Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney wants you to associate The Taste & The 4th with DUI checks

This Chicago DUI attorney wants to remind you that the holiday weekend has begun.  There’s great summer weather perfect for enjoying boating, picnics, and The Taste (Hello Robert Plant).  One more thing, the police will be out in full force, whether it is a roadblock or not, this holiday weekend looking for any and everyone who may have enjoyed a beer or a cocktail.

The Chicago Police Department will conduct a DUI Strike Force Patrol in the Austin (015th) District beginning at 7:00 p.m., Friday, July 2, 2010 and ending at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 3, 2010.
 The purpose of this program is to saturate a pre-designated area with roving police officers that continually monitor vehicular traffic for signs of impaired driving. Patrols also place emphasis on speed, alcohol-related and safety belt violations. Police vehicles equipped for speed detection are deployed to apprehend speeding violators.
FYI:  Impaired Driving is just fancy law enforcement speak for a DUI charge.  

Free Legal Advice:  If you are the Designated Driver, you must not consume any drugs, alcohol, or medicines.  If you think you’ve had too much to drink to safely drive home, do not attempt to catch 40 winks.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney has some advice for those who have been charged with a DUI before

This Chicago DUI attorney has several clients who are charged with a second or subsequent DUI.  There’s some information that people who are guilty of a DUI or another charge that was originally a DUI need to know. 

Once you get charged with a DUI in your life time, you are more apt to be charged again.  That means you have to take extra precautions. 

You don’t want to hear this but, you can’t have anything to drink if you are going to get into a car.  You heard it, even if you are illegally parked, you can’t move the car.  You can’t sit in the car without a valid driver sitting behind the wheel.

One word of free legal advice:  The police don’t have to tell you the truth.  This is shocking, but guess what you aren’t under any obligation to help them make their case against you. 

Borrowing from Oprah, “What I  know for sure”, if the police ask you to step out of the car and you have ever been charged with a DUI in your life, get ready to be charged again.  It will not matter whether you take the Field Sobriety Tests or not, whether you submit to Blood or Breath Alcohol Testing or not, you will find yourself in need of a great DUI attorney to address your extra special situation of being a second time offender.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney wants to remind you that speeding in a construction zone can get your license suspended

This Chicago DUI attorney received the following as a group email (you remember those, the late 20th Century version of chain mail?).

Photo Radar in Illinois - begins July 1st!!!!
Illinois will begin using photo radar in freeway work zones in July.  One mile per hour over the speed limit and the machine will get you a nice$375.00 ticket in the mail.  Beginning July 1st, the State of Illinois will begin using the speed cameras in areas designated as "Work Zones" on major freeways.  Anyone caught by these devices will be mailed a $375.00 ticket for the FIRST offense. The SECOND offense will cost $1000.00 and comes with a 90-Day suspension.  Drivers will also receive demerit points against their license, which allow insurance companies to raise Insurance rates.
This is the harshest penalty structure ever set for a governmental unit involving PHOTO speed enforcement.  The State already has two camera vans on line issuing tickets 24/7 in work zones with speed limits lowered to 45 MPH.  Photos of both the Driver's face and License plate are taken. Pass this on to everyone you know who might be affected!!!

 Of course I received this today and yes July 1st is later this week.  That said this has been the law since 2005!

CHICAGO—The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) alongside Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Illinois Tollway want to remind motorists construction season is underway and warn that tough laws are in place to buckle down on speeders in work zones. Legislation that was signed into law back in 2004 targets drivers who flout work zone speed limits and endanger the lives of construction workers and other drivers. The enforcement of this legislation has been effective in reducing work zone fatalities by over 50 percent.

“Construction season is in full effect and we want to urge motorists to comply with the posted speed limits in all work zones. We want to send a message to motorists now to slow down in work zones,” IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig said. “If you are caught speeding in a work zone, at minimum you will be looking at a fine of $375, and while some may think that’s harsh, you cannot put a price on a life.”

The law states that first-time work zone speeders, including those caught on camera, will be hit with a fine of $375, with $125 of that sum going to pay off-duty State Troopers to provide added enforcement in construction or maintenance zones. Two-time offenders are subject to a $1,000 fine, including a $250 surcharge to hire Troopers, and the loss of their license for 90 days. Tickets received in a work zone require a mandatory court appearance.

Still, if this is going around today like its brand new law it doesn’t hurt to share it with everyone.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney says get a designated driver for the boating season also

This Chicago DUI attorney wants to remind you to be careful before you do any drinking and boating this season. 

You can be charged with Boating Under the Influence of Alcohol or other drugs just like you can be charged for driving a car or motorcycle.  Even worse, your driving privileges will be suspended, not only on the water but also on land.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Conservation Police Officers (CPOs) will be out in full force this weekend – on the look-out for boaters operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  The increased enforcement is part of a national coordinated effort of stepped-up enforcement called Operation Dry Water.

“We want people to have fun, but at the same time to be safe out on the water,” said IDNR Office of Law Enforcement Chief Rafael Gutierrez.  “Alcohol use is one of the leading factors in fatal recreational boating accidents in the state of Illinois and across the country.  We recommend that all boats have a designated skipper on board.”

Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties.  In Illinois, operating under the influence (OUI) is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense.  It is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and/or up to $2,500 in fines.

“Our CPOs work hard throughout the year to make sure boaters are safe on Illinois public waters,” added Chief Gutierrez.  “We have zero tolerance for anyone found operating a boat under the influence at any time; however, boaters will see a stepped up effort as we approach the 4th of July holiday.”

Okay, you are on notice, keep the copious amounts of alcohol off of the boat this holiday week.

Hat tip to Leon, yes I will be on the boat with you and the family very, very soon!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on the ode to MADD's former official from the Dept. of Transportation

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about MADD and its Executive Director Chuck Hurley.  Looks like Mr. Hurley, a former nominee for National Highway of Traffic Safety Administration, has stepped down from MADD.

Now, I look forward to many years of effective advocacy from newly appointed MADD CEO Kimberly Earle. But, I have to say that Chuck has raised the bar pretty high.
"I know the shoes I'm stepping into are pretty big," says Kimberly. "A lot of great work has gone into getting us where we are now."
As MADD Board of Directors Chair Chris Johnson noted, Chuck has been a part of MADD for almost its entire history, and "He will always be a part of MADD."
From his early creation of MADD's signature Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving--a model for public safety campaigns--to his most recent efforts arguing for mandated interlock use at the 0.08 level, Chuck Hurley's work defines "tireless," and our roadways are much safer because of that.
 Anyone else think that after all of these accolades for Hurley, there would be some outrage on the faulty operation of Breath Testing Machines that falsely led to the conviction of hundreds of folks in Washington, D.C.?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney says get ready to blow before purchasing your poison

This Chicago DUI attorney hails from South Carolina as many of you already know.  She grew up in a place where the Blue Laws prevailed.  That means folks rushed around to get the last drink before midnight on Saturday night because Sunday meant no liquor (for my beloved Midwestern folks that includes beer and wine).  Additionally, you could only buy liquor in ABC package stores, yep their hours were not much pass sunset or so it seemed when I was growing up.  That meant drinking back home required planning or else you were going to be driving around looking for Bootleg from a place with a name like “Kick Bottom” or something like it.

Can you believe that states outside of the south, and not Utah, are just now getting around to letting you buy wine (not liquor, but wine) outside of a liquor store?  There’s a catch.

Want a nice merlot with your filet today? Or a chardonnay with your scallops? 

Starting today, wine lovers can purchase a bottle at the supermarket in Pennsylvania. Only you'll have to blow into a tube first.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is rolling out its first supermarket kiosks in two stores outside of Harrisburg (Wegman's in Mechanicsburg and Giant on Linglestown Rd). The self-service kiosks - developed by Conshohocken-based Simple Brands LLC - feature wine kept at optimal temperatures along with detailed information about the products.

But here's the catch: You have to produce your driver's license for the machine and blow into a breathalyzer test before the transaction is complete.

Do you really want to blow into a machine, in public, to buy a bottle of wine?  I guess that’s one way to catch the DUI before they get back to their car without the bottle of wine.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on drinking, not driving, and losing your license

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about the additional punishment that under-age drinkers can face (no they don’t have to be anywhere near a car).

The Illinois Supreme Court has decided that it’s perfectly acceptable to take away driving privileges of the under-aged who are caught with alcohol.while not being in a car.

 The Illinois Supreme Court, ruling in a case out of Clinton County, says a minor convicted of unlawful consumption of alcohol can have his driver's license suspended or revoked, even if the offense doesn't involve driving.
The court issued the ruling Thursday in the case of Zachary Boeckmann and Chelsey Maschhoff. Boeckmann, now 20, of Bartelso, and Maschhoff, now 20, of rural Carlyle, were charged in 2008 with unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor.
The two agreed to a sentence of court supervision at the circuit court level but argued that having their driver's licenses revoked or suspended violated their rights to due process and equal protection of the law.
Associate Judge William Becker in Clinton County placed them on court supervision but declared unconstitutional the law that allows revocation or suspension of a driver's license in such cases.
Becker ruled that a revocation or suspension of driving privileges would be unconstitutional because a vehicle was not involved in the offense.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's office appealed the circuit court's ruling to the state Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Justice Thomas Kilbride, said the question is whether the law allowing suspension of driving privileges in such cases is intended as a punishment for the defendant.
The high court said the law's purpose "is to promote the safe and legal operation and ownership of motor vehicles" and is "intended to provide for safe highways, not to punish licensees for underage consumption of alcohol."
The law in question took effect in January 2008. It says a minor convicted of unlawful consumption or possession of alcohol faces a six-month suspension of driving privileges. A second conviction for one of those offenses results in a 12-month suspension, and third conviction results in revocation. A minor who is charged with one of those offenses and is placed under court supervision -- which does not result in a conviction -- faces a three-month suspension of driving privileges.
The Supreme Court stated in its ruling: "Here, the General Assembly may have believed that a young person who
has a driver's license and consumes alcohol illegally may take the additional step of driving after consuming alcohol. It is reasonable to believe a young person disobeying the law against underage consumption of alcohol may also lack the judgment to decline to drive after drinking. Preventing young people from driving after consuming alcohol unquestionably furthers the public interest in the safe and legal operation of motor vehicles."
Illinois Mothers Against Drunk Driving director Susan McKeigue applauded the ruling.
"Driving is a privilege, it's not a right," McKeigue said. "Taking away their driver's license is good prevention, as far as I'm concerned. Having this happen as a young person, it may be a wake-up call to them how serious this is."

So, what do you think?  Should there be a double punishment for consuming alcohol when you are under 21 and not in a car?  Remember, these young people paid court fees and fines for the consumption of alcohol while under the age of 21.  The sentencing judge thought it was unconstitutional to suspend their driver’s licenses.  Please warn your family and friends because there could very well be a rash of Driving While Suspended/Revoked charges for these young people.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney thinks you shouldn't take your free legal advice from the judge or prosecutor hearing your case

This Chicago DUI attorney saw it happen again today.  The judge and prosecutor tried to be helpful by telling the defendant what he needed to do to clear the suspension of his driving privileges.  Argh! 

Six weeks later when the defendant returns and hasn’t done anything (because he didn’t understand the instructions and neither the kindly prosecutor nor the judge can tell him what he has to do) the judge and prosecutor (usually a different judge and prosecutor than the one’s who were so helpful) aren’t as kind.  The defendant is then offered a low fine and he pleads guilty because he can’t afford to miss work for “traffic court”. 

Fast forward a few years and a few more offenses.  Now the accused is told he needs to come back with a lawyer.  The accused is confused.  Isn’t this just “Traffic Court”?  No, it isn’t.  In Traffic Court the worse thing that can happen to the accused, excluding collateral consequences, is a fine.  There is no chance that jail will be a part of the punishment for a traffic offense in Illinois.  The accused has made perfectly logical assumptions based on the following: 1) the police are rarely in the courtrooms where Major traffic matters are held and 2) all that ever happened to them before was they were told to pay a “little” fine and then the case was over.

It’s true all defendants who are found guilty or plea have to sign a jury waiver and they are admonished, but earnestly a great many have no idea that they are pleading guilty to a jailable offense.  They have no idea that pleading guilty to the offense of Driving While License is Suspended/Revoked is just as serious as a DUI.  In Illinois, it’s in the same class of offense as a DUI and carries the same maximum penalty as a DUI. 

It’s too bad the judges and prosecutors don’t start off by telling the accused they need to have a lawyer represent them.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on the non-Greylord traffic ticket scandal

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here on professional courtesies.  She’s a bit surprised that the prosecutor decided to report it.

 A pair of Sangamon County judges are suspected of fixing a traffic ticket, and the case has been turned over to the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, which could result in discipline ranging from reprimands to removal from the bench.
Associate Judge Judge[ sic] Robert Hall on June 7 dismissed a Leland Grove ticket issued a month earlier to the 16-year-old daughter of Associate Judge Christopher Perrin. Police say the teen failed to heed a road-closed sign.
Hall initialed a court document indicating the state’s attorney’s office had moved for dismissal, and the docket on the circuit clerk’s website shows the ticket was dismissed for insufficient evidence.
However, the docket also shows that no prosecutor was present when the case was dismissed, and State’s Attorney John Schmidt confirmed Tuesday that his office did not seek the dismissal.
Schmidt said he told presiding Judge Patrick Kelley of the problem last week, as soon as a prosecutor discovered it while reviewing dockets.
In a written statement, Kelley said Hall dismissed the case of his own accord after speaking with Perrin.
“It’s mind-boggling that this would happen,” Kelley said in an interview. “It calls into question all of us. We all take this very seriously. This was obviously a lapse in judgment on the part of one or both judges.”
No. The judges in question have not been fired, embarrassed (I suspect), but not fired.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney warns you on the Summer Solstice and the upcoming warm & thirsty days ahead

This Chicago DUI attorney wants to remind you that it is summertime.  That means loads of DUI charges in the warm days of summer.  Take for example a day like today.  After the initial storms it’s been gorgeous here.  What better way to end the Monday of the Summer Solstice than with a cold adult beverage and some friends. 

Perhaps you were invited over for a burger, a brat, and a brew.  Or you are meeting the girls for some "see & be seen" quality time at one of the lovely outdoor spots.  Just remember, one drink is enough to get you charged with a DUI.

Whatever you do, don’t ruin this lovely Summer Solstice evening by having anything alcoholic to drink before driving your car.

If you decide to ignore this free legal advice and you get stopped later on then you must decide if you are going to help the government make it’s case against you by doing and failing the tests that the officer ask you to do or realize that once the officer asks (because despite the gun, squad car, and uniform, they never ever order) you to step out of the car you are going to be arrested for a DUI and will need an attorney to defend you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer doesn't think an arrest should be reported to your boss

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about the collateral consequences to a DUI.   She is surprised that the City would look to prohibit people from using their vacation time to serve time.  You would think, in this difficult climate that if the department could work that out with the employee the last thing that’s needed for a non-violent offender who has to do jail is the inability to work once they have completed their debt to society.

After his third conviction for drunken driving, city laborer John Galileo was sentenced to one year in Statesville Prison.
But that didn’t stop him from keeping his $30-an-hour city job thanks to a heavy dose of timekeeping fraud, according to a report by city Inspector General Joe Ferguson.
according to Ferguson’s report, LaGiglio collected three $896 city paychecks — totaling $2,688 — and one for $1,344 while serving time in Statesville Prison from April 1 to June 2, 2005.
LaGiglio was also able to maintain taxpayer-funded medical insurance valued at $1,500 while behind bars.
LaGiglio pulled it off by failing to disclose his conviction and sentencing to his bosses in the Department of Streets and Sanitation’s Bureau of Electricity. Two Streets and San timekeepers who maintained the records on his behalf have since retired. A supervisor whom Ferguson held responsible for the timekeeping fraud has also retired.
To prevent similar cases in the future, Ferguson is recommending that Mayor Daley issue an executive order requiring all city employees to report arrests or convictions within 24 hours. The proposed order would further require city workers to report “significant developments” in their pending legal cases in the criminal justice system.

Yikes!  Did you know it’s illegal for an employer to ask about arrests to a prospective employee? If this clears the City’s legal department watch out for private employers to also say as a condition of your employment you must report an arrest. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on putting the brakes on red light cameras

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about red light cameras.  Some suburban governments are taking offense at red light cameras being installed in their towns.

 A plan to install red-light cameras at 20 of the most dangerous intersections in Chicago's suburbs is hitting roadblocks as officials in different municipalities question why they weren't consulted before Cook County moved ahead on the deal.
That includes Arlington Heights, where cameras have been proposed at three intersections -- even though the village board already decided some time ago the community didn't want them.
The intersections targeted for red-light cameras are all maintained by Cook County's highway department and include those areas with a higher concentration of "safety issues," including crashes, said Chris Geovanis, spokeswoman for Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. The county would collect any revenues that come from tickets.
 Finally, the government is pushing back on what’s really a safety issue and what’s really just another tax on drivers.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney thinks your doctor may ask about your texting while driving habit

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about texting while driving.  Still, she’s surprised that the medical community has taken note of this technological advance.

At the medical school and academic practice where I teach, students and residents routinely query patients about habits associated with harm, asking about the use of helmets, seat belts, condoms, cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. There is little solid evidence that asking these screening questions has any benefit. But we continue to ask them — as I believe we should. And as technology evolves, our questions must be updated in keeping with the risks: it's time for us to ask patients about driving and distraction.
Although no direct correlation can be made, we know that counseling patients about dangerous behaviors can have powerful consequences. According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, even 3 minutes spent discussing the risks of tobacco use increases the likelihood that a patient will quit smoking. Context matters.When a doctor raises an issue while providing overall preventive care, the message is different from that conveyed by a public service announcement nestled between ads for chips and beer or a printed warning on a product box.
Recently, I have added a question about driving and distraction to my annual patient review of health and safety. I begin with the customary seat-belt question. Then I ask, "Do you text while you drive?" Although I'm concerned about both texting and talking, most people are aware of the risks associated with texting, and many judge it more harshly. If a patient admits to texting while driving, I share my knowledge and concerns. Many patients who do not text while driving voice opinions about its dangers, giving me an opening to note that talking on the phone while driving actually causes more accidents than texting. Although I can share published data and often recommend that patients view the video described above, I find it more powerful simply to say that driving while distracted is roughly equivalent to driving drunk — a statement that captures both the inherent risks and the implied immorality.
I ask patients whether they could reduce or abstain from cell-phone use while driving. As with any plan for behavior modification, we need to understand the circumstances surrounding the activity. Many people have become accustomed to the diversion of talking on the phone while driving, and we're all susceptible to the allure of a new message or call. If patients tell me that occasionally they receive "important" phone calls they don't want to miss, we discuss what that means in the context of the risks. We talk about alternatives, including pulling over to make or take calls. I remind them that we all managed without mobile phones until recently and encourage them to return to the practices of the pre–cell-phone era. What can drivers do if they want to fill the resulting void? They can listen to the radio or a CD. They can pay attention to what they're doing and their surroundings, rather than attempt to multitask. We talk about practical solutions. I tell them about a driver who killed a woman while talking on his phone but couldn't restrain himself even after that horror. He now puts his phone in the trunk of his car before he gets behind the wheel. I talk about creating such a system for eliminating the risk.
Although I've encountered less resistance from patients than I'd anticipated, many do have questions. Most commonly, they ask why talking on the phone, even with a hands-free device, is more dangerous than talking to a passenger in their car. There are several reasons: first is the obvious risk associated with trying to maneuver a phone, but cognitive studies have also shown that we are unable to multitask and that neurons are diverted differently depending on whether we are talking on the phone or talking to a passenger.5 When patients aren't convinced, I ask them, "How would you feel if the surgeon removing your appendix talked on the phone — hands free, of course — while operating?" This hypothetical captures the essence of the problem — the challenge of concentrating fully on the task at hand while engaged in a phone conversation.

Weird isn’t it?  To think that at your next physical exam your doctor may ask not only about the number of drinks you consume; the number of partners you’ve had, how often you smoke; but whether you text or talk on your cell while driving.  

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney can't believe the good news from the most aggressive DUI bloodsucking state in the Union

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about DUI blood draws.  She can’t believe the good news coming out of Arizona.  A state most DUI and criminal defense practitioners consider a veritable No-Man’s- Land when it comes to the Constitution.

June 8, Phoenix, AZ
 Blood samples taken from motorists without their explicit on-the-spot consent can't be used to convict them of drunken driving, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday.
 The justices acknowledged Arizona has an "implied consent" law saying motorists agree to provide a sample of blood, breath or urine for testing if they are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
 But Justice Scott Bales said police still need a warrant from a judge to draw blood without the driver's explicit approval.
 Bales, writing for the unanimous court, said the "implied consent" law simply makes giving consent a condition of having an Arizona license. He said that allows motorists to refuse, with the understanding their licenses will be taken away, something that remains unchanged by this ruling.
 Deputy Pima County Attorney Bruce Chalk said he does not think Monday's ruling will make it harder to convict suspected drunken drivers. Chalk said that if motorists balk, police still can obtain search warrants if they have probable cause to believe someone was driving while intoxicated.
 As proof, they noted that the law spells out that someone who is dead or unconscious is presumed not to have withdrawn consent. Based on that, they said if blood can legally be taken from an unconscious person, it also can be taken from someone who is merely silent.
Bales, however, said that's not the way the law works - at least not with those who are, in fact, conscious.
He pointed out the law requires police to ask a motorist to submit to a test and to inform anyone who refuses that doing so will result in loss of license. Bales said the law says that if a person refuses to submit, the test "shall not be given . . . unless pursuant to a search warrant."
The court also rejected arguments that requiring specific consent each time a test is sought undermines the state's drunken-driving laws.
"The key purpose of the implied-consent law is to remove from Arizona highways those drivers who may be a menace to themselves and others because of intoxication," Bales wrote.
 Finally, Bales said the statute does require someone who is arrested to "expressly agree" to being tested without a warrant. He said that means "in direct or unmistakable terms and not merely implied or left to inference."

Hmmm, let’s see if Arizona’s State’s Attorney will attempt to get this heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in light of its recent ruling that stands Miranda on its head.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney corrects a local newspaper on the state of DUI law in Illinois

This Chicago DUI attorney posted here about Rep. Ron Stephens DUI arrest a few months ago. He’s back in the news but not the way you may think.

June 9, Belleville, IL

Stephens, 62, pleaded guilty to a DUI last month. In March, Decatur police pulled Stephens over with a blood alcohol count of 0.101, well above the legal limit of 0.08. Stephens told police he was on his way home from a dinner party. He said he had drunk two whiskeys and soda. Stephens received one year of court supervision and his driver’s license was suspended until Oct. 30. He can, however, drive with an in-car breath-monitoring unit. A 2009 law allows anyone convicted of a DUI, including a first-time offender, to drive on a suspended license if he agrees to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device. Drivers cannot start the vehicle without blowing into the unit, which asks for another test at random intervals after the vehicle has been started. Drivers must pay for the gadgets, which cost around $80 to install and $80 a month to rent. And there is a $30 monthly state fee to send monthly reports to the Secretary of State.

“I am humiliated and embarrassed to stand before you and talk about it,” Stephens continued. “There is no excuse for drunk driving.”

Stephens also referred to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s recent decision not to renew his pharmacist’s license, which expires in 2012. His license was placed on probation in 2001 after the state found Stephens had diverted controlled substances from his pharmacy for personal use. Stephens has 30 days to request a hearing.
Grrr, Now to correct the bad law cited in the article above. In Illinois, a conviction on a DUI has the collateral consequence of causing the Secretary of State to revoke your driving privileges. According to the article, Rep. Stephens was not convicted (to keep it simple a conviction is a legal term). Instead he received court supervision. If you receive court supervision on a DUI (it’s available, although not guaranteed, for a first time DUI offender) then your driving privileges are not revoked. Instead, you may face a Statutory Summary Suspension for being charged with a DUI (not guilty just charged!). Assuming Rep. Stephens is a first time DUI offender and a successful hearing on the Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension was not held, then Rep. Stephens’ driving privileges would be suspended for a period of six months because he submitted to alcohol testing with a result over the legal limit of 0.08 ( a refusal to submit to the test results in a one year suspension). 

A first time DUI offender is permitted to operate a vehicle if it is equipped with a BAIID under Illinois MDDP.  During the Statutory Summary Suspension a vehicle can only be operated if it is equipped with a BAIID or if the court has granted permission to drive work vehicles, based on supporting documentation from the accused's employer.  If the accused could have had a BAIID installed and is caught operating a vehicle without a BAIID (or the work exemption) then that person faces a Class 4 felony, subject to a minimum of 30 days in jail and up to one year in prison. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on hundreds of DUI convictions questioned based on faulty breath machines

This Chicago DUI attorney posted here just last week about faulty breath machines. She witnessed people without any alcohol in their systems (according to the testing machine) after just one shot of vodka and then immediately blowing into the machine registering amounts of alcohol that should have rendered them unconscious.

It shouldn’t be too much of a shock to discover that there are faulty breath machines. Of greater significance, those faulty breath machines were instrumental to the government in securing convictions against people charged with DUI.

June 10, Washington, D.C.

Nearly 400 people were convicted of driving while intoxicated in the District since fall 2008 based on inaccurate results from breath test machines, and half of them went to jail, city officials said Wednesday.

D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles said the machines were improperly adjusted by city police. The jailed defendants generally served at least five days, he said.

Nickles's office has begun notifying the drivers, a move that immediately triggered at least one lawsuit against the District and could lead to requests for expungements, new trials and even deeper skepticism about the integrity of testing. Challenging test results is at the heart of drunken-driving cases, and this revelation will only strengthen those challenges, defense attorneys said.

The District's badly calibrated equipment would show a driver's blood-alcohol content to be about 20 percent higher than it actually was, Nickles said. All 10 of the breath test machines used by District police were wrong, he said. The problem occurred when the officer in charge of maintaining the machines improperly set the baseline alcohol concentration levels, Nickles said.
Isn’t it time we stop putting our trust in machines when it comes to the freedom and liberty of folks accused of DUI?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney thinks paying for a designated driver beats the alternative

This Chicago DUI attorney posted here about a service that would drive you home safely.  Imagine her surprise when she saw an ad for u drink I drive in a local magazine.

UDID's Personal Favorites:
·                                  So you are a taxi?
We are NOT A TAXI ! We are a chauffeur service that utilizes your vehicle to drive you. The advantage is that if you are already out you don't need to leave your car behind and worry about retrieving it on the next day.

·                                  So your service is for free?
Unfortunately, the answet  [sic] to this question is NO, we are not free. But our prices are very affordable - the service costs less than a two way cab fare!

·                                  Is there a puke fee?
No, but if you get sick, remember it is your own car... We are not cleaning it for you, just driving it

·                                  Would you pick up underage kids?
Absolutely! The highest number of fatal casualties due to drinking and driving comes from teenagers between 18-21. We don't judge you, just take you home safely!

·                                  So you encourage underage drinking?
Definetely [sic], not! We acknowledge that there is a problem with underage drinking and do our best to help prevent the worse!

Somehow, I suspect there will be arguments over whether this is a taxi service.  Wonder if they will get some support from AAIM, MADD, and others?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on the potential failure of alcohol testing devices

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here alcohol monitoring devices.  Essentially, this device is supposed to relay, if you consumed alcohol and when, continuously by registering the intake through your pores.

It sounds like a good idea, but you can’t forget that you are wearing it.


In the wake of Lindsay Lohan's SCRAM alcohol-monitoring bracelet being set off, her lawyer says the device did detect the physical presence of alcohol.
As The Associated Press reports, Shawn Chapman Holley issued a statement Tuesday saying the SCRAM bracelet indicated the presence of "a small amount of alcohol" on Sunday night. The troubled actress avoided jail time Tuesday after posting $200,000 bail for violating a court order banning her from consuming alcohol.
While the fact that the device was set off may appear problematic, Lohan's lawyer declined to confirm whether alcohol was indeed present in the actress' system: "Having just received the report, I am not in a position to speak to its accuracy or validity, however Ms. Lohan maintains that she has been in complete compliance with all of the terms of her probation and her bail."
The SCRAM bracelet detects alcohol consumption through the measurement of the wearer's perspiration. The device then sends information about the blood alcohol content to Alcohol Monitoring Systems, which manufactures the bracelet. As the bracelet not only detects alcohol from ingesting beverages, wearers are told to avoid consuming products that may also contain alcohol, such as mouthwash, cologne and perfumes. Lohan is familiar with the SCRAM bracelet, as the actress volunteered to wear the device following her 2007 DUI arrest.
Is it possible the alcohol bracelet picked up passive alcohol?  Sure it is, it’s a machine and we all know sometimes machines don’t operate properly.