Monday, May 31, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney is shocked by the low pass rate on written driver's exams

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here about the safest drivers in the country.  She will admit to being dismayed over Illinois’ rank in having drivers pass a written driving exam.

It really is bad out there.
Nearly one in five licensed U.S. drivers would not pass a written driver's test if they had to take it today, according to a survey by GMAC Insurance.
The average score on a 20-question written driving exam was 76.6 percent, according to the survey, which gave the test to 5,205 U.S. drivers. The score was down from last year. A total of 18.4 percent would flunk.
Illinois was in 33rd place, with an average score of 76.6 percent and a failure rate of 17 percent. New York came in last with an average score of 70 percent.
Some questions were especially tough for people -- 85 percent couldn't identify the correct action to take when approaching a steady yellow light.
The answer? "Stop if it is safe to do so."
Seriously, Chicago’s own Secretary of Education and Land of Lincoln transplant Secretary of Transportation ought to band together to improve literacy; it looks like it is tantamount to improving safety on our highways.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on the boycott of red light cameras

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about red light cameras.  She’s even posted here about the changes in immigration law in Arizona.  However, even she’s surprised by this take on a boycott of Arizona.

May 28, Chicago, IL
 Hispanic aldermen pushing for a boycott of all things Arizona to protest that state's controversial immigration law might hit a red light.
Chicago's 189 red-light cameras were installed by Arizona-based Redflex Traffic Systems, which put in the cameras and road sensors. It also operates the software and mails out the $100 tickets along with photographic evidence of the alleged red-light running.
In 2008, the Daley administration signed a five-year, $52 million contract with Redflex that cut the cost of each camera system from $100,000 to $24,500. It also included maintenance for cameras installed after Oct. 22, 2008.
But the "proprietary nature of the technology" kept the city from including operations and maintenance for the 136 original camera systems. That's why Redflex has a separate five-year, $32 million contract just to maintain those 136.
Chicago's Hispanic aldermen have introduced two resolutions responding to Arizona's immigration crackdown. One would condemn an Arizona law they view as "racist." The other calls for a boycott. City Council hearings have not yet been scheduled.
Arizona isn’t South Africa during the apartheid years (yes, I understand that some may argue to the contrary).  Although I don’t like the red light cameras and I believe there seems to be a jingoistic approach to law enforcement in Arizona when it comes to this new law, I don’t believe that punishing companies that were based in Arizona prior to the new state law's enactment is particularly effective.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney remind you that it's all or nothing when sentenced on a DUI

This Chicago DUI attorney wants to remind you that you have a host of responsibilities and obligations whenever you are sentenced on a DUI.  She’s posted here, here, and here about the ramifications and costs of a DUI.

One of the most common misconceptions about DUI’s is that once the case is over, generally the day of sentencing in the defendant’s mind, it’s over.  Not so fast please. 

In Chicago and throughout the state the defendant receives a copy of the sentencing order.  This document is an awful lot like a tax return, marriage license, or property deed; it should be kept with all important papers forever.

In most DUI cases that sentencing order requires some sort of counseling, DUI classes, a Victim Impact Panel, Random Urine Drops, and yes fines and fees.  Each of those items is equally important.  Failure to successfully complete one frequently results in a failure across the board. 

What’s the problem with the failure?  If the court fees and fines aren’t paid, even if everything else is successfully completed, the court may issue a report to the Secretary of State indicating that you didn’t appear in court (even if a warrant for your arrest is not issued for your failure to appear in court).  Upon receiving that report, the Secretary of State could revoke your driving privileges.  If you get charged with Driving on a Revoked license, based on a DUI, you could face steep penalties, including jail. 

Ultimately, it is important that each component of the sentencing order has successful compliance.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney provides a PSA on DUI roadblocks (hint: the cops will be out this weekend)

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about roadblocks.

Think of this post as your PSA (Public Service Announcement) that there will be DUI roadblocks this holiday weekend and even where there aren’t per se roadblocks, you should anticipate an increase in law enforcement patrols, both in the city, and on the expressways.

 The Chicago Police Department will conduct a DUI Strike Force Patrol in the Deering (009th) District beginning at 7:00 p.m., Friday, May 28, 2010 and ending at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 29, 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.
 In addition, the Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) Mobile Unit may also be deployed to allow officers to expedite the process of charging a person with Driving under the Influence (DUI) prior to transporting an alleged into the nearest lockup for bonding. The mobile unit also allows for Individual Recognizance Bonds (I-Bonds) to be issued at the site of the DUI Strike Force Patrol.

Free Legal Advice:

1.                  Drive Safely
2.                  If you choose to drink any alcohol, don’t drive, or doze off in the car.
3.                  If you get stopped by a police officer and they ask where are you coming from, engage your Spidey senses because you are about to be arrested and probably charged with a DUI.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney thinks judges don't render their decisions in a vacuum

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted about permit that allows a first-time DUI accused to drive while the case is pending here, here, and here.  She’s posted about here concerns about the judiciary not being beholden to the media as they render life-altering rulings in cases here.  Today, she got confirmation of exactly what some members of the judiciary are thinking about.

Today, in court with a client, an MDDP was submitted to the court.  This has become a run-of-the-mill occurrence for those accused of DUI across the state.  Today, however, the judge paused.  He queried the young man before him.  He peppered him with a barrage of questions.  They had a very specific meme. 

‘What benefit do I get by signing this MDDP?  Why should I sign this MDDP?  What happens to me if you mess up with alcohol and I sign this MDDP?  I’ll tell you what; the media are going to be all over me.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on the "gotchas" of a DUI arrest

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about the MDDP.  The program permits first time offenders, with valid driver’s licenses, to drive during the period of Statutory Summary Suspension with a BAIID on the car they are driving. 

There are significant penalties for getting caught driving a vehicle without a BAIID if eligible for the BAIID:

 Driving while driver's license, permit or privilege to operate a motor vehicle is suspended or revoked. 
    (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (a‑5), any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on any highway of this State at a time when such person's driver's license, permit or privilege to do so or the privilege to obtain a driver's license or permit is revoked or suspended as provided by this Code or the law of another state, except as may be specifically allowed by a judicial driving permit issued prior to January 1, 2009, monitoring device driving permit, family financial responsibility driving permit, probationary license to drive, or a restricted driving permit issued pursuant to this Code or under the law of another state, shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. 

   (c‑3) Any person convicted of a violation of this Section during a period of summary suspension imposed pursuant to Section 11‑501.1 when the person was eligible for a MDDP shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony and shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of 30 days.
    (c‑4) Any person who has been issued a MDDP and who is convicted of a violation of this Section as a result of operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle not equipped with an ignition interlock device at the time of the offense shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony and shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of 30 days. 

  Did you see that?  You could have the DUI dismissed and end up in jail for driving because your license was suspended based on the DUI arrest.  One more important detail, it’s a collateral consequence, but that felony background, is not removed from an individual’s background.  Try explaining to a prospective employer that you do have criminal background for driving.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney explains how LILO is treated just like others with DUI's

This Chicago DUI attorney wants you to know that your case isn’t over just because you choose to plead guilty, or you are found guilty of a DUI.  Just like LILO has a DUI but is still getting in trouble with the court years after her plea.

In Illinois, when one has a DUI, there is a sentencing order.  That order is essentially a contract between the defendant and the court.   That sentencing order dictates your movement (the default is you can’t leave the state without prior approval of the court); your ability to exercise your 2nd Amendment Rights; and most importantly a significant stick (you can’t get charged with any new offenses—traffic or otherwise). 

If any of the aforementioned terms, there are many, many more, are violated the defendant faces the wrath of a formal hearing before the court.  Here’s the kicker, in that hearing you could face re-sentencing, up to the maximum penalty permitted by law, assuming the DUI is a misdemeanor that is up to a year in the county jail and fines up to $2,500.

Perhaps LILO should serve as an example of just how tethered one is with a DUI, even if the individual isn’t in jail.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on LILO's warrant for partying instead of being in court

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about LILO.  Unfortunately, she’s back in the news again and it has nothing to do with her acting abilities.

 Lindsay Lohan is back in Los Angeles as she faces a hearing Monday before a judge angry that she missed a mandatory court appearance, partying at the Cannes Film Festival instead.
Lohan's mother, Dina Lohan, told Radar Online that her daughter may go to an alcohol education class Sunday. She also suggested that her daughter was being treated unfair by the judge because she was a celebrity.
Judge Marsha N. Revel issued an arrest warrant for Lindsay Lohan on Thursday when she failed to appear in court for a status hearing on a DUI case. The warrant was lifted after Lohan's attorney's posted 10% of the actress' $100,000 bond.
Lohan's attorneys said the actress lost her passport while at the festival and could not make the court appearance. The paparazzi in France chronicled Lohan's movements at various red-carpet premieres and parties.
Revel has said that once Lohan surrenders, she will immediately forbid the actress from consuming alcohol, require her to wear an alcohol-detection device and submit to drug testing at least once a week.
The judge noted that although Lohan is on probation for driving under the influence, the plea also resolved allegations involving cocaine. Revel also said she would consider revoking Lohan's probation for failing to comply with all the court orders in regard to an alcohol treatment program.
Contrary to what her mother thinks, it looks like she’s being treated like a lot of non-celebrities who miss court.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney knows that a dismissal of a DUI could be used against you

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about Statutory Summary Suspensions.  This is a suspension that occurs just because you are charged with a DUI(even if you haven't even had your first Court Date to enter your plea of not guilty!).

Did you know that you can beat the criminal charge, the actual DUI, and still have your license suspended?

You know what the worse part of it is?  If you get charged in the future with a DUI, even though the last DUI was dismissed or you were found not guilty, if that Statutory Summary Suspension is on your driving record it will be used against you as if you are a DUI offender.

What's the solution?  You must win your Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension Hearing.  It does a heck of a lot more than just permits you to drive while you fight the DUI criminal charges you face.

Does that seem fair and just to you?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on the importance of timeliness

This Chicago DUI attorney had a great time at dinner.  There were plenty of jokes to go around.  One even provided some insight into some of my tendencies.

Socially, those who know me see me as a bit uptight about being punctual.  Even tonight, one person asked if my husband and I exchanged calendar invites through Outlook.  When I said yes, there was a bit of laughter.  Then it dawned on me that maybe I took timeliness a bit more serious than the others perhaps because of my work.

As a trial attorney, every day I see what happens when folks are late to court, or don’t make it to their court dates (perhaps with a very good reason).  Most notably, a warrant will be issued for the person's arrest or if the warrant was already issued the judge may decide to execute the warrant and take the individual into custody.  Just yesterday, my client was late and the judge decided to follow the government's request that a warrant be issued.  I protested and asked the judge to give me a bit of time to get my client into court because he had not missed court before.  Fortunately, my client arrived just before the warrant was issued.  He got an earful from the judge about being late.

You know its one thing to be late for dinner or even a doctor’s appointment, you apologize and the event continues or at worse it’s rescheduled.  There’s very little in life where being tardy or absent can literally cost one their freedom.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on the impact on justice when judges are elected

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here about bond.  She’s even mentioned here how one could post bond and still be detained.  Things are changing.  Sometimes, that's not necessarily for the best.

Recently, there seems to be an increase in judges being pro-government with defendants.  This is sheerly, anecdotal, but ever since those media stories came out about judges being "soft" on speeders judges seem to be more akin to the "book 'em Danno" school of justice.  I'm specifically, talking about judges that are elected and I've appeared before them enough to be a bit surprised by this new way of operating.  It could always just be a coincidence right?

In our ever connected world of 24/7 news, you quickly realize that some judges know they are elected.  What’s the problem with being elected?

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner doesn’t think it works too well.

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor urged Illinois to replace its controversial judicial elections with an appointive "merit selection" system Wednesday.
"In 2004, there was a race for the Illinois Supreme Court, right here," O'Connor told a meeting of the Chicago Bar Association at the Hilton. "It cost just over $9 million for that race. As you might have guessed, the winner of that race got his biggest contributions from a company that had an appeal pending before the Illinois Supreme Court. You like that?"
O'Connor was referring to Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who won a hard-fought race Downstate, then voted -- as part of a unanimous court -- to throw out a $1.2 billion class-action suit against State Farm Insurance, which had given Karmeier $350,000. He was part of a 4-2 majority that dismissed a $10 billion verdict against Philip Morris.
"Sounds a lot like the Caperton case, doesn't it?" O'Connor said, referring to a West Virginia case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a judge was out of line ruling on behalf of a mining company that largely funded his campaign.
In Karmeier's case, Illinois' Judicial Inquiry Board found no ethical violation. "The single greatest threat [to the judiciary] is the flood of money coming into our courtrooms by way of increasingly expensive and volatile judicial campaigns," O'Connor said.
 No, it’s not always a good thing if judges are elected.  They have all of the fears and concerns of a politician and yet they are supposed to be beyond reproach when ruling.  Can we agree it could be difficult to do the right thing if it’s unpopular with the voters?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney can't believe two cops were charged with DUI's over the weekend

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about law enforcement officers charged with DUI.  It is odd that any given department would have a few officers charged with DUI in a year, but to have two officers charged (in separate instances) over the same weekend.  Wow!  That’s like getting struck by lightening.

Two Dallas police officers are on administrative leave, facing charges for driving while intoxicated last weekend.
 Police said Officer Manuel Romani was arrested in Forney on Saturday. He is a four-year veteran of the department.
 Senior Cpl. James Rucker was arrested in Rockwall on Sunday, Dallas police said. He works with the Helicopter Unit and has been on the force for 26 years.

Yes, it’s wrong but can’t be helped.  This is exactly what is playing through my head.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on the DUI in a toy car

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about DUI’s that weren’t in traditional vehicles.  It looks like this side of the pond isn’t the only place where DUI’s are taken seriously, even if they are in a battery-operated toy.

Paul Hutton, 40, was pulled over by police as he drove an electric Barbie car, which moves slower than a mobility scooter, near his home in Essex.

Mr. Hutton, who has four children Simon, 17, Calum, 14, Laina, 12, and John, 11, admitted being a 'complete twit'.
peaking after the hearing at Colchester magistrates court, he said: "You have to be a contortionist to get in, and then you can't get out.

"I was very surprised to get done for drink-driving but I was a twit to say the least.

"It is designed for three-to-five-year-olds.

"Originally it was a pink Barbie car but I put bigger wheels on it but it's not fast.
"I'm not unhappy with my punishment, just a little bit surprised."

Mr Hutton, who is divorced, is a former RAF aeronautical engineer who now studies electrical engineering at Colchester Institute.

He explained: "I'm in the third year of my electrical engineering course and it was a little project I was doing with my son who is doing a car mechanics course.

"When it was done I couldn't resist the temptation to take it out."

Mr Hutton, was found to be twice the drink-drive limit, he said.

Appearing before magistrates last week, he admitted driving the toy car while drunk.

He was given a mandatory three-year ban because he had received another drink-drive ban within the past ten years.

Magistrates also gave him a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £85 court costs.

Chairman of the bench Neil Munson said: "This is most unusual.

"I have never seen the like of it in 15 years on the bench.
"The vehicle is not even capable of doing the speed of a mobility scooter and could be outrun by a pedestrian.

So who was he going to hurt in that "vehicle", aside from himself?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney thinks her clients don't need her, if they want to plea guilty right away

Dear Judges***:

I really, really like you.  I think you are smart, witty, respectful to those in your courts, and almost always just.  That said, recently I’ve noticed a distinct change in your demeanor on the bench.  It seems you’ve forgotten that you have the power.

You impact so many lives so broadly and so frequently, perhaps you forget.  It’s not the media that should have the power when lives hang in the balance.  It’s not those who seek to put forth their own special interest agenda that have the power.  It’s you.

You were elected, or appointed, because you wouldn’t be swayed from doing what was just, fair, and right.  You have caused many of my clients to shake in their boots because my client knew what you said, how you ruled, how you perceived them, could change their entire life. 

Please, please don’t ask me, on the very first court date, when the government has just put their case against my client in my hands (the Discovery) if I want to plea my client out on the very next court date.  It shocks the conscience and suggests that you’ve already decided, without hearing anything more than the charges against my client, that they are guilty. 

You wear the robes and you do have the power.

*** Yes, many of the judges know this plea, doesn't apply to them

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on texting as the de facto cause of bad driving

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about texting while driving.

She admits to being surprised that others, across the country are just as interested by this phenomenon as she is.


OMG Y'ALL! That was certainly divine intervention! A car full of teens swerved into my lane and almost hit me head on! Bet you they were textn. I'm parked now.

Yesterday at 6:25pm via Text Message ·   · 
ONE PERSON likes this.

OMG are you okay?
Yesterday at 6:28pm

Thank god nothing happen
Yesterday at 6:31pm

Yes! I'm @ Starbucks now. Phew! That's why I pray everyday and I drive defensively.
Yesterday at 6:36pm

Iam glad u r alright.
Yesterday at 6:37pm

Yesterday at 6:49pm

Wow...could have been a real tragedy, thank God, everyone is safe!
Yesterday at 6:51pm

thank goodness!!
Yesterday at 6:55pm

Angels all around you!
Yesterday at 6:56pm

God was with u and the other people i'm glad that u r ok bless u
Yesterday at 6:56pm

thank God 
Yesterday at 7:03pm

God is great and merciful. Eternity not your destiny today. To God be the glory!
Yesterday at 7:09pm

Yes! Thamk God! Well now I'm home safely sippin' my Starbucks frapp.
Yesterday at 7:29pm

I bet ya anything they didn't even notice or was laughing about it.. Glad your ok.. I drive the same way & NEVER use my phone.. I have ONSTAR!!
Yesterday at 7:45pm

I use a bluetooth to talk but I don't text unless I am parked.
Yesterday at 8:17pm

thank god your ok.
Yesterday at 9:51pm

A blessing for sure.
Yesterday at 11:14pm

What! Glad you are okay!
12 hours ago

glad all is well!
8 hours ago

It always surprises me the types of status updates that generate the most responses.  I’m glad my friend was okay.  I wish we knew if the kid who was driving was actually texting.  Luckily, there wasn’t an accident.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney provides an update on the responsibility of the gentleman's club

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about potential liability for serving alcohol when there is a DUI, even if the alcohol was served in a private home.

Recently the Illinois Supreme Court decided that there could be liability, even when a business was clever enough to avoid serving alcohol.

Of concern to the courts in Wienke and Gustafson was whether persons should be given the burden of determining whether a person was intoxicated and whether that person would drive safely or recklessly. However, our decision in this case does not implicate those concerns. On Stage took on the burden of determining whether Homatas was dangerously intoxicated when club employees discovered him vomiting in the restroom, a likely result of his intoxication. On Stage, on its own initiative, made this determination and expelled Homatas from the club. In doing so, On Stage acquired a duty not to encourage and assist Homatas in the tortious conduct of driving while intoxicated. On Stage, in effect, argues both that it should not be required to determine whether a patron is intoxicated and that it cannot be not responsible when it nonetheless voluntarily chooses to make that determination and then facilitates that patron’s tortious conduct. Such an argument is untenable. We conclude that the Dramshop Act does not preempt plaintiffs’ common law claims in this case, and does not preclude imposing a duty of care on On Stage.
 In this case, a reasonable jury could find that On Stage knew that the act of driving while intoxicated is tortious conduct and constitutes a breach of duty toward others traveling on the public highways. Further, from the face of the complaints, plaintiffs allege On Stage knew Homatas was intoxicated, and clearly knew he was driving from the premises. A reasonable jury could also conclude that ejecting Homatas from the club, having the parking valet bring Homatas’s car to the front of the club, and assisting him into his vehicle and directing him to drive off constitutes substantial assistance from, or encouragement by, On Stage toward Homatas in his tortious conduct.
 As the circuit court recognized, this case presents a set of special circumstances. We do not hold today that restaurants, parking lot attendants or social hosts are required to monitor their patrons and guests to determine whether they are intoxicated. We hold only that where, as here, a defendant is alleged to have removed a patron for being intoxicated, places the patron into a vehicle and requires him to drive off, such facts are sufficient to state a common law negligence cause of action that is not preempted by the Dramshop Act.
 This is big news. So if you knew or should have known that someone was intoxicating and it was reasonable for you to know they may drive, you could have some liability if an accident, involving the drunk person, occurs.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on a brother going to jail for a DUI he didn't commit

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about an array of families with DUI’s.  She’s never heard of a family member going to jail when they weren’t charged with a DUI.

James Hunter must spend three months in jail for refusing to testify against his brother in a DUI manslaughter case, Circuit Judge Donna Berlin ruled this morning.
 Berlin balanced Hunter's reasons for protecting his brother, former Braden River High football coach Josh Hunter, with a need for the state to pursue the truth about what happened the night Josh Hunter's F-150 overturned and killed friend and fellow coach Doug Garrity.
“It's clear James hunter is loved and respected, and you're doing what you feel is right, and that is something that is personal and dear to you,” Berlin said after hearing from witnesses who spoke on his behalf, including Garrity's father.
Berlin could have sentenced James Hunter up to six months in jail. After he serves the jail time, he will be on probation until October and will have to perform 50 hours of community service and pay a $500 fine.
James Hunter, 39, once again tearfully described why he refused to testify in the trial, even though he had twice told prosecutors prior to the trial that his younger brother was behind the wheel when the accident happened.
“I would have a problem getting out of bed in the morning if I had testified, walking into my bathroom,” James Hunter said, pausing several times to hold back his sobs. “Looking at myself in the mirror, thinking, that something I may or may not have said put him in prison.”
There’s a lot to be said about fidelity and loyalty with these folks.  Even the father of the gentleman that died testified on James Hunter’s behalf.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney comments on another arrest for driving while suspended

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here about Tiger Wood’s last year.  She’s also posted here, here, and here about suspended driver’s license.  Well looks like, at least tangentially, someone involved with Mr. Woods got in trouble with the law for driving.

The cocktail waitress whose voicemail from Tiger Woods helped unravel the golfer's sex scandal last fall was arrested in West Hollywood, California, Wednesday night on several driving-related warrants.
 Jaime Grubbs, 24, spent several hours in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's West Hollywood jail until she was released early Thursday after she posted bail of $30,309, according the sheriff's department.
She was pulled over in West Hollywood by deputies who traced the tag on her 2004 Mustang and realized she had three outstanding warrants, all for previous driving-with-a-suspended-license arrests, the statement said.
When she was arrested on February 4 in Beverly Hills, she spent a day in jail before posting a $250 bond, jail records said.
 Yes, they will put you in jail just for driving.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney blames the gotcha media for putting a nail in the coffin of justice

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about the media getting it wrong.  Unfortunately, the media knows it is powerful.  Where justice used to be served, it is no longer occurring because judges and prosecutors are people first and foremost.  No one wants to have their decision making scrutinized by the “gotcha” media.

Earlier today, I was in a Cook County courthouse and saw it myself.  Multiple defendants, with different attorneys, all pled guilty to the offense of aggravated speeding. 

In each instance, there was not an accident.  In each instance, the accused had no other criminal background.  In each instance, the accused had no other bad driving background.

In each instance, the judge sentenced the accused to a conviction for the offense along with court fees.  In each instance, that will be on the accused’s record going forward.  In each instance, the accused now has criminal misdemeanor background, where they had none before.  In each instance, the judgment for aggravated speeding will impact the accused for the rest of their lives.

Once judges and prosecutors start trying to win popularity contests our justice system is doomed to extinction.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney reminds you why you need a knowledgeable attorney

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about DUI’s based on marijuana.  It was a bit disturbing to be in court today and over hear the following:

Mr. State:                     She says she’s in college and this would mess up her future.
Officer Friendly:            I don’t give a (expletive).
 Mr. State:                     Well you know I had to ask you if you wanted to go forward on this
 Officer Friendly:            Tell her, if college is so important, perhaps she should only smoke the
                                               good stuff (you know the stuff that doesn’t smell)
Mr. State:                     Well (chuckling), what do you want to do?
Officer Friendly:            What is it? A roadside? Yep.  We can go forward.
Mr. State:                     That’s what I thought.

Funny, the defendant didn’t have a lawyer.  I guess she had watched enough Law and Order that she
earnestly believed that the cop, who arrested her, in the first place, would be willing to ask the state to dismiss 
the charges against her.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chicago DUI attorney thinks the Gentleman from Kansas has got it right on penalties for DUI

Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here on legislation in Illinois.  Boy is she surprised to see any state legislator push back against MADD in drafting DUI legislation.

 The Kansas House signed off on a bill that lays out new penalties for driving under the influence but falls short of imposing new restrictions on first-time offenders.
Supporters said Senate Bill 368 was the best they could do with the Senate unwilling to take a tougher stance until the Kansas DUI Commission finalizes recommendations for the 2011 Legislature.
Under the latest version of the bill approved by the House on a 107-11 vote, people convicted of a second DUI would face a one-year suspension of driving privileges. However, after 45 days, they could resume driving to a restricted number of places — school, work and treatment — if they had an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. They would then face a second year of being restricted to driving only with the interlock device.
 Rep. Bob Grant, one of three House members known to have been cited for a DUI, spoke against tougher restrictions on first-time DUI convictions. In the early 1990s, Grant was ticketed for a DUI after a one-car crash in southeast Kansas.
"I'm telling you, it costs you enough when you get the first one," he said.
Currently, an initial DUI conviction comes with a 330-day restriction limiting offenders to trips to work, school and treatment or the option of installing an ignition interlock, which prevents a car from starting if the driver's blood-alcohol level is half the legal limit of 0.08 percent. It costs about $70 to install the interlock device and $75 a month in fees.
 For once, a legislator uses his personal experience with a DUI to address his colleagues and constituents on the real costs of a DUI.