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All states, including Illinois, have long made it illegal to drive under the influence (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501)  A DUI arrest in Illinois has two components.

A driver will face criminal consequences. DUI, at a minimum, is a Class-A misdemeanor. As such, the possible penalties are up the 364 days in jail and a fine, either alone or in conjunction with jail time, of as much as $2,500.  A convicted driver can also be placed on probation and required to complete alcohol classes, community service and attend a Victim Impact Panel (VIP).

A conviction for DUI also results in a mandatory revocation of driving privileges and a required hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State to restore driving privileges. Before being able to restore full privileges, a convicted driver must wait one, five or ten years, depending upon how many, if any, prior convictions are on that person’s driving record.  625 ILCS 5/6-208

Before that waiting period expires, the driver may be entitled to apply to the Secretary of State for limited driving privileges in order to drive for work, school, day care, medical appointments and Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meetings.  However, there are possible barriers to being immediately eligible for restricted driving privileges, such as a one year waiting period following a second or third DUI conviction and a delay for as much as three years following a refusal of breath testing in the event of a second or more DUI arrest. Continue reading →

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No longer would those with four DUI convictions suffer a lifetime of never driving again. Instead, Illinois House Bill 4206 would give repeat DUI offenders another chance to demonstrate rehabilitation.

A law that is proposed but has not yet been enacted into law is known as a “bill”.  Bills that are enacted become laws known as statutes. 

At present, the law on Illinois driver’s license revocations is based upon the number of convictions and in one instance, the time between convictions.  The meaning of the words “conviction”, “revocation” and “suspension” will be helpful in understanding the bill. 

A DUI-related suspension is a temporary license sanction imposed for a definite period of time.  (625 ILCS 5/1-204)  Once that time elapses, the driver is free to drive upon payment of the appropriate fee, provided driving privileges are not invalid for some other reason. It is a temporary “pause” in driving privileges.

The DUI suspension is known as a statutory summary suspension (“SSS”).  Being non-criminal in nature, an SSS is not dependent upon a conviction. (625 ILCS 5/11-501.1)

A DUI-related revocation is the withdrawal of driving privileges for a period of 1, 5 or 10 years following a conviction.  At the end of that period, restoration of an offender’s driving privileges is not automatic.  (625 ILCS 5/1-176)  

Rather, it is contingent upon a successful hearing before the Illinois Secretary of State (“SOS”), Illinois’ licensing authority.  (625 ILCS 5/2-118; 5/6-208)  In other words, the license the offender held at the time of the DUI offense becomes void upon entry of a conviction. Continue reading →

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The director of a social service agency in Champaign received court supervision following an arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI).  Reports indicated that the probable cause for initially stopping the driver was excessive speed.

It may come as a surprise that speeding is not one of the leading traffic violations that are a precursor to a DUI arrest.  Driving too slowly, a wide turn, and improper lane usage are some of the more common offenses that suggest imparied driving, according to the DUI Detection Guide.

Once the driver was stopped, the officer noticed alcohol on his breath.  At that point, the officer administered the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST).  This test is made up of three components.

The first is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.  In this test, the person administering the test waves a pen or other objecting in front of the subject in a certain fashion. While doing so, the officer scores the driver’s performance.  The test allegedly can detect alcohol impairment based upon how the eyes react.

Following this is the Walk and Turn. In this test, the subject must follow a very specific set of instructions that only marginally mimic walking.  The test subject must begin by putting the right foot forward and then, while staying on a completely imaginary line, take nine steps down, touch “heel to toe” while walking. On the ninth step, the subject must take a few small steps (not pivot) to the left and walk back. Continue reading →

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Britt Miller, age 27, was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Decatur Illinois.  Miller had signed autographs and raffled sports memorabilia during a Super Bowl party at a restaurant located in his hometown of Decatur.  At about 2:00 AM on the night after the Super Bowl, police stopped him, initially for driving the wrong way.  Subsequent observations of the arresting officer led the police to investigate and later arrest Miller for DUI, illegal transportation (open container), no proof of insurance and failure to use a seat belt.

The DUI law is 625 ILCS 5/11-501. In an alcohol-related DUI, a driver may be charged with DUI based upon alcohol-impaired driving or with driving at a blood alcohol level (BAL) above the legal limit.

In all fifty states, the legal limit above which you are assumed to be under the influence of alcohol is .08%. This measures the percent of alcohol in your blood and is by law considered to be too drunk to be driving.  At that level, it becomes the defendant’s burden to show he was not under the influence.

In addition, however, if the state is able to prove that someone was driving with a BAL of at least .08, that in and of itself is proof of DUI, regardless of any evidence the driver presents that he or she was not impaired. This is known as a “per se” law.

Continue reading →

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Background:

In the case of People v. Butorac, 2013 IL App (2d) 110953, an Illinois appellate court examined the rights of a boater who was subject to a warrantless entry and search of his boat while he was boating on it.

The Court held that because of the unique nature of boating, a substantially relaxed Fourth Amendment protection allowed conservation officers to search and seize a boat and its operator, following which the operator was arrested for Boating Under the Influence.

Section 2-2(a) of the Boat Registration and Safety Act (“Act”) (625 ILCS 45/2-2(a) (West 2010)) permits law enforcement officers to “board and inspect any boat at any time” in order to investigate if the occupants are complying with the Act.  Timothy Butorac was boating on a portion of the Fox River located between Elgin and St. Charles, in suburban Chicago Illinois.

Upon making contact with Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) conservation officers, Butorac was charged with, and eventually convicted of, operating a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol, contrary to 625 ILCS 45/5-16(A)(1)(b) (West 2010).  He appealed, asserting that the Act, as applied to his circumstances, was unconstitutional under the United States and Illinois Constitutions, both of which prohibit “unreasonable searches and seizures”.  In a 2-1 decision, the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, ruled that it was not and affirmed his conviction.

Facts:

DNR officers stopped the defendant’s boat on the Fox River solely based upon section 2-2(a) of the Act. The defendant was doing nothing suspicious at the time.

At the point where the officers stopped defendant, the river is about 200 yards wide and is surrounded on both ends by two dams, which are approximately 6 ½ miles away from one another. It is one of the more popular boating areas on the Fox River. There are no lane lines or buoy markers.  Continue reading →

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The Illinois court system consists of three layers. The first is the trial court, which is situated in the downtown area of all of Illinois’ 102 counties.

A single judge presides over a trial. In most cases, including Illinois DUI cases, a jury trial is available.

In that instance, the judge’s job is to rule what evidence the jury will and will not be allowed to hear and to instruct the jury on what the law is. The jury then decides how the facts as the jurors interpret them will be applied to the law.

A trial without a jury is known as a “bench trial”.  The judge (who sits on the bench) decides all questions of law and of fact.

Cases may not even reach the trial stage. In DUI cases, the defendant may attempt to suppress (throw out) evidence the state wishes to use against him or her on that basis that it was obtained in contravention of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Continue reading →

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Every state has laws that make it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol (DUI). 625 ILCS 5/11-501 Each state also has laws concerning the consequences of a DUI arrest and a DUI conviction. The laws of each state vary substantially regarding these driver’s license consequences and what is required for a driver’s license reinstatement.

The fact of a DUI arrest alone triggers potential driver’s license consequences. Forty-six days after an arrest, the state will suspend your driver’s license for a period of six months to three years. A driver’s license suspension means that your driver’s license is temporarily put on hold.

A person who has not had a DUI arrest in the previous five years is known as a first offender even if this is not their first DUI. Those who have had an arrest within the previous five years are non-first offenders.

The legal alcohol limit in Illinois is .08. The test to determine this level, whether it be through breath samples or blood draws, is known as the chemical test. A chemical test with a result of .08 or higher is known as positive.

A driver’s license revocation occurs if you are convicted of the DUI in court. A revocation is a nullification of your driver’s license and driving privileges.

Those privileges are not just put on hold temporarily. To restore them, you must have an administrative hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State.

Continue reading →

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Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) is an organization that began as a grassroots effort to change DUI laws. It is now a lobbying group that relies upon free publicity, intimidation of judges and prosecutors and political favoritism to get its way.
On an annual basis, it bestows various awards to recognize police agencies, politicians and others who bend to its will. It has awarded the State of Illinois “Five Stars” for its DUI laws and practices.

The first “star” is that for requiring breath alcohol ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. In fact, that is not the law in Illinois in all but a few situations.
Anyone who is convicted of at least two DUI offenses must have an interlock for at least 365 consecutive days after receiving authorization to drive. Because the driver has been convicted of DUI, that authorization must come through a formal hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State. 625 ILCS 5/6-208

At such a hearing, the offender must prove that he or she has resolved the alcohol or other drug problem that led to multiple DUI convictions. This is the only situation in which the driver must have an interlock for 365 days regardless of whether the Secretary of State grants full driving privileges or a restricted driving permit (RDP).

Continue reading →

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Illinois has joined a few other states in adopting a law that allows for medicinal use of marijuana. It is known as the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. Public Act 98-0122 It is a “pilot program” in that if lawmakers do not renew the program, it automatically expires four years from its January 1, 2014 effective date.

In order to qualify for the program, a patient must be under a doctor’s care for one of thirty-three specified medical conditions for which the doctor certifies marijuana is an effective therapy. Upon being so qualified, the patient may then obtain a certificate from the Illinois Department of Public Health to become a legal medical marijuana patient.

Registered patients may not be arrested or prosecuted for criminal penalties as long as they are following the mandates of the law. Nor can it be used against them in child custody disputes, in renting property or in school or employment.

In general, doctors may authorize up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks. But this does not mean it is legally to drive high even if you have a marijuana permit.

The Illinois DUI law for medical marijuana differs from standard DUI law. This applies to both the criminal penalties and driver’s license consequences.

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In some states, for instance, Vermont, a refusal to submit to a breath test can in and of itself be a crime in addition to the separate crime of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). At the present time, in Illinois, the rules on refusal are different from those in Vermont and some other states.

A DUI arrest begins when a driver has an encounter with law enforcement. The officer might see what he believes to be criminal behavior, including something as basic as a traffic code violation. Or perhaps a driver is slumped behind the wheel of the car being operated, or the officer is otherwise performing a “community caretaking” function.

Sometimes the stop involves an anonymous tip of impaired driving made by a citizen. It could be another driver, a pedestrian or the guy serving food at the drive up window. As long as the tipster is shown to be a “reliable source”, a stop in this circumstance does not violate the United States Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Continue reading →

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