July 2010 News: The Chicago DUI Law Blog

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July 2010 Archives

Actor Chris Klein, who was born in Hinsdale and is best known for his role as Chris "Oz" Ostreicher in "American Pie," decided to voluntarily extend his stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center, according to People Magazine. 

He voluntarily checked into rehab following his second DUI arrest earlier this summer, according to an earlier People article, in which it was speculated that he might face jail time for the offense. A Chicago DUI lawyer could better compare and contrast DUI laws in Illinois and in California, where the actor was arrested.

Chicago Now's Real Law Blog discusses how individuals can clear their names and move on after being convicted of a crime, focusing on expungement and sealing of one's records. In theory, either process is used to give convicts a fresh start and escape the taint of a prior misfortune.

In Illinois, most misdemeanor convictions can be cleared from one's record after a period of time; most felonies, on the other hand, cannot. For example, a retail theft in the amount of $100 (or less) usually can be expunged or sealed after about five years or so; this is helpful when applying for a job, to give one example.

The lead vocalist of 1980s-era spandex-and-big-hair band Warrant, known for its innuendo-laden "Cherry Pie," was sentenced to 120 days in jail for his second DUI in a year, TMZ reported.  

Jani Lane was arrested in Woodland Hills, California on May 9 after he allegedly crashed into a parked car and registered twice the legal limit for blood-alcohol content. No one was injured in the incident.

If you're curious, a Chicago DUI lawyer could better explain how repeat offenders are typically sentenced.

Summer vacation is a time for cross-country road trips, while extended drives make GPS-enabled and Web-connected mobile phones that much more attractive. But as an MSNBC article points out, be aware of different states' distracted driving laws before setting out.

Illinois enacted a ban on sending or reading text messages while driving on Jan. 1, as an ABC Chicago article explains. But while Chicago DUI lawyers don't typically handle distracted driving cases, distraction is strikingly similar to intoxication and often just as dangerous.

Today's smart phones are the Swiss Army Knife of road trips. Many of them run applications for finding cheap gas, inexpensive hotels and traffic updates; while most phones nowadays come equipped with GPS-enabled navigation software.

Although Kathie LaFond claims that police negligently failed to stop her intoxicated boyfriend from driving her 5-year-old son home after she was arrested for driving without a license, the Southtown Star reported that police records suggest otherwise

Her boyfriend, Cecil Conner Jr., lost control of the car and wrapped it around a tree, which resulted in her son's death. He was cited for an aggravated DUI.

He's not an Illinois DUI lawyer, but personal injury attorney Timothy Winfield probably knew enough about drunk-driving laws to expect a harsher sentence this time. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and must wear an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet after his fifth DUI arrest, as reported by the American Bar Association Journal.

While this was only his second actual conviction for a DUI, the first was in 1991, the November 2005 accident resulted in the serious injuries of another motorist and could have led to a much stiffer sentence.

A lobbyist group angling to represent the mobile phone industry and known by the acronym DRIVE, or "Drivers for Responsibility, Innovation and Vehicle Education," is countering efforts by Oprah Winfrey and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to curb distracted driving accidents through greater regulation, Fair Warning reported. 

Fair Warning, a non-governmental organization that serves as a corporate watchdog, linked to a 10-page internal DRIVE document describing its efforts to push back against campaigns to limit mobile phone use in the car (PDF).   

The rationale for the mobile industry's resistance to distracted driving laws is simple: Fears about the dangers of texting and driving (some, including Oprah, have advocated against all mobile phone use while driving) translates into fewer minutes and thus lower profits.

Drag racing on Chicago's streets is dangerous enough while sober. But a two-car crash during a race along the Eisenhower Expy. last Sunday proved absolutely fatal, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Edward Dixon, the 28-year-old driver of the 2004 Chevrolet Impala, was charged with a DUI. He and a backseat passenger suffered non-life-threatening injuries; but 28-year-old front-seat passenger Maurice A. Horton was killed after being partially ejected from the car after the driver lost control.

Poor Lindsay Lohan. The troubled actress who has been in trouble for drunk driving and drug abuse several times was sentenced to 90 days in jail for violating DUI probation terms following a DUI conviction, as reported by CBS News and elsewhere.

Very few people would calmly accept their punishment, even if it's clear they messed up, but Lindsay Lohan seems to think it's a violation of her human rights.

To be fair, the judge sentenced her to a much longer sentence than the 30 days sought by prosecutors; but if she actually believes she's above the law because she's a celebrity, it might be wise to keep those thoughts to herself.

Usually a breathalyzer is the last thing you want to see after a night of revelry. But a new pocket-sized, consumer-targeted breathalyzer device called the AlcoHawk Slim Ultra, as described in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, just might save someone's life.

If it catches on and goes into heavy use, the small devices could cut into Chicago DUI lawyers' business. And at $69.99, they're much cheaper than paying the fines, legal fees and other costs associated with a DUI. 

The Wilmette Pioneer reported that Szymon Zawadzki, a 20-year-old Chicago man, was charged with two counts of reckless homicide and charges related to driving under the influence of alcohol. The Wilmette incident claimed the lives of two of his four teenage passengers.

Szymon Zawadzki's Chicago DUI lawyer may advise his client to plead guilty to the four counts of aggravated DUI, two for DUI resulting in death and two for DUI resulting in great bodily harm, unless he or she has a plan to defend against the charges. He also was charged with improper lane usage, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and driving without insurance.

But even though he's only 20, the article didn't mention charges related to underage drinking. His blood-alcohol concentration at the time of the crash also was not reported.  

Vince Neil, 49-year-old lead singer of the hard rock band Motley Crue, was arrested in Las Vegas earlier this week on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, according to CBS News. Motley Crue gained a large following in the 1980s and has toured recently.

He was released on $2,000 bail after initially being held at the Clark County Jail. His next court date is scheduled for Sept. 27.

But the singer is no stranger to drunk driving charges. He was arrested in Las Vegas three years ago for a DUI after police stopped him (driving a Ferrari) for reckless driving, according to TMZ. He pled no contest to reckless driving in exchange for having the DUI charges dropped.