February 2010 News: The Chicago DUI Law Blog

The Chicago DUI Law Blog - Find a Chicago DUI Attorney

February 2010 Archives

The Chicago Tribune reports on a 25-year-old Aurora man who pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated DUI for an Aug. 4, 2007 crash that resulted in the death of his two passengers. Authorities also told reporters that the Nissan Sentra driven by Thomas G. Ofenloch was traveling 100 mph at the time of the accident.

Kane County Assistant State's Atty. Greg Sams said the following at a hearing, as quoted by the Tribune:

"The Nissan, for all intents and purposes, was split in two." 

Illinios DUI attorney J. Brick Van Der Snick, Mr. Ofenloch's counsel, argued that his client deserves some credit for "dutifully" appearing for all of his court dates after the judge revoked his bond and ordered him held until sentencing. Mr. Sams reportedly had asked for the revocation. Mr. Ofenloch had been free on bond prior to the hearing.

It looks as though Bradley Baldino's Illinois DUI lawyer has more work to do after his 38-year-old Lake Zurich client allegedly lied under oath about his arrest record, as reported by the Chicago Daily Herald. He was found guilty on DUI charges but now faces the much more serious charge of perjury.

Perjury is committed when an individual knowingly lies under oath and the lie is directly relevant to the testimony, legal document or other legal matter at hand, according to FindLaw.

Mr. Baldino allegedly swore under oath that he had never previously been arrested on any DUI or other alcohol-related charges, according to authorities cited in the article. However, officers reportedly discovered that Mr. Baldino not only had a 2008 DUI conviction from Lake County, but also a 2006 DUI conviction from California.

Six-year-old South Side girl Jada Washington was killed last week when she was struck by a van driven by 48-year-old Eddie Lumpkin, according to a Chicago Sun-Times article. The young girl's aunt also was struck and reportedly sustained multiple fractures.

The two were on their way to buy some candy, according to another Sun-Times article. Jada Washington's mother, Areathea Washington, told reporters what she saw before learning of her daughter's death:

"I stopped and asked what happened. I knew somebody got hit by a car. I knew somebody must have gotten hurt."

Ms. Washington's phone rang a few minutes later, informing her that her daughter was in critical condition at University of Chicago Comer's Children's Hospital. She and her husband, Derrick Washington, rushed to the hospital and learned that their daughter didn't survive.

According to police, 31-year-old Rosa M. Gutierrez may need more than just a Chicago DUI attorney to defend against multiple charges arising from a high-speed chase, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Police told reporters they were forced to use a Taser to subdue Ms. Gutierrez, who allegedly struck an officer with her car after fleeing from police. Both Ms. Gutierrez and the hit officer were treated at local hospitals and released.

Mr. Gutierrez was then taken into police custody, but it's not clear from the article whether or not she was released on bail.

Illinois DUI attorney Terry Ekl told Chicago Sun-Times reporters that the alleged wobbly driving of his client, former hockey star Chris Chelios, was caused by multiple knee surgeries, and not alcohol. Mr. Ekl showed a 15-minute police video in a hearing that prompted DuPage county Judge Cary Pierce to rule that police lacked probable cause for the Dec. 28 arrest.  

In all likeliness, according to the article in the words of the defense attorney, "The case is over."

Mr. Chelios refused to take a breathalyzer test; so the prosecution based its DUI charge on the alleged weaving and results of a field sobriety test. In the videotape, the Sun-times reports, 48-year-old Chelios could be seen swaying as he walked and once put his foot down during the balancing test.

Two men allegedly got into a fist fight following a crash in Chicago's western suburbs and one of the drivers was charged with a DUI, Suburban Life Publications reported. Bartlett Police responded to the crash; which occurred on Lake Street in the early morning of Feb. 4, according to reporters.

While 21-year-old Brandon P. Rodriguez faces charges that likely will require the services of a criminal attorney, 23-year-old Christopher M. Suderski faces misdemeanor DUI charges and might want to contact an Illinois DUI lawyer.

According to the police report cited in the article, Mr. Suderski was driving his Chrysler PT Cruiser when he slammed into the rear of the Hyundai SUV driven by Mr. Rodriguez. Mr. Rodiguez was stopped at a red light. Mr. Rodriguez reportedly got out of his car and confronted Mr. Suderski, and started punching him in the face and chest several times.

10-Year Sentence For Seventh DUI

Cook County Circuit Court Judge John Scotillo sentenced 55-year-old Norridge resident Jozef Stepkowski to a ten-year prison sentence for his seventh DUI, the Daily Herald reports.

Mr. Stepkowski's Chicago DUI attorney, "Doc" Elliot Pollock, tried unsuccessfully to elicit sympathy from the judge by discussing his client's diabetes, high blood pressure, and recent prostate cancer diagnosis; in addition to alcohol-related problems. His plea to Judge Scotillo was quoted by the Herald:

"Mr. Stepkowski has had a tumultuous relationship with alcohol in the past. He has serious issues with alcohol and would benefit greatly from a treatment plan."  

It also was reported that Mr. Stepkowski claimed he was at home when his car rear-ended and injured another motorist on the morning of June 15, 2008 before the driver fled the scene.

Illinois DUI attorneys will tell you that implied consent laws with respect to driving make it difficult to refuse a blood alcohol test. As LawBrain explains, implied consent means that motorists agree to submit to a drug or alcohol test if stopped on suspicion of impairment, "or face revocation or suspension" of one's license.

Still, motorists often refuse to submit to such a test and forcing someone to blow into a breathalyzer machine is virtually impossible.

However, as with the case of suspected DUI offender Donald E. Rericka, reported by the Daily Herald, a forced blood draw can be ordered by way of a search warrant.

Chicago DUI lawyers generally don't handle texting while driving cases, which typically are limited to citations, but studies show that the potentially distracting behavior can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving (Car and Driver).

Such studies, buoyed by the increasing frequency of accidents involving drivers who were distracted by their mobile device, have prompted lawmakers to take action. An Illinois law banning texting while driving took effect on Jan. 1, 2010.

But another study, the results of which were reported by The Associated Press, suggests that such laws do nothing to stop distracted-driver crashes.

The Daily Herald reports that Jaime Llanos was charged with his fourth DUI. Llanos has "a history of drunken-driving," was picked up and charged with what could be his fourth DUI. Police stopped Llanos after they allegedly witnessed him running a red light at Route 56 and Mitchell Road in North Aurora.

The defendant was charged with three felony counts of driving under the influence for a number of reasons, police say: He has three prior DUIs; he allegedly lacked a driver's license and insurance; allegedly possessed alcohol in his vehicle; and, police say, he was not wearing his seat belt.

Llanos is being held in the Kane County jail on a $30,000 bond as he awaits his next court date, scheduled for Feb. 16. Court records do not list an attorney for Llanos.

After a nearly year-long investigation, no criminal charges were filed against Chicago Police officer Richard Fiorito, who had been accused of making false DUI arrests to boost his numbers and receive overtime pay, ABC News reports.

Fiorito was removed from the streets after multiple accusations accusing him of false arrests and targeting gay and lesbian motorists were filed. Attorneys representing nearly 40 such accusers tried unsuccessfully to prove that Fiorito routinely stopped motorists without probable cause.

DUI Charge Dropped In Fatal Collision

Witnesses say 32-year-old bicyclist William R. Posey suddenly pulled out in front of a vehicle. That vehicle was 36-year-old motorist Dale W. Smith's vehicle. The Morris Daily Herald reports that the impact killed Mr. Posey. The incident happened on a poorly lit roadway in the dark of night. Mr. Posey was wearing dark clothes.

Smith is being charged for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. The results of a breathalyzer test indicate that Smith had a BAC of 0.053 percent, which is less than the legal limit of 0.08 percent. A second citation that charged Mr. Smith with driving under the influence was dropped. Typically, an Illinois DUI attorney knows that if the driver's blood alcohol is lower than the legal limit, that driver can still be charged with a DUI based on other factors. However the burden of proof for that citation lies with the Grundy County State Attorney in this case.