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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Stroger Hospital executive Robert Vais was sentenced to 100 days in prison for fatally striking a young chef who was biking home from work on December 7, 2013. Vais was driving home drunk from a Christmas party.drunk-drive-1171456

During an emotional sentencing hearing last month, Vais tearfully apologized for the death of 28-year-old Hector Avalos. Avalos’ mother, Ingrid Cossio, cried on the witness stand, explaining to the full courtroom how she wanted to die after her son’s death. “[Vais] needs to face the consequences,” she said. “He didn’t just kill my son. He killed me too.”

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drunk-1327880After the Georgia Supreme Court ruled this past May that mere compliance with the statutory implied consent law did not, per se, amount to actual and voluntary consent to a blood test, Georgia defense lawyers have been successful in getting evidence thrown out in their clients’ DUI cases under the theory that they were – ironically – too drunk to consent.

In Williams v. State, the defendant appealed his conviction for DUI and failure to maintain lane. The trial court denied his motion to suppress the results of the blood test on the basis that it was obtained without a warrant in contravention of his Fourth Amendment rights. The Georgia Supreme Court vacated the state court judgments and remanded to reconsider the defendant’s suppression motion.

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