Articles Posted in DUI

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Many states are moving to impose harsher penalties against those who cause fatal drunk driving collisions, especially when the victim was a parent to a minor child. Texas recently joined Tennessee in enacting a law allowing courts to order child support payments to children who lost a parent in these preventable tragedies. Legislators hope measures like these will deter drunk driving by increasing potential penalties. Critics argue there are already strong deterrents in place through fines, jail time, and license suspension. While similar legislation was previously introduced in Illinois, it did not pass. If you are accused of causing a fatal DUI crash, it is smart to speak to an Illinois DUI defense attorney about your possible defenses.

Tough New DUI Penalties in Texas

It is reported a new Texas law recently went into effect that will require those found guilty of intoxication manslaughter to pay child support to any minor children of the victim. Under House Bill 393, courts must order monthly child support payments to children under 19 years old who suffered the loss of a guardian or parent due to the defendant’s actions.

Allegedly, the court will determine a reasonable payment amount based on factors like the child’s financial, physical, and emotional needs, the standard of living the child is accustomed to enjoying, and the convicted person’s resources. Defendants must begin making payments after release if imprisoned at the time of conviction. Proponents argue this law provides crucial financial stability for families devastated by drunk driving deaths. The law underscores efforts to impose harsher penalties on drunk drivers who take lives. It went into effect as Texas aims to curb holiday weekend DUIs, with over 300 related crashes and 20 deaths last Labor Day. Continue reading →

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As attitudes and laws regarding marijuana use evolve across the United States, states like Illinois that have legalized recreational and medical cannabis must update their DUI laws accordingly. With marijuana impairment more difficult to evaluate than alcohol impairment, people accused of driving under the influence of marijuana face many uncertainties. Maryland, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana on July 1st, recently took a look at how such laws impact DUI crimes in Maryland and nationwide. If you find yourself charged with a marijuana DUI in Illinois, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney to protect your rights.

The Impact of Recent Changes in Maryland’s Marijuana Laws on DUI Crimes

It is alleged that a recent study by the national non-profit Drug-Free America Foundation suggests that cannabis-related DUIs are much higher in states where marijuana is legal compared to states where it remains illegal. Specifically, the study found that cannabis-related DUIs were 32% higher in states with legalized marijuana. This caused concern in Maryland, which recently fully legalized recreational marijuana use.

It is reported that unlike DUI laws relating to alcohol use, Maryland does not have a legal limit for how much THC can be present to constitute a DUI. However, drivers can still be charged if police observe signs of impaired driving and find evidence of marijuana use. Impairment from cannabis can be unpredictable and delayed compared to alcohol impairment. People often underestimate how impaired they are after using marijuana. Some drivers do not seem too worried yet, believing that the same people who used marijuana illegally will simply continue to do so now that it is legal. Maryland police departments have reported slight increases in suspected cannabis DUIs in July after legalization took effect. Continue reading →

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In most states, people convicted of DUI offenses face a number of civil and criminal penalties. Among other things, many states require people found guilty of DUI crimes to install ignition interlock devices on their cars. Recently, the Alabama legislature introduced a bill that aimed to remove the requirement. While the legislation ultimately stalled, it could be a sign of changes to come in Alabama and in other states. If you are accused of a DUI offense in Illinois, it is wise to talk to an Illinois DUI defense attorney about what defenses you may be able to assert.

The Proposed Alabama Law

It is reported that SB72, a bill introduced in the Alabama statehouse, was posed to change how the state penalized people convicted of DUI crimes. The bill focuses on ignition interlock devices, which prevent a car from starting if the driver is impaired. Currently, those charged with drunk driving participating in a pretrial diversion program are required to have the device installed in their vehicle. The existing law will sunset in July, however, and the proposed bill would end the requirement entirely after that.

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In the majority of the United States, the threshold for a per se DUI offense is a BAC of .08. In Utah, however, the legal limit for a per se DUI offense is a BAC of .05. The reasoning behind the movement to reduce the limit was that doing so would reduce DUI fatalities. Recently, a Utah report evaluated whether the lower limit had resulted in the anticipated outcome, ultimately finding it did not. It is possible that the report will have a chilling effect on efforts to reduce the DUI threshold in Illinois and in other states. If you are charged with a per se DUI crime in Illinois, it is smart to meet with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer about your options for protecting your interests.

Findings Regarding Utah’s Lower Per Se DUI Threshold

It is reported that Utah’s .05 DUI law was passed in 2017. It became effective at the end of 2018. After four years of data analysis, it appears that the law has not produced the expected results, as reported by a Utah newspaper. Specifically, the report explained that in the first year of implementation, there was a notable decrease in DUI-related deaths. In the subsequent three years. however, the number of DUI deaths increased significantly, reaching the highest levels in recent years.

Reportedly, the article asserted, the law’s focus on targeting individuals with blood alcohol levels just above the legal limit (0.05) may not be effective in reducing accidents, as the real problem lies with individuals who have much higher blood alcohol levels, such as those above 0.1 or even 0.15. According to the report, efforts should be directed towards curbing the actions of these higher-BAC individuals to improve road safety rather than focusing solely on those just above the legal limit. Overall, the report found that the purported benefits of the .05 DUI law were overemphasized and that a different approach is needed to address the root cause of DUI-related accidents effectively. Continue reading →

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The circumstances surrounding some DUI accidents are so tragic that it seems axiomatic that the person who allegedly drove while intoxicated will be convicted of numerous crimes. People are not convicted via the court of public opinion, however, and the State must meet a high burden of proof in order to obtain a guilty verdict. For example, reports indicate that a New York man drove while intoxicated, killing a woman who was walking home, but the state must nonetheless establish the man’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are accused of causing a fatal DUI collision, it is essential to speak to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer about your potential defenses as soon as possible.

The Fatal Accident

It is reported that a young New York woman suffered fatal injuries after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver. In an unexpected turn of events, the person suspected of hitting her is a coworker she had been drinking with her earlier in the night. The woman refused to ride with the coworker and chose to walk home instead. The driver reportedly hit her with his car and continued driving before being involved in another crash shortly after. His car caught fire, and he was pulled out before police arrived.

It is alleged that the woman’s body was discovered over six hours later, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. The state charged the driver with multiple felonies, including vehicular manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He entered a not-guilty plea. Continue reading →

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People convicted of drunk driving offenses often lose their driving privileges for a period of time. While a license suspension is inconvenient for many people, for some, it may cost them their livelihood. The Pennsylvania legislature is contemplating rectifying that harm by introducing a bill that would allow commercial drivers convicted of DUI offenses to have their CDL reinstated after ten years instead of imposing a lifetime ban. While no such legislation has been proposed in Illinois, the Pennsylvania bill could be a sign of changes to come. If you are accused of driving under the influence and are at risk of losing your CDL, it is smart to consult with an Illinois DUI defense attorney about your potential defenses.

The Proposed Pennsylvania Bill

Reportedly, the bill, known as HB1092, successfully cleared the House Transportation Committee and will now be presented to the full chamber for further consideration. If the bill becomes law, it would enable individuals who have faced lifetime suspensions of their commercial driver’s licenses due to offenses such as drunk driving convictions or other violations to apply for license reinstatement after a period of 10 years from the initiation of their lifetime ban. The application process would involve submitting a certified mail application form, subject to specific requirements.

Allegedly, Pennsylvania has stricter regulations compared to federal laws concerning disqualifications for CDL holders. While federal regulations impose suspension periods ranging from one to three years, Pennsylvania has the authority to impose a lifetime ban for certain offenses. The prime sponsor of the bill, State Representative Carol Hill-Evans, emphasized that while lifetime bans serve a purpose, the proposed bill includes numerous safeguards and necessitates that banned drivers complete reform programs. Certain convictions, such as using a commercial motor vehicle for felony drug-related activities or human trafficking, would render individuals ineligible for CDL restoration. Continue reading →

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The certification and accuracy of the machine used to administer your breath test play a crucial role in the state’s case against you. If it is discovered that the machine used for testing was not properly calibrated or tested, there are arguments to be made that the results of the test should be excluded since their accuracy cannot be verified. When it is revealed that the state is unable to prove the accuracy of a machine used for chemical testing in DUI cases, the implications can be significant and extend beyond individual cases, as illustrated by a recent ruling in Massachusetts, in which the Supreme Court of Massachusetts determined that results from machines that were not properly calibrated over several years were inadmissible. It is estimated that this decision will impact over 27,000 convictions, making it one of the most significant rulings in favor of DUI defendants in recent memory. If you are facing a DUI charge, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a skilled Illinois DUI attorney who can thoroughly analyze the accuracy of any evidence that may be used against you.

The Massachusetts Ruling

It is reported that the highest court in Massachusetts has made a ruling that allows 27,000 individuals who either pleaded guilty or were convicted of drunk driving charges to have another chance. This decision was reached after an investigation in 2019 revealed that breathalyzer testing machines were not properly calibrated, resulting in inaccurate test results. The court found serious misconduct on the part of the government and decided that all tests conducted by the faulty machine between June 2011, and April 2019, should be excluded from criminal prosecutions. Allegedly, as a result of this ruling, individuals who were convicted or pleaded guilty based on breathalyzer evidence can now request to have their pleas withdrawn or ask for a new trial. This situation is drawing parallels to the state lab scandal, where numerous drug cases were dismissed due to evidence tampering by chemists.

Illinois Breathalyzer Standards

Similar to Massachusetts, Illinois has implemented regulations that require the state to follow testing guidelines for any device used to measure blood alcohol levels, ensuring the accuracy of breath test results. If it is proven that the results from a blood or breath test are unreliable, they cannot be used as evidence. Since the state often relies on test results to establish the guilt of a DUI suspect beyond a reasonable doubt, the absence of such test evidence can create challenges for the prosecution. Continue reading →

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In every state except Utah, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for per se DUI crimes is 0.08. Some states, however, recently introduced legislation to lower the BAC limit for per se violations of DUI laws to 0.05. Washington state recently contemplated a measure to reduce the per se DUI limit but the bill ultimately failed. Similar legislation is currently pending in New York as well. While the Illinois legislature has not drafted legislation to lower the BAC limit for DUI offenses, it is possible that such a bill could be introduced in the years to come. If you are faced with Illinois DUI charges, it is wise to contact an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to determine what defenses you may be able to set forth.

The New York Bill

Reportedly, New York State is currently considering a bill that would significantly alter the state’s DUI law. The bill proposes a number of changes, including reducing the (BAC) limit for per se DUI charges from 0.08 to 0.05, which would put New York in line with Utah.  The bill also includes a provision that would lower the BAC limit for aggravated DUI offenses from 0.18 to 0.12.

Proponents of the bill argue that these changes are necessary to improve road safety and reduce the number of DUI-related accidents and fatalities in the state. However, opponents of the bill have raised concerns about the potential impact on civil liberties and due process. Continue reading →

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The criminal statutes in most states provide that drivers can be charged with per se DUI violations if they drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is 0.08 or higher. However, some states have considered lowering the legal limit to reduce DUI accidents. For example, there was a recent push in the Washington legislature to lower the legal limit to 0.05 due to a rise in fatal DUI collisions, but the measure stalled. In Illinois, the legal BAC limit is 0.08, but drivers can face DUI charges even if the State lacks evidence of their BAC. If you are accused of an Illinois DUI offense, it is recommended that you consult an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to evaluate your possible defenses promptly.

The Washington Bill

Allegedly, during the 2023 legislative session, Washington state legislators introduced a bill that aimed to lower the BAC limit for per se DUI charges to 0.05 from the current level of 0.08. Presently, only one other state, Utah, has a legal limit of 0.05. In every other state, including Washington, the BAC limit for per se DUI offenses is 0.08.

The bill to lower failed to pass the senate in time to pass during the 2023 legislative session, however. Supports of the bill noted it was inspired by Utah legislation. After the Utah BAC limit was lowered in 2019, the state saw a reduction in fatal vehicle collisions after lowering its limit in 2019. Continue reading →

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In many states, police officers are required to wear body cameras. Bodycams are generally employed to uphold the integrity of criminal investigations and provide objective evidence. Footage from bodycams can also be used to address allegations of officer misconduct. Generally, such misconduct occurs when the officer is conducting the investigation. As illustrated recently in an Oklahoma case in which an officer was arrested for DUI, bodycams can also capture evidence of misconduct when officers are behind the wheel. If you are charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, it is smart to meet with an experienced Illinois DUI defense lawyer to determine whether bodycam footage or other evidence may be used against you at trial.

The Oklahoma Officer’s Arrest

It is reported that recently-released footage shows a police captain from Oklahoma City being pulled over for suspected drunk driving. In the video, the arresting officer can be seen confronting the captain in his driveway after witnessing him swerve and fail to use turn signals while driving his personal SUV.

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