Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Thinks Undocumented Immigrants Are Going to Get Driver's Licenses Soon

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here , here,  and here about the inability of undocumented immigrants to drive legally (you can’t get a driver’s license in Illinois if you are undocumented).  Now, it looks like Springfield has come to its senses and soon, although it will still be a while, undocumented people will be able to obtain valid driver’s licenses in Illinois.

It was kind of a homecoming for Illinois’ Senate president when he visited a Pilsen church Sunday to accept a thank you from its Latino congregation for pushing legislation to provide driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.
Sen. John Cullerton’s family has been involved in Illinois politics since Edward F. Cullerton was a powerful alderman from 1871 to 1920.
The senator has received bi-partisan support for a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to get temporary licenses similar to those issued to foreign visitors who are here legally. By some estimates, 250,000 motorists in Illinois are here illegally.
Cullerton said he’s confident the Illinois House will pass the measure next month after a 41-14 vote in the Senate on Dec. 4.
“The state representatives see their senator voted for the bill,” Cullerton said. “It puts pressure on them and makes it easier for them to vote for the bill.”
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is taking a “neutral” position on the bill, according to a spokesman, but Cullerton praised him for helping draft the legislation.
“He said that it’s workable and he can implement it,” Cullerton said, adding, “There were only about 5,000 of these licenses issued last year. Now there could be a quarter of a million people applying for them.”
Some Republican legislators have said they’re strongly opposed to providing licenses to people breaking the law because they’re here without legal documents.
Setting aside the controversy, this is good news because the undocumented drive every day throughout this state.  Many pay insurance, maintain valid registration, and even submit to emissions testing on their vehicles doing everything else they could do to comply with the law.  The problem is some don’t know our rules of the roads because they’ve never had to study and take our driver’s license examination. What happens when an undocumented/unlicensed, and yet insured, immigrant is at fault for an accident? Do you think that insurance company is going to promptly pay out on that claim?
Even the staunchest opponents of this new law probably don’t want that unintended consequence to fall on licensed drivers throughout the state.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on the Pending Demise of Court Supervision

This Chicago DUI attorney wonders, and not in jest, how long it will be before judges are unnecessary.  She’s posted here, and here about the erosion of judicial discretion and it looks like that erosion may very well continue if you don’t write your legislators that you trust the judiciary to grant court supervision when, and where it’s appropriate.

A state traffic safety committee on Tuesday unanimously approved Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s proposal to make drivers involved in fatal collisions ineligible for court supervision.
Under current law, drivers involved in some fatal crashes may seek court supervision. White, the traffic safety committee’s chairman, pushed to end that practice.
One of the reasons I left prosecution was this very issue where citizens were charged in fatalities when they clearly were not at fault. This included the prosecution of a mother, when her child died in a an accident.  She wasn't drinking, she wasn't texting, it was just a horrible tragedy.  

It's time.  It's time to exercise your democracy and let your legislators know that you trust judges to grant court supervision in fatalities.  Sometimes, tragedy strikes and there isn't a need to heap punishment on top of the tragedy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chicago DUI Lawyer Comments on the Necessity of Slowing Down

This Chicago DUI Lawyer has commented here, here, and here on the criminalization of speeding.  I’m adamantly opposed to it.  I think it is a complete and utter waste of taxpayers time and of our precious and limited resources when it comes to prosecuting crimes throughout the state, but especially in the density of a major metropolis like Chicago.

Unfortunately, your state legislators often find these stories more compelling than a lot of the agenda items and Governor Quinn just signed another one.

Gov. Pat Quinn today signed four road safety measures into law including one that toughens penalties for extreme speeders and was inspired by a fatal car crash in southwest suburban Orland Park last summer.

Coined “Julie’s Law,” the legislation was written in response to a two-vehicle crash that killed  17-year-old Julie Gorczynski in June 2011 when a Mazda smashed into the passenger side of her friend’s Jeep. The 21-year-old Mazda driver, who had a history of speeding violations, was found to be traveling at least 76 mph in a 40 mph zone, police said.

The law, which takes effect July 1, 2013, bars judges from giving court supervision, a form of probation, to drivers found traveling more than 25 mph over the limit on a nonrural road or more than 30 mph on a highway. The previous law allowed the probation for drivers caught driving up to 40 mph over the limit.

I'm predicting that in the not-too-distant future driving 25 mph over the limit will result in a criminal charge.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chicago DUI Lawyer Reminds You of Tonight's DUI Roadblock

This Chicago DUI attorney  wants you to know that even if you aren't drinking alcohol, you can be charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, including marijuana. Tonight's roadside safety check starts at 8 pm.

The Chicago Police Department will conduct a DUI Strike Force Patrol in the Englewood(007th) District. The DUI Strike Force Patrol will commence at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 28, 2012 and end at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 29, 2012.  
 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. 
You can also be charged with any other traffic infraction that can be discovered in these  roadblocks including driving without a license, or an expired license,  or a suspended, or revoked license.  Additionally, you, and your passengers (including those in the back seat) can be charged with failure to wear seat belts, and the driver can be charged with driving without insurance (even if the car is not yours).

It's a lot easier for you to avoid being charged in the first place than to have to hire an attorney.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on the Heavy Police Presence on the Roads this Holiday Weekend

Today marks the unofficial start to summer and with that start comes a need for many of us to hit the road. We head out for pic is, cookouts,and time at the Dunes, but keep in mind it is a holiday weekend and law enforcement will be out.

 This Chicago DUI attorney wants to alert you to buckle up, make sure you have a valid driver's license, insurance, and if you are driving avoid drinking. I know it goes without saying but it's not a good weekend to smoke weed either if you are going to be driving either.

 There are two roadside safety checks planned by the Chicago Police Department. There is one tonight at 5440 W Madison. It will commence at 8 pm and conclude around 4 am tomorrow morning. Additionally, there will also be another roadside safety check tomorrow night, May 26, 2012 somewhere in the Gresham (6th District) community. It will run during the same time period as the one now. Keep in mind, that even with these roadblocks there will also be saturation patrols throughout the duty.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Sometimes It Isn’t What It Appears to Be

This Chicago DUI Attorney has posted here and here about the signs officers use to make a DUI arrest.  A strong practitioner can sing these signs the way a 3 year old can sing their ABC’s.  Almost every arrest includes the following:

  • A strong odor of alcohol
  • Eyes that are Bloodshot and/or glassy, and/or red
  • Speech that is slurred, mumbled, thick- tongued, confused

And every time I have an officer testifying about these signs, I ask if there are any other reasons a person could possess those signs that has nothing to do with a DUI.  Most will be honest, although they may physically pout, and answer “yes”.

So what happens when the arresting officer shows up with those signs?  Today I asked an officer I knew what was wrong with her eyes. 

Me:                                      You know they (her eyes) are bloodshot and red don’t you?
Officer:                                 Ava, I’m exhausted I haven’t slept in almost 48 hours.
Me:                                      Have you been drinking?
Officer (caught by surprise):  Of course not!

All those signs of intoxication should be challenged, because the officer has often experienced those very same signs when they are not under the influence. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on The Criminalization of Speeding

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, here, and here on speeding still she wonders how fast is too fast?

From the Chicago Tribune (and yes, yours truly is quoted in the article):
 Julie Gorczynski was getting a ride after her shift at a suburban movie theater when a Mazda smashed into the passenger's side of her friend's Jeep, rolling the vehicle and killing the 17-year-old.
Orland Park police determined the Mazda was going at least 76 mph in a 40 mph zone, officials said. Behind the wheel was Lukasz Marszalek, a 21-year-old who still had his driving privileges despite a string of speeding violations. Courts repeatedly, and in some cases improperly, granted him a special probation, called court supervision, that kept his driving record clean enough to keep his license, a Tribune analysis shows.
 The June 2011 crash has sparked new legislation intended to curb who can get court supervision, barring anyone who is caught speeding by more than 25 mph on a nonrural road, or 30 mph on a highway, from getting the special probation.
If passed, it will be the third law in six years to restrict who is allowed to get court supervision. A Tribune investigation shows those previous laws have had limited success, however. While judges in Cook and the collar counties have reduced by half the number of improper supervisions issued each year, they are still incorrectly granting thousands, at an average of eight a day.
The most popular sentence for traffic offenders, supervisions allow governments to collect fees for traffic violations and drivers to avoid traffic convictions that can lead to increased insurance rates and, in the extreme, license suspensions.
 Do you think 25 miles over the speed limit is too fast?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Wonders What Happens When the Chief of Police Gets Charged With a DUI

What happens when the Chief of Police gets charged with a DUI?  This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here when prosecutors get charged and here and here when judges get charged, as well as here when rank-and-file police officers get charged.  No, I’m not kidding it really happened.

 The Grayslake police chief was charged with drunk driving after he and his wife were involved in a crash while returning from a restaurant just over the state line in Wisconsin, authorities say.
Matt McCutcheon was turning onto Route 45 in Silver Lake when he struck a car on the highway around 10 p.m. Friday, according to the police report. No one was injured in either car.
Responding officers said they found McCutcheon, 46, standing outside his black Honda when they arrived. He was swaying and almost lost his balance as he pulled out his wallet and showed his police badge, according to the police report.

McCutcheon refused treatment and said he was not going to the hospital. The officer told McCutcheon he needed to conduct a sobriety test but McCutcheon said he was refusing everything, according to the report.

Why do you think the Chief of Police refused everything?  He’s been on the Grayslake force for almost 20 years.  I suspect he knows a thing or two about how to help the government prosecute a DUI.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Payment Plans for Parking Tickets

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here  and here about parking ticket suspensions and she’s pleased that the City has finally come to its senses.  That’s right there’s an actual recognition that we have been in an economic slump for the last 4-5 years and as her mum would say, “you just can’t get blood from a turnip”.

From the Chicago Tribune:
The city hopes to collect an extra $2.5 million in back-debt on parking and red-light tickets by allowing lower initial payments when debt repayment plans are worked out.
Under the plan, proposed Wednesday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, scofflaws will no longer have to pay 25 percent of what they owe upfront.
Instead, the amount owed would be spread over equal monthly payments that would go on for as long as a year.

To qualify, the scofflaws would have to already be qualified for one of several low-income programs.
For years I've had clients charged with the criminal offense of Driving While their License is Suspended based purely on economic reasons, including emissions and parking tickets, while the suspension based on emissions has gone away, the suspension based on unpaid tolls or parking tickets has not.  This really is a civil matter, and I certainly hope the legislators begin to consider lifting the suspension of driving privileges based on parking tickets soon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Breaking News! Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Chicago Police Officer’s DUI Sentence

This Chicago DUI attorney posted here and here about Chicago Police Officer’s Anthony Bolling’s Chicago DUI.  It involved the death of a boy who was riding his bicycle.

Today Officer Bolling was sentenced before Judge Matthew Coughlin.

From the Chicago Tribune:

A Cook County judge today sentenced Chicago police Officer Richard Bolling to 3 years in prison for killing a 13-year-old boy in an off-duty DUI crash and fleeing the scene.
Bolling, 43, had tears in his eyes as Judge Matthew Coghlan announced his decision.
Last January a Criminal Court jury found Bolling, a 17-year veteran narcotics officer, guilty of aggravated DUI, reckless homicide, and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
Coghlan also ordered that after his release from prison Bolling talk to recruits at the Chicago Police Academy about “how to properly handle an investigation into one of their own.”
Prosecutors argued at trial that Bolling received preferential treatment from police the night in May 2009 that he struck and killed Trenton Booker at 81st Street and Ashland Avenue with his Dodge Charger.
One of the two officers who stopped him testified that she was ordered to "hold off" on field-sobriety tests by her watch commander. Those tests weren’t administered until two hours after the crash – but not before Bolling was allowed to use a washroom at a nearby gas station.
At the time, both arresting officers said Bolling passed the sobriety tests, but at the trial each changed their opinion, testifying that he had flunked key parts of the tests. One officer said she was "nervous" when she administered the tests because of all the superior officers at the scene.

It wasn't until 4 1/2 hours after the crash that Bolling, on orders of an internal affairs sergeant, took a blood-alcohol breath test. He registered just below the legal limit of 0.08 percent, but an Illinois State Police forensic toxicologist estimated Bolling's blood-alcohol content at the time of crash was as much as twice the legal limit.

 It looks like the professional courtesy Officer Bolling received was not enough to convince a jury to find him guilty.

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on Judges Losing Their Authority to Sentence

    This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about judges losing the ability to sentence.  Now your legislators down in Springfield want to take away even more sentencing authority from judges.

Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that any person who is found guilty of or pleads guilty to driving while intoxicated, including any person receiving a disposition of court supervision for violating that Section, shall (instead of "may") be required to attend a victim impact panel. Adds Victim Impact Speakers to the list of organizations permitted to run victim impact panels. Effective immediately.

In many counties throughout the state Victim Impact Panels are a standard part of the sentencing, but those decisions are being made by judges.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney, Comments on More Tows Coming Your Way

Yesterday this Chicago DUI attorney's post was about municipalities finding more reasons to tow your vehicle for an administrative infraction of the law.  Today, state legislators appear to be looking to assist those municipalities by proposing another reason to have your car towed.  This time it’s because you can’t show proof of insurance.

625 ILCS 5/4-203
  from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 4-203
    Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that whenever a law enforcement officer issues a citation to a driver for operating an uninsured motor vehicle, the arresting officer may authorize the removal and impoundment of the vehicle by a towing service. Effective January 1, 2013.

In Illinois, it is a non-criminal offense to drive without insurance.  This would let the police decide whether they wish to tow your vehicle because you forgot to put the new card in your wallet.  Do you think that’s a good idea?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on the High Price of Having a Car Towed

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here about the cost of towing.  Just last week she found herself in a tow truck.  Thankfully, it wasn’t for any illegal parking just a stubborn vehicle that felt like sleeping on the job.

Still, did you know how many different scenarios there are that involve getting your vehicle towed?

There used to be four offenses in Elgin that would cost you $500 on top of the cost of the actual tow and impounding of your vehicle. The city council will vote Wednesday on adding eight to the list.
A new Illinois law that went into effect Jan. 1 outlines the violations for which municipalities could assign administrative towing fees. Elgin no longer can tow a vehicle for a loud music violation — but it still plans to impose a $500 fine — and it cannot tow when a driver’s license is suspended for unpaid citations or failure to comply with emissions testing.
This is driven more by the state making its change,” Theriault said. “Legal is adapting to it, and we’re next in line to adapt to the new ordinance.”
The noise violation was the first to come with an administrative towing fee in Elgin. It started at $250 but was doubled in October 2009 when three new offenses were added: driving without a license, driving with a suspended or revoked license and driving under the influence.
Theriault said there are still a lot of what-ifs in deciding how to enforce DUI. For example, if a police officer saw someone driving a car and then stopped him after he left the vehicle for something like possession of marijuana, should the car be towed? What if it is a passenger of the vehicle holding drugs during a traffic stop?
Mayor David Kaptain, a supporter of such expansion for years, said the state law will give cities a unified approach in implementing administrative tows and could provide consistency from one place to another — if municipalities expand their own ordinances like Elgin.

Do you think other municipalities will help Elgin’s desired unified approach to towing?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Wonders, " What If You Aren't Guilty?"

This Chicago DUI Attorney has posted here and here about being wrongly accused.

There are horror stories every day about crimes committed.  Still we
all tend to ignore the stories of the falsely accused.

Every time someone hears what I do for a living, I'm asked how I can
defend people who are guilty.  I always respond that I often defend
folks who are not guilty but wrongly charged.  Inevitably the asker of
the question looks at me as if I'm a Martian.

Justice delayed is still Justice denied.


A man arrested for driving while intoxicated and then forced into
solitary confinement for two years tried to get help by writing to the
jail's nurse, but the only response he got was a dose of sedatives,
his lawyer said.
Stephen Slevin, 57, was arrested in August 2005 in New Mexico’s Dona
Ana County, charged with aggravated driving while under the influence
and possession of a stolen vehicle, although Slevin maintains the car
was lent to him by a friend. On Tuesday, a federal jury in Sante Fe
awarded him $22 million in damages for enduring inhumane conditions in
the Dona Ana County jail, which he emerged from "hollow," Matt Coyte,
his lawyer, told on Wednesday.

Would you feel differently about his treatment if he was found guilty?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Reminds You That Roadblocks Continue in 2012

This Chicago DUI attorney hopes you are safely off the roads this evening. The roads are difficult to maneuver and while the snow plows are running full force, they seem to be running behind the snow. If you are out, you should know that a roadblock is scheduled to begin shortly at 53rd and Ashland. That means with the significantly decreased road traffic tonight, you should be particularly heightened to safe driving measures.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on a Chicago Police Officer's Guilty DUI Verdict

This Chicago DUI attorney posted here and here about the veteran Chicago Police Officer who was accused of leaving the scene involving a boy and a bicycle.  The boy died.

The jury rendered their decision in this matter and found Officer Richard Bolling guilty of Reckless Homicide and DUI.


A Cook County jury Wednesday found a Chicago cop who ran over a 13-year-old cyclist guilty of reckless homicide and drunken driving.

After deliberating for nine hours, a jury found Richard Bolling, 42, guilty of reckless homicide, aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

Anyone else wondering what the jury was deliberating about?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicago DUI Attorney Comments on the Police Being Wrong

This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here and here about video recording DUI's, still she was surprised when the prosecutor said she was wrong.

  "It's okay.  I f*#ked up." 
 No I didn't say that.  That's what the cop said in the courtroom.  It was right after the judge did the right thing.  The cop wasn't mad.  The prosecutor was livid.  My client was free to go.

So what happened?

The judge agreed with me.  Believing that if the cops have a videotape purportedly saying my client was drunk, then my client better be on that video.  If not, then no, respectfully no, officer you are not going to sit here under oath and testify that my client failed all of the Field Sobriety Tests when the video doesn't ever show my client.

Don't you think it would be an awful  lot easier for the police and the accused if there was video?  Then the he said, she said goes away.  After all a picture is worth a thousand words.