Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer wonders why video isn't standard in police arrests

I have yet to met a DUI lawyer who doesn't prefer video of the events leading up to an arrest. Video is often the only tool to exonerate a defendant who tells his/her lawyer, employer, family and friends, as well as the court that the accused is not guilty. Frequently, when the only parties present are the accused and the arresting officer, the officer is deemed more credible. We must always keep in mind that police officers are human beings first and that credibility is a two way street.

Two undercover narcotics officers have been charged with lying about a sting operation in Queens after one of the men they accused of selling drugs produced video evidence showing the officers had had no contact with him or three other men they arrested.

According to the indictment, Detective Anderson told his supervisor and said in police paperwork that he bought a Ziploc bag of cocaine for $40 from two men: Gabriel Lira and Julian Martinez. Instead, Detective Anderson had bought three bags of cocaine for $60 from the two men, the statement said.

Officer Tavarez said he bought two bags of cocaine for $100 from four men: Jose Colon, 24; his brother Maximo Colon, 27; Raul Duchimasa; and Luis Rodriguez. But the indictment says Officer Tavarez did not buy cocaine from them, and instead used the cocaine from Detective Anderson as evidence for his own case.

Detective Anderson also later told Officer Tavarez to claim that he had forgotten the details of the arrest of the four men, said the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown.

Five of the men were released without bail the day they were arrested; Maximo Colon was released three days later after posting $2,500 bail. Jose Colon went back to the club and made a copy of the security video showing that the officers did not have any contact with the Colons, Mr. Duchimasa and Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Brown’s statement said. The charges against the four were later dismissed.

From Huffington Post, June 13th

The brothers' evening started much like any other.

Max's friend worked at a bodega down the street from Delicias de Mi Tierra, where they'd sometimes drink and play pool in the evenings. This night, the pool table was closed. They instead sat at the bar. Security cameras ended up filming their every move.

The brothers barely moved from the same spot for about 90 minutes as the undercovers entered the bar and mixed with the crowd. Moments after the officers left, a backup team barged in and grabbed six men, including the brothers.

Paperwork signed by "UC 13200" _ Officer Henry Tavarez _ claimed that he told a patron he wanted to buy cocaine. By his account, that man responded by approaching the 28-year-old Max, who then went over to the undercover and demanded to pat him down to make sure he wasn't wearing a wire.

Max collected $100 from Tavarez, the report said. The officer claimed to see two bags of cocaine pass through the hands of three men, including Jose, before they were given to him.

Jose was released after a court appearance. His brother was shipped off to Riker's Island until he could make bail.

"I was scared," Max said of his time at Rikers. "I don't get into trouble, and here I am with real criminals."

Jose quickly got the tape to defense attorney Rochelle Berliner, a former narcotics prosecutor. She couldn't believe what she was seeing.

"I almost threw up," she said. "Because I must've prosecuted 1,500, 2,000 drug cases ... and all felonies. And I think back, Oh my God, I believed everything everyone told me. Maybe a handful of times did something not sound right to me. I don't mean to sound overly dramatic but I was like, sick."

What the tape doesn't show is striking: At no point did the officers interact with the undercovers, nor did the brothers appear to be involved in a drug deal with anyone else. Adding insult to injury, an outside camera taped the undercovers literally dancing down the street.

Berliner handed the tape over to the District Attorney's integrity unit. It reviewed the images more than 100 times to make sure it wasn't doctored by the defense before deciding to drop all charges against the brothers in June.

The misconduct "strikes at the very heart of our system of justice and erodes public confidence in our courts," said Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson.

I believe Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson has said it all.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer says it appears the" Scarlet Letter" DUI Plates are not reducing DUI arrests

Previously, I posted on a pending bill in Tennesse to have DUI offenders purchase special DUI plates. Perhaps Tennesse heard of the failure of these special DUI plates in Ohio and has tabled the bill.

When it comes to combating drunk driving, Ohio leads the league in crackpot ideas.

One of our most recent legislative brainstorms — special license plates for convicted drivers — has been a total bust.

Since the law was changed in 2004, Ohio has issued 46,627 ''restricted plates.''

In Summit County alone, 2,949 individuals and/or families have been sentenced to drive around with the distinctive yellow-and-red plates, the modern equivalent of The Scarlet Letter.

If these plates were working — if the drinking populace is cowering at the notion of having to adorn its vehicles with these things — we would have experienced a significant drop in alcohol-related traffic fatalities.


If you compare the last year without special plates, 2003, to the most recent year for which statistics are available, 2007, you find that, while Ohio's overall crash rate has plummeted, the number of alcohol-related fatalities hasincreased.

• Total crashes of all types: down 16 percent.

• Fatal alcohol-related crashes: up 2 percent.

• Alcohol-related fatalities per 1,000 total crashes: up 21 percent.

Here's further evidence the plates are not having the intended impact: In some circles, especially among younger folks, restricted plates are referred to as ''party plates.'' So much for social ostracism.

Currently, only one other state, Minnesota, offers specialized DUI plates. Let's hope this failure prevents other states from implementing such antiquated forms of punishment.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer says studies suggest it's safer to drive with a DUI than text while driving

Car and Driver has now weighed in on driving while texting. Apparently, it's safer to drive with a BAC over the legal limit of .08 than to drive with no alcohol in your system while texting. Next up a comparission between driving while painting your nails versus driving while drinking an extra hot latte.

There have been studies that compare text messaging on cellphones and other hand-held devices to driving drunk. And several states have alreadybanned texting while driving. But according to Car and Driver, no one has done a real-world test — until now.

In an article that appears in the current issue of the magazine, the editors hooked up a Honda Pilot with a red light on the windshield. Car & Driver’s editor and chief, Eddie Alterman, 37, and the magazine’s intern, Jordan Brown, 22, both took turns behind the wheel on a test track. When the light came on, the drivers hit the brakes.

From Car and Driver:

The results, though not surprising, were eye-opening. Intern Brown’s baseline reaction time at 35 mph of 0.45 second worsened to 0.57 while reading a text, improved to 0.52 while writing a text, and returned almost to the baseline while impaired by alcohol, at 0.46. At 70 mph, his baseline reaction was 0.39 second, while the reading (0.50), texting (0.48), and drinking (0.50) numbers were similar. But the averages don’t tell the whole story. Looking at Jordan’s slowest reaction time at 35 mph, he traveled an extra 21 feet (more than a car length) before hitting the brakes while reading and went 16 feet longer while texting. At 70 mph, a vehicle travels 103 feet every second, and Brown’s worst reaction time while reading at that speed put him about 30 feet (31 while typing) farther down the road versus 15 feet while drunk.

Car and Driver even have video of the tests.

This is not a suggestion that you drink before driving. ROFLMBO

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on Anti-DUI Chief's DUI arrest

I have blogged about judges, lawyers, athletes, and Chicago cops charged with DUI's but what about the folks running the Anti-DUI programs. You would think they would be experts at avoiding a DUI.

The man who runs Sonoma County's program that combats drunken driving has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, police said.

Thomas Newell, 53, was arrested in Santa Rosa about 3 p.m. Friday after an off-duty firefighter spotted a Mercedes-Benz driving recklessly on Bodega Highway, according to the California Highway Patrol. Officers concluded that Newell was under the influence of a drug, authorities said.

Newell was arrested and booked into Sonoma County Jail. The results of a blood test will not be available for several weeks, said CHP Officer Jonathan Sloat.

It looks like MADD may not win the battle after all if the folks running the Anti-DUI programs are unable to avoid a DUI arrest.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer wonders how a lawyer gets charged with a DUI on the way to a murder trial

This one takes the cake. I suspect after preparing for trial and motions for a considerable amount of time to have an accident on the day of trial and be charged with a DUI has to be a nightmare most trial lawyers never even consider.

A state district judge declared a mistrial in a murder case and ordered a defense attorney to reimburse Bowie County for jury costs after the attorney was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on his way to court.

Bryan Simmons of nearby Atlanta was taken into custody Tuesday after a car wreck near New Boston.

On Friday, he told The Associated Press that he lost control of his car during a sneezing fit brought on by allergies and black pepper sprinkled on catfish he had just eaten. His car left the road and landed in a ditch with a flat tire.

Simmons says he was "not under the influence of alcohol or any illegal drugs." He said he was just really tired from having kept late hours preparing for the murder trial.

"I might have been too tired to be driving, but hindsight is 20-20," Simmons said.

He demanded a Breathalyzer test but the officer didn't administer it, he said. The results of a blood test he submitted to won't be known for several weeks.

Yikes! I can't imagine having the ability to concentrate on your livelihood, in this case the lives of others, while dealing with your own DUI. I do know other courts have said that you ought to be able to do just that without a problem.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer believes the necessity defense should be honored for a DUI

Wow! As a Chicago DUI lawyer I didn't think I would see the day when a DUI should be dismissed based on the legal concept of necessity. The necessity defense essentially says, yes I broke the law but I had no choice.

A woman arrested by city police on evidence of drunken driving with a child in the vehicle claimed she was fleeing an abusive man in Plains Township early Wednesday morning.

City police said they were alerted to an intoxicated woman driving a Jeep Liberty traveling from Plains Township to Kingston just before 1 a.m.

Fedo, 38, of Kingston, claimed she fled a home on Second Street, Plains Township, with the child after she was punched in the face by Lawrence Joseph Casey, 22, of Ashley, according to arrest records.

While Fedo was being questioned in the parking lot, police said an intoxicated Casey showed up in a vehicle.

Fedo was charged with endangering the welfare of children, resisting arrest, driving under the influence, possession of marijuana, disorderly conduct and failing to secure a child in a safety seat. She was released on $5,000 bail.

Casey was charged by city police with driving under the influence, and by Plains Township police with simple assault and harassment. He was released on $5,000 bail.

Fedo was removed from the vehicle by force, police said.

She was taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital for a blood-alcohol test and for facial injuries she allegedly sustained when she was assaulted.

It looks like Ms. Fedo fled after she was already assaulted. I guess she didn't get very far away since her the alleged abuser shows up at the scene while the police were questioning her. I hope she gets the help she needs and I hope she prevails on her DUI charges.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer provides an update on the DUI proceedings without a DUI Cop

I posted here and here on former Lake County Chief Judge David Hall's DUI case. You may recall that the arresting officer in this case died a year ago (he died of a heart attack that had nothing to do with this DUI arrest).

Well it appears that the arresting officer will be testifying from the grave and the defendant will not have a right to cross-examine him-- a violation of the sixth amendment of the United States Constitution based on the Confrontation Clause. The case is set for trial in a few months.

Judge David Hall's DUI case will go to trial this fall.

Attorneys from the Illinois Attorney General's Chicago office are prosecuting the case.

Hall, the former chief judge of the 19th Judicial Circuit, was charged with DUI, resisting a police officer, improper lane usage and making an improper turn following a traffic stop April 26, 2008, on Route 60 near St. Mary's Road in Vernon Hills.

A breath test was not conducted at the scene, but blood was drawn while Hall was treated at a hospital for injuries apparently sustained during a struggle with police.

Hall's case has moved slowly due to the death of the arresting officer just weeks after the incident, and the logistics of having prosecutors, lawyers and a judge from different counties.

It will be a sad day for justice, and I'm certain that irony is not loss on the defendant in this case, if this matter proceeds to trial while gutting the sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer wants you to have the right Chicago DUI Attorney

I usually relish difficult cases. Bad facts and scenarios can be legally exciting to me. Sometimes when I'm approached by a defendant there's more going on than just those things. It happened again today.

I received a call from a defendant who had retained an attorney (not me). The individual was no longer confident in their attorney's abilities, and wanted me to take over their case. Despite the caller's obvious and substantial concerns about their current attorney, I had no option but to tell him that until he fired his current attorney, I could not talk to him about his case.

In order to get the best result in your case you should have an attorney who you have very good reason to believe is capable, experienced, knowledgeable, and willing to work hard for you. Please do not resort to the following:
  • The attorney who looks the oldest.
  • The attorney your friend/family member hired, and yet they went to jail/prison with that attorney representing them.
  • The attorney chosen by a family or friend under the false belief that they should choose the attorney because they are picking up the bill.
  • The attorney is selected based on gender or race.
  • The attorney who offered the "best", i.e. lowest, price (you should be asking why the most expensive attorney charges what he/she charges, and why the least expensive attorney charges what he/she charges).
  • The attorney you initially hired got you an offer from the prosecutor that you don't like, and now you want a new attorney. (It is difficult for anyone coming in after an offer has been made to improve on the offer).
You get the picture. Right from the start, if you're a defendant, you should think about what kind of outcome you want in your Chicago DUI case, and then think about the profile your Chicago DUI lawyer should have to get you the best outcome.

Hiring the right attorney from the start is smart - not doing so is likely to be stressful, and may ultimately be the most expensive path to less-than-the-best outcome.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer says please don't try to represent yourself

Last week as I was leaving court a young man stopped me. I don't know what he was charged with, but the courtroom he came out of was a criminal misdemeanor room. That means upon a finding of guilty, or a plea of guilty, he could be sentenced up to a year in the Cook County Jail and face fines up to $2,500.

He asked me if he had a right to represent himself because the judge wouldn't let him do so. I told him he did have a right to represent himself, but it was not in his best interests to do so. Here's why:

  • When you represent yourself you are held to the same standards as if you are a lawyer.
  • Neither the judge nor opposing counsel, the prosecutor, are permitted to help you out.
  • That probably puts you at a distinct disadvantage to winning your case based on your lack of knowledge of the law and legal procedures.
  • Judges tend to dislike it, even when lawyers represent themselves. The belief being that when you represent yourself you lack the ability to see the other side of the case.

I know times may be economically difficult for many people. I also understand that by watching Law and Order you probably can do better than anyone against Jack McCoy. There's just one problem, Jack McCoy is a character played by an actor, not a lawyer.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer thinks the iphone's DUI App is pretty nice

Disclosure: I do not own an iphone.

This Chicago DUI laywer has been inundated by the folks on Twitter, Facebook, and in the virtual world who will never give up their iphones, although they hate the phone service provider. This week many of them updated their phones or purchased new sets for 3G service. I doubt they know that there is an app available that will help them track their drinks in order to avoid a DUI.

DrinkTracker Breathalyzer is a user-friendly app developed by slappmedot.com. When you enter what you have had to drink and at what time, DrinkTracker Breathalyzer calculates your blood alcohol content (BAC). Your BAC is based on your profile where you enter your gender, height and weight. The default measurements are in metrics, but you have the option to switch to U.S. or Imperial.

DrinkTracker Breathalyzer is easy to use and allows you to add multiple profiles, though from what I can tell you can only track drinks for one person at a time. DrinkTracker Breathalyzer gives you a list of generic drinks to choose from – wine, beer, and liquor – that includes the amount you drank and the percent of alcohol in each drink. You can also add and save your own drinks.

A few people who could have avoided a DUI include NFL players, parents* (with children in the car), educators*, Chicago Police Officers, even presidents*- if they'd had access to this little application. Why not let technology improve your decision making?

* These specific examples are a bit tongue in cheek because the iphone was not released until after their arrests, but you get the point, right?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer says it's now safe to order fries without a DUI

Earlier this week I posted on Tucson's new plan to nab DUI drivers by posting law enforcement at fast food restaurants. I guess there was enough blow back and they are now distancing themselves from Operation DUI with Fries:

The Pima County Sheriff's Department is backing away from a proposal to catch suspected drunken drivers through fast-food restaurant drive-through windows.
Lt. Karl Woolridge, special operations commander, said a sergeant who told the Arizona Daily Star the department was about to launch an anti-drunken-driving program named Operation Would U Like Fries, or Operation WULF, was wrong.
"Quite frankly, the program never had the support," Woolridge said. "We had never drafted any policies or procedures for it. It was really in the concept stage, and it never went any further than that."
Sunday's story, which was distributed across the country by The Associated Press, generated a heavy response from online Star readers, most of it critical.
Reader criticism echoed that of local defense attorneys and at least two local restaurateurs quoted in the story.
"I have no love for drunk drivers, and I want them off the road, but this is too much like Big Brother," said Tom O'Connor, owner of Tucson's 21 Eegee's restaurants.
Mike Herndon, who owns seven local Burger King outlets, also was opposed to the idea.
Defense attorneys Joseph St. Louis, Michael Bloom and Brick Storts all questioned the allocation of resources in these economic times and the legality of such a program.
Bloom said he wasn't sure undercover deputies would have enough time to develop the "probable cause" needed to pull over drivers.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were the first ones to come up with the drive-through concept, Hanna said. He learned about their program, Operation WULF, while attending a MADD conference in Dallas.

Well it looks like law enforcement may not get the best ideas for law enforcement by attending a MADD conference but I'm just a U.S. citizen looking to keep the government from being overly intrusive under the ruse of protecting public safety.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer provides an update on the bar stool DUI

I posted here on the DUI on a bar stool. It looks like the defendant has more trouble. He changed his plea from not guilty to guilty of a DUI and served 3 days in jail. The notoriety has caused a child support agency to announce he owes an awful lot of back child support. Guess how they plan to decrease his back child support?

A man who pleaded guilty to drunken driving on a motorized bar stool owes thousands of dollars in child support, 10TV News reported Thursday.

Kile Wygle was arrested in March after police said he crashed his bar stool while under the influence of alcohol, 10TV News reported.

Wygle pleaded guilty and spent three days in prison.

He was in negotiations with Ripley Entertainment Inc. to sell the bar stool, but because Wygle owes more than $37,000 in child support payments, the Licking County Child Support Enforcement Agency said it wants any money generated from the sale, according to the Newark Advocate.

In addition to his jail sentence, Wygle was also fined $375 plus court costs. He also received one year of probation and his driver's license was suspended for a year.

It's summertime folks, whatever you do don't get on your riding lawn mower and have a cold one, looks like you could be found guilty of DUI.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer answers the question "When must I appear in court for my Chicago DUI?"

These are difficult economic times. I posted here on the costs of a DUI but those costs don't take into consideration the costs of time missed from work prior to an acquittal in a Chicago DUI or a finding of guilty.

The short answer is you must appear in court for every single court date unless explicitly excused by the court from appearing. You may have forgotten that you are not in custody while your case is pending before the court. You are out on bond. That bond consists of either money held by the Clerk of the Circuit Court or, in many instances, what is known as a recognizance bond. Recognizance bonds, referred to as an "I-bond", are frequently given in misdemeanor Chicago DUI cases for a defendant with no other arrests in their background. In many cases an I-bond consists of the Clerk of the Circuit Court securing your driver's license in lieu of any money.

What happens if I don't show up for court?

This is up to the court but if you don't have a very good reason for missing court the prosecutor will ask the judge to issue a bond forfeiture warrant giving the police the grounds to arrest you and hold you in jail until you deposit money with the Clerk of the Circuit Court for your release. The amount of the bond will be based largely on your background and what proceedings were scheduled before the court on your case the day you were absent.

You don't have a choice but to appear before the court. The proceedings can take time but if you aren't going to plead guilty on the first court date, and I wouldn't suggest that you do, you must make yourself available so that your attorney can receive all of the information necessary in order to mount your best defense. You must plan your work, school, and other obligations around your pending Chicago DUI. Your very freedom depends on it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on the Donte Stallworth DUI plea of guilty

There is no question that this is a tragedy for Mr. Mario Reyes' family and friends. Mr. Reyes was struck and died a few moments after leaving his job on a Saturday morning. Donte Stallworth was driving the car that struck and killed Mr. Reyes.

Yesterday Mr. Stallworth pled guilty to DUI manslaughter and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. The penalty can be as high as 15 years for a DUI manslaughter in Florida. Additional fees and penalties include:

Stallworth will be sentenced to 30 days in the Dade County Jail to be followed by:
2 years of community control (house arrest)
8 years of reporting probation with the following special conditions:
1. drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment if recommended
2. random drug testing
3. lifetime driver’s license suspension and no driving (editor’s note: after five years, Stallworth could be approved for driving for reasons like employment.)
4. $2,500 donation to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)
5. $2,500 donation to “Parents of Murdered Children”
6. 1,000 hours of community service and all community service projects will
be performed with the input and consent of the State Attorney’s Office.
These may include Public Service Announcements and speaking
engagements with children about the danger and risks associated with
drugs, alcohol, and driving, and how this case has affected him.
7. Cost Recovery to the Miami Beach Police Department in the amount of
8. Cost Recovery to Miami-Dade Police Department in the amount of $813.14
9. Court Costs of $583.00
Many are shocked and outraged by the sentence but I suspect the prosecutors were concerned about an acquittal in what would probably have been a high profile case. Acquittal? How could that happen? Well it appears that in Florida they do look to see if the accident could have been avoided by viewing all of the circumstances of both the driver, in this case Mr. Stallworth, and the pedestrian, Mr. Reyes. According to police reports, Mr. Reyes was walking outside of the croswalk across six lanes of traffic on a Saturday morning. There were at least 3 calls to 911 regarding this specific accident so people were definitely on the roadway.

Additionally, the family had reached a financial settlement with Mr. Stallworth and did not want the death of Mr. Reyes to turn into a circus which probably would have occurred if Mr. Stallworth had gone to trial.

Every case that we prosecute, especially those that involve the death of a human being, is closely scrutinized to ensure that a fair and just resolution is reached for all parties,” said prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “We have specifically looked at the unique facts involved with this charge, Mr. Stallworth’s excellent pre-incident history of community service, abundant references that attest to his good character, his lack of any traffic violations or criminal convictions, his full and complete post-incident cooperation with law enforcement, and his willingness to accept complete responsibility for his actions.

“For all of these reasons, a just resolution of this case has been reached,” Ms. Rundle added. “The terms of the plea have been agreed upon between the State Attorney’s office and the police, and has been extended with the full endorsement and consent of the Reyes family, who believe that this plea and its timing are in the best interest of their 15-year-old daughter, the sole remaining child of Mario Reyes. Although no sentence can ever restore Mr. Reyes to his family, the provisions of this plea will provide closure to them and appropriate punishment for Mr. Stallworth’s conduct and the effects of his actions that night.

Obviously, this is a very good result for the defendant and I think most folks realize that they are different from Mr. Stallworth and will do whatever they can to avoid a similar tragedy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer asks are there still DUI's when there are not arrests

Earlier I posted that Chicago DUI arrests were down. It appears that is also the case in some neighboring counties as well.

In 2008, police in Aurora, Kane County's most populous city, made almost 200 more drunken driving arrests than the previous year.

However, in unincorporated Kane County, DUI stops were down by almost half.

Why the difference? Time and people.

In an era that has DUI laws getting tougher, police becoming more vigilant and public-awareness campaigns ramping up the message that drunken drivers are losers, the disparity between the number of arrests by Aurora police and the Kane County sheriff's office is more about staffing than the importance of keeping roads safe.

To account for the drop in DUI arrests for his department, Sheriff Pat Perez points to deputies spending more time than ever on foreclosures and evictions, as well as his two top DUI deputies moving off the midnight shift.

"It's not just DUIs, but all our tickets issued," he said.

The sheriff's office went from 129 DUI arrests in 2007 to 75 last year. Through April, deputies recorded 27 DUI arrests, which is almost half the amount for the same time period in 2008. Targeted patrols for drunken drivers aren't possible because there are fewer officers available, Perez added.

"You still have to have the manpower to operate it correctly," he said.

St. Charles also saw a decrease in DUI stops, despite running the same number of extra patrols, police spokesman Paul McCurtain said.

"It seemed like they were harder to come by," he added.

Aurora police reported 420 DUI arrests in 2008, up from 223 in the prior year. That 88 percent jump was attributed to an overall department goal of reducing accidents, not grant-funded special details.

As a benefit of a reduced crime rate citywide, the department has been able to use special units to focus on DUI.

"Our hope is to increase DUI arrests by 5 percent in 2009," Ziman said.

I wonder why the Aurora police would expect an increase in DUI arrests when citywide, crime is down. I also wonder why the set a goal to increase DUI arrests by 5%.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Chicago DUI lawyer asks would you like fries with your DUI?

I have seem some peculiar DUI arrests and posted them here, but to charge someone with a DUI because the police are staking out the burger joint is definitely news to me.

Drunken drivers with the late-night munchies soon could get more than just a burger and fries at the drive-through window.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department's new anti-drunken driving campaign — called Operation Would U Like Fries, or Operation WULF — hopes to put undercover deputies inside 24-hour fast-food restaurants to spot impaired drivers placing their orders, said Sgt. Doug Hanna, DUI unit supervisor.
If deputies notice someone with any of the classic symptoms of impairment — slurred speech, red or watery eyes, beer breath — they will radio a uniformed deputy stationed just outside, Hanna said.
The second deputy will then pull over the driver and, if field tests confirm what the officer at the drive-through suspected, arrest him or her for driving under the influence.
"The idea is to get them before they get back on the road," Hanna said.
Bankrolling the intermittent program will be a $128,000 grant the Sheriff's Department received from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety for fiscal year 2008-2009, Hanna said. The grant also funds sobriety checkpoints and other anti-drunken driving programs.
Perhaps, I should check with some of Chicago's finest to see what they think of using similar tactics here.