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In most states, the police do not need a blood test to arrest a person for DUI; instead, they often stop and arrest DUI suspects after observing behavior that indicates they might be intoxicated. While a blood test may ultimately be used to exonerate a DUI defendant, unjustly being charged with a DUI crime is often enough to cause devastating repercussions in a person’s life. This was demonstrated recently in Tennessee, when a woman was charged with DUI and felony child neglect and temporarily lost custody of her sign, despite the fact that she had not consumed any alcohol prior to her arrest. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is wise to confer with a skillful Illinois DUI defense lawyer to discuss your options.

The Arrest and Charges  

It is reported that the woman, who was a nurse, worked 41 hours over the course of three days, caring for COVID-19 patients. On her day off, she dropped her son off at a daycare facility so that she could run errands. She picked him up later that day and proceeded to drive off. Unbeknownst to her, though, a worker at the daycare facility called the police and reported that the woman seemed impaired.

Allegedly, the police stopped the woman shortly after she left the lot. They observed that she did not smell of alcohol, and she advised she had not consumed any, but they asked her to submit to field sobriety tests regardless. She did not perform well on the tests, which she attributed to the fact that the police had taken her son into their vehicle. She acknowledged the fact that she took ADHD medication. She was charged with DUI and felony child neglect, and her son was taken into state custody for six weeks. Blood tests ultimately showed that she was not intoxicated and that she was taking her ADHD medication at therapeutic levels. Continue reading →

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States across the country continue to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes. Subsequently, they are slowly defining what constitutes impairment for purposes of marijuana-related DUI crimes. While some states have marijuana DUI laws that predate legalization, such laws may be antiquated and unsuitable. The courts are often reluctant to overturn existing laws, however, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a Washington state court in which it upheld a defendant’s marijuana-related DUI conviction. If you are charged with a marijuana-related DUI crime, it is prudent to speak with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to determine your possible defenses.

The Washington Ruling

It is reported that the police pulled over a man in Washington state after they observed him driving his vehicle erratically. After he was stopped by the police, the man admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the day but stated he no longer felt impaired. After he submitted to field sobriety tests, he was arrested; he subsequently underwent a blood test that revealed his THC level to be almost twice the legal limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter. He was subsequently charged with and convicted of DUI.

Allegedly, the man appealed, arguing in part that the applicable statute imposed vague and arbitrary standards with regard to the legal THC limit. While the justices presiding over the matter agreed that it was difficult to pin down the correlation between impairment and THC levels, blood measurements still provided a constitutionally acceptable and useful measurement tool. Thus, they upheld his conviction. Continue reading →

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DUI convictions can harm a person’s reputation, rights, and career prospects long after any penalties have been paid. In many states, people convicted of DUI offenses have no options for clearing their names, but recently, some states have taken measures to allow people to move forward after their guilty verdicts. For example, Michigan recently passed laws allowing people convicted of certain DUI offenses to expunge and seal their records. While the Michigan law does not impact the status of DUI convictions in Illinois, it may be a sign that tides are shifting towards leniency on the issue. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is smart to meet with an Illinois DWI defense attorney to discuss your options for seeking a just outcome.

The Michigan DUI Conviction Expungement Law

The Michigan state legislature recently introduced bipartisan bills that would allow people with fist offense DUI convictions to expunge their records in certain cases. The bills were ultimately signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and went into effect in February 2022. Pursuant to the new law, approximately 200,000 non-repeat offenders will be eligible for expungement.

The first iteration of the law provided that people must wait three years after their DUI conviction to seek an expungement; a later bill that took effect in March 2022 enlarged the waiting period to five years. Regardless, people convicted of DUI offenses can now petition the courts to have their records expunged. Only first-time offenders are eligible for expungement; repeat offenders cannot clear their records. Additionally, people convicted of DUI crimes that resulted in death or serious injury or who had a child under the age of 16 in their vehicle at the time of the offense are ineligible as well. Finally, the law does not permit people who were operating commercial vehicles with a commercial driver’s license at the time of their offense to obtain expungements. Continue reading →

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Until recently, Illinois Rules of Evidence 803(6) prohibited the state from introducing medical records in criminal cases. The Illinois Supreme Court took the extraordinary measure of amending Rule 803(6) in a recent DWI case, however, effectively changing the landscape for the prosecution of DWI crimes for years to come. If you are faced with DWI charges, it is in your best interest to meet with an Illinois DWI defense attorney to assess your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was involved in a collision and then taken to the hospital, where his blood was drawn. The police believed he caused the crash by driving while intoxicated, and he was subsequently charged with aggravated DWI.  During his trial, the state introduced the results of a chemical blood test that was taken at the hospital into evidence.

Allegedly, the test results, which revealed his BAC to be .247, were admitted under 625 ILCS 5/11-501.4, which permits the state to admit chemical blood tests conducted in the course of emergency medical care as a business record exception to the rule against hearsay. He was convicted, after which he appealed, arguing that Rule 803(6) prohibited the introduction of medical records in criminal matters. The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling, and the defendant appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. Continue reading →

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It is important for children to learn about all aspects of the criminal justice system, including the procedural rules, the rights of criminal defendants, and the penalties imposed for certain crimes. Few would agree, though, that their education should involve prosecuting school-age children in a manner similar to how criminal defendants are prosecuted by the state. In Illinois, however, some schools are ticketing children and forcing them to pay substantial fines under the threat of greater consequences. If you have questions regarding ticketing in schools, it is wise to speak to an Illinois criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Ticketing in Illinois Schools

Reportedly, Illinois law permits schools to “ticket” children for minor infractions. While the tickets do not result in criminal charges, they allege that the children violated municipal ordinances at school and require them to attend hearings in a courthouse. Not only must the children who are ticketed miss school to attend such hearings, they also must decide whether to agree to pay fines or challenge the ticket at a hearing held at a later date. They are cautioned, however, that failing to pay the fine could damage their credit scores or impact their future driving privileges.

It is alleged that the acts that lead to such tickets are typically minor: one 12-year-old student received a ticket for shoving a friend, while a 16-year-old student was cited for truancy, and a 14-year-old student was caught with a vape pen. As many as thirty students have been summoned to Illinois courthouses on any given day. Continue reading →

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If the Illinois police suspect a driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated in violation of the law, they will typically stop the driver to conduct an investigation. While many DUI investigations occur on residential streets, some happen on highways which generally requires the investigating officer and the driver being investigated to pull onto the shoulder of the road. There are risks associated with parking on the shoulder of a highway; namely, there is a danger of being hit by a negligent motorist.

This happened recently when a driver struck the vehicle of an officer that was conducting a DUI investigation on the side of the road. In an unusual turn of events, both the driver that was the subject of the initial investigation and the driver that struck the patrol car were charged with DUI. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a DUI crime, it is prudent to consult an Illinois DUI defense attorney to evaluate what defenses you may be able to argue to avoid a conviction.

Illinois Police Involved in a DUI Accident During the Investigation of a DUI

It is alleged that in December 2021, an Illinois State Trooper pulled a driver over onto the shoulder of a highway in Cook County to conduct a DUI investigation. The trooper activated his emergency lights after he pulled over, and his squad car was fully marked. Nonetheless, a motorist approaching the officer’s vehicle failed to slow down or switch lanes. Instead, she lost control of her car, veered onto the shoulder, and struck the officer’s squad car. Continue reading →

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Most states have comparable DUI laws. Specifically, a state must typically prove that a driver was operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or with a blood-alcohol level of .08% in order to convict the driver of a DUI offense. Despite the similarities in state DUI laws, many states do not recognize out-of-state DUI convictions or have not clearly defined how such convictions should be treated. Recently, however, Kansas and other states have expressly stated that the courts can consider DUI convictions that occur in other states as prior DUI offenses in certain circumstances. If you are accused of a DUI offense in Illinois and were previously convicted of DUI in another state, it is smart to meet with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to assess what penalties you may face if convicted.

Kansas Law Regarding Out of State DUI Convictions

Recently, the Kansas Supreme Court expressly granted trial courts the authority to view previous DUI convictions in Missouri as comparable to the Kansas law. The decision was handed down in a DUI case on appeal from the district court, in which the pertinent issue was whether the defendant, who had two prior DUI convictions in Missouri, should be charged with a felony DUI offense in Kansas.

The court clarified that not all DUI convictions that arise out of the laws of other states should be considered prior DUI convictions for the purposes of DUI prosecution. Instead, the court cautioned that the ruling was limited to DUI convictions for offenses that are comparable to the crime described in the Kansas DUI law. Continue reading →

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In the vast majority of states, a person can be convicted of DUI if they drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. In Utah, however, the threshold is much lower. Reportedly, the recent reduction in the legal limit did not result in increased DUI charges but instead led to a reduction of DUI crimes fewer car accidents and fatalities, and reportedly did not impact tourism or the rate of people moving to the state. While it remains unclear if Illinois or any other state will follow suit, it seems unlikely, but it is important for all motorists to understand the DUI laws where they live. If you are charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, it is practical to confer with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to assess your potential defenses.

Results of Utah’s DUI Law Changes

Reportedly, the Utah legislature voted to reduce the blood alcohol concentration threshold for per se DUI offenses from 0.08% to 0.05% in 2017. Parties in favor of the change argued that it would reduce DUI crimes and DUI-related collisions, while those opposed to it argued that it would discourage tourists or new residents from coming to Utah. So far, it appears to have had only positive impacts.

Allegedly, a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that while the amount of miles Utah drivers traveled increased, the number of DUI offenses and crashes went down. Some attribute the willingness to accept the change to the fact that the majority of people living in Utah are of Mormon faith and do not drink alcohol, and alcohol is strictly regulated. Not everyone is convinced that the reduced threshold is the cause of the reduction in accidents, noting that many other states experienced similar outcomes without changing their DUI laws. Continue reading →

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Many states have implied consent laws. In other words, when a person obtains a driver’s license, the law states that they impliedly consent to submit to a breath test if they are under investigation for DUI. In many states, if a person suspected of DUI refuses to provide a breath sample, they can lose their driving privileges. Typically, the police must warn a driver of the consequences of the failure to abide by the implied consent law, but if the suspect does not understand the officer due to a language barrier, the warning may be ineffective. This was demonstrated recently in a Pennsylvania DUI case. The court ultimately ruled that the defendant could not face penalties for refusing to submit to a breath test because he did not understand English. If you are charged with the refusal to provide a breath sample or a DUI crime in Illinois, it is smart to speak to an Illinois DUI defense regarding your options for seeking a favorable outcome.

The Pennsylvania Case

It is reported that a police officer observed the defendant driving erratically and therefore initiated a traffic stop. The officer attempted to question the defendant, who does not speak English. He noticed the defendant smelled of alcohol, and his eyes were bloodshot and glazed. He tried to ask the defendant if he drank alcohol that evening and, if so, how much, using hand signals. The defendant responded with hand signals, stating he had three drinks.

Allegedly, the officer requested that the defendant submit to a breath test. The defendant said no, and the officer read him the O’Connell warning, which informs DUI suspects of the consequences of failing to submit to a breath test, as required by Pennsylvania law. The defendant was ultimately found guilty of refusing to submit to a breath test and lost his driving privileges. He appealed on the grounds that his refusal was not informed and knowing as he did not speak English. The appellate court ultimately ruled in his favor and stated that the onus was on the police to make sure DUI suspects understood the consequences of failing to abide by the implied consent law. Continue reading →

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Beginning January 1, 2022, the Secretary of State has adopted new rules that will expand driving privileges for persons who have two or three DUI convictions. Under the current permits, driving is limited to specific purposes and specific days, hours, and distances.
The new rules will make an RDP available to drive 12 hours a day, 6 days a week and up to 200 miles for any lawful purposes. If a job requires driving more expansively, the Secretary of State will allow that to happen. A driver would have to show why not being able to drive within the 12 hours, 6 days and 200 miles would not accommodate employment or medical needs, if applicable.
Furthermore, individuals who have only one conviction and are eligible for full reinstatement but are granted a permit for one year also qualify for this new permit. Those who are not yet eligible for reinstatement, including those who are operating under an extended suspension for refusing breath testing, are also not eligible for the new permit.
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