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It is well-acknowledged that driving while intoxicated poses a significant risk of harm to other people. As such, it is Illegal in Illinois. There are no laws barring people from driving while they are dehydrated, and despite the seemingly absurd notion that there should be, a recent article suggests that dehydrated drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers. While the article does not have any legal implications, it does trigger the question of whether some people stopped for suspicion of DUI show signs of impairment for other reasons. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced Illinois DUI defense lawyer to discuss what defenses you may be able to assert.

The Impact of Dehydration on Drivers

Reportedly, a study conducted in 2021 in the United Kingdom showed that even slight cases of dehydration were equivalent to driving while intoxicated. In other words, motorists who are mildly dehydrated show a substantial increase in small driving errors during long trips as opposed to drivers who are adequately hydrated. The magnitude of impairment caused by dehydration was the same as that experienced by drivers that had consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol to achieve a blood alcohol level of 0.08%. Specifically, losing even a small amount of water causes a decreased capacity to adequately perform tasks that require quick decisions, concentration, and motor skills and produces symptoms such as dizziness, tiredness, and loss of focus.

Grounds for DUI Charges in Illinois

In Illinois, there are multiple grounds for charging a person with a DUI crime. For example, a person may face DUI charges for being in physical control of a vehicle while their blood alcohol level is 0.08% or higher. Notably, “physical control” may include acts other than driving, like starting a vehicle or sleeping in a parked car with the engine running. Continue reading →

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People accused of committing DUI offenses, like all criminal defendants, are afforded numerous rights under the United States Constitution. For example, under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment, they have the right to examine their accusers at trial. If the State violates a criminal defendant’s Constitutional rights, the violation may constitute grounds for an appeal. The question of whether the use of two-way video conferencing violated the rights granted under the Confrontation Clause was the topic of a recent ruling issued in Montana. While the opinion does not impact the prosecution of DUI cases in Illinois, it provides insight into how courts may rule on similar issues. If you are accused of a DUI crime, it is smart to meet with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your rights.

The Montana Case

It is reported that the defendant was stopped by the police for suspicion of a DUI. He was subsequently arrested and charged with DUI. The case proceeded to trial before a jury. The arresting officer was not present in the courtroom during the trial but appeared via two-way video. The jury convicted the defendant, and he appealed, arguing, in part, that the court violated his right to confrontation by permitting the officer to testify through two-way video conferencing instead of appearing in court in person.

The court agreed, noting that in criminal prosecutions, defendants have the right to meet the State’s witnesses face to face and to fully examine them. The court elaborated that confrontation ensures that the evidence offered against a defendant is reliable. Thus, pursuant to Montana’s confrontation clause, witnesses may only testify via two-way video when securing the witness’ presence is impossible or impractical. The court ultimately found that the State failed to prove that the use of two-way video was warranted.  As such, it reversed the defendant’s conviction. Continue reading →

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In any criminal matter, the prosecution bears the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, each element of the underlying offense. Thus, if the government cannot establish the corpus delecti or body of the crime, it should not be able to obtain a conviction. An Illinois appellate court recently discussed the concept of corpus delecti in a case in which it reversed the defendant’s DUI conviction. If you are faced with charges, you committed a DUI crime, it is important to speak to a Illinois DUI defense lawyer to evaluate what evidence the state must produce to prove your guilt.

The Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the police were dispatched to a courtyard in response to a report of a domestic disturbance. Upon arrival, they found the defendant and two men standing near a car. The defendant indicated she had an argument with her boyfriend and was trying to locate him. She advised the police that she drove the white car to its current location in hopes of finding her boyfriend and then called the police.

Allegedly, when the police spoke with the defendant, they noticed she smelled of alcohol, her eyes were bloodshot, and her speech was slurred. Thus, they administered field sobriety tests. Based on the defendant’s performance on the tests, they arrested her and charged her with DUI. The trial court found her guilty, and she appealed, arguing that the prosecution failed to offer proof of corpus delecti. Continue reading →

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Relatively recently, the United States Supreme Court ruled that warrantless blood tests violate the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. The landscape of DUI law across the country changed in response to the Court’s ruling and continues to evolve, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by the Kentucky Supreme Court, in which it held that the refusal to submit to a warrantless blood test could not be used against a DUI defendant. While the ruling does not impact the law in Illinois, it provides insight into how DUI laws throughout the country may progress in the future. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is smart to meet with a trusted Illinois DUI defense lawyer to assess your options for seeking a just outcome.

The Kentucky Ruling

Reportedly, the Kentucky Supreme Court recently issued a ruling clarifying the status of DUI law throughout the state. Specifically, it upheld a state appellate court decision vacating a man’s DUI conviction, where the state relied on his refusal to submit to a warrantless blood test as evidence of his guilt. The Kentucky Supreme Court noted that courts throughout the state rejected the United States Supreme Court ruling dictating that the police must obtain warrants for blood tests, stating that the ruling did not apply in their courts.

The Kentucky Supreme Court made it abundantly clear, however, that the state courts must abide by the Supreme Court ruling and could not use a DUI defendant’s refusal to submit to a blood test as evidence of guilt. The court pointed out that currently, the law in Kentucky requires proof of injury or death to obtain a warrant for suspected DUI. Thus, it is anticipated that law enforcement agencies will pressure the legislature to modify the laws in the near future. Continue reading →

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It is the obligation of the police to uphold and enforce the law. Unfortunately, some officers go beyond the scope of their duties in a manner that violates the rights of the suspects they are investigating. For example, it was recently revealed that a police officer in Phoenix was altering police reports to make it more difficult for criminal defendants to prepare their defenses. While the revelation does not impact cases pending in Illinois, it highlights issues in the criminal justice system that can make it difficult for defendants to obtain a fair trial. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is in your best interest to engage a skilled Illinois DUI defense lawyer to help you fight to protect your rights.

Phoenix DUI Police Officer’s Tactics Called into Question

It is reported that the most senior DUI motorcycle officer on the Phoenix police force engaged in tactics designed to make it more difficult for defense attorneys to defend their clients. Specifically, the officer was caught on camera explaining that in every report issued in a DUI case, he lists any passengers in the suspect’s vehicle as a victim rather than a witness. While Arizona law allows defense attorneys to interview witnesses, it precludes them from interviewing victims.

In many instances, witnesses will be able to offer information indicating that the defendant was not driving erratically or otherwise lacked indications of impairment or reckless driving that would warrant a traffic stop. Thus, the officer manipulated the reports for the sole purpose of making it more difficult for defense attorneys to obtain information in support of their client’s defenses. Continue reading →

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DUI convictions can have lasting consequences that impact aspects of their life long after the matter is resolved. For example, in prior years, an immigrant could be deported for DUI offenses. While the law has since changed, the ramifications of prior DUIs may still be felt in certain instances, as demonstrated by a recent Supreme Court ruling in which the Court upheld the removal of an individual who had previously been deported due to a DUI conviction. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is prudent to speak to a trusted Illinois DUI lawyer regarding your potential defenses.

The Supreme Court Ruling

It is reported that the defendant gained permanent residency in 1990 but was deported in 1998 due to a DUI conviction in 1991. The defendant re-entered the country without authorization at some point and remained here until 2017, when he was taken into custody and indicted for unlawful reentry, a charge that would result in him being deported once again.

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Typically, DUI arrests arise out of traffic stops instigated because of suspicion of drunk driving. While people usually pull over when they are followed by a police car with activated lights or sirens, some do not notice that they are being pursued by an officer and keep driving. Although the police are permitted to pursue fleeing suspects, in cases involving misdemeanors, there are limitations to what measures they can take to apprehend them. This was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in a recent ruling issued in a DUI case in which the court found that the hot pursuit exception did not provide an automatic right to search a misdemeanor suspect’s home. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is in your best interest to consult a dedicated Illinois DUI lawyer to examine your rights.

The Supreme Court Ruling

Allegedly, the defendant was honking his horn and playing loud music while he was driving. He drove past a police officer, who began following him. The officer eventually activated his overhead lights in an effort to get the defendant to pull over. The defendant continued to drive, however, and ultimately pulled into his driveway and then garage. The officer interfered with the closing of the defendant’s garage, entered the garage, and began questioning the defendant. He observed that the defendant smelled of alcohol and was exhibiting other signs of intoxication.

Reportedly, the officer then asked the defendant to submit to field sobriety testing. The defendant failed the tests and was arrested for DWI. Subsequent testing revealed his blood-alcohol level to be over three times the legal limit. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence against him on the grounds that it was obtained via a warrantless search in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. Continue reading →

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Illinois is relatively close to the Canadian border, and people from Illinois and other nearby states often move there for work or other reasons but maintain their American citizenship. As in Illinois, driving while intoxicated is illegal in Canada. Recent changes to the Criminal Code of Canada, though, can result in significant penalties for non-citizen residents who are convicted of DUI offenses. If you are accused of a DUI crime in Illinois or elsewhere, it is in your best interest to meet with an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer to discuss your rights.

Changes to the Canadian Law

In December 2018, a new law went into effect in Canada, modifying penalties for DUI offenses. Specifically, it changed certain rules with regard to sentencing in that it increased the maximum penalty for such sentences from five to ten years imprisonment in cases in which the Crown proceeds by indictment. While this change may seem relatively insignificant, it may result in a profound impact on people who live in Canada but are not citizens.

Specifically, under a combination of the new DUI law and a Canadian immigration law, DUI convictions would be considered serious crimes, rendering the defendant ineligible for citizenship in Canada. While the change in the law was solely designed to increase penalties for DUI offenses, it is anticipated that it will have a disproportionate punitive effect on people who are not Canadian citizens. Continue reading →

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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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