Articles Posted in DUI

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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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In Illinois and many other states, people accused of driving while intoxicated face increased penalties for each subsequent offense. In other words, if they are convicted of a second DUI, they will likely receive a more significant sentence than they did for their first conviction. The issue of whether a person should be sentenced as a first or second-time offender is usually straightforward, but it can become convoluted in cases in which the defendant received alternative sentencing for a first offense but was not actually convicted, an issue recently confronted by the Pennsylvania courts. If you are charged with a second or subsequent DUI offense, it is essential to speak to an Illinois DUI defense attorney about what penalties you could potentially face if you are convicted.

Pennsylvania’s Treatment of Alternative Sentencing in DUI Cases

It is reported that Pennsylvania appellate courts recently answered a matter of first impression, which is whether a DUI defendant’s prior acceptance into a diversionary program for a  DUI offense constituted a prior DUI conviction for sentencing purposes. The defendant argued that as he was not found guilty of committing a DUI crime in the first offense, it did not constitute a conviction.

Allegedly, the Pennsylvania appellate court found the defendant’s arguments unavailing and determined that acceptance into a diversionary program could be considered a prior DUI conviction. The ruling was not unanimous, however, and the dissenting justices noted that it presented concerns regarding whether the ruling could lead to violations of the constitutional right to due process of people charged with DUI crimes. It is anticipated that Pennsylvania’s highest court will take up the issue in the near future. Continue reading →

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Over the past few decades, states throughout the country have been legalizing medical and recreational marijuana use. Many states have subsequently altered their DUI laws as well to define the legal limits of marijuana with regard to the operation of motor vehicles on public roads. Determining how to investigate and prosecute marijuana-based DUI offenses has proved challenging for many states, as the process of evaluating impairment is not as straightforward as it is in cases involving alcohol use. Recently, however, professors at UCLA have made strides in developing a marijuana breathalyzer that they believe will cut down on unjust arrests. If you are accused of driving while under the influence of marijuana in Illinois, it is critical to confer with an Illinois DUI defense attorney regarding your options for protecting your rights.

The Marijuana Breathalyzer

It is reported that currently, marijuana is a Schedule I drug under federal law, which is the same Schedule as heroin and a higher Schedule than fentanyl. Approximately 20 states have legalized recreational marijuana use, though, and many other states permit medical marijuana use. The decriminalization of marijuana use has presented legal and scientific challenges with regard to the prosecution of DUI crimes, including how to accurately determine whether a driver is impaired due to marijuana use, as a person can test positive for marijuana days after they have ingested it.

Allegedly, though, UCLA chemistry professors believe they have uncovered a method for THC detection, however, similar to a breathalyzer test, that would provide more precise results and presumably cut down on DUI arrests and convictions for people who had positive THC levels while driving but were not actually impaired by marijuana use. It will likely be several years before the test will be available for use by law enforcement agencies, though. Continue reading →

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Due to relatively recent rulings by the United States Supreme Court, the police have to obtain a warrant to compel a DUI defendant to submit to a blood test. Nonetheless, law enforcement agents will sometimes try to circumvent the warrant requirement with a compulsory blood draw. While the results of such tests are generally inadmissible, it is not always clear whether they can be introduced at trial if the forced draw occurred after the police obtained a warrant. Recently, a Colorado court addressed this issue, ultimately ruling that the Colorado law requiring express consent to obtain a blood test from a DUI defendant only applied in cases without a warrant, but it is unclear how Illinois and other states will handle such issues. If you are charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, it is in your best interest to meet with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to discuss your possible defenses.

The Colorado Case

It is reported that a police officer responded to a report that a car was illegally parked in a handicapped parking spot. When the officer approached the car, he found the defendant sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running. The officer spoke with the defendant, who exhibited visible signs of intoxication and smelled like alcohol but denied drinking. The officer asked the defendant to submit to field sobriety tests, but he declined.

Allegedly, the officer arrested the defendant for DUI and, pursuant to Colorado’s expressed consent law, asked him to submit to a blood or breath test. The defendant refused, and after learning the defendant had multiple DUI convictions, the officer sought and obtained a warrant to conduct a blood draw. The defendant still refused to cooperate, and his blood was forcefully drawn. The results of the test showed his BAC was well over the legal limit. The defendant was charged with felony DUI but moved to suppress the results of his test. The court denied his motion, and after he was convicted, he appealed. The court of appeals ruled in his favor, but the state supreme court reversed, finding that the expressed consent law barring forced blood draws did not apply when the draw was conducted pursuant to a warrant. Continue reading →

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In order to convict a defendant of a DUI crime, the state must prove each element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. As such, if the defense can demonstrate that a measure of doubt exists as to the defendant’s guilt, it should be able to obtain a verdict in its favor. This was demonstrated recently in a DUI case arising in New Hampshire in which a commercial truck driver was acquitted of manslaughter, negligent homicide, and other charges due to questions regarding the cause of the subject collision. While the ruling has no direct impact on Illinois law, it serves as a reminder that merely because a person is charged with a DUI crime does not mean that they will be convicted. If you live in Illinois and are charged with causing a DUI related accident or injury, it is smart to speak to an attorney to discuss what defenses you may be able to assert.

The New Hampshire Case

It is reported that a commercial truck driver who was involved in an accident that caused the death of seven motorcyclists was acquitted of all charges related to the accident. During the trial, the prosecution and defense offered conflicting reports of how the accident occurred; the prosecution argued that the truck driver was under the influence of heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl, was swerving all over the highway, and struck the motorcyclists.

Allegedly, the defense called the prosecution’s arguments into doubt, however, by offering evidence that the first motorcyclist was intoxicated and swerved in front of the truck driver, causing the collision. The defense also offered testimony from an accident reconstructionist who opined that the accident occurred because the motorcyclists crossed the center line. Ultimately, the jury found the defense’s arguments to be more compelling and acquitted the defendant. Continue reading →

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In many states around the country, it is legal for people to use marijuana, either for medical or recreational purposes. Most states have restrictions surrounding marijuana use, though, which usually include prohibitions against driving while impaired. As marijuana use becomes increasingly legal, courts are attempting to navigate the complexities of marijuana DUI cases and what constitutes adequate evidence of impairment. Recently, an Arizona court ruled that people cannot be found guilty of DUI crimes for driving with inactive marijuana metabolites in their blood. If you are charged with a marijuana DUI offense, it is in your best interest to speak to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer about what defenses you may be able to assert.

The Arizona Ruling

It is alleged that the Arizona Supreme Court recently affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss a case against a man who was charged with driving while impaired following a blood test that revealed evidence of marijuana. In its decision, the court noted that the state argued that Arizona’s zero-tolerance marijuana law created a blanket ban on the presence of any marijuana metabolite in a person’s body when they are driving a vehicle, even if the metabolite does not cause impairment.

The court rejected the state’s argument, stating that the legislature’s intent was to prevent impaired driving. As such, the reference to metabolites in the law was limited to those that were actually capable of causing impairment. In other words, the court held that people could not be convicted of DUI offenses simply because there were metabolites in their blood that demonstrated prior marijuana use but did not cause impairment. Continue reading →

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In many states, people convicted of DUI crimes may not only face criminal penalties, but their licenses may be suspended as well. Additionally, in some states, DUI convictions that occur in other jurisdictions can impact a person’s driving privileges. Generally, there is a limit as to how long out-of-state DUI convictions can impair a person’s rights. As demonstrated recently in Kansas, though, flaws in record-keeping systems can lead to issues decades after an out-of-state DUI conviction occurred. If you are accused of violating the Illinois DUI statute, it is wise to meet with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to discuss your rights.

Kansas’ Treatment of Man’s Prior Out-Of-State DUI Conviction

It is alleged that recently, a Kansas man’s attempt to renew his license was rejected due to his DUI conviction that occurred 40 years prior in Missouri. When the man went to renew his license, he was advised there was a hold on it because Missouri had no evidence that he completed a substance abuse class as required following his DUI conviction.

It is reported that the man completed the course decades earlier but no longer had any record of his participation. A Missouri parole officer advised that the man would not have gotten off of probation unless he completed the course, but the man’s licensing issues nonetheless persisted. Ultimately, the Kansas Department of Revenue decided to issue the man a new license. Continue reading →

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In Wisconsin, as in many states, people face increased penalties for each subsequent DUI conviction after their first. In other words, a person found guilty of a fifth DUI offense can receive a harsher sentence than a person convicted of a fourth DUI offense. Until recently, Wisconsin law permitted prior license revocations for refusal to submit to chemical testing as a prior conviction for the purpose of increasing DUI penalties. The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently deemed the scheme unconstitutional, however, as it imposed criminal penalties on people who exercised their right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. As in Wisconsin, people convicted of multiple DUI crimes in Illinois face increased penalties, and it is smart for anyone charged with a second or higher DUI offense to consult a trusted Illinois DUI defense lawyer regarding their rights.

The Wisconsin Ruling

In the case that brought about the ruling, the defendant was charged with a DUI, which was his sixth offense. He had his driving privileges previously revoked for refusing to submit to a warrantless blood draw when he was stopped for suspicion of DUI, however. As such, following his conviction, he was sentenced for a seventh DUI crime, which carried greater penalties than a sixth offense, in accordance with Wisconsin’s increased penalty scheme. He subsequently appealed.

It is reported that the Wisconsin Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the statutory construction permitting the courts to count the revocation of driving privileges for refusing to submit to a blood draw in the absence of a warrant as a criminal offense for the purposes of increasing penalties for repeat DUI offenders was unconstitutional. Continue reading →

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In the summer months, police departments across the United States seem to increase their efforts to identify drunk drivers. Among other things, this often includes setting up DUI checkpoints. Many people who have encountered DUI checkpoints wonder what their rights and legal duties are in such situations. Recently, a news station in Pennsylvania reached out to the ACLU for guidance on the issue.  If you were accused of a DUI offense after you were stopped at a DUI checkpoint, it is in your best interest to meet with a skillful Illinois DUI defense lawyer to evaluate your options for protecting your interests.

What to Do When you See a DUI Checkpoint

Reportedly, a police department in Pennsylvania announced that they would set up a DUI checkpoint. The pronouncement raised the question of whether DUI checkpoints are lawful and inspired a news station to reach out to a Pennsylvania chapter of the ACLU for insight. What they learned was that although many parties have voiced concerns that DUI checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, both the United States Supreme Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court have deemed them lawful.

There are parameters police must comply with when setting up DUI checkpoints, however. For example, they must be suspicion free, which means, in part, that they must be conducted in a methodical manner. In other words, officers cannot use their discretion to determine who to pull over or select motorists at random. Continue reading →

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