Articles Posted in DUI

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Although citizens in every state in the nation are charged with DUI offenses, some states experience a higher rate of DUI crimes than others. Recently, the United States Drug Test Centers conducted research regarding DUI trends throughout the country in the last several years and set forth a report delineating, in part, which states had the highest rate of DUI arrests. While Illinois had one of the lowest rates of DUI arrests, Illinois residents charged with DUI offenses should nonetheless be vigilant in protecting their rights and should consult a seasoned Illinois DUI attorney to assist them with asserting a strong defense.

Recent Statistics Regarding DUI Arrests Throughout the Country

Allegedly, according to the report, there were over one million DUI arrests throughout the country in 2018, which represented a decline from the number of arrests in 2014 but a slight increase from 2017. The report also indicated that men are three times more likely than women to be arrested for DUI, with men making up close to seventy-five percent of total DUI arrests. Additionally, when the race of the person arrested was indicated, white people were far more likely to be arrested for DUI than any other race, making up over eighty percent of total DUI arrests.

The total number of DUI arrests varied greatly from state to state, with states in the Western region of the country experiencing higher rates than other parts of the country. A total of twenty-eight states have greater DUI arrest rates than the national average, while Illinois and Delaware have DUI rates lower than the national average. While DUI rates have increased in fourteen states, overall, the population-adjusted rates of DUI have fallen throughout the country. In Illinois, specifically, DUI arrest rates decreased over thirty percent from 2009 to 2018. From 2014 to 2018 alone, DUI arrest rates in Illinois decreased by approximately twenty-two percent.

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In some instances, when a person is convicted of a DUI offense, the person is required to install an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle. Essentially, the device prevents people from driving while intoxicated by requiring them to submit to a breath test prior to driving. While ignition interlock devices are not widely employed, recent federal legislation seeks to make them mandatory in all new vehicles, regardless of whether the driver has ever been convicted of a DUI offense. Proponents of the bill fail to consider the potentially detrimental repercussions of requiring all drivers to install ignition interlock devices in their cars, however, including the harm that can be caused by inaccurate readings. If you are charged with an Illinois DUI offense following a breathalyzer test, it is prudent to speak with a trusted DUI defense attorney to discuss your potential defenses.

The Ride Act

The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019, commonly referred to as the Ride Act seeks to make it mandatory for all new cars to come with alcohol detection systems. Specifically, the law would require any car manufactured in 2024 and beyond to have a factory-installed alcohol detection device. Prior to installation, however, the National Highway Safety Administration would work with manufacturers to develop safe and effective technology. Additionally, the bill provides for funding for researching and developing the technology, which will be tested on vehicles prior to becoming a requirement for consumers.

Although the precise technology proposed by the Ride Act is unclear, it is likely to be similar to the ignition interlock devices installed in cars of people convicted of certain DUI crimes. Those devices require a driver to submit to a breathalyzer test prior to starting the vehicle, and at random intervals when the driver is operating the vehicle, which are referred to as rolling tests. If any of the tests indicate the driver is over the legal limit, the car will cease to operate.

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Many people are unaware of the fact that in most states, you can be charged with a DUI offense for sleeping in your car while intoxicated. Specifically, the law in many states dictates that a person can be charged with DUI if they are in actual physical control of a car while intoxicated, regardless of whether they are driving or intend to drive. Recently, the New Hampshire legislature weighed the benefits and detriments of modifying the DUI statute to permit drivers to sleep in their cars without being charged with DUI. While laws modifying the DUI statute have yet to pass, it is interesting to consider how the proposed modification could affect the laws in other states, such as Illinois, where drivers can be convicted of DUI for sleeping in cars while intoxicated. If you are faced with an Illinois DUI charge after you were arrested while sleeping in your car, you should speak with a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney regarding your case.

Proposed Changes to New Hampshire DUI Laws

It is reported that the New Hampshire Senate passed a bill that would create exceptions to the current DUI law. Specifically, the bill would modify the current law to include certain exclusions for the definition of driving and actual physical control, including people who are sleeping in the car. Advocates of the bill argue that it is necessary to prevent people who are trying to sleep off intoxication before driving home from being harassed by police officers. Those in opposition are less convinced that the modifications are wise, stating that the burden is then placed on the police to determine if a person intends to drive. Opponents argue that a person sleeping in a car can advise the police that he or she does not intend to drive and then drive a short time later, causing a devastating accident. Currently, it appears that the bill will need to be modified before it will be approved by the House.

DUI Charge for Sleeping in a Car

Under Illinois law, a person can be charged with and convicted of DUI for being in actual physical control of the vehicle while impaired due to the ingestion of alcohol. The courts have interpreted physical control to mean that the defendant was in the vehicle and in a position to start the engine and move the vehicle, thereby exercising control over the vehicle. Thus, the courts have held that people sleeping in vehicles in Illinois are guilty of DUI, regardless of whether they intended to drive. The courts generally assess whether a defendant had the keys to the vehicle in his or her possession, whether there was anyone else in the vehicle, and whether the defendant had the ability to drive the vehicle to determine if the defendant was in actual physical control of the vehicle.

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While the use of marijuana for recreational purposes is legal in a handful of states, many of their conservative neighboring states are not inclined to legalize marijuana. Additionally, many states that neighbor states where marijuana use is legal have expressed concerns regarding how the legalization of marijuana use outside of their jurisdiction could affect the crime and accident rates within their state. For example, Oklahoma and Nebraska brought a suit against Colorado, alleging that the dangerous repercussions of legalizing marijuana would leak into their state. Similarly, Idaho voiced displeasure with Washington’s recent legalization of marijuana, implying it would cause the rate of criminal activity and collisions to increase in Idaho.

A recent study suggests, however, that the legalization of marijuana use in Washington actually led to a decrease in alcohol-related car accident rates in Idaho. Although Illinois recently passed laws legalizing the use of marijuana that will become effective in 2020, the use of marijuana is not legal in any of the states neighboring Illinois. Thus, Illinois’s neighbors may experience a decrease in DUI related crashes as well. If you reside in Illinois and are faced with DUI charges, it is advisable to speak with a seasoned Illinois DUI lawyer regarding your case.

Impact of Legalization of Marijuana in Washington on Idaho DUI Crashes

It is reported that an economics professor at Utah State University analyzed data regarding car crashes in Idaho for the four years before and after the legalization of marijuana in Washington, as well as data regarding internet searches in Idaho for places to buy marijuana in Washington, and data pertaining to police search and seizures of people who were caught with marijuana in Idaho. Ultimately, the professor’s study indicated that the rate of alcohol-related collisions in Idaho decreased by 18% overall after the legalization of marijuana in Washington. Additionally, the decrease in accidents was greater in counties that bordered Washington than in those that were farther away. Thus, it was reported that the study suggests that as people have greater access to marijuana, there are fewer alcohol-related accidents.

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While the use of marijuana is legal in many states throughout the nation, it has not been permitted for long, and the effects of the legalization of marijuana have only recently begun to be apparent. For example, Washington reporters recently assessed the consequences of the legalization of marijuana and laws regulating the use of marijuana, noting that there are pitfalls to prosecuting marijuana DUIs, and that the legalization may not have had the impact on crime rates that was anticipated. Illinois recently decriminalized the use of marijuana, though the law will not go into effect until 2020, and the results of decriminalization are likely to be the same as those experienced in Washington.  If you live in Illinois and were recently charged with a marijuana-related DUI, it is prudent to meet with a skillful Illinois DUI attorney to discuss your case.

Crime Following Washington’s Legalization of the Use of Marijuana

It is reported that Washington allows a person to be charged with a marijuana-related DUI if the person is impaired or has a whole blood THC level of 5 nanograms or higher. It appears that many prosecutors and law enforcement officers are dismayed by Washington’s current 5 nanogram limit, stating that it places pressure on them to produce test results at a trial arising out of a marijuana DUI charge, but blood tests are not administered in each case. Further, many people do not want evidence of marijuana-related impairment used as a basis for DUI, but would rather stick to the defined blood level. Marijuana is not processed the same way as alcohol, however, so testing methods that work for alcohol may not work as well for marijuana. Thus, entities in Washington continue to pursue more accurate tests.

The article also noted that not accounting for a decrease in marijuana-related arrests, crime rates in Washington did not change after marijuana was legalized. Further, there was no reduction in black market sales of marijuana. As such, studies regarding the effect of the legalization of marijuana on criminal activity were being pursued as well.

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North Carolina recently called attention to a rare but notable condition that can affect DUI cases:  auto-brewery syndrome. Although not many people suffer from the condition, it can cause unwarranted DUI arrests and convictions. While some courts throughout the country have been faced with the auto-brewery defense, it has not been widely established as a justification for a BAC above the legal limit. If you are charged with an Illinois DUI offense, it is prudent to meet with a proficient DUI defense attorney to discuss which defenses you may be able to assert.

Auto-Brewery Syndrome Explained

Reportedly, a North Carolina man was arrested in 2011 for driving while intoxicated. The man argued that he had not been drinking, but to no avail. In 2015, however, the man was diagnosed with auto-brewery syndrome, which is often known as gut fermentation syndrome. In essence, the syndrome causes certain people’s digestive systems to convert carbohydrates into alcohol. Thus, if a person with auto-brewery syndrome eats pasta or bread, the food is fermented in their guts and subsequently turns into alcohol. Accordingly, a person suffering from auto-brewery syndrome may have an elevated BAC level despite not consuming any alcohol.

Doctors who have analyzed auto-brewery syndrome have noted that people with the syndrome suffer the medical and legal effects of alcoholism, including drunk driving arrests and public intoxication. It is believed that the North Carolina man developed the syndrome after he took an antibiotic for an injury. Following his diagnosis, he was treated with anti-fungal medication and probiotics, and he has been symptom-free for about 18 months.

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One of the many rights afforded to criminal defendants is the right to a trial by an impartial jury. Thus, prior to trial defense counsel and the prosecution will question potential jurors to assess whether they may be biased, and will challenge the selection of any impartial jurors. A recent case arising out of Indiana highlighted the importance of vetting jurors and protecting a criminal defendant’s right to a fair trial, as the trial court’s failure to conduct a hearing regarding a juror’s potential bias resulted in the appellate court granting a new trial. If you face DUI charges, it is important to retain a zealous Illinois DUI attorney who will fight on your behalf to protect your right to a fair trial.

Facts of the Indiana Case

Reportedly, the defendant was found unconscious behind the wheel of her vehicle by emergency personnel. She was charged with two counts of DUI, and the case proceeded to trial. The trial court gathered the potential jurors and explained the process of voir dire. After the first six jurors were questioned and selected, one of the jurors submitted a note to the bailiff that disclosed that one of her family members was killed by a drunk driver.

Allegedly, defense counsel requested that the juror be brought back for additional questioning regarding her impartiality, to which the court stated there was nothing they could do. The remaining jurors were selected, and all the jurors were sworn in. Defense counsel moved to have the juror removed. The court denied the motion, and the defendant was found guilty on both charges. The defendant appealed.

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Although most police officers are thoroughly trained in the signs of intoxication, their actions do not always comport with their training. For example, a woman in Phoenix, Arizona, was recently detained and charged with DUI despite the fact there was no evidence that she was intoxicated. The woman subsequently filed a complaint against the police department, shedding light on the concerning issue of inappropriate arrests. If you were charged with a DUI despite a lack of evidence that you were intoxicated while operating a vehicle, you should meet with a skillful Illinois DUI attorney regarding your case.

Factual Background of the Phoenix Arrest

It is reported that the Phoenix police pulled over a 29-year-old woman who was driving late at night with her boyfriend. The woman, who pulled over into a parking lot of a business, described the officer as having an intimidating attitude. The woman received a ticket for an unsafe lane change, a red light violation, and an improper turn. The officer reportedly observed an odor of alcohol coming from the car and therefore attempted to conduct a field sobriety test. The woman advised the officer that she had a severe fear of men and of the police and requested that a female officer come to the scene. The officer noted the woman’s anxiety in his report repeatedly. A female officer was not dispatched, however, but more male officers arrived.

It is alleged that the woman admitted to consuming sake four hours prior to being stopped, and a breathalyzer test indicated her blood-alcohol level was .02. Under Phoenix law, an officer cannot arrest a person with a blood-alcohol level of less than .05 unless it is suspected the person is under the influence of drugs. Thus, the officer then began questioning the woman regarding whether she consumed drugs, which she denied. The woman was ultimately arrested and charged with DUI for drugs and alcohol. The charges against her were dismissed two months later, and her case was closed, but the woman had to spend hundreds of dollars defending the claim, and the DUI arrest remains on her record. To help prevent similar occurrences in the future, the woman filed a complaint against the Phoenix police department and asked that the police receive more training in crisis prevention.

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A recent DUI case arising out of Florida illustrates how a defendant can avoid a DUI conviction if the State fails to follow proper procedures for gathering and maintaining evidence. In that case, the defendant was only convicted of a misdemeanor DUI charge despite the prosecution’s wish to charge her with DUI manslaughter, due to errors in the police investigation. If you reside in Illinois and are faced with DUI charges it is prudent to meet with a knowledgeable Illinois DUI attorney to discuss your case.

Facts and Procedure of the Florida Case

Reportedly, a husband and wife went out to celebrate the husband’s birthday, leaving their daughter with a babysitter. They used a ride-sharing app to get to their destination but accepted a ride from the defendant to travel back home. The defendant failed to yield to a car traveling towards her before attempting to make a left-turn and her car was t-boned. The accident happened at 3:00 am. The defendant’s blood, which was drawn approximately three hours after the crash, was .14. The legal limit in Florida is .08.

It is alleged that the defendant was not charged with any serious crimes due to the lack of evidence. Specifically, there were no photographs taken of the intersection where the accident occurred, and the road was improperly marked during the investigation. Additionally, the photographs taken at the scene were not reviewed prior to the close of the investigation, so the deficiencies were not identified until later. The police also lacked sufficient evidence to establish the defendant’s speed at the time of the accident. Based on the lack of evidence of a more serious crime, the defendant was merely charged with a DUI misdemeanor. She was convicted and sentenced to 30 days imprisonment to be served on weekends.

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It is a well-known fact that people taken into custody by the police must be advised of their right against self-incrimination via Miranda warnings. In some instances, however, an issue arises as to what constitutes a person being taken into police custody for purposes of evaluating whether incriminating statements should be precluded. Recently, two courts tasked with addressing this issue came to different conclusions, highlighting the inconsistencies of the rulings throughout the nation. If you live in Illinois and are charged with a DUI, it is essential to retain an assertive Illinois DUI attorney to aid you in protecting your rights.

Nevada Decision Regarding Incriminating Statements

Reportedly, in a recent Nevada appellate court case, the court addressed whether a defendant’s incriminating statements should be admissible at trial. In that case, the defendant was stopped by police while he was at a convenience store because he looked like someone the police were trying to find. He was removed from the store and questioned by the police, during which he admitted to drinking and driving. He was then arrested for DUI. He filed a motion to suppress his statements, which the trial court granted. The State appealed.

On appeal, it was noted that the defendant was not advised that he was not under arrest, and the court found that he was in custody for practical purposes. Thus, he should have been read his Miranda rights. As such, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

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