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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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States across the country continue to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes. Subsequently, they are slowly defining what constitutes impairment for purposes of marijuana-related DUI crimes. While some states have marijuana DUI laws that predate legalization, such laws may be antiquated and unsuitable. The courts are often reluctant to overturn existing laws, however, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a Washington state court in which it upheld a defendant’s marijuana-related DUI conviction. If you are charged with a marijuana-related DUI crime, it is prudent to speak with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to determine your possible defenses.

The Washington Ruling

It is reported that the police pulled over a man in Washington state after they observed him driving his vehicle erratically. After he was stopped by the police, the man admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the day but stated he no longer felt impaired. After he submitted to field sobriety tests, he was arrested; he subsequently underwent a blood test that revealed his THC level to be almost twice the legal limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter. He was subsequently charged with and convicted of DUI.

Allegedly, the man appealed, arguing in part that the applicable statute imposed vague and arbitrary standards with regard to the legal THC limit. While the justices presiding over the matter agreed that it was difficult to pin down the correlation between impairment and THC levels, blood measurements still provided a constitutionally acceptable and useful measurement tool. Thus, they upheld his conviction. 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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Until recently, Illinois Rules of Evidence 803(6) prohibited the state from introducing medical records in criminal cases. The Illinois Supreme Court took the extraordinary measure of amending Rule 803(6) in a recent DWI case, however, effectively changing the landscape for the prosecution of DWI crimes for years to come. If you are faced with DWI charges, it is in your best interest to meet with an Illinois DWI defense attorney to assess your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was involved in a collision and then taken to the hospital, where his blood was drawn. The police believed he caused the crash by driving while intoxicated, and he was subsequently charged with aggravated DWI.  During his trial, the state introduced the results of a chemical blood test that was taken at the hospital into evidence.

Allegedly, the test results, which revealed his BAC to be .247, were admitted under 625 ILCS 5/11-501.4, which permits the state to admit chemical blood tests conducted in the course of emergency medical care as a business record exception to the rule against hearsay. He was convicted, after which he appealed, arguing that Rule 803(6) prohibited the introduction of medical records in criminal matters. The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling, and the defendant appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. Continue reading →

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It is important for children to learn about all aspects of the criminal justice system, including the procedural rules, the rights of criminal defendants, and the penalties imposed for certain crimes. Few would agree, though, that their education should involve prosecuting school-age children in a manner similar to how criminal defendants are prosecuted by the state. In Illinois, however, some schools are ticketing children and forcing them to pay substantial fines under the threat of greater consequences. If you have questions regarding ticketing in schools, it is wise to speak to an Illinois criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Ticketing in Illinois Schools

Reportedly, Illinois law permits schools to “ticket” children for minor infractions. While the tickets do not result in criminal charges, they allege that the children violated municipal ordinances at school and require them to attend hearings in a courthouse. Not only must the children who are ticketed miss school to attend such hearings, they also must decide whether to agree to pay fines or challenge the ticket at a hearing held at a later date. They are cautioned, however, that failing to pay the fine could damage their credit scores or impact their future driving privileges.

It is alleged that the acts that lead to such tickets are typically minor: one 12-year-old student received a ticket for shoving a friend, while a 16-year-old student was cited for truancy, and a 14-year-old student was caught with a vape pen. As many as thirty students have been summoned to Illinois courthouses on any given day. 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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Most states have comparable DUI laws. Specifically, a state must typically prove that a driver was operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or with a blood-alcohol level of .08% in order to convict the driver of a DUI offense. Despite the similarities in state DUI laws, many states do not recognize out-of-state DUI convictions or have not clearly defined how such convictions should be treated. Recently, however, Kansas and other states have expressly stated that the courts can consider DUI convictions that occur in other states as prior DUI offenses in certain circumstances. If you are accused of a DUI offense in Illinois and were previously convicted of DUI in another state, it is smart to meet with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to assess what penalties you may face if convicted.

Kansas Law Regarding Out of State DUI Convictions

Recently, the Kansas Supreme Court expressly granted trial courts the authority to view previous DUI convictions in Missouri as comparable to the Kansas law. The decision was handed down in a DUI case on appeal from the district court, in which the pertinent issue was whether the defendant, who had two prior DUI convictions in Missouri, should be charged with a felony DUI offense in Kansas.

The court clarified that not all DUI convictions that arise out of the laws of other states should be considered prior DUI convictions for the purposes of DUI prosecution. Instead, the court cautioned that the ruling was limited to DUI convictions for offenses that are comparable to the crime described in the Kansas DUI law. Continue reading →

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