Articles Posted in DUI

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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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Many people believe that, to a certain extent, behavior that may be illegal in a public place is lawful within the confines of their private property. For example, they may drive their cars around their property after consuming alcohol without considering that it may be prohibited. In some states, though, a person can be charged with a DUI offense for operating a vehicle while intoxicated on private property. Wisconsin is not one of those states, however, but that did not stop a man from being convicted for operating a vehicle while intoxicated in his own driveway. While Illinois’ DUI law differs from Wisconsin’s, it is important for anyone accused of a DUI offense to understand the elements of the crime and their potential defenses. If you are charged with a DUI, you should contact a knowledgeable Illinois DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible to assess your possible defenses.

The Wisconsin Case

Reportedly, police in Kenosha, Wisconsin visited the defendant’s home in response to a complaint from a neighbor, who stated the defendant was driving around intoxicated. When they arrived, they observed the defendant sitting in his car in his driveway. He smelled like alcohol and admitted to drinking alcohol in his house but refused to submit to breath or field sobriety tests. He was arrested and a warrant was obtained for a blood test. The results of the test revealed his BAC to be 0.214.

Allegedly, the defendant was subsequently charged with and convicted of DUI. He appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erroneously denied his motion to suppress the results of his blood test, as there was no evidence that he committed a crime. The court denied his appeal, stating that reasonable inferences allowed for the assumption that he drove on a public road. The court noted, however, that it was not unlawful to operate a vehicle while intoxicated on private property. Continue reading →

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In most states, the police do not need a blood test to arrest a person for DUI; instead, they often stop and arrest DUI suspects after observing behavior that indicates they might be intoxicated. While a blood test may ultimately be used to exonerate a DUI defendant, unjustly being charged with a DUI crime is often enough to cause devastating repercussions in a person’s life. This was demonstrated recently in Tennessee, when a woman was charged with DUI and felony child neglect and temporarily lost custody of her sign, despite the fact that she had not consumed any alcohol prior to her arrest. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is wise to confer with a skillful Illinois DUI defense lawyer to discuss your options.

The Arrest and Charges  

It is reported that the woman, who was a nurse, worked 41 hours over the course of three days, caring for COVID-19 patients. On her day off, she dropped her son off at a daycare facility so that she could run errands. She picked him up later that day and proceeded to drive off. Unbeknownst to her, though, a worker at the daycare facility called the police and reported that the woman seemed impaired.

Allegedly, the police stopped the woman shortly after she left the lot. They observed that she did not smell of alcohol, and she advised she had not consumed any, but they asked her to submit to field sobriety tests regardless. She did not perform well on the tests, which she attributed to the fact that the police had taken her son into their vehicle. She acknowledged the fact that she took ADHD medication. She was charged with DUI and felony child neglect, and her son was taken into state custody for six weeks. Blood tests ultimately showed that she was not intoxicated and that she was taking her ADHD medication at therapeutic levels. Continue reading →

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DUI convictions can harm a person’s reputation, rights, and career prospects long after any penalties have been paid. In many states, people convicted of DUI offenses have no options for clearing their names, but recently, some states have taken measures to allow people to move forward after their guilty verdicts. For example, Michigan recently passed laws allowing people convicted of certain DUI offenses to expunge and seal their records. While the Michigan law does not impact the status of DUI convictions in Illinois, it may be a sign that tides are shifting towards leniency on the issue. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is smart to meet with an Illinois DWI defense attorney to discuss your options for seeking a just outcome.

The Michigan DUI Conviction Expungement Law

The Michigan state legislature recently introduced bipartisan bills that would allow people with fist offense DUI convictions to expunge their records in certain cases. The bills were ultimately signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and went into effect in February 2022. Pursuant to the new law, approximately 200,000 non-repeat offenders will be eligible for expungement.

The first iteration of the law provided that people must wait three years after their DUI conviction to seek an expungement; a later bill that took effect in March 2022 enlarged the waiting period to five years. Regardless, people convicted of DUI offenses can now petition the courts to have their records expunged. Only first-time offenders are eligible for expungement; repeat offenders cannot clear their records. Additionally, people convicted of DUI crimes that resulted in death or serious injury or who had a child under the age of 16 in their vehicle at the time of the offense are ineligible as well. Finally, the law does not permit people who were operating commercial vehicles with a commercial driver’s license at the time of their offense to obtain expungements. Continue reading →

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If the Illinois police suspect a driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated in violation of the law, they will typically stop the driver to conduct an investigation. While many DUI investigations occur on residential streets, some happen on highways which generally requires the investigating officer and the driver being investigated to pull onto the shoulder of the road. There are risks associated with parking on the shoulder of a highway; namely, there is a danger of being hit by a negligent motorist.

This happened recently when a driver struck the vehicle of an officer that was conducting a DUI investigation on the side of the road. In an unusual turn of events, both the driver that was the subject of the initial investigation and the driver that struck the patrol car were charged with DUI. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a DUI crime, it is prudent to consult an Illinois DUI defense attorney to evaluate what defenses you may be able to argue to avoid a conviction.

Illinois Police Involved in a DUI Accident During the Investigation of a DUI

It is alleged that in December 2021, an Illinois State Trooper pulled a driver over onto the shoulder of a highway in Cook County to conduct a DUI investigation. The trooper activated his emergency lights after he pulled over, and his squad car was fully marked. Nonetheless, a motorist approaching the officer’s vehicle failed to slow down or switch lanes. Instead, she lost control of her car, veered onto the shoulder, and struck the officer’s squad car. Continue reading →

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In the vast majority of states, a person can be convicted of DUI if they drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. In Utah, however, the threshold is much lower. Reportedly, the recent reduction in the legal limit did not result in increased DUI charges but instead led to a reduction of DUI crimes fewer car accidents and fatalities, and reportedly did not impact tourism or the rate of people moving to the state. While it remains unclear if Illinois or any other state will follow suit, it seems unlikely, but it is important for all motorists to understand the DUI laws where they live. If you are charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, it is practical to confer with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to assess your potential defenses.

Results of Utah’s DUI Law Changes

Reportedly, the Utah legislature voted to reduce the blood alcohol concentration threshold for per se DUI offenses from 0.08% to 0.05% in 2017. Parties in favor of the change argued that it would reduce DUI crimes and DUI-related collisions, while those opposed to it argued that it would discourage tourists or new residents from coming to Utah. So far, it appears to have had only positive impacts.

Allegedly, a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that while the amount of miles Utah drivers traveled increased, the number of DUI offenses and crashes went down. Some attribute the willingness to accept the change to the fact that the majority of people living in Utah are of Mormon faith and do not drink alcohol, and alcohol is strictly regulated. Not everyone is convinced that the reduced threshold is the cause of the reduction in accidents, noting that many other states experienced similar outcomes without changing their DUI laws. Continue reading →

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Many states have implied consent laws. In other words, when a person obtains a driver’s license, the law states that they impliedly consent to submit to a breath test if they are under investigation for DUI. In many states, if a person suspected of DUI refuses to provide a breath sample, they can lose their driving privileges. Typically, the police must warn a driver of the consequences of the failure to abide by the implied consent law, but if the suspect does not understand the officer due to a language barrier, the warning may be ineffective. This was demonstrated recently in a Pennsylvania DUI case. The court ultimately ruled that the defendant could not face penalties for refusing to submit to a breath test because he did not understand English. If you are charged with the refusal to provide a breath sample or a DUI crime in Illinois, it is smart to speak to an Illinois DUI defense regarding your options for seeking a favorable outcome.

The Pennsylvania Case

It is reported that a police officer observed the defendant driving erratically and therefore initiated a traffic stop. The officer attempted to question the defendant, who does not speak English. He noticed the defendant smelled of alcohol, and his eyes were bloodshot and glazed. He tried to ask the defendant if he drank alcohol that evening and, if so, how much, using hand signals. The defendant responded with hand signals, stating he had three drinks.

Allegedly, the officer requested that the defendant submit to a breath test. The defendant said no, and the officer read him the O’Connell warning, which informs DUI suspects of the consequences of failing to submit to a breath test, as required by Pennsylvania law. The defendant was ultimately found guilty of refusing to submit to a breath test and lost his driving privileges. He appealed on the grounds that his refusal was not informed and knowing as he did not speak English. The appellate court ultimately ruled in his favor and stated that the onus was on the police to make sure DUI suspects understood the consequences of failing to abide by the implied consent law. Continue reading →

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