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The police generally cannot stop a person absent a suspicion the individual is committing a crime or enter a person’s home without a warrant. There are exceptions to the general rule, however, such as cases in which the police are actively pursuing a criminal suspect who is attempting to evade them. In such instances, a search conducted without a warrant may be deemed proper. A California court recently heard arguments as to whether the hot pursuit exception to the warrant requirement applied in matters involving the investigation of a misdemeanor crime, in a case in which the defendant argued that the search that led to his DUI arrest was unlawful. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is smart to speak with a dedicated Illinois DUI lawyer to evaluate your options.

The California Arrest

Reportedly, the defendant was playing music loudly and repeatedly honking while driving his car, both of which are misdemeanor offenses. An officer began to follow the defendant but did not activate his lights or sirens. When the defendant arrived at his home, he began to pull into his garage. The officer activated his lights before the defendant’s garage door closed, but the defendant ran into his garage. The officer then activated the door’s sensor with his foot, forcing the door to stay open.

Allegedly, the officer entered the garage and began questioning the defendant. He noticed the defendant smelled like alcohol and subsequently arrested him for DUI. Before the defendant’s trial, he filed a motion to suppress the State’s evidence, arguing the officer’s search violated his Constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure. The court denied his motion on the grounds the officer was in hot pursuit when he conducted the search. The defendant was convicted, after which he appealed, arguing the hot pursuit exception does not apply to misdemeanor crimes. The appeals court upheld his conviction, and he then appealed to the California Supreme Court, which heard arguments on the matter but has not yet issued a ruling. Continue reading →

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Many states have implied consent laws that provide that licensed drivers must agree to submit to breath tests. As such, if people suspected of DUI refuse to provide breath samples, they often face additional charges and civil penalties. While typically, the failure to conduct a breath test is due to the lack of a driver’s consent, in Colorado, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the unusual situation of police officers refusing to conduct breath tests, which has resulted in the dismissal of many DUI charges. If you are charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, it is wise to speak to a skillful Illinois DUI lawyer about your rights.

COVID-19 Related DUI Complications in Colorado

Allegedly, multiple people charged with DUI crimes in Colorado have had their cases dismissed due to the fact that the police investigating the offenses refused to provide suspects with breath tests. The basis for the refusal was the belief that conducting the tests posed health risks due to the potential of the spread of the coronavirus. While the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has advised that officers can safely conduct such tests during the pandemic, many police agencies in the state are ignoring the Department’s advice and declining to conduct such tests.

It is reported that defense attorneys in Colorado have used the police’s refusal to provide breath tests against the state, arguing that it violates defendants’ rights and should result in the dismissal of charges. Specifically, under Colorado law, drivers suspected of operating a vehicle while intoxicated must be provided the choice of a breath or blood test unless a test is not available because of extraordinary circumstances. Subsequently, there are multiple instances where the court ultimately dismissed DUI charges against drivers who requested breath tests but were denied. Continue reading →

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A DUI conviction often not only results in criminal penalties but also impairs a person’s job prospects and relationships. While in many states, people convicted for DUI offenses may be eligible to have their records expunged, Illinois is not currently one of them. A new bill seeks to change the law regarding access to DUI records, however, in hopes of offering people in Illinois who were convicted of DUI crimes a chance to move forward without fear of their criminal records being exposed. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is smart to consult a trusted Illinois DUI lawyer to determine your options for seeking a just outcome.

DUI Legislation Pending in Illinois

Under Illinois law, there are two types of crimes that cannot be expunged: DUI and domestic violence offenses. In other words, if a person was convicted of a DUI crime decades ago, the record will remain and cannot be expunged. There are a handful of other states that have similar laws, including Ohio, Tennessee, Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Kansas, Texas, and Vermont. While it does not appear that Illinois’ expungement laws will be changed anytime in the near future, State Representatives recently introduced legislation that would allow for DUI records to be sealed.

House Bill 3934, which seeks to amend the Criminal Identification Act, was introduced by Representative Tony McCombie with the aim to provide those convicted of DUI crimes with second chances. If the bill passes, the Criminal Identification Act would be modified to allow records related to DUI charges to be sealed if certain criteria are met. Specifically, it must be shown that the person charged with DUI had not previously been placed on supervision due to DUI or convicted of DUI at the time the charges arose and that at least ten years have passed since the person’s sentence was completed. Continue reading →

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Most DUI charges arise out of the use of cars, trucks, and SUVs on public highways. DUI statutes are not always limited to the operation of standard vehicles, though, but often apply to the use of any motor vehicle on a public road. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling, in which a man was charged with DUI manslaughter after a crash that occurred when he was operating an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) on a highway with a blood alcohol level that was over the legal limit. In many states, including Illinois, the laws are similar, and a person can be charged for operating an ATV while intoxicated. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is advisable to meet with a knowledgeable Illinois DUI defense lawyer to assess your potential defenses.

The Florida DUI Conviction Arising Out of ATV Use

Reportedly, a Florida appellate court recently upheld the DUI manslaughter conviction of a man whose son died following an accident involving an ATV. It appears that the man was riding an ATV on a public road with his minor son on the back when it fell into a ditch. The man was able to return the ATV to an upright position, and he and his son were sitting on the ATV when it was struck by another motorist. The man suffered injuries in the collision, and his son tragically died.

Allegedly, testing revealed that the man’s blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit. He was subsequently charged with DUI with property damage and DUI manslaughter. During the trial, the defendant argued that there was inadequate evidence to show that he was physically in control of the ATV at the time of the accident, but he was convicted as charged. He appealed; however, his convictions were affirmed on appeal. Continue reading →

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While in many states, the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes is legal, a person may nonetheless be charged with a DUI for operating a vehicle while impaired because of the use of marijuana. The police must have grounds to arrest a person for a DUI, though, and it is unlikely that mere possession of marijuana is sufficient. This was demonstrated recently in Houston, where a driver admitted to possessing marijuana when he was pulled over for speeding tragically collided with another vehicle after he was stopped, killing a mother and three children. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is smart to speak to a dedicated Illinois DUI defense attorney regarding your rights.

The Texas Accident

It is reported that a man in Houston was stopped by a police officer for speeding. The officer stated that during the traffic stop, he did not observe any visible signs of impairment. The driver did admit that he had marijuana, however, which he surrendered to the officer. Thirty minutes after he was stopped, he rear-ended a car at a high rate of speed. The woman in the car and her three children ultimately died due to injuries suffered in the accident. The driver was arrested, but it is unclear what charges he is facing. Authorities are reportedly testing the small amount of marijuana he relinquished, and the driver may face criminal charges pending the outcome of the testing.

Illinois DUI Charges Related to Marijuana Use

In Illinois, it is legal to use marijuana for recreational purposes. That does not mean, though, that there are no restrictions regarding its use. First, only adults are legally permitted to ingest marijuana for recreational use. Additionally, people who use marijuana and then drive may be charged with DUI crimes. Specifically, under Illinois’ DUI statute, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle while impaired due to the use of marijuana, and people who do so may face DUI charges. Continue reading →

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The majority of DUI charges and convictions arise out of the results of a blood or breath test that is administered by the police during traffic stops. In many cases, the court and prosecution take for granted that the results of such tests are accurate, but that is not always the case, as improperly calibrated machines can lead to false readings. Convictions based on inaccurate breath test results may be overturned, though, as demonstrated in Massachusetts, where thousands of people recently received notices they may be eligible for new trials. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is prudent to engage a skillful Illinois DUI defense attorney to assess the sufficiency of the State’s evidence in your case.

Notices Issued in Massachusetts

Reportedly, close to thirty-thousand people in Massachusetts were recently advised that they may be eligible for new trials in their DUI cases due to problems with the evidence used against them. Notably, the notices were sent out almost a year after the underlying issue came to light. Specifically, in 2019, the State became aware that officials working in the State Police lab permitted improperly calibrated machines to be used to administer breath tests to people suspected of DUI crimes. Further, the officials then attempted to hide the full extent of the issue.

As a result, anyone who admitted to the sufficiency of facts or pleaded guilty in a DUI case between June 2011 and April 2019 may be eligible for a new trial. The notices advise the people impacted by the recent discovery that their cases may have been tainted by the devices, and they have grounds to challenge the rulings against them. Continue reading →

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Few people are as beloved in New Jersey as the entertainers that hail from the state. Thus, when news broke that a famous singer was arrested and charged with a DUI offense, it sent shock waves throughout the area. Few details have emerged regarding the offense and what information is available varies greatly, causing some question whether it was unfounded due to the absence of a reasonable suspicion that a DUI crime was committed. The DUI and reckless driving charges were ultimately dropped and the singer was merely ordered to pay a fine, but the matter it arguably highlights that it is important for people charged with a DUI offense to retain skillful DUI defense attorneys to help them fight to protect their liberties.

The Singer’s Arrest

Reportedly, two different accounts have arisen as to the facts surrounding the singer’s arrest. In the first, it is alleged that the singer was observed by a police officer consuming a shot of tequila with fans in a public park, then getting onto his motorcycle and driving away. In this version, the singer’s BAC was 0.02%, well below New Jersey’s legal limit of 0.08%.

In the second version, however, while it is reported that the singer consumed a shot of tequila and then drove his motorcycle, it is also alleged that he smelled of alcohol, admitted to consuming two shots of alcohol, was swaying, and refused to submit to a breath test. A short time after news of the arrest broke it was reported that the DUI and reckless driving charges were dropped, and a $500 fine for drinking alcohol in a closed area was imposed.  Continue reading →

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If the police stop a person for suspicion of DUI, they must establish that the search is lawful; otherwise, any evidence arising out of the search may be deemed inadmissible. In other words, the State must demonstrate that the police had reasonable suspicion that a person is under the influence prior to effectuating a stop. While typically DUI charges arise out stop to investigate erratic driving, some are the result of DUI checkpoints. Whether such a stop constitutes a reasonable search and seizure was the topic of a recent North Carolina ruling, in which the court ultimately found the stop to be illegal. If you are accused of a DUI crime arising out of a DUI checkpoint, it is in your best interest to confer with a trusted Illinois DUI defense attorney about your potential defenses.

The North Carolina Ruling

It is reported that the defendant was stopped at a DUI checkpoint in a town in North Carolina. The investigating officer smelled alcohol on the defendant’s breath, and she admitted to consuming two shots of alcohol. She submitted to field sobriety testing, which she failed, and a breathalyzer test, which resulted in a BAC of 0.11%. She was charged with DUI. Her attorney filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the stop, arguing it was unlawful, but the motion was denied.

Allegedly, the defendant appealed, and on appeal, the court ruled in her favor. Specifically, it found that the trial court had not evaluated whether the arrest met the three standards established by the State Supreme Court to determine if the arrest was constitutional: the weight of the public interest; the degree to which the arrest advances the public interest, and the severity of its interference with personal liberty. Continue reading →

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Judges and prosecutors have distinct roles in the criminal justice system, and generally, they refrain from exercising powers outside of the scope of their authority. If they do overstep their bounds, however, it may lead to unexpected outcomes. For example, a prosecutor in North Dakota recently sued a judge, arguing that the judge violated the separation of powers by refusing to approve a plea deal that would have ignored one of the defendant’s prior DUI convictions. The lawsuit, which alleges that defendants convicted of fourth DUIs are subject to less stringent penalties than those convicted of third DUIs, seeks to remedy a perceived injustice. If you are charged with a third or subsequent DUI offense, it is smart to meet with a knowledgeable Illinois DUI defense attorney to assess your rights.

The North Dakota Case

It is reported that the North Dakota legislature recently increased the penalties for repeat DUI offenders. Specifically, a person convicted of a third DUI, which is a class A misdemeanor, faces a 120-day jail sentence, while a person convicted of a fourth DUI crime, which is a Class C felony, may be imprisoned for one year and one day. The prosecutor alleges that, essentially, sentences for fourth DUIs are paper penalties, in that parties convicted of such offenses spend significantly less time in prison than those convicted of lesser crimes.

Allegedly, the prosecutor attempted to subvert the sentencing deficiencies by entering into a plea agreement with a defendant that would have reduced the number of the defendant’s prior DUI convictions, which would have resulted in a lesser sentence on paper but arguably more time in prison. When the judge refused to adopt the plea agreement, the prosecution filed suit, arguing the judge violated the separation of powers. Continue reading →

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It is not uncommon for intoxicated drivers to cause collisions, and many DUI related accidents are fatal. Thus, a person may not only be charged with a DUI crime but other, more serious, offenses. Whether a fatality caused by a drunk driving accident constitutes murder, however, is unsettled throughout the Nation. This issue was recently resolved in Nevada, though, where the Nevada Supreme Court set forth a ruling prohibiting prosecutors from charging people with second-degree murder for their involvement in DUI fatalities. While the ruling has no precedent in Illinois, it provides insight into how other courts view DUI cases involving deaths. If you were involved in a fatal DUI accident, it is in your best interest to speak with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to discuss your possible defenses.

The Nevada Ruling

It is reported that the Nevada Supreme Court recently issued an order requiring prosecutors to change the manner in which they handle DUI cases. Specifically, the court barred prosecutors from charging DUI defendants with second-degree murder. The ruling arose out of a matter in which the defendant reportedly caused a fatal crash while driving with marijuana in his system. The order, which was signed by seven justices, explained that while malice could be inferred from the facts out of which the charges arose and would support a second-degree murder charge, the legislature pre-empted such charges for matters involving unintentional vehicular homicide. It was noted that the ruling might inspire the legislature to impose stricter penalties on felony DUI cases involving deaths.

Charges for DUI Related Deaths in Illinois

In Illinois, a person can be charged with aggravated DUI (driving under the influence) if the individual was involved in an accident that resulted in a fatality. An aggravated DUI that results in the death of another person is a Class 2 felony. If only one person is killed in a DUI accident, the defendant faces a minimum sentence of three years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of fourteen years. If more than one person dies due to a DUI accident, an aggravated DUI sentence can range from six to twenty-eight years in prison.

Continue reading →

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