Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Injuries from Accidents

This Chicago DUI attorney understands that being hurt by someone accused of a DUI would make any injured party want to have the “book thrown” at the offending party.  The maximum sentence won’t ever suffice.

 After an emotional weeklong trial, a jury acquitted a driver in a single-car wreck of three drunken-driving offenses that left two passengers dead, a third maimed and a fourth injured.
Richard Freeman, an enlisted Navy sailor, was found not guilty Tuesday on two counts of aggravated involuntary manslaughter and a single count of maiming in the fiery 2009 wreck on Granby Street. The jury took two days to reach a verdict.
Freeman testified that his back-seat passengers distracted him and caused him to slam his BMW into a tree in the median across from Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center.
A prosecution witness testified that Freeman's blood alcohol content was at least 0.10 after the crash, exceeding the state's legal limit for driving.
Outside the courthouse after Tuesday's verdict, family members of the victims cursed and confronted defense attorney Andrew Sacks.
"We came out of this with no children and no justice," said Trent Richardson, father of victim Cameron Richardson.

From the
 15-year-old girl has been ticketed for improper lane usage in the June 21 crash that killed a Gurnee teen and her cancer-stricken dog, Lake County authorities said Wednesday.
Taylor Mae Stinchcomb, 15, and her pet Doberman, Romulus, died when the van in which they were riding veered off Almond Road, then hit a tree and utility pole in rural Lake County near Wildwood.
Taylor had taken the dog and her family’s 2003 Dodge minivan after learning that her family was considering putting down Romulus because he had cancer, investigators said.
Taylor later picked up a friend, whom authorities said was at the wheel when the van crashed about 12:45 a.m.
Citing her age, Lake County sheriff’s police declined to identify the teen ticketed
Do you feel the same way if the accident occurs and there’s no alcohol involved?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Wants to Know if You Think The Government Should Keep Tabs on Your Dismissed Charges?

This Chicago DUI Attorney has posted here and here about the inability to legislate for good behavior, now a tragedy has struck and the government wants to extend its use of information, namely charges that are dismissed.

The Illinois Secretary of State oversees drivers licenses for Illinois motorists, but is not notified of all tickets issued in the state.
On Monday, a cab struck and killed a pedestrian in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. The cab, Yao Ofori, driver had more than 30 traffic citations in Cook County, but only two of those showed up in Ofori's driving record at the Illinois Secretary of State due to various laws.
"It's based on the offense table that is set for by the state of Illinois through the administrative office of Illinois courts. They give us a table and we correspond what is reportable and not reportable to the state," said Enza Raineri, Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
Some of Ofori's traffic citations were dismissed or not pursued. For instance, in 2007, Ofori was driving when his cab hit a pedestrian. That ticket -- failure to yield -- was dismissed and not reported to the secretary of state.
The two moving violations in the secretary of state records were improper turn (2007) and improper lane usage (2010).
Yes, a tragedy occurred, but are we going to take driving privileges away from people who were charged, but the charges were dismissed?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Says, "Ka-Ching" for the Government

This Chicago DUI attorney posted here and here about the increase in fines.  You guessed it, fines have been raised again.  This time it’s for the minor traffic tickets, the type that won’t land you in jail or give you criminal background.

The other day I heard it. $0 fine in exchange for a plea of guilty, but with the fees the total would be $300!  Yes you read that right.

Here’s a Run Down:

Guilty finding/verdict $130 fees, in addition to the fine
Court Supervision $159-165 in fees, in addition to the fine
  • Quasi- Criminal Fee $30
  • Supervision Fee $29
  • Court Security Services Fee $25
  • State Police Operations Fee $15
  • Court Automation Fee $15
  • Court Document Storage Fee $15
  • Mental Health Fee $10
  • Supervision Fee $6 (unless waived)
  • Court System Fee $5
  • Electronic Citation Fee $5
  • Drug Court Fee $5
  • Youth Diversion Fee $5

Do you think those are enough reasons to avoid being charged with a traffic offense, even a minor one?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Wants to Hear Your Thoughts on the New Seat Belt Law, for Adults in the Back Seat

This Chicago DUI attorney thinks more nominal probable cause for a traffic stop has just been signed into law by Governor Quinn.

From now on, you must monitor your passengers in the back seat, even if they are adults, in order to avoid being stopped by the police.

 Back seat passengers will now be required to wear seat belts in Illinois under a measure signed into law today.
 The move strengthens the state's current seat belt laws, which require passengers in the front seat and anyone under the age of 19 to wear safety belts. Police will be able to stop vehicles if they notice a passenger isn’t strapped in. 
Exemptions include those riding in taxis or emergency vehicles such as police cars and ambulances.
Seriously, how many of you think this is the work you sent your legislators down to Springfield to do?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Boating Under the Influence and Your Driver's License

This Chicago DUI attorney knows today is perfect in the city.  The sun is shining.  It is neither too hot nor too cold.  You could spend today along the lakefront and use the waterways to get to the big party on the north side for Pride or downtown for the Taste.  Still, you need to be careful if you are partying on the waterways, especially in a boat.

As the summer boating season enters full swing, states are moving to curtail a peril on the water — boating while intoxicated.
Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents involving the nation’s 12.4 million registered boats, the U.S. Coast Guard said. There were 126 fatalities and 293 injuries in 330 alcohol-related boating accidents across the country in 2010.
In Illinois, the Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police arrested 12 boaters for operating under the influence over the Memorial Day holiday.
 For a first offense, punishment can include up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine; second offenses can carry one to three years in jail and a $25,000 fine, department spokeswoman Stacey Solano said.

It also subjects you to a suspension of your driver’s license.  That’s right a charge of boating under the influence can get your privileges to drive your car taken away while the case is pending.  Just like on land, a designated “Captain” is important when boating on a glorious day like today.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Wants You to Know Your Background Is Important

This Chicago DUI attorney has represented people who think the past just stays in the past and has no impact on  a current matter.  That's wrong.  If you have prior traffic or criminal background it impacts you throughout the case from the very beginning when a prosecutor  decides whether the case will proceed or be dismissed to whether the charge will be enhanced or downgraded or even right out of the gate when a bond is suggested by the prosecutor that determines whether you get to be outside of jail or inside of jail while the charges against you are pending.

June 17, St. Charles, IL:

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty reports, Paul Woodard and the assistant public defender representing him were hoping to get his $20,000 bond cut in half so he could get out of the Kane County Jail.

Instead, a judge raised it to $75,000 after prosecutors detailed Woodard’s lengthy history of driving illegally and other criminal convictions.

Whitfield, who sought an increase to $150,000, argued that raising the bond was
          necessary for the protection of the public. In this case, the aggravated driving with a   
revoked license is a Class 2 felony because of the number of previous convictions,
           Whitfield said.
During a Thursday hearing, Woodard’s assistant public defender asked to have the bail reduced to $10,000 because, arguing that the amount was excessive. But Assistant State’s Attorney Andrew Whitfield told Judge Marmarie Kostelny that Woodard had 25 other arrests for driving revoked since 1999. Those arrests occurred around the Chicago area.

Your prior background matters and you really should share it with your attorney so that your attorney can make the best determination on how best to assist you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on DUI Arrests

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) Top DUI Cop lists.  Now the focus has shifted away from the individual officers making arrests to the number of arrests made by city by city.


The most significant deterrents to impaired driving are law enforcement and DUI arrests.  The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) is pleased to release the results of our 21st Annual DUI Arrest Survey.
The biggest increase in arrests among the top departments was in East Peoria where DUI arrests jumped by 131.0% in 2010 compared to 2009.  According to Chief Ed Papis, “Our police department is proud to have made a notable contribution to saving lives on our roadways.  Whether they live here or are driving through town, we want everyone to know that in East Peoria we do arrest drunk drivers.”  Other municipalities with large increases from 2009 to 2010 are Chicago Heights (81.1%), Fox Lake (69.0%), Pekin (29.9%) and Springfield (19.2%).
Chicago police made 14.9 % fewer arrests in 2010 (3,695) than in 2009 (4,341), while Illinois State Police arrests increased by 7.4% in 2010 (10,734) compared to 2009 (9,996).  The sheriff’s department reporting the most DUI arrests was Cook County (515), while Lake (393), DeKalb (327), Will (267) and St. Clair (253) Counties round out the top five sheriff departments.
 Illinois State Police Trooper Daniel S. Erickson was Illinois’ Top Cop with 206 DUI arrests.  AAIM also commends the life-saving efforts of Chicago Police Officer Timothy Walter who arrested 180 drunk drivers.  “When police chiefs make it a priority to get impaired drivers off the roads, lots of arrests are made.  There are several individual officers making more DUI arrests per year than many entire police departments in Illinois.

Does anyone else think its odd that AAIM cites law enforcement and actual arrests for DUI are significant deterrents to impaired driving?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on the Movement Towards Zero Tolerance for Driving After Consuming Alcohol

This Chicago DUI atttorney has posted here and here about MADD's movement towards a prohibition of alcohol consumption.  Still, it's important to distinguish the difference between driving when impaired because of alcohol consumption and the "beer with co-workers after work" or the "glass of wine with dinner" and then driving home adult.  No one wants to be on the road with drunk drivers, but watch the shift from drunk driving to having any amount of alcohol and then driving that is now being advocated.


Driving with a buzz can be as dangerous as driving when you are fully intoxicated, a new study suggests.

The blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit in the U.S. is set at 0.08%, but levels well below this legal limit are associated with car accidents that cause incapacitating injury and death.

"Buzz kills," says David Phillips, PhD a sociologist at University of California, San Diego. "No amount of alcohol seems to be safe for driving."

The new study appears in Addiction.

In the study, drivers who tested positive for blood alcohol at levels well-below the legal BAC limit were more likely to be in severe car accidents than sober drivers largely because they drove significantly faster, were less likely to be appropriately using a seatbelt, and were usually driving the striking vehicle.

Lowering the legal BAC limit may help, Phillips says. In Sweden, the BAC limit is 0.02%; in Japan, it is 0.03%.

Researchers looked at data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which includes information on all 1,495,667 people in the U.S. who were involved in fatal car accidents from 1994 to 2008. This data included information on BAC in increments of 0.01.

Car accidents are 36.6% more severe even if alcohol was barely detectable in the driver's bloodstream, the study shows. The findings held even after researchers took into account the days and times of the week when car accidents are known to be more severe. Car accident severity is significantly higher on weekends, between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., and in June through August.

"There is no safe level," Phillips says. "Why assume that just because you have been driving buzzed for years that it is safe?"

Aren't you curious to know who funded the study?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Is Glad a Governor Knows the Limits of Government

This Chicago DUI atorney has posted here, here, and here about texting while driving.  You know she was opposed to the texting while driving ban that became law in llinois.

Finally, a governor pushes back on the limits of government and he used his veto power.

From the Office of Governor Rick Perry:


Pursuant to Article IV, Section 14, of the Texas Constitution, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto House Bill No. 242 as passed by the Eighty-Second Texas Legislature, Regular Session, because of the following objections:

Texting while driving is reckless and irresponsible. I support measures that make our roads safer for everyone, but House Bill 242 is a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults. Current law already prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from texting or using a cell phone while driving. I believe there is a distinction between the overreach of House Bill 242 and the government's legitimate role in establishing laws for teenage drivers who are more easily distracted and laws providing further protection to children in school zones.
Do you think other states will follow Governor Perry's lead?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Is Glad to Know That Business Stood Up to Government

This Chicago DUI attorney posted here about apps alerting drivers to roadblocks.

Now it appears Apple has caved to the government’s request to stop providing this information to citizens, but only in the future, not currently.

After the post initially ran, the makers of PhantomALERT responded and said the app had NOT actually been removed from the App store. Sure enough we found an active page for the app, as well as similar apps TrapsterDUI Dodger,Checkpointer, and Buzzed . For clarification, it appears the policy is that Apple will reject future apps per its updated App Store guidelines, according to Apple enthusiast blog Cult of Mac.

Life has become a little bit easier, thanks to the booming Android and iPhone app market that offers an app for just about everything. Chances are if you are ever in need of something, most likely there’s an app to help you out. But are some apps taking it too far when it comes to public safety?
Senators have been fighting for Apple and Google to do away with PhantomALERT and other apps that have DUI checkpoints as part of their service. PhantomALERT an app that is geared toward providing awareness to those on the road by alerting them of red light traffic cams, speed traps, and DUI checkpoints. The app has been quite the controversy, but has since generated a tremendous upward trend in downloads and sales.
The speed trap or the red light camera alerts are not the main concern for Senators, but the information released through the app on DUI checkpoint locations. Senators argue that releasing such information to the public encourages breaking the law by helping drunk drivers evade police. Some other apps, not Phantom ALERT, go as far as providing alternate routes around checkpoints.

Really?  What about the idea that you are probably sober if you are able to use the app to figure out how to avoid the checkpoints in the first place?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Pesky Roadside Checks and No Bail

This Chicago DUI attorney knows how frustrating these roadside safety checks can be.  She’s posted here and here about them.  Still, one shouldn’t let a roadside safety check turn into a criminal charge for attempted murder with no bail being available.

A South Side man has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to run over a Chicago Police officer with his Jaguar in the popular Weed Street District early Monday morning.
The 51-year-old officer, who was conducting a roadside seatbelt safety check, had to hold onto the hood of Rodney Steele’s luxury British car to keep from being hit, Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher Costello said Tuesday.
After the first officer fell off the car, another officer shot at Steele’s black four-door, striking the vehicle’s driver’s side and puncturing his keys, but Steele kept driving at a high rate of speed from the corner of Kingsbury, Weed and Sheffield, Costello said.
Officers had noticed that Steele was wearing his seatbelt improperly around 2 a.m. Monday morning and had asked him to pull over and produce his driver’s license, Costello said.
Steele told officers that they “knew him” and ignored a second request to pull over, Costello said.
That’s when he allegedly accelerated and drove right into the officer, endangering a nearby cab.
When Steele made a “sudden” left turn, the officer slipped off the Jaguar near the taxi, Costello said.
Steele sped off and eventually drove onto the I-90/94 Expressway and exited at the 31st Street exit with marked squad cars behind him, Costello said.
No bail means just that, NO BAIL.  Unlike DSK, who had bail set at $1M for allegations of raping a woman in New York (yes he did “make bail” by posting the bond and surrendering his passport, and being under house arrest, with actual police jailers posted), this gentleman can’t exit no matter how much money is posted.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on the Perils of Youthful Mistakes

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about the legal consequences of a DUI when you are under the age of 21.  Right now, I’m at the Illinois State Bar Association’s 135th Annual Meeting and the law is strict in Wisconsin for youthful mistakes that can be tragic as well.

As her fellow Homestead High School graduates head off to college dorms in coming weeks, Madeline Kudlata will split her time between Marquette University and a jail cell as punishment for killing her best friend and classmate in a rollover crash last September.
Kudlata, 18, of Mequon was sentenced Thursday to a year in jail, with release privileges to attend Marquette, as a condition of five years probation. If she violates that or other conditions, she could go to prison for two years, and as many as five, under a sentence imposed, and stayed, by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Kevin Martens after a daylong hearing of emotional testimony from family on both sides.
Sydney Tabakin died Sept. 18 after Kudlata lost control on the ramp to northbound U.S. 41 from eastbound I-94. Kudlata and a front-seat passenger were not seriously injured. Tabakin was riding in the back seat without a seat belt.
In April, Kudlata pleaded no contest to homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle. She was initially ticketed for driving too fast for conditions and having an open container of alcohol in her car, but was charged with the felony in January.
Witnesses told investigators that Kudlata was disposing of liquor bottles at the scene. A blood test showed traces of marijuana, but no alcohol. Tabakin had no alcohol or illicit drugs in her system.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Williams told Martens that the case could have been charged as homicide by drug-impaired driving, a 25-year felony, but that his office negotiated the lesser charge, and plea, in the interest of justice and the facts.
"I believe it's a reasonable resolution of a very difficult matter," Williams said. He recommended the year of jail as condition to probation.

Kudlata will suffer the consequences for the rest of her life while her best friend had her life cut short.  It could have been just a tragic accident, had alcohol and drugs not be involved, no matter how attenuated.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Chuckles, but It Wasn't Funny

This Chicago DUI Attorney chuckled today.  She read this headline and shook her head in disbelief.

The Illinois State Police on Tuesday denied any racial bias in deciding when to ask permission to search cars during traffic stops and defended the searches as an effective law-enforcement tool.
 But the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois said state police ducked the basic question of why troopers are more likely to seek permission to search the cars of black and Hispanic drivers than of white drivers, even though searches of white drivers more often reveal contraband.

If police have reasonable grounds to suspect a crime, they do not need a driver's permission to search a car. Consent searches are used when police have no reason to suspect a crime but still want to conduct a search for some reason. Drivers don't have to allow the search but they do about nine times out of 10.

In defending consent searches, the state police said they seized 2,069 firearms, over 14,472 pounds of illegal drugs, and arrested thousands of motorists for serious crimes in 2009. They did not, however, say how many of those successes were a result of consent searches.
The ACLU's figures show only 177 state police consent searches produced any contraband, and more than half of it came from white drivers. Mostly what troopers found was alcohol and drug paraphernalia. They found weapons only 14 times and more than 50 grams of drugs only eight times.
Well, what do you think?  Do the police stop people of color more frequently, than others or is that just a myth right up there with the Tooth Fairy?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Corporate Logos on License Plates

This Chicago DUI attorney understands that the State’s financial obligations are larger than its coffers.  She’s posted here, here, and here about an increase in court fines in an attempt to fatten up the coffers, even some of the prosecutors have been shaking their heads with disgust over it.  Still a new low bar has been reached when a corporate entity is able to run an ad on the license plates we are required to have in order to drive.

 Illinois is looking at allowing corporations to put their logos or advertisements on state license plates, something that has proven successful in raising revenue in Texas.
Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago, this spring passed a measure to have the secretary of state’s office study whether the state could make money by allowing corporations to sponsor license plates.
The special plates would be offered to Illinois motorists at a discount, and the companies would pay the state to put their logos or ads on the plates.
The study is to be concluded by Jan. 1.
This is different than the vanity plates currently permitted to highlight being a vet or an alumnus, just picture your local burger chain’s logo on your license plate.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Click It or Ticket Becoming the Law for the Whole Car

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about legislation.  Well here’s one I didn’t highlight because truthfully, I just didn’t think this was going to be an issue.

 Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that every driver and passenger (rather than every driver, front seat passengers, and certain passengers under the age of 19) of a motor vehicle operated on a street or highway of this State must wear a properly adjusted safety belt, with specified exceptions.
House Committee Amendment No. 1
Adds the driver or passenger of an authorized emergency vehicle and a back seat passenger of a taxicab to the list of persons exempted from the requirement to wear a safety belt.

It looks like a gateway to a traffic stop to me.  I can’t imagine Governor Quinn won’t sign this one into law and when it becomes effective drivers need to turn around and make sure all passengers are fastened, not just the ones in special kid seats.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on the Trooper Who Is Out to Get You

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about speeding.  Today’s Chicago Sun Times profiles the trooper you don’t want to meet.  He’s written over 5,000 tickets.

Trooper Jason Heinzl squinted through the sight of his speed gun, fixed the red laser target on the license plate ‘PQQDLE’ and pulled the trigger.
For a split-second as it flashed past Heinzl’s hidden squad car in the passenger seat of a speeding Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, the unmistakable profile of a well-groomed poodle was silhouetted in black against the sun-bleached windshield.
“Seventy-eight miles an hour,” Heinzl said, stomping on the gas and turning on his lights. “That’ll do.”
The 5,005 speeding tickets the 36-year-old veteran of 12 years has written since January 2000 is 603 more than his closest colleague, a Sun-Times analysis of more than 700,000 tickets shows. Or as he puts it, “If I have to get out of my car, you’re usually getting a ticket.”

Seriously, is it worth the risk of getting stopped by this guy or one of his colleagues?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Whether Vehicular Fleeing Should Be Categorized as a Violent Crime

Did you know that driving away from the police can now be considered a violent crime?  No you don’t have to hit anyone or anything for fleeing and eluding the police, in a car, to be deemed a violent crime?

On Thursday, a divided Court, ruled in a 6-3 decision that an Indiana man could be sentenced, federally under an enhancement based on having a background of three violent crimes.  Yes.  One of those “violent crimes” was fleeing the police in a vehicle.

Fleeing from the police in a car is a violent felony that can subject criminals to mandatory 15-year prison terms, the Supreme ruled on Thursday in a 6-to-3 decision.
The decision was the court’s fourth encounter since 2007 with a phrase in a federal law, the Armed Career Criminal Act. Under the law, convicted felons found with guns face a maximum sentence of 10 years. But those with three convictions for violent felonies are subject to a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence.
The law defines violent felonies as including burglary, arson and other “conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.” The defendant in the case Thursday, Marcus Sykes, pleaded guilty to having a gun in violation of the federal law, and it was undisputed that he had twice committed violent felonies, by robbing a man of his wristwatch and a woman of her purse.
The question in the case was whether a third conviction under Indiana law for fleeing from the police in a car was also a violent felony. Mr. Sykes’s flight was dangerous, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. “Sykes wove through traffic, drove on the wrong side of the road and through yards containing bystanders, passed through a fence and struck the rear of a house,” Justice Kennedy wrote.
But, Justice Kennedy went on, the issue was not whether Mr. Sykes’s actual conduct had been violent. Rather, it was whether the crime he had been convicted of was as a general matter a crime of violence.
As a matter of both common experience and statistics, Justice Kennedy wrote, the answer was yes. Fleeing from the police in a car, he wrote, “is a provocative and dangerous act that dares, and in a typical case requires, the officer to give chase.”
Did you notice this was not a unanimous decision?  What I find interesting is that Justice Scalia wrote a separate dissent.

From Sykes v. U.S., No, No. 09-11311.:
 As the Court's opinion acknowledges, this case is “another in a series,” ante, at 1.  More specifically, it is an attempt to clarify, for the fourth time since 2007, what distinguishes “violent  felonies” under the residual clause of the Armed Career  Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U. S. C. §924(e)(2)(B)(ii), from other crimes.  See James v. United  States, 550 U. S. 192  (2007); Begay v. United States, 553
U. S. 137 (2008); Chambers v. United States, 555 U. S. 122 (2009).  We try to include an ACCA residual-clause case in about every second or  third volume of the United States  Reports.
 As was perhaps predictable, instead of producing a clarification of the Delphic residual clause, today’s opinion produces a fourth ad hoc judgment that will sow further confusion.  Insanity, it has been said, is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.  Four times is enough.   We should admit that ACCA’s residual provision  is a drafting failure and declare it void for vagueness.  See Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U. S. 352, 357 (1983).
 What does violate the Constitution is approving the enforcement of a sentencing statute that does not “give a person of ordinarily intelligence fair notice” of its reach, United States v. Batchelder, 442 U. S.  114, 123 (1979) (internal quotation marks omitted), and  that permits, indeed  invites, arbitrary enforcement, see Kolender,  461 U. S.,  at 357.   The Court’s ever-evolving interpretation of the residual clause will keep defendants and judges guessing for years to come.  The reality is that the phrase “otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another” does not clearly define the crimes that will subject defendants to the greatly increased ACCA
penalties.  It is not the job of this Court to impose a clarity which the text itself does not honestly contain.  And even if that were our job, the further reality is that we have by now demonstrated our inability to accomplish the task.
 We face a Congress that puts forth an ever-increasing volume of laws in general, and of criminal laws in particular.  It should be no surprise that as the volume increases,so do the number of imprecise laws.  And no surprise that our indulgence of imprecisions that violate the Constitution encourages imprecisions that violate the Constitution.  Fuzzy, leave-the-details-to-be-sorted-out-by-the-courts legislation  is attractive to the Congressman who wants credit for addressing a national problem but does not have the time (or perhaps the votes) to grapple with the nittygritty.  In the field of  criminal law, at least, it is time to
call a halt.  I do not  think it would be a radical step—indeed, I think it would be highly responsible—to limit ACCA to the named violent crimes.  Congress can quickly add what it wishes.  Because the majority prefers to let vagueness reign, I respectfully dissent.
 A decision like this requires citizens to correct the decisions of the court.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on What You Shouldn't Do if You Are in a Roadblock

It’s a damp night.  Still it’s the weekend and you know what that means, another DUI roadblock in a neighborhood.  Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that police aren’t working other areas in patrol cars, on bikes (I saw two bike officers about an hour ago), horses, and ATVs.

 The Chicago Police Department will conduct a DUI Strike Force Patrol in the Ogden 010th District. The DUI Strike Force Patrol will commence at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, June 10, 2011 and end at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 11, 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.

Whatever you do, if you are in the neighborhood, avoid this area by several blocks.  Trust me, don’t try to change your course once you see the cones alerting you to the roadblock.  Most of the time, if you change course you will find another roadblock awaiting you or suspicious police following you assuming you are driving drunk and that’s the reason your changed your course.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on The Break for Parking Scofflaws

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about how difficult it can be to get your driver’s license back.  Unfortunately, frequently it comes down to money.

Now, in a nod to these economic dire times, your Illinois legislators thought maybe we should make it a wee bit easier for folks to get their driving privileges restored.  Somehow, I don’t think the memo got out about this; the law is almost a year old.

(d) Any municipality making a certified report to the 
Secretary of State pursuant to this Section shall notify the
Secretary of State, in a form prescribed by the Secretary,
whenever a person named in the certified report has paid the
previously reported fine or penalty, whenever a person named in
the certified report has entered into a payment plan pursuant
to which the municipality has agreed to terminate the
suspension, or whenever the municipality determines that the
original report was in error. A certified copy of such
notification shall also be given upon request and at no
additional charge to the person named therein. Upon receipt of
the municipality's notification or presentation of a certified
copy of such notification, the Secretary of State shall
terminate the suspension.
So if you let parking tickets trigger a suspension of your driving privileges, you could get your driving privileges restored by entering into a payment plan with the municipality that reported your lack of payments in the first place.  In the past, it was an all or nothing proposition with the municipality once your license was suspended. 

Don’t sleep on your rights!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on an Offer for Dinner-- No It's Not a Client

“I tell you what, if he comes back with a valid license on the next court date, I’ll buy you a nice vegetarian dinner”.  Wow!  I thought to myself.  It’s not every day that even the government is jaded by the ability of the accused to right the ship.  Change Course.  Plot a new path.  Ask for the Mulligan, in other words begin again.

The accused has numerous charges for driving without a valid driver’s license simply because he never bothered to pay a reinstatement fee to the Secretary of State.  That’s right, failure to pay a reinstatement fee (that’s the only reason for the suspension) is enough to land you in the county jail for almost a year and or court fees of up to $2500.

Does that make any sense to you?

Dear Government Prosecutor,

Here’s a list of some of my favorite vegetarian friendly places for that dinner.

Great Lake
Green Zebra
Sun Wah
Prairie Fire
Old Town Social

My client has assured me that your offer of dinner for me is worth it to him.  He will comply.  He will start again with a valid driver's license.

Yours truly,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on DUI and Graduation

This Chicago DUI attorney has commented here on the additional challenges of being under 21 and charged with a DUI.  I know that prom season has just ended and graduation and parties to celebrate are upon us.  It also can brings tragedy.

When I was growing up in South Carolina, every year seniors would die in some alcohol-related death.  Back then the drinking age was eighteen and most seniors were eighteen.  

Times have changed.  Now the legal drinking age is 21.  Times remain the same, seniors graduate from high school and celebrate with alcohol and other drugs. Tragedy occurs.

A couple of weeks ago a friend posted this story on her Facebook Wall and it brought tears to my eyes:

Still, you don’t want to ruin your life before your adulthood begins.  You don’t want me to have to defend you in a case where you are charged with a DUI.  The stakes are considerably higher when you are under 21.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Subsequent DUI Charges and Court Behavior

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here  about people charged more than once with a DUI, still it never fails to surprise her when people charged with this offense come to court smelling of alcohol, never mind actually being drunk.

An Elgin woman charged with DUI six times had her bail revoked this week after police say she came to court intoxicated.
Authorities say 54-year-old Sandra Uher had been free on $100,000 when she was taken into custody.
 During her most recent DUI arrest in March, police say Uher failed a field sobriety test and had a preliminary blood-alcohol content of .30, nearly four times the legal limit for drivers.
She was also driving on a revoked license.
The good news is the judge realized her problem is more than a criminal one, she needs help, so she was taken to the medical facilities at the jail.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Your Duty, as a Social Host, to Prevent a DUI

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about being held responsible for a DUI when you weren’t drinking or driving.  No, not a criminal charge, but when you get sued for someone consuming alcohol on your property, and you didn’t serve it to them.  The Illinois Supreme Court has drawn a line in the sand for host liability.

 This case arises out of the death of Daniel Bell, age 18, who died in a single-car accident after he had allegedly consumed alcoholic beverages at the residence of defendants in the course of a party organized and hosted by the defendants’ son, Jonathan. Plaintiff’s second amended complaint implicitly acknowledges that the defendants did not provide alcohol for underage consumption, and in fact alleges that defendants informed Jonathan both that alcohol consumption would not be tolerated and that they would monitor the party to see that underage partygoers did not possess or imbibe alcoholic beverages. Plaintiff alleges, however, that the Hutsells were aware of underage consumption on their premises at prior parties; that their son, Jonathan, had previously pled guilty to underage consumption; that alcohol was brought to the party in question and underage guests drank, excessively, with the Hutsells’ knowledge—in some instances in their presence—without objection or consequence; and that Jerry Hutsell “on multiple occasions spoke to a number of underage partygoers who had been drinking alcohol and requested that if they had been drinking at the party not to drive a vehicle when leaving.” The complaint states that Daniel Bell drank alcohol “in full and open view of the defendants,”and that he later walked to his car, “began driving,” and “crashed his car into a tree,” resulting in his death.
Do you think you should be held liable for an adult, albeit an underage adult but an adult nonetheless, drinking and driving?

More from Bell v. Hutsell:
 We note that the facts alleged in this case bear little similarity to those this court addressed in Wakulich and Simmons v. Homatas, 236 Ill. 2d 459 (2010) (employees of club ejected highly intoxicated individual, placed him in his vehicle, and directed him to drive away), both of which were discussed in the parties’ briefs to a greater or lesser extent for diverse reasons. In those cases, this court applied Restatement principles, as we have done here. However, in each of those cases defendants’ affirmative conduct, amounting to an assertion of control over an inebriated and significantly impaired person, increased the risk of harm to that person and/or created a risk of harm to others. Thus, different considerations applied. Here, where defendants owed Daniel no duty to prohibit his voluntary possession or consumption of alcohol, and took no action to do so pursuant to their verbalized intent, which was communicated only to their son, we have a case of true nonfeasance. We think the facts and analysis of this case point up the continuing significance of a distinction between malfeasance and nonfeasance.
The Illinois Supreme Court didn’t think so either.  Still, you don't want to have to defend yourself in a case like this do you?