Published on:

Last month, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez announced an initiative that will put volunteer monitors in courtrooms to police DUIs and report findings on social media to indicate whether these monitors, with no or minimal legal training, believe, in their lay opinion, that offenders were let off too easily. Governor Martinez said this is a way to hold offenders and judges accountable. Others believe is is an intimidation tactic.

The volunteers will attend DUI hearings and report on how the courts are handling drunk driving. They will then send details regarding the sentences to state officials, who will identify repeat DUI offenders and judges in tweets and Facebook posts.

The program, spearheaded by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), is part of the Governor’s executive initiative to combat DUIs. Many believe that these public shaming tactics harken back to the “Scarlett Letter” days of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Florida Circuit Judge Charles Burton recently upheld North Lauderdale defendant Kenneth Jenkins’ 33-year sentence for DUI manslaughter, the longest sentence ever imposed in Florida for this crime. beer-cup-1516057

Jenkins pleaded guilty to causing a 2008 head-on collision on Interstate 95 that killed three victims. Jenkins’ blood-alcohol level that night was .182, more than two times the legal limit. In fact, Jenkins was so drunk that he has no memory of the crash.

Continue reading →

Published on:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently took issue with Indiana’s no-texting statute, explaining that Illinois’ “hands-free” statute was more sensible and effective. cell-phone-2-1525544

Indiana statutorily prohibits drivers from texting while driving. All other cellphone use, however, is permitted. This includes making phone calls, consulting directions, reading news, playing music, playing games, and even watching television.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 3.34.32 PMThe Illinois Court of Appeals for the Third District recently reiterated that a guilty plea waives non-jurisdictional errors.

In December 2011, defendant Chad Morse was charged in Whiteside County with aggravated DUI, reckless homicide, and DUI. The indictment alleged that Morse was driving under the influence of alcohol on November 26, 2011 when he fatally struck a pedestrian.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Last month, the Illinois Court of Appeals for the First District affirmed the circuit court’s suspension of a defendant’s driving privileges, holding that the defendant’s weaving between lanes provided reasonable suspicion for the stop. missing-1308392

Defendant Michael Magnant appealed a Cook County circuit court order denying his petition to rescind the statutory suspension of his driving privileges. On appeal, Magnant argued that the court erroneously denied his petition because the police officer unlawfully seized him in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. He also contended that the officer lacked probably cause to arrest him and charge him with DUI.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Following a bench trial, defendant Brandon Little was convicted of felony driving while license suspended or revoked (DWLS) and was sentenced to one year of conditional discharge and 60 days in county jail. Little appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his pretrial motion to suppress evidence. The appeals court held that the motion was properly denied because the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to effectuate the investigatory stop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Little was arrested and charged with DWLS in August 2011. Prior to trial, he filed a motion to suppress evidence. At the evidentiary hearing, Deputy Pilat testified that at about 11 pm on the evening of the arrest, he was dispatched to the property of Stanford O’Hern in McDonough County regarding a criminal trespass complaint. Upon arriving, O’Hern told Pilat he heard someone across the road trespassing and training their dogs to hunt raccoons.

Continue reading →

Posted in:
Published on:
Updated:
Published on:

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOn January 21, 2016, the Fourth District Illinois Court of Appeal upheld defendant Albert Fleming’s nine-year prison sentence for an aggravated DUI.

Fleming struck and killed pedestrian Anthony Pauls while he was crossing the street on October 12, 2012. The state alleged that Fleming’s driving under the influence was the proximate cause of Pauls’ death. Then, the 20-year-old Fleming was charged on October 15, 2012 of DUI and leaving the scene. The state later charged him with an additional count of aggravated DUI.

Continue reading →

Posted in:
Published on:
Updated:
Published on:

DWI charges against a woman in Buffalo, New York, were dismissed based on a surprising defense:  “Her body is a brewery.” The woman’s blood-alcohol level was recorded at over four times the legal limit when it should have been between .01 and .05. Her rare condition was not discovered until after her arrest.brewery-1417878

Her attorney Joseph Marusak submitted medical evidence of the woman’s “auto-brewery syndrome,” which converts high-carbohydrate foods into alcohol. The evidence prompted the New York judge to dismiss her DWI.

Continue reading →

Posted in:
Published on:
Updated:
Published on:

Beginning on January 1, Illinois will dispose of the requirement that people arrested for a DUI are prohibited from driving for a minimum of 30 days. Instead, recent DUI arrestees will be permitted to keep driving, provided they install breath-measuring equipment in their cars to ensure their sobriety. This practice is quickly becoming the national trend. to-sign-a-contract-3-1221952-m

The new law removes a type of punishment that has long been a major point of contention in the debate over appropriate DUI punishments.

Continue reading →

Posted in:
Published on:
Updated:
Published on:

car-1492912Illinois altered its laws affecting drivers with multiple DUI convictions with House Bill 1446, which was signed into law in August and becomes effective on the first day of the new year. Under prior Illinois law, a driver with four or more DUI convictions was not permitted to seek a hearing for relief (either in the form of a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) or a full reinstatement of driving privileges). Illinois precedent dictated that a hearing was barred regardless of whether the arrest occurred in Illinois or elsewhere, even if the out-of-state conviction was not recorded on the driver’s Illinois record.

This situation created problems for both Illinois residents and nonresidents. Given reciprocal laws and comity within the United States, almost all states honored the DUI revocation. The perverse result was to preclude nonresidents from obtaining driving privileges in any state.

Continue reading →

Posted in:
Published on:
Updated: