Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Questions the Effectiveness of Anonymous Tip Programs

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about anonymous tips for "successful arrests" of DUI drivers.  Now it appears the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists wants to remind folks that this program exists.

An anti-drunk driving group is hoping to pad the wallets of people who report drunk drivers on the roads this holiday season.
The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists is expanding its “Drunkbusters” program throughout Illinois for the next two weekends.
The program, in which callers can be paid $100 for reporting an impaired driver who’s eventually arrested for DUI, runs year round in Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Will and Kane counties.
Since it started in 1990, Drunkbusters has paid out more than $445,000 and led to the arrests of more than 4,450 impaired motorists, the alliance said. The program is funded by fines collected from convicted drunk drivers.
Anyone else wondering how the fines are collected?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Being Between a Rock and a Hard Place

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about Driving While License Suspended/Revoked when the basis of that Suspension or Revocation is a DUI.

Things can go from bad to worse whenever one is charged with a DUI.  It is especially important, even if your DUI charges are dismissed to make sure you pay any reinstatement fees or else you could find yourself facing jail time, or even worse prison time with a felony charge.  No.  I don’t mean jail time or a felony charge for the DUI; I mean jail time or a felony charge, as my clients frequently say, “just for driving.”

This week I’ve already represented three people facing time in prison, not for the offense of driving drunk, or for causing an accident where someone died or was seriously injured, but “just for driving.” The best way to avoid this charge is to stay away from cars, even as a passenger, without a valid driver behind the wheel.

This particular offense is especially difficult, considerably more difficult than many DUI’s, drug charges, battery charges, or gun charges to try and win.  All that is required to be charged with the offense is driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle.  That means you could be sitting in the car listening to music or even sleeping in the car can get you charged with the offense.  That legal definition put an awful lot of folks between a rock and a hard place.
Still this week, none of the folks I represented are going to jail or prison.  Now they all know just how serious this offense is.  It is far better to avoid being charged than it is to have to defend a charge of Driving While License Suspended/Revoked when the penalty could be years in prison.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Still Thinks It Isn't A Good Idea to Take the Field Sobriety Tests

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about Field Sobriety Tests and why it’s probably not a good idea to take them.

Still, she sees grounds for a strong defense where the accused apparently danced and sang, going above and beyond what she needed to do to prove her sobriety, the ABC test.***

From the

Bamberg police stopped a 21-year-old Main Highway woman who was driving erratically on U.S. 78 and Middle Street on Oct. 1.
 The driver had allegedly made several radical driving corrections, causing an officer on foot in the area to have to run to the curb to avoid her oncoming vehicle.
 When officers approached the vehicle, they could smell alcohol, and the driver's eyes were red, watery and glossy, the report said. When asked if she had been drinking, the woman said she had had two beers.
 Several field sobriety tests were conducted on her, including the alphabet test. According to the report, she told officers she sang the "ABC song" to her baby every day, and she then proceeded to recite the alphabet while singing and dancing.
 She was arrested for driving under the influence. 

In all of the DUI cases I’ve had, I’ve seen exactly one, where my client was charged with a DUI and the officer said in the arrest reports that my client passed the Field Sobriety Tests.  I know you are scratching your head wondering how he got charged with a DUI if he passed the Field Sobriety Tests.  That’s why I don’t see how they help you, only hurt you because face it, most of us, right now, stone cold sober couldn’t stand on one leg  and count to thirty out loud without putting our leg down.

*** In Illinois, the ABC test is not a standardized Field Sobriety Test

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on a State Representative's DUI Plea

This DUI attorney has posted here and here about VIP treatment/professional courtesies.  Today, State Representative Randy Ramey pled guilty to a DUI.

State Rep. Randy Ramey, the DuPage County Republican Party chairman, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge Monday court and was fined $1,750 and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
Ramey, who became county party chairman this summer, also was placed on one year of supervision and was ordered to attend a victim impact panel.
“I pled guilty, and I’ll go forward,” he said following his appearance in a DuPage County courtroom. He declined to comment further.
Ramey has served in the General Assembly since 2005, and had previously served on the House Drivers Education and Safety Committee and Transportation and Motor vehicles committee.

Here’s more irony, he used to work for the Illinois Secretary of State, the department that suspends driving privileges for people charged with a DUI.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on What Happens When They Get It Wrong?

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about  errors.  Still it’s hard for many citizens to accept that the police can be wrong.  It doesn’t make them evil, but the aftermath is devastating for the accused.

From the Picayune Item:
The Mississippi Highway Patrol has kicked off its annual campaign against drinking and driving with the motto, “Stay Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

In 2010, there were 231 Mississippi alcohol related fatalities, a disturbing number. We don’tknow if alcohol caused these accidents or not, but we do know one of the drivers was drinking. For the one-third of Americans who don’t drink, the legality of drinking and driving must seem like an abomination. Indeed, alcohol consumption even without a two-ton vehicle causes untold wreckage of lives and human misery.

Two-thirds of Americans find moderate alcohol consumption a pleasant aspect of life. It enhances conviviality, allows one to relax after a hard week’s work and is good for your health. Moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease and senility. It was no less than Benjamin Franklin who wrote: “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.” And of course, Jesus turned the water into wine.

The American Medical Association, at the request of the Department of Transportation, originally deemed impaired driving to occur at a 0.15 blood alcohol level. Today, half that level — 0.08 — is considered impaired and illegal. The human body hasn’t changed during that time, but Mothers Against Drunk Driving has become a political force that no politician dares question. Driving While Intoxicated has become Driving Under the Influence. The range of acceptable drinking and driving is much more narrow.

There were 33,153 Mississippi DUI arrests last year, an astounding number. If DUIs were randomly distributed, every driver in the state would get at least one during his lifetime. A Colorado study showed that 20 percent of those arrested for DUIs had legal blood alcohol levels. The problem is that residual alcohol in your mouth can distort the results of the unreliable portable breathalyzers police often use to make an arrest.
Applying the Colorado study to Mississippi, 6,500 innocent Mississippians are arrested for DUI each year. Many lack the knowledge or money to fight the charge and just plead guilty. For the innocent, the personal cost of an undeserved DUI is immense: Lost reputations, job opportunities and the 90-day license suspensions. Car insurance rates skyrocket. A DUI often ends up costing $15,000. If police followed the rules, they would never give a breath test without waiting for at least 20 minutes. But Mississippi police are not that patient, especially when quotas need to be met and $30 million in fines is on the line.
Studies show perfectly sober people fail this test half the time. In its eagerness to battle drunk driving, the U.S. Supreme Court has carved out a special place for DUI enforcement, suspending many of the typical civil rights protections afforded by the Constitution.

Who says mistakes aren’t made?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Social Media Warnings of Road Side Safety Checks

This Chicago DUI attorney continues to see the usefulness of Social Media. She’s posted about road side safety checks here and here.  Still she admits to being a tad surprised by this Facebook Status Update:

Good afternoon fb be careful on the streets this weekend road side safety checks throughout Chicago!!!! If u live on the west side they're having a check on the 4500 block of Madison tonite so where your seat belts and be careful!!!!!
 Here’s the funny thing about the update, it’s not from law enforcement or a defense attorney, and it’s a concerned citizen.    Oh, and yes here’s a link to confirm what this individual wrote.

Let’s be safe out there!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on the Courts Protecting the Driving Privileges of the DUI Accused

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here about Statutory Summary Suspensions.  That’s the suspension that is triggered simply for being charged with a DUI.  It doesn’t matter if you are guilty of a DUI or not.

Now the 2nd District has clarified when the accused has a right to file the Petition to Rescind Summary Suspension

At issue in this appeal is whether the 30 days in which a defendant is entitled to a hearing on a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension of his driving privileges begins to run before the Secretary of State has confirmed the suspension.  The trial court found that it does.  For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
Section 2—118.1(b) of the Code is unambiguous.  Id. at 388.  It provides that a defendant
“shall” be given a hearing on his petition to rescind within 30 days after the petition is received.  The word “shall” conveys that the legislature intended to impose a mandatory obligation.  Id. at 382.  That obligation is fulfilled when the defendant has a hearing on his petition to rescind within 30 days after it is filed in the circuit court, with service on the State.  See Bywater, 223 Ill. 2d at 486.  Here, defendant was not given a hearing by June 3, 2010, which was 30 days after he filed his petition.  Thus, the statutory summary suspension of defendant’s driving privileges must be rescinded.  See People v. Schaefer, 154 Ill. 2d 250, 262 (1993).

If you’ve been charged with a DUI you need to get to a knowledgeable lawyer immediately, so that all of your rights can be protected.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Answers the Question: Can you help me get this off my record?

 Yes.  But only if you win at trial or the Government is willing to dismiss the charges against you.  I frequently get a bewildered look from folks charged with a DUI or Driving with Suspended/Revoked License when I answer their question.

Yes.  I understand that you knew a guy who got caught with ______________  (Fill in the Blank)                                                                    
and the charges were thrown out or dismissed but in Illinois, a DUI charge or Driving with a Suspended/Revoked License is different.

These offenses, even if you have never been charged with anything before in your entire life, are not expugnable or sealable.  They remain a part of your criminal background.  They don’t fall off after you have successfully completed treatment, paid your court fees and fines, or done your volunteer work or SWAP.

Given that reality, the most important thing you can do is avoid being charged with these offenses in the first place.  I know, you don’t live your life thinking about avoiding criminal charges for driving but perhaps you should.  If you’ve already been charged then you need to quickly get to a knowledgeable defense attorney who can provide you with the information you need to make the best decision. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on the Suspended License of a Congressman

This Chicago DUI attorney knows that anyone could end up with a suspended or revoked license.  She’s posted here, here, and here  about the myriad of ways one could have their license suspended.  Still, a congressman, from the Land of Lincoln, driving on a suspended license is a surprise.

July 28, Chicago, Il:
 Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, a tax-bashing Tea Party champion who sharply lectures President Barack Obama and other Democrats on fiscal responsibility, owes more than $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife and three children, according to documents his ex-wife filed in their divorce case in December.
“I won’t place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids unless we structurally reform the way this town spends money!” Walsh says directly into the camera in his viral video lecturing Obama on the need to get the nation’s finances in order.
In court documents, after his ex-wife, Laura Walsh, asked a judge to suspend his driver’s license until he paid his child support, Joe Walsh asks his ex-wife’s lawyer: “Have you no decency?”
Staffers learned during the campaign that Walsh was driving on a suspended license. His license was suspended twice in 2008 for his failure to appear in court, and he was cited in 2009 for driving on a suspended license, according to the Illinois Secretary of State.
 Anyone can have their license suspended.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on an Increase in Deportations

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here on DUI and immigration issues.  Surprisingly, it appears ICE is using minor crimes, like DUI, to aid in the deportation of individuals accused.

The U.S. deported nearly 393,000 people in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, half of whom were considered criminals. Of those, 27,635 had been arrested for drunken driving, more than double the 10,851 deported after drunken driving arrests in 2008, the last full year of the Bush administration, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data provided to The Associated Press.
 An additional 13,028 were deported last year after being arrested on less serious traffic law violations, nearly three times the 4,527 traffic offenders deported two years earlier, according to the data.
 Darrel Stephens, executive director of Major Cities Chiefs Association, an organization of sheriffs and police chiefs, said the data show ICE is deporting criminals. He noted that even though traffic offenses have more than doubled, they are just 7 percent of the total criminal deportations. Meanwhile, dangerous drugs and drunken driving deportations comprised 23 percent and 14 percent of the criminal deportations, respectively.
 The drunken driving deportations are particularly important, he said. Fatal drunken driving accidents involving illegal immigrants often cause outrage in communities where they occur.
 "That's a crime that people look at in a very serious way right now," Stephens said.
There are an estimated 11 million people in the country illegally, 7 million to 8 million of whom are believed to be adults.
 Kibble said the numbers show his agency's system of giving priority for deportation to people who pose a public threat is working. Last year, 36,178 criminals were deported as a result of the Secure Communities program, now in place in more than 1,400 jurisdictions, up from 14 in 2008. It's expected to be in more than 3,000 jurisdictions nationally by 2013.
It’s just one more reason to avoid driving at all if you are undocumented, wait unfortunately most of us live and reality and recognize that the undocumented are going to drive whether we provide a valid way for them to do so or not.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Saw the Police Out Tonight in Full Force!

Tonight I was coming back into the City from the Women’s Bar Association Board Retreat in Highland Park.  I thought I was smart and took Metra out to the ‘burbs.  I caught a ride back. 

As we drove back into the city dropping off one person in Lakeview, then another in Logan Square I thought it would be easy, “just take Kedzie south to North and then head over east I said.

All was clear until we turned onto North Avenue and I could see a squad car with lights on just ahead of us and another a quarter of a block away from it.

Tarnation! I thought.  I bet this is a road block or a saturation patrol.  I look over into the park and immediately see the mobile BAC Unit.  Yep it is.  Ugh! I was not in the mood for this.  It’s past my bed time and I need to walk my dog.  You already know I’ve blogged about these check points here, here, and here.

Immediately, I start asking the driver if her lights work and whether she has valid registration, insurance, and license.  She’s a lawyer, so her answer was yes.  She wondered if we should turn off and I said no, realizing that sometimes they expect that and you turn right into the check point.

As we continued travelling east on North Avenue, just east of Western another marked unit made a U-turn and got behind us.  Then all of a sudden I realized its lights were on.

Another car was directly behind us and that car pulled over to the curb and the marked squad car pulled up behind that vehicle.

Hmmm, no I didn’t miss a press release for that area at all. But have no doubt, they are out in full force around Humboldt Park and North Avenue tonight.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chicago DUI Attorney Wonders if You Know What Amount of Drugs Makes You Impaired?

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about DUI’s involving drugs.  One of the biggest problems with a DUI when it involves drugs is that drugs tend to stay in the body an awful lot longer, via blood, hair, or urine testing, than alcohol.  So how far back does the state require your drug usage in order to find you guilty of Driving Under the Influence of drugs?

That’s the question that the Illinois Supreme Court answered in People v Martin, No. 109102, 2011 WL 1499909 (Ill Sup Ct).

 On December 25, 2004, at 10 p.m., the defendant left a bar in Peoria. As he was driving home on a two-lane state highway, his car crossed the center line at a curve and struck an oncoming car. The driver and the passenger of that car were killed in the accident. The defendant was injured, and he was taken to a nearby hospital where he was given a narcotic painkiller, but not methamphetamine. At the hospital he received two traffic citations, one for improper lane usage and one for driving on the wrong side of the road. After he was placed under arrest by a Peoria County sheriff’s deputy, he consented to requests for two blood and urine samples. Subsequent tests revealed that the defendant’s blood contained no alcohol or controlled substances, but his urine contained methamphetamine and amphetamine. The defendant was then indicted on one count of aggravated DUI.
 Cathy Anderson, a forensic scientist for the Illinois State Police, testified that she tested the defendant’s blood samples for alcohol and drugs. She found none. She also tested the defendant’s urine samples for drugs. A preliminary screening test indicated that a small amount-of “some sort of drug of the amphetamine class” could be present in the samples. Anderson then performed a gas chromatography mass spectrometry test, looking for a wide range of drugs. She found nothing significant. She then performed a more specific spectrometry test, looking for drugs in the amphetamine class. That test revealed the
presence of methamphetamine, though it did not indicate how much. According to Anderson, controlled substances enter the bloodstream first and are eventually eliminated through the urinary tract. She was not surprised to find methamphetamine in the urine samples, but not the blood samples. She also testified that none of the other substances in the defendant’s urine would have triggered a false indication for methamphetamine.
 That’s right, the drug has cleared his bloodstream but it was still in his urinary tract and the Illinois Supreme Court deemed that was enough to be found guilty of an aggravated DUI.  It is no longer necessary for the government to prove impaired driving (the “Under the Influence” language of the statute) the mere existence of any illicit drug is enough to convict. 

Don’t think this same standard won’t be applied in the future to prescription drugs as well.

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.