Articles Posted in Chemical Testing

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People stopped for suspicion of DUI may attempt to avoid criminal charges or convictions by refusing to submit to blood tests. In many states, including Illinois, however, people can be convicted of DUI crimes despite the lack of evidence regarding their blood alcohol levels, and they may face civil penalties for refusing to submit to chemical testing as well. This was demonstrated recently when a Tennessee man was found guilty of his second DUI crime despite his refusal to submit to a blood test. If you were arrested and charged with a DUI offense, it is smart to confer with an Illinois DUI defense attorney regarding your options for seeking a just outcome.

The Defendant’s Arrest and Conviction

It is alleged that the defendant was convicted of a second DUI offense and other charges, despite his refusal to submit to a blood test. Apparently, when a police officer responded to a report of a crash, he found the defendant, who had sideswiped another car. The defendant smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes. He submitted to and failed the field sobriety tests but refused to submit to a blood draw. He was nonetheless charged with and convicted of a DUI offense, which was his second DUI conviction. The district attorney issued a statement following the defendant’s conviction, cautioning people that they cannot avoid convictions by refusing to submit to chemical tests.

Evidence Needed to Obtain a DUI Conviction in Illinois

Under Illinois law, all motorists are presumed to consent to submit to breath tests to determine their blood alcohol level. Drivers cannot be compelled to submit to blood tests, however, absent a warrant. If they are forced to provide a blood sample absent a warrant, it is likely that the results of the test will be inadmissible. Continue reading →

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In many states, people convicted of certain DUI offenses may be ordered to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Recently, however, groups across the United States have pushed for such devices to be installed in all vehicles, regardless of the criminal history or lack thereof of the driver.  For example, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently called for alcohol detection systems to be installed in all new cars following a deadly collision in California. While people generally agree that the prevention of DUI crimes is important, the imposition of mandatory ignition interlock devices raises several concerns. If you are charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, it is smart to speak to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer about your rights as soon as possible.

The California Crash

It is alleged that a collision that occurred on New Year’s Day in Avenal, California last year compelled the NTSB to call for systems that detect alcohol impairment to be installed in all new cars. Its recommendation arose after it was revealed that the driver that caused the Avenal collision, which killed nine people, was intoxicated and driving at a speed of almost 100 miles per hour. The accident occurred when the intoxicated motorist drove head-first into a pickup truck in which seven children were riding as passengers. It was later revealed that the driver veered off the side of a rural road and then overcorrected, causing him to crash into the truck.

It is reported that after the accident, the NTSB issued a statement asserting that alcohol detection technology could have prevented the crash, as well as the thousands of DUI-related crashes that occur throughout the country each year. Thus, the Chair of the NTSB believes the technology should be implemented as soon as possible to save lives.   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 well-established that the police must either obtain a warrant or consent to conduct a blood test on a person suspected of DUI. Thus, the results of a warrantless blood test that was administered without a defendant’s knowing consent may be suppressed. In some instances, though, the prosecution will attempt to obtain the results of a medical blood draw via a subpoena to use as evidence against a DUI defendant. Whether they should be permitted to do so was the question recently presented to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. While the ruling will have no bearing on Illinois law, it may illustrate how courts throughout the country will resolve the issue in the coming years. If you are charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, it is advisable to speak to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer regarding your potential defenses.

The Wisconsin Case

It is alleged that the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently evaluated the question of whether prosecutors can use subpoenas to obtain the results of blood tests they believe will establish guilt in a DUI case if a warrantless blood draw taken the same night was barred from admission into evidence. In the subject case, the defendant crashed into a building and tree. An officer found him in a yard near the accident and noted that he smelled of alcohol. He was taken to the hospital, where his blood was drawn for diagnostic purposes.

Reportedly, the defendant was arrested for DUI, and the officer took a sample of his blood without a warrant, arguing exigent circumstances required such testing. The results of the police’s blood test were suppressed via a motion. Prosecutors later issued a subpoena seeking the defendant’s medical records from the hospital. At issue is whether the medical records should be considered fruit from a poisonous tree, or as the prosecution asserted, they come from a different plant than the results of the police test. Continue reading →

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In recent years, legislators, MADD, and other interested parties have pushed for legislation mandating that all new vehicles come equipped with alcohol detection systems that prevent people from driving while intoxicated. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act recently passed by the United States House of Representatives included an Advanced Impaired Driving Technology provision that MADD hailed as the single most important piece of legislation passed in the forty-one years the organization has been in existence. While no one denies the dangers of driving while intoxicated, compulsory alcohol sensors arguably violate people’s rights and could potentially create a host of other issues. If you are charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, it is in your best interest to speak to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to discuss your rights.

The Advanced Impaired Driving Technology

It is reported that the Advanced Impaired Driving Technology portion of the bill sets forth a standard that MADD anticipates will prevent close to 10,000 drunk driving deaths each year. Further, MADD’s President asserted that the bill will essentially eliminate the leading cause of death on roads throughout the country.  She argued that technology is necessary to stop the dangerous driving tactics of people who fail to make the right choice.

Allegedly, the bill orders the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to begin a rulemaking process and within three years, establish the standard for impaired driving safety equipment on all new vehicles. It is expected that NHTSA will assess technology that may include, among other things, alcohol detection systems that employ sensors to assess whether a driver is intoxicated and if so, prevent their vehicle from moving. Once the safety standard is established, car manufacturers will have two to three years to implement it. 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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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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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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