August 2012 News: The Chicago DUI Law Blog

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August 2012 Archives

Man Gets 7th DUI While Wanted for 6th, Faces 30 Years on Each

Osvaldo Collazo, 47, might spend the rest of his life in prison. Did he kill someone? No. Did he harm someone in any way? No.

What he did do was run afoul of Illinois’ repeat DUI offender laws. On Wednesday evening, he was stopped after he was seen weaving in traffic. He admitted to drinking and a Breathalyzer test indicated a whopping 0.213 blood-alcohol content, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Labor Day: Public Drinking Rules in Chicago

For some, Labor Day is a time to celebrate something to do with people working somewhere. For far more of our fair citizens, it's an excuse to take the day off, barbeque or check out a street fair, and crack open a cold beer.

The problem with those street fairs is they can get so boring. Only a few serve alcohol. And if your wife is dragging you to an arts and crafts fair, you're going to need alcohol. And think about those awkward social interactions at sober barbeques. Who needs that, right?

So can you drink toss back cold can of Pabst Blue Ribbon in public?

Man Convicted in Randy Salerno's Death Busted for Another DUI

Call it incremental improvement. Scott Hirschey was arrested July 27 for a run-of-the-mill misdemeanor DUI. After he allegedly rear-ended a truck, which suffered no damage, a cop pulled him over, determined he was intoxicated, and arrested him, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. No big deal, right?

Except, he's been here before. Back in January 2008, Hirschey was driving a snowmobile, drunk, and his passenger died in the resulting crash. The passenger was his good friend and Chicago television anchor Randy Salerno.

Fatal DUI Hit-and-Run Driver: I Thought I Hit a Tree

Sorry bro. Chicago police probably aren't that gullible.

Manikandan Balasubramanian, 33, of Arlington Heights (who officially has the longest name of any DUI offender on this blog), allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian shortly after leaving the Polekatz Gentleman's Club in Bridgeview, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Two New DUI / Alcohol Laws Signed by Gov. Pat Quinn

Two new DUI and alcohol laws signed by Gov. Pat Quinn will affect the flow of alcohol to minors and bolster DUI enforcement efforts throughout the state, reports the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

The first law, HB 1554, will make it a Class A misdemeanor, with a minimum $500 fine, for adults to host underage drinking parties. These social host laws are a growing trend and are meant to combat the flow of alcohol to underage drinkers.

Under the new law, if a person who controls the premises is over 21, hosting a gathering of two or more people, and knows or should know of a minor on the premises who possesses or consumes alcohol, the adult party host is guilty of a crime. Of course, exceptions do exist for permitted underage consumption, such as in religious ceremonies.

NHTSA's Newest Non-News: Drunker Drunks Kill More People

We don't mean to be so glib, but really NHTSA? If you're going to release studies, can they tell us something besides the obvious? As part of the a press conference commemorating the annual nationwide crackdown on drunken driving -- cleverly coined "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" -- the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released their newest statistical study on drunk drivers, reports The Washington Post. The study broke down alcohol-related traffic fatalities according to a driver's age, gender, and of course, blood alcohol content.

The findings were unremarkable in light of common sense. More than two-thirds of the 10,228 drunken driving deaths in 2010 were caused by those with a BAC of 0.15% or higher. In other words, those drivers were hammered. Hammered drivers are poor drivers. Poor drivers are more likely to kill people.

Type I Diabetes, Restrictive Diets Can Trick Breathalyzer

If you've ever been pulled over after having a couple of drinks, you've probably wondered: which of the tests required by the Illinois implied consent law is best? There's blood, urine, and the old classic: the Breathalyzer.

As research into the efficacy of these three tests advances, it's looking more and more like the Breathalyzer might be the worst of the bunch. There are known accuracy issues when machines aren't calibrated on a regular basis. They also have a much higher margin of error than the other choices. Even something as simple as the presence of mouth alcohol (due to a recent drink, mouthwash, or vomit) can create inaccurately high readings. Each of these problems can, of course, be minimized with proper planning.

Fatal Boating Accident Leads to Drunk, Drugged Driving Charges

Jim Borcia, and three of his children, watched powerlessly as his son was killed by a drunk and high boater. According to the Tribune, 10-year-old Tony Borcia had just been riding on an inner-tube with his sister when he slipped off. He shouldn’t have been in danger. He was wearing a life vest and his father was turning around their pontoon boat to pick him up.

Meanwhile, David Hatinya, 50, was piloting his boat in the same direction. The family waved at him to stop, but he didn’t notice them. Nor did he notice the child.

Felony Charge for Drunk Driver with Unrestrained Babies Onboard

Sometimes, when researching the law, you come across a statute that just seems too perfect. Were the law-makers soothsayers, or are there just a lot of unoriginal acts of idiocy in Illinois?

We ordinarily refrain from passing judgment. Well, most of the time. But driving with two unrestrained 17-month-olds in the back seat (even when accompanied by their father) is just plain stupid. Doing so while allegedly sipping on a Budweiser, with four more beers missing from the pack, is even more stupid.

Drunken Dirtbiking Wipeout Leads to DUI Charges

That's a pretty awful way to get caught. Fifty-three-year-old Ricky Shartzer, of Illiopolis, was making the transition from Old Route 36 to a gravel service road when he wiped out. In addition to a presumably damaged bike, he also suffered a broken lower left leg.

After receiving medical attention, he was charged with a DUI and ticketed for driving with a revoked license, driving an uninsured vehicle, having no valid registration, and of course, failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash, reports the State Journal-Register.

Drunk Driver's Record Has More Than 20 Tickets, Back 2 Back DUIs

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Andrew E. Piry’s driving record is insanely bad. The 22-year-old has been ticketed or arrested 20 times since 2006 in Will County and twice since 2008 in DuPage County. The tickets were for such things as speeding and failure to wear a seat belt. He also was arrested for retail theft in 2007 and marijuana possession in May.

Add on the back to back DUI arrests over the last two months, and you have a pretty awful driver who won’t be driving (legally) for a long time.

'Extraordinary Circumstances' Found in Questionable Weed DUI

We've been waiting for this moment for a while. Though we routinely monitor DUI cases throughout Illinois, we've only seen cases where "extraordinary circumstances" were not found in an aggravated DUI case. Now, in a case with questionable merit, we finally have an example to illustrate the vague standard.

As you might recall from previous installments of this blog, "extraordinary circumstances" is the standard by which a judge can grant probation to someone who is facing an aggravated DUI causing death charge. What constitutes these extra-special circumstances? The statute doesn't say, which is causing a little legal ruckus.

How Useful is a Pocket Breathalyzer?

You know what happens when you get pulled over. They check your papers, then they ask you to do field sobriety tests, and then, if you're lucky, you'll get to blow into a little machine (or give up a little blood or urine). Why not skip the middle man and avoid the Chicago PD?

Pocket Breathalyzers are meant to do just that. They are tiny, simple devices that give you a measurement of your blood-alcohol content. You drink, then you blow. Rinse (with whiskey) and repeat.

Two Teens Independently, Simultaneously, Crash Cars

Thomas Hogan, 18, hit the curve first in a Jeep Wrangler. Whether it was alcohol in his system, or speed, or lethargy, something caused him to drive across the oncoming lane and off the side of the road, reports FOX Chicago.

His friend Damian Dzitkowski, 19, was following behind in a Buick sedan. Whether it was alcohol, stupidity, or simply jumping off a metaphorical bridge because his friend did it first, Dzitkowski followed his friend's car off the road.

Both cars crashed. Both drivers were injured. Both drivers allegedly had alcohol in their system. There was no indication that the cars made contact with each other prior to the detour into a utility pole. One simply followed the other.