Monday, March 2, 2015

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on License Suspensions for DUI Arrests

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about having your driving privileges taken away before you ever have your first day in court. 

From the Chicago Tribune:
Bureaucratic mix-ups have let thousands of drunken drivers avoid mandatory license suspensions and stay on the roads, a Tribune investigation has found. 

 A Tribune review of state data found case after case across the Chicago area in which the arrest of these drivers—some with repeat DUIs—are not being logged into the state computers to ensure their licenses are suspended.  The failures come in a process that still relies on police filling out forms by hand and mailing them to the state, a process rife with human error that frustrates anti-DUI advocates. “There are so many ways for things to get lost,” said Cathy Stanley, with Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists.  “Nothing is instantaneously done or efficiently done like it should be.”

 The process leaves a host of ways arrests can fall through the cracks.  Police may not mail the proper forms.  The forms could get lost in the mail, or in state offices.  An officer’s handwriting might be too hard to read and be sent back for fixes.  The secretary of state’s office told the Tribune it tries to work with police but it’s impossible to know how many reports aren’t sent.


There is just one major problem with these concerns and that is a failure to provide the accused with Due Process.  It does not cease to amaze me that on the one hand we don’t want the government listening to our conversations, and yet on the other hand we do want the government to decide whether you get to have a judge decide whether you are entitled to drive when you are accused of a DUI or whether we want to trust law enforcement to make that decision for you.   It remains my contention that if we genuinely wish to have law enforcement make those decisions for us, then lets just scuttle the entire court system.  After all, everybody knows that when law enforcement makes a decision they are infallible right?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chicago DUI Lawyer's Thoughts on Martin Luther King's Holiday




My Dear Friends,

I have already posted my thoughts over at Chicago Criminal Law Blog on this subject.  There is always something you can do today.-- Pax

Continue reading over at Chicago Criminal Law Blog


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.