Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicago DUI attorney comments on technology that won't let you drive drunk

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, and here about the future.  Specifically, about technology overtaking the ability to even get charged with a DUI, well not exactly true because in Illinois you can get charged with a DUI even if you aren’t driving, but that’s another post.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that driving while under the influence of alcohol is a bad idea. Of course, when under the influence of alcohol the tendency is to think you are a genius (also: good looking, charming, interesting, a qualified referee, good at billiards). So a new technology incubating with the backing of the U.S. Department of Transporation would install sensors in automobiles than unobtrusively test drivers’ blood alcohol contents each time they climb behind the wheel.
The Driver Alcohol Detection Systems for Safety, developed by Waltham, Mass.-based QinetiQ North America, would employ sensors that would test a drivers BAC either through his or her breath or skin. Sensitive breath sensors installed in the cabin could grab respiratory samples from the air to dial in a driver’s BAC, or strategically-placed sensors on the steering wheel and door locks could analyze a driver’s skin to get a BAC reading before allowing him or her to fire up the engine.
Both technologies are nascent, and government officials admit that neither technology would see a commercial rollout for another decade most likely. Even then, they wouldn’t be mandated. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood attended a demonstration Friday at which he said the tech is envisioned as an option, not a mandate.
Which is good, considering the amount of backlash that such a requirement would likely incur. Even with an issue like drunk driving—which pretty much everyone agrees is universally bad—Americans are already touchy about government regulation of their autos, and layering an automotive regulation on top of what some would surely call blatant government intrusion is a recipe for public ire.

Not to suggest this technology is a bad thing, but do you really think seat belts are mandatory, but this wouldn’t be?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chicago DUI attorney comments on texting, talking, and driving

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about distracted driving.  Can you believe it, looks like there’s an app for that?

Cellular carriers, having spent years trying to blanket the nation with phone service, are now working on ways to stop people from getting calls and texts when they are behind the wheel.
 T-Mobile announced a service this week that, for $4.99 a month, automatically disables rings and alerts and sends calls to voice mail when the phone is in a moving car. Sprint Nextel and AT&T said they were exploring the technology, while Verizon Wireless has been cooperating with small companies to offer a similar service on its network.
The services being tested and deployed are voluntary and can be overridden if a driver needs to use the phone for an emergency. They face real challenges in that the technology, for now, cannot distinguish whether a phone belongs to a driver or a passenger — or, for that matter, a bus rider.
Some think it’s ridiculous to pay someone, like a trainer, to help you in your workout, have we reached a point where we will pay a company to disable our ability to talk or text?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chicago DUI attorney comments on a new trend in DUI's across the country

I’m at the National College of DUI Defense’s Mid-Winter Session.

This time, perhaps because it is the start of the year, lawyers from across the country are making predictions.  Everyone starts to wonder if what they are seeing is specific to their state or is this something that they anticipate spreading throughout the nation.

What do you think of a charge of Driving Under the Influence of spice, K2, synthetic marijuana, in other words fake drugs?

SAN FRANCISCO — Reacting to what it called complaints from law enforcement and a surge in medical emergencies, the Drug Enforcement Administration said on Wednesday that it would ban several chemicals used to make so-called synthetic marijuana products, which resemble herbs or potpourri but mimic the effects of the drug when smoked.
n a notice published in the Federal Register, the agency said it would use its emergency powers to ban possession and sale of five synthetic cannaboids whose effects mirror that of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which gives marijuana its potency. Those chemicals are used to coat a variety of products which are marketed as incense, but have become popular as smokables for those seeking a legal high.
Under the action, the five cannaboids will be listed as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category, for at least a year while the government studies whether they should be permanently banned.
The temporary action will take at least 30 days to take effect, meaning the products will not immediately be illegal. But on Wednesday, the acting agency administrator, Michele M. Leonhart, made it clear that she believes they are an imminent public safety threat.
“Makers of these harmful products mislead their customers into thinking that ‘fake pot’ is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case,” she said in a statement.
The products, which began to appear in the United States in 2008, are sold in smoke shops and online under names like K2, Blue Dragon and Black Mamba Spice, and are marked with warnings saying “not intended for human consumption.” But according to the drug agency, those warnings are being ignored, leading to a variety of bad reactions, including agitation, vomiting, seizures and hallucinations.
Tony Newman, a spokesman for the Drug Policy Alliance, which seeks to liberalize the drug laws, said the ban seemed to be the wrong approach.
“The D.E.A. says that prohibiting synthetic marijuana will ‘control’ it — yet we know from history that prohibition is the complete opposite of drug control,” Mr. Newman said, adding that regulating and setting age limits would be a better approach than “relegating it to the black market.”

At one point do we stop fighting a losing war?  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney comments on the new law coming to help you (sigh)

New Year… More New Laws

Once in a while it happens, a law that many people may actually like.  It could even make life easier for residents and citizens.

One of the most onerous things about driving in the city is having to pay the cost to park.  The cost of street parking has increased more than 100% in the last two years.  Now your legislators thought you should have a way to fight back when the meter, or the infamous pay box, malfunctions.

(b) If for any reason the parking meter serving a space or, in a centralized parking meter system, serving a parking meter zone is malfunctioning due to the accumulation of ice or snow and it has been reported to the local authorities as malfunctioning prior to a violation for the standing or parking of vehicles being issued, it shall be a valid affirmative defense to such violation until such time as the parking meter is brought back into service. 
Did you notice the limited use of this one?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Laws!-- Chicago DUI Attorney's 2011 Edition

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about new laws coming to Illinois.

Here are some of the highlights:

Judges will no longer be required to sign, or refuse to sign, MDDP for those accused of a DUI.  That will now be between the accused and the Secretary of State.  The prior law required a signature of a judge and some judges wouldn’t do it, even though they were supposed to do it (I won’t call that breaking the law, but you can take from it whatever you want).* Awaits the Guv’s signature.   What!  You don’t doubt he will sign it do you?

Slow Down!  It’s no longer a simple speeding ticket if you get caught driving more than 30 mph over the posted speed limit, but less than 40 mph over the posted speed limit.  It’s now a Class B Misdemeanor.  This means you could actually go to jail for this offense.  It also means if you plead guilty or you are found guilty of this offense, you now have criminal background.  In Illinois, a Class B Misdemeanor is punishable, upon a conviction, with up to 30 days in jail.  Somehow, everyone thinks this is a logical result, but how many of you have ever driven more than 30 miles over the posted speed limit?  

It is done.  Being charged with a DUI on a snowmobile or a boat will result in the suspension of your car driving privileges.  Additionally, if you get charged with a DUI in your auto vehicle a summary suspension will prohibit you from operating a boat or a snowmobile (currently, Illinois does not require a license for operating a snowmobile).  

Your kid can’t be your designated driver.  625 ILCS 5/11-507