Articles Posted in DUI

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The Washington Supreme Court recently considered whether a probationer convicted of DUI may legally be required to submit to a random urine test for drugs and alcohol. In an en banc opinion, the state high court affirmed the intermediate court’s holding that since the urine test was ordered to track whether she was complying with a valid probation condition requiring the appellant’s sobriety, it did not violate the state constitution.

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In the summer of 2014, the appellant pleaded guilty to one count of DUI. As a condition of her sentence, the court ordered that the appellant not do drugs that weren’t prescribed or drink alcohol. Over defense counsel’s objection, the court required the appellant to submit to random urine testing.

 

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In a case of interest to Illinois DUI lawyers, the founder of the International Polo Club raised 13 issues before Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal regarding his DUI manslaughter conviction. The appeals court affirmed, addressing only three of the issues raised by Goodman:  (1) whether the State prematurely released his vehicle after his first trial in violation of his due process rights and requiring dismissal under California v. Trombetta; (2) that the jury instructions on the failure to render aid enhancements violated due process by failing to require that he knew that the accident resulted in injuries or death; and (3) that his blood was drawn without a warrant, violating the Fourth Amendment Search and Seizure Clause.gavel Following a late-night car accident, in which the other driver died after his vehicle was submerged in a canal, the defendant was charged with DUI manslaughter with failure to render aid and vehicular homicide with failure to render aid. He was convicted and sentenced following his first trial. After juror misconduct came to light, the first conviction was vacated, and he was granted a new trial. In the second trial, he was again found guilty.

Regarding the defendant’s first challenge on appeal, the court agreed with the state and held that the court did not err in denying the motion to dismiss due to the loss of the car. Pursuant to Trombetta, the constitutional duty of the state to preserve evidence must be limited to evidence that might be expected to play a significant role in the suspect’s defense. To meet this standard of constitutional materiality, evidence must both possess an exculpatory value that was apparent before the evidence was destroyed and be of such a nature that the defendant would be unable to obtain comparable evidence by other reasonably available means.

The appeals court agreed with the trial court that the state did not act in bad faith in releasing the car. Therefore, it had to determine whether the car constituted materially exculpatory or only potentially useful evidence. The trial court held a full hearing on the issue of the exculpatory nature of the car and concluded that it was merely potentially exculpatory. It reasoned that the defendant’s expert, by his own testimony, had already formed an opinion of the malfunction and that his opinion on the state of the car at the time of the crash was complete. The “mere possibility of helping the defense” by conducting more testing on the car, which was already subjected to extensive testing by three experts, did not rise to the level of constitutional materiality.

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When a motorist drives on a road in Pennsylvania, he or she is “deemed to have given consent” to chemical testing to determine whether he or she is driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance (“DUI”), provided that a police officer first develops “reasonable grounds” to suspect such an impairment. Nonetheless, this “implied consent” statute also grants DUI arrestees the right to refuse chemical testing. While Illinois has its own laws, these principles are also relevant to Illinois DUI defendants.blood test

In a recent case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted an appeal to consider the lawfulness of a warrantless blood draw conducted upon a motorist who, having been arrested for DUI, had then been rendered unconscious by medical personnel before a police officer provided O’Connell warnings and before the officer requested the motorist’s submission to a chemical test. The Philadelphia Municipal Court, the Court of Common Pleas, and the Superior Court all held that a blood draw conducted under these circumstances is impermissible and that the results of the derivative blood test are accordingly inadmissible at trial. Since the seizure of blood violated Pennsylvania’s implied consent statute, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1547, and since no other circumstances justified the failure to obtain a search warrant, the state high court affirmed.

On December 29, 2012, at approximately 3:30 p.m., a Philadelphia Police Officer was on routine patrol when he received a radio call indicating that there was a person screaming in the vicinity of 100 West Penn Street. The radio call warned him to be on the lookout for a maroon SUV. When he arrived on West Penn Street, he observed a vehicle matching that description with its engine running and its brake lights repeatedly flickering on and off. A man later identified as the defendant was sitting in the driver’s seat. The officer activated his siren and emergency lights and pulled up behind the maroon SUV. The defendant exited the vehicle and began to stagger toward the officer, even though he had not been ordered to step out of the vehicle. He tried to speak, but his speech was so slurred that the officer could not understand what he was saying. He detected the smell of alcohol emanating from the defendant, and he observed a bottle of brandy on the front seat of the SUV. The bottle was in plain view, since the defendant had left the driver’s door open when he exited the vehicle. Based upon his observations and experience, the officer believed that the defendant was intoxicated to the point that he required medical attention. He placed him under arrest for DUI and called for a wagon, which transported the defendant to Einstein Medical Center.

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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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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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