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Earlier this summer, a Riverdale resident pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drunk driving in a deadly crash that killed a pedestrian over 10 years ago. The case was among Cook County’s longest-stalled prosecutions. The Illinois DUI crash occurred in 2007.

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The defendant was originally charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI, which carried up to 14 years of incarceration. The 39-year-old man was instead sentenced to two years of probation in a plea deal that took 10 years to finalize. The case lasted through the tenures of three separate state attorneys. Current State Attorney Kim Foxx said in a statement that the delays were “unacceptable.” She pledged to ensure these situations do not recur.

The victim was killed in January 2007 after the defendant’s vehicle struck him while he was walking on the street in Harvey, Illinois. The victim, 41, was hit so hard that it took several minutes before his body was located, and it was almost 10 hours before his foot was found by police in a yard near the crash.

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A defendant appealed his DUI conviction under the theory that evidence of his prior DUI conviction was wrongfully admitted at trial. In June, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled on the case for the second time. At the core of the issue was the mechanism lower courts use to decide the admissibility of extrinsic act evidence under Rules 404(b) and 403 of the Georgia Evidence Code. While these laws do not apply in Illinois, the case is still instructive for people charged with an Illinois DUI in terms of showing the importance of evidence admissibility issues.

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Rule 404(b) provides that evidence of other crimes should not be admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith. It may be admissible, however, for other reasons, such as opportunity, intent, motive, absence of mistake, or others. The prosecution must provide notice to the defense in advance of trial unless excused by the court.

Rule 403 provides that relevant evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.

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Texas residents with DUI records might soon be able to seal their records. House Bill 3016, also known as the “second-chance” bill, will allow many first-time, low-level offenders to keep their criminal records from being made public. This makes it easier for people to apply for jobs if they have low-level offenses on their records and have shown that they are unlikely to reoffend.

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In addition to DUI defendants, the bill protects people convicted of some felonies involving small amounts of marijuana. Eligible individuals can petition the court for orders of nondisclosure, and the bill alters some waiting periods. If the offense was a misdemeanor punishable only by a fine, the petitioner may request an order of nondisclosure immediately upon the date their sentence is completed. If the misdemeanor was not punishable by a fine only, however, they must wait until the second anniversary of the date of the completion of their sentence to petition the court.

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A New Jersey resident allegedly contracted MRSA after being forced to take a urine sample following her 2012 DUI arrest. She recently received $140,000 to settle her ensuing lawsuit against Ocean City, two police officers, Shore Medical Center, and two nurses. The case alleged illegal search and seizure, due process violations, malicious prosecution, negligence, conspiracy, excessive force, assault, informed consent, and battery.

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In the lawsuit, filed in New Jersey United District Court in July 2014, she claimed she was infected with the antibiotic and bacteria-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in July 2012 after being pulled over for DUI. She claimed that during her arrest, an Ocean City police officer attempted to administer several field sobriety tests. The driver claimed that she fell asleep in the car on the way to the police station, and the officer did not detect any odor of alcohol on her during the investigation or the ride to the police station.

The driver explained that she could not take a Breathalyzer due to her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She was then given 10 cups of water in an attempt to have her complete a urine test, but she was unable to urinate, the lawsuit said. She claimed that after being unable to provide a urine sample, she was taken to Shore Medical, where urine and blood samples were extracted without her consent. For the urine sample, nurses inserted a catheter, from which she claimed she contracted MRSA. An Ocean City police officer assisted with the catheterization procedure, leading to the infection, the case said.

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The Hawaii Supreme Court recently addressed the right of a DUI suspect to communicate and consult with counsel under Hawaii law. Following his DUI arrest, the defendant was affirmatively advised that he was not entitled to an attorney before submitting to any tests to determine his breath or blood alcohol concentration. The Hawaii Supreme Court held that the defendant was erroneously denied access to counsel, but under the facts of the case, his refusal to submit to testing was not subject to suppression.

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In June 2013, the defendant was stopped while driving west on Kailua Road by two Honolulu police officers for weaving between lanes. An officer informed the defendant why he had stopped him, and the defendant responded that he had consumed a few drinks with his friends. The officer detected an odor of alcohol emitting from the defendant’s breath and noticed that he was flushed. The other officer administered field sobriety testing to the defendant, and based on the results, he arrested the defendant and took him to the police station.

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This year, Utah legislators lowered the state’s DUI threshold to the nation’s most severe. The measure (HB155), which was sponsored by Republican Representative Norman K. Thurston, lowered Utah’s blood-alcohol limit from .08 to .05 in an attempt to make roads safer. Governor Gary Herbert signed the law in March, and it is scheduled to take effect on December 30, 2018.

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A new report from Utah’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), however, demonstrates that drunk driving only contributed to roughly 13% of Utah’s 281 traffic-related fatalities last year. The highway safety office of the DPS is dedicated to developing, promoting, and coordinating traffic safety initiatives designed to reduce traffic accidents.

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A defendant was charged with DUI and filed a motion to quash the arrest and suppress evidence.

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In August 2015, he was involved in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident at the intersection of Main Street and Crescent Avenue in Peoria. An officer of the Peoria police department responded to the scene and issued the defendant citations for improper lane usage, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and DUI.

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The Colorado Supreme Court recently upheld the state’s expressed consent statute in three consolidated DUI cases in which warrantless blood draw evidence was suppressed by the trial court. The cases dealt with various elements of the expressed consent law.

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Colorado’s expressed consent statute states that any driver on Colorado roads automatically consents to take a breath or blood test when asked to do so by an officer with probable cause that the driver is intoxicated.

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A driver was convicted of unlawful exhibition of speed and misdemeanor DUI. The Kansas intermediate court reversed his convictions. The panel reasoned that the unlawful exhibition of speed statute (Kansas Annotated Statute section 8-1565) was unconstitutionally vague, and the arresting officer did not have a reasonable suspicion to stop the driver. The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ decision holding that the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion but vacated its holding that the statute was unconstitutionally vague because the lack of reasonable suspicion provided an alternative ground for relief.
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In affirming, the Kansas Supreme Court first recounted the facts as presented to the trial court. In January 2013, the officer was stopped at a light when he noticed an SUV ahead of him. The SUV’s engine was revving, and the officer observed billowing smoke emerging from the car. He smelled burning rubber and noticed a tire smoking and spinning while the SUV remained still. He testified that the driver was “power braking,” which is typically performed to warm the tires before a drag race.

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Last month, a Florida appellate court held that police need to obtain a warrant before downloading information recorded in a car’s “black box.” Specifically, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach concluded that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in the information stored in the black box, and downloading that information without a warrant absent exigent circumstances violates the Fourth Amendment.

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In the fall of 2013, the defendant was involved in a high speed accident that resulted in the death of his passenger. Afterwards, his vehicle was impounded. Roughly a week after the crash, law enforcement downloaded the information stored on the car’s black box without first obtaining a warrant. A car’s black box records information regarding numerous issues, such as speed, steering, and braking.

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