Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on the Cook County DUI fatalities' study

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here about NHTSA studies on DUI's. Now comes news of a similar study outlining DUI fatalities in Cook County.

February 28, Chicago, IL
A new analysis of road fatalities in Cook County finds a third of traffic deaths linked to drinking and driving.

In all of Cook County, there were nearly 6,000 traffic fatalities between 1994 and 2008, according to an analysis done by the Scripps Howard News Service.

The collar counties showed a similar link between drinking and road deaths.

Analyzing data from across the nation, Scripps Howard listed Cook County's portion of Interstate 94 as the 11th most dangerous road in the nation, with 301 fatalities between 1994 and 2008.

"People still don't understand that drunk driving is a violent crime," said Susan McKeigue, state executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving-Illinois. "They think Uncle Ted getting snookered on Christmas Eve and driving away is funny."
I don't know anyone that thinks it's a good idea for Uncle Ted to be "snookered" and driving on Christmas Eve, unless they are the beneficiaries of his estate.

What's fascinating is what isn't noted in this study. So guess what the number one cause of auto fatalities is in Cook County? Do you know?

Here's the study that the article cites:
Cook, IL

Traffic Deaths from 1994 to 2008

Fatal Accidents 5503
Total Deaths 5960
Drinking 32.5%
Speeding 34.6%
No Seat Belts 64.3%
So while it's true, that one third of fatal accidents involve drunk driving, drinking( which isn't illegal) more fatalities involve speeding, and two-thirds of all fatalities stem from a failure to wear seat belts. It just goes to show you that you have to be willing to go to the source to find out what the news story should be.

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on more news of law enforcement with DUI's

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here on cops charged with DUI. Now, in a strange bit of weird news, comes the story of a cop who not only got charged with a DUI but was also tased by his brothers and sisters in blue.

February 25, Phoenix, AZ

A Phoenix police officer is accused of drinking too much and threatening fellow officers who then took him down with a stun gun.

The officer in question, 26-year-old Seth Castillo, was on his way home from McDonalds allegedly drunk and fell asleep in the middle of the street. He was not happy when fellow officers tried to wake him up.

Police say the off-duty officer was driving at two times the legal alcohol limit when he went right through a stop sign and fell asleep in the middle of a Gilbert intersection.

Investigators tell 3TV Castillo was slumped over the steering wheel of a black Jeep Cherokee with the car still in drive.

The police report indicates Castillo was snoring and did not wake up until after the officer shook him several times. When Castillo did wake up, the report states his eyes were watery, his speech was slurred and he smelled like alcohol.
I will admit, at this point I'm puzzled by the number of law enforcement, judges, and prosecutors charged with DUI. You would think if anyone understood the seriousness of DUI it would be those professionals.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer wonders why you would want to jail someone for speeding?

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about pending legislation. Now comes news of legislation to put you in jail for speeding-- no it's not as fast as you may think.


Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that a person who drives a vehicle upon any highway of this State at a speed that is 30 miles per hour or more but less than 40 miles per hour in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit established under the Illinois Vehicle Code or a local ordinance commits a Class B misdemeanor.
Class B misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or fines up to a maximum of $1,500.

Oh yes, did I mention that a Class B misdemeanor is a criminal offense? Can you imagine the number of people who would have criminal background show up in background checks for jobs based on this offense?

Free Legal Advice: Drive just under the legal limit, less you end up with hefty fines, incarceration, and criminal background.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on her recent jury trial victory- not guilty!

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about sleeping in a car and getting charged with a DUI. Last week, the jury sent a loud and clear message that sleeping in a car is not a DUI.

From Twitter:
14 Citizens took time off from work,heard the facts,listened to the evidence, and deliberated to a Verdict! Not Guilty!Thank you!
4:12 PM Feb 18th via web

Ava George Stewart
I know, of course you know the difference between a DUI and someone sleeping in a car. You probably even know it's not illegal to sleep in your car. What you didn't know is that you can be charged with a DUI, even if you aren't driving.

In Illinois, you can be charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol for driving or being in actual physical control. We all know what driving is, but what on earth is physical control?

1) Sitting in the car (it doesn't matter if the car is on or not)

2) Sleeping in the car (again it doesn't matter if the car is on or not)

3) Walking towards the car with car keys in your hand

4) Walking away from the car with a basket of freshly folded laundry

5) Moving the car at the direction of the police
All of the above can get you charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Did you notice that only one of the above examples included actually driving? Even in the driving example there's no suggestion as to how the individual was driving.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer says unless you called for the police they probably aren't there to help you

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here and here about whether you should submit to requests for testing from a police officer. In a nutshell, and with few exceptions, my answer is no. Still it never ceases to amaze me just how compliant people are with the commands of the police.

So here are a few examples where the police are not there to help you:

1) Any time the police offers legal advice, like what charges you could face if you just cooperate.

2) If the police say you should simply submit to the breath test and then you will be released. Okay, I know you did the breath test and it came back under the legal limit but you will be released once you provide a blood sample or a urine sample.

3) If you don't submit to this test then I will get a warrant to take your blood. (Hmmm, does that really sound like someone trying to help you).

4) Have you been drinking? How many drinks did you have (If you hear these questions, you are going to be arrested regardless of what happens next).

5) Do you take any medications? Would you mind submitting to a blood or urine test? ( This line of questioning suggests the officer thinks you are under the influence of drugs, not alcohol. Yep, that is a criminal offense.)

6) I know you said you had knee replacement surgery and you won't be able to do these Field Sobriey Tests, but why don't you try them anyway for me.

7) Have you been smoking blunts?

8) Do you mind if I search your vehicle?
As I said to a state's attorney earlier today, I really am beginning to think that lots of police officers would make great salesmen. They seem to be extremely persuasive in getting folks to help the government make its case against the individual. Then again maybe folks are just afraid of the gun and handcuffs.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on another prosecutor being charged with a DUI x 2

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here and here on prosecutors being charged with DUI. Now comes news of a prosecutor being charged with a DUI not once but twice in a span of 7 days.

February 23, Fairbanks, AK

A Fairbanks assistant district attorney faces charges of driving under the influence of drugs and felony assault following an accident on the Johansen Expressway on Sunday in which a passenger in one of the vehicles was hurt, though not seriously.

It was the second DUI arrest in seven days for David A. Carlson, 43, who was arraigned Monday in Fairbanks District Court on both DUI charges.

Carlson pleaded not guilty to both DUI charges, and bail was set at $11,000. Carlson posted bail and was released from Fairbanks Correctional Center on Monday afternoon with his mother, Barbara, serving as a third-party custodian.
So far these are just allegations, but I don't think Mr. Carlson would think so if he weren't the defendant.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer doesn't think an arrest warrant should automatically suspend your driver's license

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here and here about erroneous convictions entered on driving records. Now comes news of pending legislation to suspend your driver's license for an arrest warrant, regardless of the nature of the arrest warrant.


Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that the driver's license of a person with one or more outstanding arrest warrants shall be suspended by the Secretary of State at all times while the arrest warrant or warrants are outstanding. Provides that the Secretary of State may cross-reference any of its databases with the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS) to determine whether drivers have outstanding warrants.

First we let them make mistakes by entering convictions in cases against people where the charges were dismissed, now we trust them with entering suspensions in any case where a warrant was issued? Here's a reminder of the high error rate with warrants. They are indeed issued frequently in error for people with similar birth dates, names, and physical descriptions.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on Hemoglobin, HIPAA, and Hospitals,

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here on DUI blood draws. While it may be surprising, more and more hospitals are "just saying no" to DUI blood draws.

I recently reviewed an Alcohol Drug Influence Report with the following narrative:
E.R. drew blood from subject. R/o's [Responding Officers] were unable to obtain results from blood draw per/ Dr. X (Y Hospital) due to HIPPA [sic].
This is pretty interesting because HIPAA has an exception for DUI blood draws, well at least the government always says that.
(625 ILCS 5/11‑501.4) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑501.4)
Sec. 11‑501.4. Admissibility of chemical tests of blood or urine conducted in the regular course of providing emergency medical treatment.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the results of blood or urine tests performed for the purpose of determining the content of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, of an individual's blood or urine conducted upon persons receiving medical treatment in a hospital emergency room are admissible in evidence as a business record exception to the hearsay rule only in prosecutions for any violation of Section 11‑501 of this Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance, or in prosecutions for reckless homicide brought under the Criminal Code of 1961, when each of the following criteria are met:
(1) the chemical tests performed upon an individual's blood or urine were ordered in the regular course of providing emergency medical treatment and not at the request of law enforcement authorities;
(2) the chemical tests performed upon an individual's blood or urine were performed by the laboratory routinely used by the hospital; and
(3) results of chemical tests performed upon an individual's blood or urine are admissible into evidence regardless of the time that the records were prepared.
(b) The confidentiality provisions of law pertaining to medical records and medical treatment shall not be applicable with regard to chemical tests performed upon an individual's blood or urine under the provisions of this Section in prosecutions as specified in subsection (a) of this Section. No person shall be liable for civil damages as a result of the evidentiary use of chemical testing of an individual's blood or urine test results under this Section, or as a result of that person's testimony made available under this Section.

Seriously, is this what you want your government to do?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer answers the question "What happens if I break the sentencing order in my DUI case"?

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here and here on sentencing. Still, she is astonished by the large numbers of people, on a daily basis, who find themselves on the Violation Call for failure to abide by the terms and conditions of the sentencing order.

The sentencing order is essentially an agreement between the defendant and the court. It lays out all of the requirements including: the inability to have a gun or any other dangerous weapon; attending a Victim Impact Panel; and court fees and fines.

If any of the requirements are not met you can be re-sentenced up to the maximum penalty and/or fines. Funny, at the time of the sentencing you agreed to just that.

One thing that I've noticed again and again is a misunderstanding that drugs are illegal and while not explicitly spelled out in the sentencing order, it is assumed you know you can't use them while under the sentencing order. Heck, you can't use them at all because they are illegal regardless of the existence of a sentencing order.

As part of the treatment component in a DUI the defendant must complete counseling and Random Urine Drops (RUD's). These RUD's mean any drugs used will appear. For what it's worth, marijuana is an illegal drug and cannot be used.

Additionally, you can't effectively mask your use with the most common "test negative" products that are on the market. While such products may mask the illegal substance, their cleansing agents also show up in the urine. Your evaluator and the court will treat the appearance of these known cleansing agents as if you are positive for the illegal substance. The best thing you can do for yourself is to avoid "dropping hot" while under the direction of a sentencing order. It's much easier, and far less expensive, than trying to clean up the aftermath with substances that probably will not work, not to mention hiring a lawyer to fight to keep you out of jail.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on Donte Stallworth's new job

This Chicago DUI lawyer posted on Wide Receiver Donte Stallworth, formerly of the Cleveland Brown's here and here. Now comes news of forgiveness, again, from the NFL.

From the Fifth Down:

The Baltimore Ravens are signing wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth to a one-year, $900,000 contract. Before his year-long suspension for pleading guilty to D.U.I. manslaughter, Stallworth specialized in one-year tenures.

Even before last year, the concern with Stallworth was always about how a former first-round pick with speed to burn could keep getting let go. He was in the league’s substance-abuse program in New Orleans, and he’s prone to the type of minor injuries that drive coaches crazy.

That baggage, and his yearlong absence, explains Baltimore’s low-risk investment. The Ravens are hoping Stallworth is a new man who still has playmaking abilities. They’re in desperate need of a No. 3 receiver and, in the back of their minds, they might be hoping that the 28-year-old Stallworth can push Mark Clayton for a starting job.
And so Mr. Stallworth gets a fresh start. Sports fans have proved legendary in their belief in second chances for a host of crimes committed by their beloved players. Those of us with everyday jobs probably would not be so fortunate to get the same type of second chance that Mr. Stallworth has been given by the Ravens in the job market.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on farmers being exempt from BAIID

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about BAIID and MDDP. There's pending legislation to exempt farm workers when operating farm equipment from BAIID.


Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Removes the authority of the courts to order the issuance of a monitoring driving device permit (MDDP) and grants the authority to the Secretary of State. Provides that persons issued a MDDP and who must drive a farm tractor to and from a farm, within 150 air miles from the originating farm are exempt from installation of a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) on the farm tractor, so long as the farm tractor is being used for the exclusive purpose of conducting farm operations. Effective January 1, 2011.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't begrudge a farmer the ability to earn a wage while a DUI case is pending, but am I the only one out here who thinks exempting people from BAIID while driving heavy machinery on public roads hasn't been fully thought out?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer answers the question "Should I blow"?

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here about Breath Alcohol Testing (BAC) and yet this is the most common question I'm asked.

In Illinois, the legal limit is .08 BAC. That means anything at or above that .08 there is a presumption that the person was driving under the influence of alcohol.

The test results provided from those machines makes the government frequently unwilling to dismiss, what could be a very bad case for them, including cases involving shady arresting officers that you hear about in the news.

You ask me what to do when you know you only had one drink? I want to know how long ago you consumed that drink? What size was that drink? What type of alcohol was in that drink? How much do you weigh? The answers to those questions also determine what your BAC level will be. I've posted here about high readings of mouth alcohol from things like ice cream or even a mouth wash.

Given all of this information, I have a question for you, do you want to help the government make its case against you?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on the DUI for love

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here and here on peculiar DUI arrests involving couples. Now comes news of a DUI based on the passion of the Valentine's Day season.

February 13, Orlando, FL
A Flagler Beach woman had too much to drink Friday afternoon and drove to the local jail where she requested a conjugal visit with a specific inmate, authorities said.

Deputies said Denise Rutledge, 45, did have a visitation appointment with an inmate at the Flagler County Inmate Facility — which does not allow conjugal visits — but she was turned away because she was late.

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office said she drove away then returned. After her return visit, corrections officers called for a road patrol because they suspected she had been drinking.

Deputies found her sitting in her car. She failed a field sobriety test, and a breathalyzer indicated her blood-alcohol content was 0.256.
She didn't get the love she expected at the jail and she gets criminally charged. I hope there's a good defense attorney out there who understands the power of love.

Happy Valentine's Day! Let's keep the chocolates and champagne out of the car.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on a cop's DUI this morning at Tiffany's (nope, no breakfast)

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about cops being arrested for DUI. Now comes news of a cop who was dying to break into Tiffany's, but I don't think he was there to pick up something for Valentine's Day.

February 13, New York City, New York

An off-duty cop was arrested for drunken driving after he slammed his car into the front of Tiffany’s flagship Fifth Avenue store at 3 a.m. today, police said.

The wreck happened as NYPD officer Raphael Ospina, 27, a cop since 2004, was heading east on 57th Street. He collided with a private garbage truck that was heading in the opposite direction and making a left turn onto Fifth Avenue south.
I'm still waiting for someone over at MADD to comment about law enforcement and prosecutors being charged with DUI's. Is it just me or is there always silence from them whenever a cop gets charged with a DUI.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on being solicited--at court

This Chicago DUI lawyer is fully aware of courthouse rules and decorum. We can't just start talking to folks in the courthouse and suggesting they hire us. There isn't anything that prohibits the general public from soliciting others at the courthouse (you just better not let the sheriff's deputies see it.).

Yesterday I was approached by a woman who suggested that I would do well to join her group. It's a multi-tiered selling proposition. No it wasn't Amway, this is the 21st century after all. It's called Narc That Car.

How Does it Work?
Here are the basics:

Narc Cars
Teach Others How to Narc Cars
Sign Up Clients

Those are the basic activities you will need to do in order to properly build your organization. For a better understanding please download and review the Static Presentation or simply watch the screen-cast below. The screen-cast gives a good overview of what our program is, what it can be used for, who uses it and how you are compensated. The Static Presentation can be downloaded and used as a guide to study different portions of the plan. However, keep in mind that the only way to fully understand how the opportunity works you will need formal training by your sponsor. If you are trying to locate a sponsor in your area please Contact Us and we will be glad to provide a list of sponsors that are closest to you.
There's also information for leinholders. I hope everyone is current on their car payments because with this aggressive program, it's going to get easier to get cars, or in the case of law enforcement, find people.

Oh by the way, I've decided not to follow up on the earning opportunities offered by

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on legislation to fine you for the pleasure of your police arrest

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here on relevant legislation. Now comes news of a law that could, and no I’m not the only lawyer who reads it this way, cause the convicted to pay for the fact that the police arrested him.

625 ILCS 5/16-104a from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 16-104a
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that in addition to any other fine or penalty required by law, an individual convicted of reckless driving or speeding in excess of 40 miles per hour over the posted speed limit and the violation proximately caused an incident resulting in an appropriate emergency response, shall be required to make restitution to a public agency for the costs of that emergency response in an amount not exceeding $1,000 per public agency for each emergency response. Effective July 1, 2010.
(b) In addition to any other fine or penalty required by
law, an individual convicted of a violation of Section 11-503
or 11-601.5 of this Code or a similar provision of a local
ordinance and the violation proximately caused an incident
resulting in an appropriate emergency response, shall be
required to make restitution to a public agency for the costs
of that emergency response. The restitution may not exceed
$1,000 per public agency for each emergency response. As used
in this subsection, "emergency response" means any incident
requiring a response by a police officer
, an ambulance, a
firefighter carried on the rolls of a regularly constituted
fire department or fire protection district, a firefighter of a
volunteer fire department, or a member if a recognized
not-for-profit rescue or emergency medical service provider.
So now you could be fined because the police decided to stop you? Yeesh, there I was thinking we were different from California, maybe not.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer thinks she may have spoken to soon about the government realizing it can't balance the budget through court fees

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about expenses tied to traffic violations, including DUI. She's even posted here that there were signs of a retreat from adding more fees and fines. Alas, she regrets she may have posted too soon in that regard.

Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code, the Clerks of Courts Act, and the Unified Code of Corrections. Provides that any person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to a serious traffic violation, as defined in the Illinois Vehicle Code, shall pay an additional fee of $40 (rather than $20). Provides that $15 (rather than $7.50) of the fee shall be deposited into the Fire Prevention Fund in the State treasury, $15 (rather than $7.50) shall be deposited into the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Fund in the State treasury, and $10 (rather than $5) shall be deposited into the Circuit Court Clerk Operation and Administrative Fund created by the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Makes technical changes. Effective 60 days after becoming law.
Serious traffic violations include DUI's. Can anyone out there tell me what a DUI arrest has to do with the Fire Prevention Fund?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on random drug testing of teenagers going to take their driving test

This Chicago DUI lawyer isn't surprised, but you better warn Junior when he goes to get his driver's license he may get tested for drugs if he is under eighteen.

Your state legislators hard at work:
625 ILCS 5/6-107.1
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that the Secretary of State may conduct random drug testing of applicants for instruction permits who are under the age of 18. Provides that the Secretary may not issue a permit to an applicant who tested positive for the presence of any controlled substance or cannabis. Provides that a person who tests positive for any controlled substance or cannabis must be found to be free of controlled substances and cannabis before he or she may receive an instruction permit. Provides that the Secretary of State shall adopt rules for implementing the new provision and shall prescribe an additional fee, to be added to the fees charged for the issuance of a first-time driver's license, to cover the cost of the testing.

Hmmm, I wonder why you would only test those under 18? Why not test everyone? Anyone else think there may possibly be different treatment amongst different applicants based on race or gender, in addition to age?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments about contractual changes for Chicago Police spurred by high profile DUI arrests

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about Chicago Police Officers charged with DUI. Now news has come of significant changes to police contracts.

February 8, Chicago, IL
Chicago Police lieutenants and captains would face random alcohol testing at any time, mandatory drug and alcohol testing whenever they they[sic] fire their weapons and be prohibited from drinking four hours before duty, under contracts ratified Monday by a joint City Council committee.

Some aldermen expressed concern that City Hall may be over-reacting to high-profile incidents involving officers and alcohol.

"If the guy's at work and he's been drinking, it does not necessarily mean that the guy's a dipsomaniac. He just had a drink. So, how do you deal with that?" asked Ald. Ed Smith (28th).

Lieutenants and captains whose random Breathalyzer tests range from .02 to .04 will be taken off-duty that day, re-tested the following day and randomly tested for the next six months. If they stay straight throughout that probationary period, their records will be wiped clean, Franczek said.

If they test positive again, they'll be subject to disciplinary action by the Internal Affairs Division.

Chicago Police officers are arrested for DUI at a far lower rate than drivers as a whole, but a number of high-profile incidents have put the issue on the political front-burner.

In 2006, drunken off-duty officer Anthony Abbate was caught on videotape beating a female bartender. He was convicted in the attack, sentenced to probation and fired.

Other off-duty officers were charged in a highly publicized brawl at a West Loop bar that happened weeks after the Abbate incident. Those officers were acquitted and reinstated to their jobs.

Last year, two off-duty Chicago Police officers who had been drinking were involved in fatal accidents.

I guess it's just a matter of time before these rules are put in place for all officers.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on the Super Bowl and DUI roadblocks

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted on roadblocks here, here, and here. She's a bit surprised that there is no press release for a roadblock in the city tonight. Traditionally, Chicago and other cities have held roadblocks on the evenings of big sporting events. That said I will be surprised if there aren't any DUI roadblocks tonight. Especially since the city announced one on Thursday that would take place Friday night through Saturday morning.

Chicago Police Department Press Release Results from a prior roadblock:

“The program is designated to apprehend drivers who are operating vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said Superintendent Jody Weis. “It also offers an opportunity to issue citations to drivers who are otherwise a hazard to themselves and others on the public way.”

The Roadside Safety Check conducted in the Jefferson Park (016th) District on January
24, 2010 resulted in the following:
Driving Under the Influence 6
Open Liquor 0
Insurance Violations 12
Seat Belt Violations 0
Drivers License Violations 15
City Stickers Violations 0
Traffic Violations (Other) 14
Total Citations 47
Interestingly, I didn't see any press releases announcing the roadside held on January 24th. Normally, I would think the total number of citations issued was low but given that roadside occurred in Jefferson Park I suspect the low numbers aren't a surprise.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer discusses the difference between the eligible date and the termination date for a driver's license suspension/revocation

This Chicago DUI lawyer has discussed driver's license suspensions/revocations here, here, and here.

So what's the difference between a license suspension and a license revocation?

Driver's licenses are suspended for a number of reasons including DUI arrests (not convictions, just the arrest itself), parking tickets, auto insurance, and child support. A driver's license suspension has a start date and an end date. That end date is called a termination date. On, or after, the termination date of the suspension, assuming there are no other holds on your driver's license you can drive again (this assumes you have a valid Illinois Driver's license).

A driver's license revocation is more difficult. Again the reasons for a revocation include, too many moving violations, driving without a valid driver's license, and a conviction for a DUI (sometimes the conviction is for a failure to pay court fines no less). Like suspensions, revocations have a start date but they differ from suspensions because they do not have an end date. Instead a driver's license revocation will frequently have an eligibility date. On, or after, the eligibility date, assuming there are no other holds on your driver's license, you can go see the Secretary of State to discuss the restoration of driving privileges.

I can't tell you how many times people have mistaken an eligibility date in a license revocation matter with a termination date in a license suspension. They are not the same thing.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer says driver's license suspensions continue to increase because of delinquent child support payments

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here and here about child support and driver’s license suspensions.

Today I had two people call within a half hour of each other. Each told me that their license was either currently suspended or eminently would be suspended for falling behind in making child support payments.

The other significant problem both faced was that default judgments had been entered against them for child support. That means the parent in default never appeared in court to show the court whether they were even accepting parentage, never mind what they could pay on a regular basis in child support. As you can imagine, if you aren’t the parent then you aren’t on the hook for child support payments.

What you may not know is that modifications of child support are granted. There are probably more modifications being granted now, nationally, than there have been historically due to the overwhelming fall out from the economic recession.

From the

California's rising unemployment rate is driving a steep increase in child support cases, as the newly jobless appeal for increases in monthly payments or argue that they can no longer afford the amounts ordered by the court.

Paradoxically, higher unemployment rates have led to a slight rise in the amount of child support collected this fiscal year, in part because the state can easily garnishee unemployment checks.
As child support money taken out of payroll checks dropped by more than $20 million through the end of February, compared with the same period a year ago, money withheld from unemployment checks nearly doubled, rising to $64 million from $34 million.
It appears to be a national trend. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in late March reported a 39% increase nationwide in the number of divorced spouses requesting changes to child support agreements.
The irony, in these dire economic times, is that the people who called me today both earned a living by driving. I certainly hope the child support court will take that into account in assisting these individuals to get their driving privileges restored. It’s the quickest route to ensuring the economic health of children throughout the state.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on the increase of alcohol consumption

This Chicago DUI lawyer posted here that DUI arrests are down. So I was surprised to find out, from the liquor industry no less, that alcohol consumption is up.

2009 - Industry Proved Resilient
• Though still hurting, there has been continued growth
– On-premise resurgence lags (restaurant/bars)
– Off-premise spirits sales continue to grow
– Hospitality taxes dangerously counterproductive to recovery
• Volume growth up slightly, revenue flat
– Some trading down occurred
– Market share of volume grew slightly
– Market share of revenue dropped slightly

Anyone else care to explain why alcohol consumption is up, even though it isn't fancy liquor any more, but DUI's are down? Perhaps police officers are worried about going through the trial by fire that Officer Fiorito has or maybe they are worried about the lack of a contract.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer says the government realizes it can't balance the budget on the backs of the people

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here and here about an increase in license suspensions tied to an individual's inability to pay fines. Now comes news of state legislators trying to provide relief for those who make partial repayment.

From HB4982
625 ILCS 5/6-306.8 new
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that the Secretary of State may terminate the suspension of person's driving privileges or vehicle registration for non-payment of certain fines or penalties related to the operation of a motor vehicle when the Secretary of State receives notification from the government entity that caused the person's suspension that the person has entered into a repayment plan and has made timely payments according to the plan for a period of 6 months.

I certainly hope this bill is able to provide relief for thousands of Illinois families across the state.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on Top Chicago DUI cop avoiding criminal charges

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about Top Chicago DUI cop Richard Fiorito. Now comes news that the Cook County State's Attorney Office has completed its investigation and there will be no criminal prosecution of Officer Fiorito.

A Chicago police officer who was taken off the streets after being accused of making false DUI arrests will not face criminal charges.

ABC7 has learned that Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has decided not to press any criminal charges against Chicago police officer Richard Fiorito. Her decision comes after a nearly year-long investigation by her office into allegations that he was making hundreds of phony DUI arrests.

To his accusers, dash-cam video scenes taken from inside Officer Richard Fiorito's own squad car made it an open and shut case. In his police report, Fiorito wrote that one driver was swerving and nearly hitting parked cars. Attorneys representing nearly 40 people who say Fiorito trumped up charges against them say it shows exactly the opposite.

But on Monday night, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's office has ended its criminal investigation and has decided that no charges will be charged against Officer Fiorito.

I suspect with the investigation behind him, Officer Fiorito will no longer be on administrative leave. I wonder if AAIM will get their Top DUI cop back for 2010? It's still early in the year.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer says finally State Legislators realize you can't keep raising fees on motorists

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted on traffic cameras here and here. Now comes the news of legislation that actually makes sense. A decrease in the maximum fines for motorists.

From HB4686

State of Illinois
2009 and 2010

Introduced , by Rep. Jack D. Franks


625 ILCS 5/11-208.6
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Decreases the maximum civil penalty for an automated traffic law enforcement system violation and failure to pay such a violation from $100 to $50.

Can you believe it, an actual decrease in maximum fines from these revenue garnering cameras?