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It is common knowledge that people involved in collisions while they are driving under the influence can be charged with DUI crimes. It is less clear in some cases, however, what constitutes a crash and, therefore, grounds for arresting a person for suspicion of DUI. A recent Florida case in which the court ruled that a single car accident highlights this issue and the implications it could have for people charged with DUI crimes. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is smart to talk to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to weigh your possible defenses.

Florida Law Regarding DUI Crashes

It is reported that a significant legal battle in Florida has arisen following a single-vehicle accident that could have a far-reaching impact in DUI cases. In September 2019, the defendant was arrested on misdemeanor DUI charges in Tallahassee after his truck flipped into a ditch. Police responded to the accident, finding the defendant in a disoriented state. He was arrested, claiming he had two beers at a pool hall and was sideswiped on his way home. The defendant’s defense argued that neither officer had seen him driving the vehicle, making the warrantless misdemeanor arrest invalid since Florida law mandates that a crime must occur in the presence of police for such arrests.

Allegedly, a crash is an exception to this rule. As such, the primary issue became whether the incident fit the legal definition of a crash. A three-judge panel in Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the defendant’s accident was indeed a crash. They concluded that the collision with other objects, damage to the road and ditch, and a damaged headlight met the definition of a crash. This ruling has significant implications, as it may impact future DUI cases involving crashes and the definition of crashes under the law. Continue reading →

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In Illinois and most other states, people can be arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol, no matter how short of a journey they take. In some instances, though, extenuating circumstances may make a court view acts that are grounds for a DUI arrest more leniently. This was demonstrated in a recent California case in which the court dismissed DUI charges against a woman who drove 30 feet as she was attempting to flee an abusive boyfriend. If you are faced with accusations that you drove while intoxicated, you should meet with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to determine your options.

The California DUI Case

It is reported that a California judge dismissed a DUI case against a woman who was charged with a misdemeanor DUI for driving 30 feet to escape an abusive boyfriend. The woman had called the police after being threatened and hit by her boyfriend, but officers left her with him in his van. Later, fearing for her safety, she moved her car to a different parking spot and was arrested for DUI. The initial trial ended in a mistrial when the jury could not agree on her culpability. The District Attorney’s Office sought a retrial, but the woman’s lawyer argued that she had moved her car out of necessity to protect herself.

Allegedly, the judge agreed with the woman’s lawyer and dismissed the case, citing the necessity defense, which is akin to self-defense in murder trials. The judge believed that the woman had acted out of necessity due to the danger she faced from her abusive boyfriend. He noted that while DUI is a serious offense, the circumstances mattered, and the woman had only driven a short distance late at night in an almost empty parking lot at low speed. Continue reading →

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When it comes to DUI offenses, many people associate them with operating cars, trucks, or SUVs while intoxicated. However, some states, like Illinois, have broader DUI laws that encompass operating any vehicle. A recent change in Oregon law highlights this point, as it reduces the penalties for operating a bicycle while intoxicated but nonetheless permits people to be charged with bicycle-related DUI crimes. If you find yourself accused of a DUI offense, consulting a reputable Illinois DUI defense attorney is crucial to understanding your rights and options.

Oregon’s DUI Law Changes

Oregon has passed legislation aimed at revising its DUI (Driving Under the Influence) laws, making distinctions between different types of vehicles. House Bill 2316 introduced several changes to Oregon’s DUI laws, broadening the scope of substances that can trigger a DUI conviction and altering diversion program eligibility. Most notably, the bill reduces fines and penalties for individuals cited for bicycling under the influence (BUI).

Previously, Oregon’s DUI law applied uniformly to both car and bicycle operators. While it’s likely that the original DUI law did not contemplate bicycling under the influence, bicycles are considered “vehicles” under Oregon statute, resulting in equal application of the law.

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As marijuana laws continue to change throughout the country, states struggle to keep up with determining how and when to criminalize marijuana-related impairment. While many states have laws that allow people to be prosecuted for DUI if they operate a vehicle while impaired due to marijuana use, others have laws that are more extreme. For example, in Pennsylvania, the mere possession of a medical marijuana card can result in DUI charges, which one legislator is trying to change.  If you are accused of a marijuana-related DUI crime in Illinois, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney as soon as you can.

Pennsylvania’s Marijuana DUI Law

In Pennsylvania, lawmakers are expected to address a longstanding issue related to medical marijuana this fall. The question at hand is whether having a medical marijuana card automatically makes someone guilty of DUI. Over half a million Pennsylvanians hold a medical marijuana card, and many of them drive. However, there’s a concern that these individuals could be unfairly prosecuted for DUI even if they are not impaired.

Pennsylvania’s DUI law currently has a no-tolerance rule for operating a vehicle under the influence of any federal schedule one drug, including cannabis. This has led to police charging drivers with DUI simply for presenting their state medical marijuana card, even if they are not impaired. Continue reading →

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Many states are moving to impose harsher penalties against those who cause fatal drunk driving collisions, especially when the victim was a parent to a minor child. Texas recently joined Tennessee in enacting a law allowing courts to order child support payments to children who lost a parent in these preventable tragedies. Legislators hope measures like these will deter drunk driving by increasing potential penalties. Critics argue there are already strong deterrents in place through fines, jail time, and license suspension. While similar legislation was previously introduced in Illinois, it did not pass. If you are accused of causing a fatal DUI crash, it is smart to speak to an Illinois DUI defense attorney about your possible defenses.

Tough New DUI Penalties in Texas

It is reported a new Texas law recently went into effect that will require those found guilty of intoxication manslaughter to pay child support to any minor children of the victim. Under House Bill 393, courts must order monthly child support payments to children under 19 years old who suffered the loss of a guardian or parent due to the defendant’s actions.

Allegedly, the court will determine a reasonable payment amount based on factors like the child’s financial, physical, and emotional needs, the standard of living the child is accustomed to enjoying, and the convicted person’s resources. Defendants must begin making payments after release if imprisoned at the time of conviction. Proponents argue this law provides crucial financial stability for families devastated by drunk driving deaths. The law underscores efforts to impose harsher penalties on drunk drivers who take lives. It went into effect as Texas aims to curb holiday weekend DUIs, with over 300 related crashes and 20 deaths last Labor Day. Continue reading →

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As attitudes and laws regarding marijuana use evolve across the United States, states like Illinois that have legalized recreational and medical cannabis must update their DUI laws accordingly. With marijuana impairment more difficult to evaluate than alcohol impairment, people accused of driving under the influence of marijuana face many uncertainties. Maryland, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana on July 1st, recently took a look at how such laws impact DUI crimes in Maryland and nationwide. If you find yourself charged with a marijuana DUI in Illinois, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney to protect your rights.

The Impact of Recent Changes in Maryland’s Marijuana Laws on DUI Crimes

It is alleged that a recent study by the national non-profit Drug-Free America Foundation suggests that cannabis-related DUIs are much higher in states where marijuana is legal compared to states where it remains illegal. Specifically, the study found that cannabis-related DUIs were 32% higher in states with legalized marijuana. This caused concern in Maryland, which recently fully legalized recreational marijuana use.

It is reported that unlike DUI laws relating to alcohol use, Maryland does not have a legal limit for how much THC can be present to constitute a DUI. However, drivers can still be charged if police observe signs of impaired driving and find evidence of marijuana use. Impairment from cannabis can be unpredictable and delayed compared to alcohol impairment. People often underestimate how impaired they are after using marijuana. Some drivers do not seem too worried yet, believing that the same people who used marijuana illegally will simply continue to do so now that it is legal. Maryland police departments have reported slight increases in suspected cannabis DUIs in July after legalization took effect. Continue reading →

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In most states, people convicted of DUI offenses face a number of civil and criminal penalties. Among other things, many states require people found guilty of DUI crimes to install ignition interlock devices on their cars. Recently, the Alabama legislature introduced a bill that aimed to remove the requirement. While the legislation ultimately stalled, it could be a sign of changes to come in Alabama and in other states. If you are accused of a DUI offense in Illinois, it is wise to talk to an Illinois DUI defense attorney about what defenses you may be able to assert.

The Proposed Alabama Law

It is reported that SB72, a bill introduced in the Alabama statehouse, was posed to change how the state penalized people convicted of DUI crimes. The bill focuses on ignition interlock devices, which prevent a car from starting if the driver is impaired. Currently, those charged with drunk driving participating in a pretrial diversion program are required to have the device installed in their vehicle. The existing law will sunset in July, however, and the proposed bill would end the requirement entirely after that.

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In the majority of the United States, the threshold for a per se DUI offense is a BAC of .08. In Utah, however, the legal limit for a per se DUI offense is a BAC of .05. The reasoning behind the movement to reduce the limit was that doing so would reduce DUI fatalities. Recently, a Utah report evaluated whether the lower limit had resulted in the anticipated outcome, ultimately finding it did not. It is possible that the report will have a chilling effect on efforts to reduce the DUI threshold in Illinois and in other states. If you are charged with a per se DUI crime in Illinois, it is smart to meet with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer about your options for protecting your interests.

Findings Regarding Utah’s Lower Per Se DUI Threshold

It is reported that Utah’s .05 DUI law was passed in 2017. It became effective at the end of 2018. After four years of data analysis, it appears that the law has not produced the expected results, as reported by a Utah newspaper. Specifically, the report explained that in the first year of implementation, there was a notable decrease in DUI-related deaths. In the subsequent three years. however, the number of DUI deaths increased significantly, reaching the highest levels in recent years.

Reportedly, the article asserted, the law’s focus on targeting individuals with blood alcohol levels just above the legal limit (0.05) may not be effective in reducing accidents, as the real problem lies with individuals who have much higher blood alcohol levels, such as those above 0.1 or even 0.15. According to the report, efforts should be directed towards curbing the actions of these higher-BAC individuals to improve road safety rather than focusing solely on those just above the legal limit. Overall, the report found that the purported benefits of the .05 DUI law were overemphasized and that a different approach is needed to address the root cause of DUI-related accidents effectively. Continue reading →

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The circumstances surrounding some DUI accidents are so tragic that it seems axiomatic that the person who allegedly drove while intoxicated will be convicted of numerous crimes. People are not convicted via the court of public opinion, however, and the State must meet a high burden of proof in order to obtain a guilty verdict. For example, reports indicate that a New York man drove while intoxicated, killing a woman who was walking home, but the state must nonetheless establish the man’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are accused of causing a fatal DUI collision, it is essential to speak to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer about your potential defenses as soon as possible.

The Fatal Accident

It is reported that a young New York woman suffered fatal injuries after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver. In an unexpected turn of events, the person suspected of hitting her is a coworker she had been drinking with her earlier in the night. The woman refused to ride with the coworker and chose to walk home instead. The driver reportedly hit her with his car and continued driving before being involved in another crash shortly after. His car caught fire, and he was pulled out before police arrived.

It is alleged that the woman’s body was discovered over six hours later, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. The state charged the driver with multiple felonies, including vehicular manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He entered a not-guilty plea. Continue reading →

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In Illinois, the punishment imposed for a DUI conviction depends, in part, on whether the defendant caused any other person to suffer bodily harm. For example, a defendant involved in a fatal DUI crash will most likely be charged with aggravated DUI, which carries a mandatory penalty of three years in prison for each person killed. As demonstrated in a recent Illinois case, the courts do not take kindly to DUI defendants attempting to avoid a guilty verdict with novel legal theories and are apt to impose significant penalties. As such, if you are charged with aggravated DUI, it is critical that you retain an Illinois DUI defense lawyer with the skills and resources needed to help you seek the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case.

The Fatal Collision and Subsequent Conviction

Reportedly, a South Peoria man was convicted of aggravated DUI, reckless homicide, and aggravated street racing after a crash that killed two people and seriously injured another. The defendant attempted to argue that a past appellate court case provided him with some leeway, but the judge rejected his assertion, stating that the case in question was not applicable. The defendant also claimed that the victims’ car crossed in front of him during the incident, but the judge dismissed this argument as well.

It is alleged that the defendant was found guilty of having numerous narcotics and illicit drugs in his system at the time of the accident. During the sentencing hearing, the defendant expressed remorse, but the judge criticized him for his arrogance and lack of accountability. The judge sentenced the defendant to 31 years in prison, with the possibility of release in approximately 22 years. He plans to appeal the decision. Continue reading →

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