Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Ticketing Quotas

They said they wouldn’t do it.  That there was no such thing as quotas; this Chicago DUI attorney knows you were skeptical.  Well, the good news is the quotas aren’t here (well at least not officially).

  Motorists driving on Gary streets should be on extra alert: Traffic cops are under orders to issue tickets more than once an hour, every day all day.
Claiming they want to increase productivity, Gary police administrators ordered traffic officers to write at least 10 tickets per shift.
But prosecutors, defense attorneys and the Fraternal Order of Police say quotas can have a negative impact on public perception, police morale and convictions on all levels.
“It’s not good for us,” Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said last week.
“I try to talk to police all the time, tell them to be sensitive to members of the public, use some discretion. Setting a strict requirement removes some of that discretion,” Carter said.
This one is official.  It’s not shocking for any municipality to try, in these dire economic times, to increase revenue in order to maintain local services, but this is ridiculous.  Really, the voters may prefer taxation to being ticketed just to try to balance the budget.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Your Car NOT Being Your Castle!

This Chicago DUI attorney wants to remind you that there’s more to worry about than whether or not you will get charged with a DUI when you are driving.  She’s posted here and here about being charged with a DUI for marijuana. 

Now, what about those other crimes that you can be charged with while in what you thought was your car, a place that you deem as private to intrusion as your home?

Do you think an officer has the right to order you to close your windows and turn your blowers on high for a dog-sniff?

Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court pushed back your right’s to privacy in your car.

After a lawful traffic stop, a police officer performed a set-up
procedure, which entailed ordering the driver, defendant, Cheryl L.
Bartelt, to roll up her truck’s windows and turn the ventilation
system’s blowers on high before a second officer conducted a canine
sniff of the exterior of her truck. The dog alerted on both doors of the
truck, and a subsequent search of the truck resulted in discovery of
drug evidence.
The only issue on appeal is whether  the officers’ actions in
ordering defendant to roll up her windows and turn the blowers on
high before conducting the dog sniff of the truck’s exterior constituted
an unreasonable search under the fourth amendment. This seems to be
an issue of first impression nationwide because the parties have not
cited, nor has our research revealed, any decisions that have addressed
the issue.
The dissent would like us to recharacterize the issue as whether
the officers’ actions in ordering defendant to roll up her windows and
turn the blowers on high before conducting the dog sniff of the truck’s
exterior constituted an unreasonable  seizure under the  fourth
amendment. We decline to do so because it is clear that, in her briefs
and oral arguments before this court, defendant argues that the
officers’ actions in ordering her to roll up her windows and turn the
blowers on high before conducting the dog sniff of the truck’s exterior
constituted an unreasonable search, not an unreasonable seizure.

Here’s a portion of the dissent:
This appeal squarely presents the question of whether a police
officer’s order to a driver, during a routine traffic stop, to perform a
“set-up” procedure  to facilitate a canine sniff for narcotics, is an
unreasonable seizure which violates the fourth amendment. It is my
view that it is. Despite the fact that this precise issue was litigated by
the parties in the circuit court, and even though the majority’s own
recitation of the factual background and procedural history of this
cause repeatedly references seizure principles, my colleagues decline
to analyze this  appeal in the context of whether defendant was
subjected to  an unreasonable seizure. Instead, they review the
propriety of the police action by inquiring whether the “ordering” of
defendant to perform the set-up procedure is “an unreasonable
search.” Slip op. at 8. Using this inappropriate analytical framework,
the majority holds that there is no constitutional violation. As I agree
with neither the majority’s analysis nor the result, I respectfully

Keep in mind,that this type of charge can occur whenever you are not the sole driver of your vehicle.

Sure it’s difficult, but you have to remember that the strength of our constitution is challenged when things are wrong, not when things are right.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Double Duty DUI Strike Forces

Double Duty!

This is the first big holiday weekend without former Supt. Jody Weis in three years.  It looks like the new interim Supt. Gerry McCarthy is going to have the force out double time looking for impaired drivers. 

 The Chicago Police Department will conduct a DUI Strike Force Patrol in the Austin (015th District.
 The DUI Strike Force Patrol will commence at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 27, 2011
and end at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, 2011. 
 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.

The Chicago Police Department will conduct a DUI Strike Force Patrol in the South
Chicago 004th District. The DUI Strike Force Patrol will commence at 8:00 p.m. on
Saturday, May 28, 2011 and end at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 29, 2011. 
 Please keep in mind, that what you think is drunk, is clearly an impaired driver, and what the police think is drunk is the smell of alcohol on your breath or an admission of smoking marijuana or even taking allergy medication.

One more thing, these are Strike Forces, there will be other officers working throughout the city looking for impaired drivers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Drinking and Driving

This Chicago DUI attorney thinks its time to remind you that it is not illegal to consume alcohol and then drive. 

Have you ever had beer at a game and then driven home afterwards?

How about a glass of wine after work with colleagues before driving home for the night?

What about all of those fantastic wedding receptions you attend with, OPEN BAR?  You do have one or two drinks before going home after a night of celebrating, don’t you?

All of those common situations could get you charged with a DUI.

In Illinois, we have a jury instruction that provides that a person is NOT under the influence of alcohol if their BAC is under .05.  Still this creates a reality that flies in the face of many accused of the crime of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol.

There is also significant case law in Illinois that permits one to be found guilty of the crime of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol when there is NOT a BAC over the legal limit of .08.  That area includes cases where there isn’t any BAC as well as cases where the BAC is over .05 but under the per se legal limit of .08.  That’s right you can be found guilty of a DUI even if you submit to blood, breath, or urine testing and the result is above .05 but under the legal limit of .08.

This Chicago DUI attorney tells her friends and family that the best way to avoid needing her services is to avoid having any alcohol if you are going to drive.  Yes, I know that’s not the law.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chicago DUI attorney comments on losing the right to a trial by your peers

This Chicago DUI attorney is a proud member of the National College of DUI Defense

Last week, a member reported on a change to the rights of the accused in Arizona.

That state has decided that no longer does a person accused of a DUI have a right to a jury trial.  Yes, they can go to trial.

As shocking as it may seem, there are other states that don’t permit a jury trial for a first time DUI charge.

New Hampshire
New Jersey

In Illinois, you are guaranteed the right to a jury.  Yes, I heard you breathe a sigh of relief.

Here's the kicker, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill into law, although she received a professional courtesy for her own DUI.

*** New law goes into effect January, 2012