safety Check will commence at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, September 27, 2013 and end at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 28, 2013.

During roadside safety checks, police officers slow down traffic, stop cars at regular intervals and watch for drivers who show signs of alcohol impairment and other violations as noted below.

Somehow, I think the citizens of this great city would rather spend these personnel hours with "boots on the ground" by way of community policing to decrease the number of intentional violent crimes that continue to befall this great city.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Missouri v. McNeeley-- Needles, Blood, and DUIs

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here on blood draws in DUI arrests.  Earlier today, the Supreme Court of the United States(SCOTUS) issued it's opinion in Missouri v. McNeeley.

Justice Sotomayer wrote the opinion:

We hold that in drunk-driving investigations, the natu­ral dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant.

The judgment of the Missouri Supreme Court is affirmed. 

It is so ordered. 

In this case, McNeeley refused to consent to a blood draw.  Law enforcement had his blood drawn, against his will, at a hospital and the results were almost twice the legal limit.  McNeeley was successful in barring the blood results from being entered by the trial judge.  The government appealed and the State Supreme Court of Missouri agreed with the trial judge.  Then the government asked that the case be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and SCOTUS agreed.

That said, this ruling does not mean that there won't ever be a blood draw without a warrant.  Instead, careful consideration to the facts of the case are to be considered prior to drawing blood without a warrant.  

But motorists’ diminished expectation of privacy does not diminish their privacy interest in preventing a government agent from piercing their skin. And though a blood test conducted in a medical setting by trained personnel is less intrusive than other bodily invasions, this Court has never retreated from its recognition that any compelled intrusion into the human body implicates significant, constitutionally protected privacy interests. Finally, the government’s general interest in combating drunk driving does not justify departing from the warrant requirement without showing exigent circumstances that make securing a warrant impractical in a particular case.

This case now puts the government on notice that the default will be to obtain a warrant prior to drawing blood and if that does not occur, the government better be prepared to defend why it was not able to obtain a warrant prior to the blood draw.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Police Lying About DUI Arrests


It is one simple question, why would the police lie about a DUI?

This Chicago DUI attorney hears this all the time when ever she is in a trial or pretrial motion from the government.  She thinks it's a really, really good question.  Unfortunately, her answer is unlikable. It is also simple. The answer is, because they can.

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about police officers not telling the truth in DUI arrests.

Now comes word of a federal indictment against a former police commander accused of lying about DUI arrest records.  Why did he do it you ask?  It was for the money.  The money was your tax paying dollars given to his department by the federal government.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Timothy Veit, 55, of Mount Prospect, is alleged to have “knowingly and intentionally inflated” the number of DUI arrests made under a federally funded grant designed to curb drunk driving and seat belt violations, according to charges from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.


Federal authorities said the grant required submitting a form listing the number of DUI arrests made by police and the blood-alcohol content of the person arrested. Authorities said the department was then reimbursed for officer overtime pay, mileage and equipment.

From 2009 to 2012, Veit allegedly falsely inflated DUI arrest numbers by 122, and provided fake blood-alcohol content levels for those “fictitious” arrests, authorities said.

Authorities claim that Veit’s false reports meant the police department “fraudulently obtained” $132,893 in federal grant money from Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program grants funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What do you think about police officers receiving overtime pay for DUI arrests?









Monday, January 28, 2013

Chicago DUI Attorney Says, "Si Su Puede!" Driver's Licenses for The Undocumented Are Now Legal

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, here, and here about undocumented people driving in Illinois.  Yesterday, Governor Quinn signed into law a bill that will permit undocumented people to obtain valid driver’s licenses in Illinois.  This should be good news no matter your feelings on undocumented folks.  It was clear to me when I was a prosecutor and it is just as clear to me now as a defense attorney that undocumented people drive.  It makes far more sense to let them legally obtain licenses.  It means that when they purchase insurance, a requirement of the law that is not required for those that are documented in order to have a license, that insurance will honor claims filed on that policy.  The insurance company can no longer have a back way out of paying on the claim by cancelling the policy when a claim is made against it due to the policy holder lacking a valid driver’s license.  Something I’ve seen more times than I can count.

From the Chicago SunTimes: The signing of a bill Sunday allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses attracted dozens of potential motorists and a pack of top Illinois politicians, all eager to tout their role in legislation many see as a precursor to comprehensive immigration reform that could create a windfall of new citizens, and voters. Auto insurance is a requirement for drivers under the new Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s Licenses program, which also requires drivers to pass a vision exam, a written test and driving test, said Secretary of State Jesse White during the bill signing ceremony Sunday afternoon in the Little Village neighborhood.The licenses will be limited to driving purposes only, said White, who added they will not be accepted as valid identification for a host of other activities, such as boarding an airplane.Illinois is now the fourth and most populous state to give illegal immigrants permission to drive.
Now, let’s hope we can make our roads safer while our politicians move away from the feel good stories and get down to the tough business at land.