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What might happen to Carlton Fisk?

Carlton Fisk was one of the great major league baseball catchers to ever suit up. He played for the Boston Red Sox from 1969 to 1980 and for the Chicago White Sox until he retired in 1993.

In the 1975 World Series, cameras caught Fisk in probably the most iconic moment ever captured live in sports history, as he “English-ed’ his home run ball fair in the early morning hours of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series at Boston. Cameras then captured him jumping for joy, earning NBC an Emmy award.

Fisk has now been arrested in Illinois for a DUI. Early news reports indicate Fisk was passed out in a cornfield near New Lennox, seated in his truck, engine running, tire flat.

Police found an open vodka bottle in the passenger seat. Police charged Fisk with illegal transportation of alcohol (the open vodka bottle), contrary to 625 ILCS 5/11-502, as well as for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI) and improper lane usage (“weaving”).

After police awakened him, Fisk agreed to go to the hospital. However, once at the hospital, Fisk would not submit to a blood draw at the officer’s request.

In DUI cases involving an accident with injuries, there are typically two blood draws involved. When a person is transported to the hospital, the emergency room will normally draw blood in the normal course of treatment. This draw is important to the medical personnel treating the patient, as information about the contents and quantify of substances in a person’s blood stream is important in determining the diagnosis and treatment of any injuries
This draw is known as the “medical draw” because the blood is drawn for purposes of treatment. The results of the medical draw are admissible in a prosecution for DUI. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.4.

Such information can be used to prove actual impairment (drunk driving). The law presumes that someone with a blood alcohol level (BAL) of .08 or higher is under the influence, presumes that a BAL of .05 or less is evidence you are not impaired and creates no presumption when a BAL is greater than .05 but less than .08. Presumptions can be overcome with contrary evidence but the party with a favorable presumption has a leg up. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2
The medical draw may also be used to demonstrate that the accused either was or was not guilty of a “per se” violation of the DUI law. Under the “per se” analysis, the state does not have to prove that the defendant was actually impaired. The mere act of driving with a BAL of .08 or above is, in and of itself, illegally, even though there may be absolutely no evidence of impairment, such as unsteady balance, blood shot eyes, a strong odor of alcohol and bad driving indicative of impairment, such as weaving. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1)


If Fisk is convicted of DUI, he could receive a sentence of up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500, assuming this is his first offense. However, he could also avoid jail time and be placed on probation or conditional discharge. Finally, he could be sentenced to court supervision, in which case no jail time could be imposed.

Fisk also faces potential driver’s license consequences. A DUI conviction would result in his losing his driver’s license for a minimum of one year. After that time, he would be required to have a driver’s license hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State.

There are independent driver’s license consequences that have nothing to do with the DUI charge itself, and this is where the second blood draw scenario enters the picture. If the police suspect someone is driving drunk, they are entitled to ask the suspect to provide evidence of the alcohol content, either through a breath test or a blood test.

If the results show a BAL of .08 or higher, drivers will be penalized with a suspension (temporary loss) of their driver’s license. A refusal will result in a longer, but still temporary, loss of driving privileges.

Even though the defendant may have already given a medical draw at the hospital, the state cannot use the results of this draw to suspend a driver’s license. People v. Massie, 305 Ill. App. 3d 550, 238 Ill. Dec. 864, 713 N.E.2d 110 (1 Dist. 1999) Instead, the police officer must make an independent request for a blood draw. The draw must be done by a properly certified person. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(a)(1); 20 Ill. Admin. Code ยง1286.320 A police lab will then analyze the blood. A result of .08 or higher will generate a suspension, as will a refusal.

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