The Chicago DUI Law Blog - Find a Chicago DUI Attorney

September 2010 Archives

Andrew Thomas Gallo was convicted on three counts of second-degree murder for a DUI crash that claimed the life of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starting pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The accident took place just hours after the ace pitcher made his first start of the season on April 9, 2009, pitching a six-inning shutout.

Lindsay Lohan may have thought that the worst of her DUI troubles were finally behind her, but now she's heading back to the slammer yet again, People Magazine reported. The celebrity magazine reported last week that she failed a mandatory drug test, but there was no mention of which drug she allegedly consumed in violation of her probation. 

The judge in Lindsay Lohan's drawn-out DUI case denied her bail at last Friday's hearing, ordering her held in jail until her Oct. 22 hearing. The actress "looked stunned" and was crying as police handcuffed and drove her to the women's jail in Lynwood, California, reporters said.

Reginald Hearon, a 50-year-old former guard at the St. Charles Illinois Youth Center, pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and aggravated DUI for a 2008 crash that killed a St. Charles resident, according to the St. Charles Republican. He worked at IYC for 26 years before retiring as soon as charges were filed against him.

The reckless homicide charge carries a possible sentence of two to five years in prison and one year of supervised release. The aggravated DUI charge, meanwhile, carries a much stiffer sentence of three to 14 years in prison plus two years of supervised release.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Roadside Memorial Act into law earlier this year, which will expand the state's roadside memorial program for traffic accident victims to those killed in distracted driving incidents, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Currently only those who died in DUI and other alcohol-related accidents are allowed to be memorialized by roadside signs.

While Chicago DUI lawyers don't typically handle distracted driving cases, mostly because they don't carry the same penalties, advocates for tougher laws say distracted driving is often as dangerous as drunk driving. New research cited by another recent Sun-Times article backs that assertion.

In what is believed to be the first such program in Illinois, Kane County officials tested 17 former DUI offenders eight times each over the Labor Day holiday weekend, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The program was developed to keep those with DUI convictions and court-ordered bans on drinking away from booze during Labor Day and other holidays where more alcohol is consumed in general.  

Illinois DUI lawyer J. Brick Van Der Snick told Tribune reporters he likes the program because it provides incentives and alternatives:

"I tell my clients there's a lot of work here, but it's an alternative to going to jail or losing your driver's license."

The Northwest Herald reported on the opening of the trial for 55-year-old Wonder Lake resident Ricky McGuire, who stands accused of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol. The July 2008 collision claimed the life of 21-year-old Nicole Jurgens.

Police claim the defendant had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.179, more than twice the legal limit, based on a breathalyzer test. But Tom Loizzo, Ricky McGuire's Chicago DUI lawyer, denied that alcohol was a factor in his opening statement:

"This was nothing more than a regrettable, unfortunate accident that could not have been avoided if you or I were driving the boat."

George Michael, best known for his work with the 1980s pop band Wham and his popular solo album "Faith," was sentenced to eight weeks in jail for driving under the influence of cannabis (aka, marijuana), according to the Washington Post.

The 47-year-old pop music star was sentenced in London under English law, although a Chicago DUI Lawyer could probably better explain how impaired driving laws differ between Illinois and the UK.

George Michael pleaded guilty to the charges in August after he crashed his Range Rover into a Snappy Snaps photo shop in north London on July 4. No one was injured in the accident.

It's not often a DUI case that doesn't involve a celebrity grabs national headlines, but this one is not your garden variety case. The Denver Post reported on a 32-year-old Greeley, Colorado man who police say drove off in the squad car he was buckled into after his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Most Chicago DUI lawyers probably have a few stories of clients pulling similarly half-baked stunts; but driving away in a cop car while allegedly three sheets to the wind must be extremely rare. 

Now defendant Adam Segura and his lawyer have their work cut out for them; but how will he explain this one?

Just one game into the 2010 season, the University of Illinois' football team lost yet another starter. Lineman Michael Buchanan was suspended indefinitely after he was arrested last Sunday on suspicion of driving under the influence and consumption of alcohol by a minor, the Chicago Tribune reported.

But while his Illinois DUI lawyer may push for leniency so the young football player won't have to miss the entire season, courts don't take underage DUIs lightly. And the breathalyzer recorded his blood-alcohol content at 0.164 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Those who repeatedly run afoul of DUI laws are actually deficient in their ability to reason, according to a new study tracking roughly three-dozen male, second-time DUI offenders, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported. Seasoned Chicago DUI attorneys are probably not surprised one bit; but now science can explain how the brains of repeat DUI offenders work.  

The 34 repeat DUI offenders, all of whom were enrolled in a rehabilitation group, were compared with a control group of 31 non-offenders matched for age, education and alcohol consumption. Researchers tested the personality and decision-making patterns of the subjects using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), which simulates real-life decision-making and is often used for alcohol-related studies.

Police can't tell for sure whether someone is driving under the influence until they collect evidence from a field sobriety test or breathalyzer screening. So they rely on 20 visual cues that are often exhibited by impaired motorists, as Springfield's State Journal-Register discussed in a recent article. 

Arrests following such stops don't always require an Illinois DUI lawyer, since traffic stops based on those 20 indicators often lead to arrests on suspicion of other criminal violations.

Cecil Conner, the Steger man whose auto collision resulted in the death of his girlfriend's 5-year-old son, was able to get his driver's license reinstated on a technicality, the suburban Herald News reported. But prosecutors remain confident that he won't be driving anytime soon if he's even able to put together the $50,000 get out of jail.

This story made national headlines because police handed the keys to Cecil Connor after his sober girlfriend, Kathie LaFond, was arrested for driving on a suspended license, as summarized in an earlier Chicago Tribune story. Police insist they had no reason to believe he was drunk, which the grieving mother disputes.

Blood and urine samples used to measure his blood-alcohol concentration were collected at the emergency room by hospital staff, which Illinois DUI lawyer Jeff Tomczak said is not admissible because it wasn't ordered by police.

A federal class action lawsuit claims that so-called "no refusal" weekends, wherein drivers stopped on suspicion of a DUI are not allowed to refuse a blood-alcohol concentration test, are unconstitutional, the Courthouse News Service reported.

The case (Cheryl Yachin v. Village of Libertyville, PDF) is being heard in a federal court in Chicago but originated in Libertyville. 

Plaintiff Cheryl Yachin's Illinois DUI lawyer, Keith Hunt, argued in the complaint that no refusal weekends "deny an accused's right to refuse a blood or alcohol test" for "run of the mill" DUI cases. He stated that a "run of the mill" DUI case is one which causes no accident or injury.

Sandra Vasquez, the 26-year-old Aurora woman responsible for a 2007 DUI crash that resulted in the death of five Oswego teenagers, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. She will have to serve at least 12 and 1/2 years of her term before she is eligible for parole.

Blood tests taken after the crash indicated that her blood-alcohol concentration was 0.105 percent, slightly higher than the 0.08 percent threshold in Illinois. But Chicago DUI Attorney Kathleen Colton, who represented Sandra Vasquez, argued her client's liver was damaged in the crash and that it resulted in a false-positive.

The jury didn't buy that argument and in June convicted her of reckless homicide and aggravated DUI for the Feb. 11, 2007, 2:20 a.m. crash.