Articles Posted in DUI

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It is not uncommon for people who are found guilty of DUI offenses to lose their license for a period of time. In some states, like Colorado, people only have a short amount of time to appeal the revocation of their license, and if they miss their window, it could be very challenging for them to get their license reinstated. Surprisingly, this is true even if they were not actually convicted of a DUI crime, as one Colorado resident recently learned. If you are charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, it is important to understand what criminal and civil penalties you may face if you are convicted, and you should consult an Illinois DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

Colorado’s License Revocation Laws

It is reported that a man in Colorado lost his license after DUI charges were filed against him six years ago due to administrative issues. While waiting over six years to have the right to drive reinstated alone with no end in sight would in and of itself be frustrating, the man’s struggles are even more confounding given the fact that he was not actually convicted of any DUI offense. The issue is largely caused by the fact that Colorado views DUI crimes and licensing of drivers as separate matters.

Allegedly, the man’s problems began when he was pulled over in January 2017 for lack of a front license plate; his plate had been stolen three weeks earlier, and he was waiting for a replacement. Although the man did not commit any driving infractions, police suspected he had smoked marijuana. He advised the officers he wanted to speak to his attorney before undergoing chemical testing but made it clear he would comply with their requests. Further, they did not advise him he would automatically lose his license if he did not submit to a blood test. Continue reading →

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In most jurisdictions, intoxicated drivers that cause fatal collisions face stricter penalties than those who are charged with merely driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Pending legislation in West Virginia would not only allow people who cause such accidents to be charged with injury or death while impaired if they cause the death of another driver or passenger but also if their actions result in the loss of an unborn child. While it is unclear if the measure will pass, it may be a sign of changes to come to DUI laws in Illinois and other states. If you are charged with causing a fatal DUI crash in Illinois, it is smart to consult an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to evaluate your options for seeking a favorable outcome.

The West Virginia Bill

It is reported that a Delegate in West Virginia introduced a bill that, if enacted, would recognize unborn children as individual victims in DUI fatalities. The bill apparently has significant support throughout the House. If the bill passes, West Virginia drivers charged with causing injury or death while driving a vehicle while impaired would be charged with additional cries if the accident causes the death or injury of an unborn child being carried by one of the victims of the accident. Those that spoke in support of the bill stated that it was neither a Republican nor Democrat issue but the correct thing to do for ethical and moral reasons.

Illinois Law Regarding Fatal DUI Crashes

Illinois law imposes strict penalties on people that caused fatal crashes driving while intoxicated. Specifically, they can be charged with aggravated DUI, a Class 2 felony that carries a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison and a maximum sentence of fourteen years in prison in cases involving the death of one person. The penalties increase in cases involving the death of two or more people, to a minimum of six years and a maximum of twenty-eight years in prison. Continue reading →

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In the vast majority of states, people can be charged with DUI crimes if they operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08. Occasionally, some jurisdictions have contemplated reducing the legal limit in hopes of reducing DUI crimes. Currently, there is a movement in Washington state to lower the legal limit to 0.05 in the wake of an increase in fatal DUI accidents. If you are accused of driving with a blood alcohol level that is over the legal limit in Illinois, it is advisable to meet with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to discuss the charges against you.

Washington’s Proposed Law

Allegedly, lawmakers in Washington state introduced a bill during the 2023 legislative session that would lower the blood alcohol limit for per se DUI offenses from 0.08 to 0.05. Currently, Utah is the only other state with a legal limit of 0.05; in Washington and every other State in the country, the legal limit is 0.08.

It is reported that one of the state senators sponsoring the bill explained that the impetus behind the movement is a marked increase in fatal DUI crashes throughout the State. In assessing data pertaining to DUI crashes, Washington legislators looked at the benefits Utah experienced after reducing the legal limit for DUI crimes and inferred that similar measures would bring about the same outcomes in Washington. Specifically, Utah experienced a 20% reduction in DUI fatalities since reducing the blood alcohol limit for DUI crimes to 0.05. Continue reading →

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People that cause drunk driving fatalities often face significant criminal penalties, including jail time and fines. In some states, if a person killed in a drunk driving crash was the parent of a minor child, the person that caused the collision may have to pay child support as well. Tennessee is the most recent state to introduce such legislation via a law named after children left behind when their parents died in drunk driving collisions. The law indicates a movement to dissuade people from driving while intoxicated by increasing penalties, and similar legislation was previously bought in Illinois. If you are charged with causing a DUI collision, it is smart to speak to an Illinois DUI defense attorney about your possible defenses.

The Tennessee Legislation

It is reported that a 2023 Tennessee law requires people who cause drunk driving accidents that kill parents to pay child support for any surviving children. Specifically, the law dictates that if a person is convicted of vehicular homicide due to intoxication and the person killed in the accident was the parent of a child under the age of majority, the sentencing court must order the defendant to pay restitution in the form of maintenance to each child left behind by the victim.

Allegedly, the support obligation will endure until the child reaches the age of eighteen or graduates from high school. The courts must determine what constitutes a reasonable and necessary support obligation based on all relevant factors, including the child’s financial resources and needs, the financial resources and needs of any surviving parent, and the standard of living the child is accustomed to enjoying. The law was created by a drafted resident of Missouri after her grandson, Bentley, was orphaned by a drunk driving accident; the statute is named Ethan’s Hailey’ and Bentley’s Law. Continue reading →

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During the holiday season, it seems as if more people are arrested for DUI offenses than during other times of the year. Some states report a higher number of DUIs overall, regardless of the time of year. A recent survey ranked which states have the highest and lowest rate of DUI crimes and offered other key information about DUI offenses during the holiday season. If you were arrested and charged with a DUI during the holidays, it is wise to meet with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to evaluate your options.

The Worst DUI States

Reportedly, a recent survey of 50 states and an assessment of information from the FBI and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers insights into which states have the highest rates of drinking and driving and which states have the lowest. 5,000 drivers were surveyed as well to determine their observations regarding drinking and driving during the holiday season.

Allegedly, Montana was at the top of the list, as the survey showed that over eight drunk drivers out of every 100,000 drivers caused fatal crashes, and 45% of all traffic deaths in 2020 were caused by drunk drivers. Wyoming had the second-highest rate of drunk driving fatalities, followed by Texas. On the other end of the spectrum, Washington, D.C. had the lowest rate of DUI fatalities, followed by New Jersey and Utah. Notably, over 50% of drivers surveyed indicated they were afraid of being involved in car crashes during the holidays, and almost 40% reported seeing family or friends that appeared to be intoxicated driving home from holiday parties.   Continue reading →

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Like all criminal defendants, people charged with DUI crimes have the right to a speedy trial. Among other things, the right to a speedy trial aims to prevent the spoliation of potentially exculpatory evidence. Even if critical evidence is lost during a delay in bringing a defendant to trial, though, it does not necessarily mean that the charges against the defendant should be dismissed. This was illustrated recently in a DUI case arising out of Oregon, in which the court found that the delay in question was unreasonable but ultimately not the cause of the destruction of evidence. If you are accused of commiting a DUI crime, it is in your best interest to confer with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer about your possible defenses.

The Oregon Case

It is reported that the defendant was arrested, booked, and charged by the state for DUI, which was classified as a misdemeanor offense. Five days after he was charged, the prosecutor dismissed the charges against him so that it could investigate whether he had any other DUI convictions that would increase the DUI to a felony.

Allegedly, the defendant was indicted on a felony DUI charge six weeks later. By then, the video taken from the jail on the night of the defendant’s arrest and booking had been overwritten. The defendant moved for dismissal of the charges against him, arguing that the video may have contained evidence in his favor and his inability to use the video was prejudicial. The court denied his motion, and he appealed. On appeal, the court affirmed the decision on the grounds that, while the absence of the video may have been prejudicial, the defendant failed to show that the destruction of the video was caused by the prosecution’s delays. Continue reading →

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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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