Articles Posted in Out-of-state DUI

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Illinois is relatively close to the Canadian border, and people from Illinois and other nearby states often move there for work or other reasons but maintain their American citizenship. As in Illinois, driving while intoxicated is illegal in Canada. Recent changes to the Criminal Code of Canada, though, can result in significant penalties for non-citizen residents who are convicted of DUI offenses. If you are accused of a DUI crime in Illinois or elsewhere, it is in your best interest to meet with an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer to discuss your rights.

Changes to the Canadian Law

In December 2018, a new law went into effect in Canada, modifying penalties for DUI offenses. Specifically, it changed certain rules with regard to sentencing in that it increased the maximum penalty for such sentences from five to ten years imprisonment in cases in which the Crown proceeds by indictment. While this change may seem relatively insignificant, it may result in a profound impact on people who live in Canada but are not citizens.

Specifically, under a combination of the new DUI law and a Canadian immigration law, DUI convictions would be considered serious crimes, rendering the defendant ineligible for citizenship in Canada. While the change in the law was solely designed to increase penalties for DUI offenses, it is anticipated that it will have a disproportionate punitive effect on people who are not Canadian citizens. Continue reading →

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In criminal cases throughout the country, the prosecution bears the burden of proving that the defendant committed the charged offense. Thus, the prosecution will typically conduct an investigation and engage in discovery to obtain any evidence that would imply or prove the defendant’s guilt. If the prosecution uncovers evidence that would exonerate the defendant, however, it must produce that as well. Unfortunately, the prosecution does not always comply with the rules, as demonstrated recently in Scottsdale, Arizona, where a prosecutor alleged he was fired for uncovering mishandling of evidence in numerous DUI cases that were handled by the prior prosecutor. If you live in Illinois and are charged with  DUI, it is critical to retain an experienced Illinois DUI defense attorney who will fight to uncover any evidence in your defense.

Alleged Prosecutorial Misconduct in Scottsdale DUI Cases

It is reported that the recent termination of a Scottsdale, Arizona prosecutor lead to the disclosure of allegations that a prior prosecutor improperly handled DUI cases. The prosecutor received a letter notifying him that he had been terminated due to the city’s loss of confidence and trust in the prosecutor’s ability to fulfill the duties and expectations of his position. The city claims that an investigation was conducted into the prosecutor’s work performance by an independent entity and that it did not have the final report.

Reportedly, the prosecutor maintains, however, that he was fired for blowing the whistle on the city’s misconduct. Specifically, after hearing from an assistant prosecutor that the city previously failed to disclose evidence that was favorable to defendants in DUI cases, the prosecutor ordered an audit of all DUI cases prosecuted in the past five years. One of the claims alleged that a prosecutor failed to share evidence that a blood test revealed no drugs or alcohol in a defendant’s system after a defendant refused to submit to a breath test. The prosecutor noted that as sentences for DUI convictions increase when a defendant has prior offenses, failing to produce evidence that may exonerate a defendant may impact the defendant’s rights in the future as well.

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One of the tenets of DUI law throughout the country is that the police must have reasonable suspicion that a person operating a vehicle committed a crime or violated a traffic law prior to effectuating a traffic stop. Thus, if an officer lacks sufficient grounds to stop a motorist, any evidence obtained during the stop may be precluded at a subsequent DUI trial. What constitutes sufficient grounds to effectuate a stop varies from State to State, but generally, more than mere suspicion is required, as demonstrated in a recent Pennsylvania case. If you live in Illinois and were stopped without just cause and subsequently charged with a DUI crime, it is in your best interest to speak with a trusted Illinois DUI attorney regarding your potential defenses.

Details of the Pennsylvania Case

Allegedly, an officer stopped the defendant due to a “hunch” that she was doing something illegal. Specifically, the officer, who was dispatched on another call, stopped the defendant because he believed she was trying to evade him because she turned several times. The officer admitted, however, that the defendant did not exhibit any signs of intoxication while driving, did not violate any traffic laws, and there were no defects on her car that would cause suspicion. Following the stop, the defendant was charged with and convicted of DUI. After her conviction, she appealed, arguing that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop her. The appellate court overturned her conviction and remanded the case to the lower court, ordering suppression of the evidence obtained during the stop.

Reasonable Suspicion Under Illinois Law

Under Illinois law, stopping a vehicle is considered a search and seizure. For a stop to be lawful, an Illinois police officer must possess a rational belief that the person stopped has committed or intends to commit a crime. The suspicion must be both articulable and reasonable. In other words, a totality of the facts present at the time of the stop must be sufficient to inspire the belief in a person of ordinary caution that the stop was appropriate, which requires more than a hunch or vague suspicion that criminal activity has occurred or is about to occur. While Illinois does not have a bright-line rule for whether a stop is reasonable, and each case is evaluated on its particular facts, it is likely that in Illinois a stop based on a hunch, with no evidence of illegal activity or a violation of a traffic law, would be deemed improper.

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Although all states criminalize driving while intoxicated, a DUI conviction does not carry the same penalty in each state. Further, the states do not necessarily categorize subsequent DUI convictions in the same manner. Discrepancies in the treatment of DUI convictions among states can pose a problem if a person convicted of DUI offenses moves from one state to another, as demonstrated recently when a Pennsylvania resident relocated to Florida where his DUI conviction was treated as a felony. If you are charged with a subsequent DUI offense, it is important to understand the consequences you may face if you are convicted, and you should speak to a knowledgeable Illinois DUI defense attorney regarding your rights.

Florida’s Treatment of a Third Pennsylvania DUI

Reportedly, a Pennsylvania resident was convicted of a third DUI, which was charged as a misdemeanor crime. Following his conviction, he was sentenced to five years of probation. While he was still subject to the terms of his probation, he moved to Florida. Four years later, while he was still on probation, he attempted to rent a house, when he was informed that Florida treated his Pennsylvania misdemeanor DUI conviction as a felony.

Subsequently, the man was informed that the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision advises states to apply their own standards to residents who move to their state while they are on probation for convictions in another state. The man ultimately sued multiple Florida government entities, arguing that increasing the severity of his conviction violated his civil rights, but his lawsuit was dismissed.

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Washington State law defines “vehicle” to include bicycles. In 1995, however, the Washington Court of Appeals ruled that the state DUI statute does not include bicycles. While this case is not controlling law in Illinois, attorneys who help people charged with an Illinois DUI find its reasoning compelling.

At about 3 a.m. in June 1992, the defendant was riding his bicycle in Montesano, Washington. An officer pulled him over after watching him swerve and make wide turns. The officer testified that the defendant had slurred speech and smelled like alcohol. The officer asked him to perform field sobriety tests, several of which he failed. He was arrested for DUI. At the station, he waived his Miranda rights. A breath test indicated his blood alcohol level was .13.

Following a bench trial, he was convicted of driving while intoxicated. His motion for a new trial was denied, and he appealed.

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The Washington Supreme Court recently considered whether a probationer convicted of DUI may legally be required to submit to a random urine test for drugs and alcohol. In an en banc opinion, the state high court affirmed the intermediate court’s holding that since the urine test was ordered to track whether she was complying with a valid probation condition requiring the appellant’s sobriety, it did not violate the state constitution.

In the summer of 2014, the appellant pleaded guilty to one count of DUI. As a condition of her sentence, the court ordered that the appellant not do drugs that weren’t prescribed or drink alcohol. Over defense counsel’s objection, the court required the appellant to submit to random urine testing.

 

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In a case of interest to Illinois DUI lawyers, the founder of the International Polo Club raised 13 issues before Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal regarding his DUI manslaughter conviction. The appeals court affirmed, addressing only three of the issues raised by Goodman:  (1) whether the State prematurely released his vehicle after his first trial in violation of his due process rights and requiring dismissal under California v. Trombetta; (2) that the jury instructions on the failure to render aid enhancements violated due process by failing to require that he knew that the accident resulted in injuries or death; and (3) that his blood was drawn without a warrant, violating the Fourth Amendment Search and Seizure Clause. Following a late-night car accident, in which the other driver died after his vehicle was submerged in a canal, the defendant was charged with DUI manslaughter with failure to render aid and vehicular homicide with failure to render aid. He was convicted and sentenced following his first trial. After juror misconduct came to light, the first conviction was vacated, and he was granted a new trial. In the second trial, he was again found guilty.

Regarding the defendant’s first challenge on appeal, the court agreed with the state and held that the court did not err in denying the motion to dismiss due to the loss of the car. Pursuant to Trombetta, the constitutional duty of the state to preserve evidence must be limited to evidence that might be expected to play a significant role in the suspect’s defense. To meet this standard of constitutional materiality, evidence must both possess an exculpatory value that was apparent before the evidence was destroyed and be of such a nature that the defendant would be unable to obtain comparable evidence by other reasonably available means.

The appeals court agreed with the trial court that the state did not act in bad faith in releasing the car. Therefore, it had to determine whether the car constituted materially exculpatory or only potentially useful evidence. The trial court held a full hearing on the issue of the exculpatory nature of the car and concluded that it was merely potentially exculpatory. It reasoned that the defendant’s expert, by his own testimony, had already formed an opinion of the malfunction and that his opinion on the state of the car at the time of the crash was complete. The “mere possibility of helping the defense” by conducting more testing on the car, which was already subjected to extensive testing by three experts, did not rise to the level of constitutional materiality.

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When a motorist drives on a road in Pennsylvania, he or she is “deemed to have given consent” to chemical testing to determine whether he or she is driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance (“DUI”), provided that a police officer first develops “reasonable grounds” to suspect such an impairment. Nonetheless, this “implied consent” statute also grants DUI arrestees the right to refuse chemical testing. While Illinois has its own laws, these principles are also relevant to Illinois DUI defendants.

In a recent case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted an appeal to consider the lawfulness of a warrantless blood draw conducted upon a motorist who, having been arrested for DUI, had then been rendered unconscious by medical personnel before a police officer provided O’Connell warnings and before the officer requested the motorist’s submission to a chemical test. The Philadelphia Municipal Court, the Court of Common Pleas, and the Superior Court all held that a blood draw conducted under these circumstances is impermissible and that the results of the derivative blood test are accordingly inadmissible at trial. Since the seizure of blood violated Pennsylvania’s implied consent statute, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1547, and since no other circumstances justified the failure to obtain a search warrant, the state high court affirmed.

On December 29, 2012, at approximately 3:30 p.m., a Philadelphia Police Officer was on routine patrol when he received a radio call indicating that there was a person screaming in the vicinity of 100 West Penn Street. The radio call warned him to be on the lookout for a maroon SUV. When he arrived on West Penn Street, he observed a vehicle matching that description with its engine running and its brake lights repeatedly flickering on and off. A man later identified as the defendant was sitting in the driver’s seat. The officer activated his siren and emergency lights and pulled up behind the maroon SUV. The defendant exited the vehicle and began to stagger toward the officer, even though he had not been ordered to step out of the vehicle. He tried to speak, but his speech was so slurred that the officer could not understand what he was saying. He detected the smell of alcohol emanating from the defendant, and he observed a bottle of brandy on the front seat of the SUV. The bottle was in plain view, since the defendant had left the driver’s door open when he exited the vehicle. Based upon his observations and experience, the officer believed that the defendant was intoxicated to the point that he required medical attention. He placed him under arrest for DUI and called for a wagon, which transported the defendant to Einstein Medical Center.

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Texas residents with DUI records might soon be able to seal their records. House Bill 3016, also known as the “second-chance” bill, will allow many first-time, low-level offenders to keep their criminal records from being made public. This makes it easier for people to apply for jobs if they have low-level offenses on their records and have shown that they are unlikely to reoffend.

In addition to DUI defendants, the bill protects people convicted of some felonies involving small amounts of marijuana. Eligible individuals can petition the court for orders of nondisclosure, and the bill alters some waiting periods. If the offense was a misdemeanor punishable only by a fine, the petitioner may request an order of nondisclosure immediately upon the date their sentence is completed. If the misdemeanor was not punishable by a fine only, however, they must wait until the second anniversary of the date of the completion of their sentence to petition the court.

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The Illinois Secretary of State is required to revoke the driver’s license of anyone who is guilty of committing the offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) while operating a motor vehicle in this state. Moreover, even if you do not live in Illinois or have an Illinois driver’s license, the Secretary of State will revoke your driving privileges after a DUI conviction, meaning you may not drive in Illinois even if you have a valid driver’s license issued by another state. 625 ILCS 5/6-205

Furthermore, your driver’s license and driving privileges will be revoked if the Secretary of State receives a report of a conviction stemming from a DUI offense committed in another state, if at the time of the offense, you were a resident of Illinois or held an Illinois driver’s license. Most states have agreed, via the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, to report convictions to Illinois, and even states that are not Compact Members may report those convictions voluntarily.

Illinois has an interest in making certain that those who live in, drive in or hold a license issued by, Illinois do not endanger the health and safety of its citizens by driving drunk. To revoke their right to drive in Illinois makes sense.

But even someone who now lives in another state and whose privileges Illinois revoked under any of the above circumstances-DUI in Illinois or DUI in another State while having an Illinois license or being an Illinois resident-and who has no interest in ever driving in Illinois or having an Illinois driver’s license may still be required to clear the Illinois revocation, or “lift the hold”.

The reasons for this are two-fold. First, the Compact stipulates that one state may not issue a driver’s license to someone who is revoked in another state until at least one year has passed since the revocation occurred. 625 ILCS 5/1-117 But there are also U.S. Department of Transportation requirements that prohibit one state from issuing or renewing a driver’s license to its own residents if the applicant has a hold from another state due to a DUI offense.

It does not matter how long ago the revocation on your Illinois driver’s license occurred. Nor is it relevant that you did everything your new state required of you, or that you completed all the requirements of the court that processed the DUI that led to your Illinois revocation There are no double jeopardy or statute of limitations defenses.

You cannot always rely upon your DMV driving records to determine your status. Illinois may find other DUI offenses that were expunged from your record. You are still required to deal with them.

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