The Chicago DUI Law Blog - Find a Chicago DUI Attorney

October 2012 Archives

DUI Suspect Hit a House and Ran

Normally, someone charged with a hit and run has hit another vehicle or a person and then made a futile and unintelligent decision to flee the scene. Normally, when someone hits a house, their car is too damaged to move.

Bess Kellebrew, 32, is a special case then, as she allegedly hit a house (in front of witnesses) and then took off, reports KSDK. Her obviously damaged vehicle was stopped on Old Route 66 by Staunton police. Sheriff's deputies that had been investigating the damaged house were alerted and joined Staunton police in their investigation of Kellebrew.

Good Samaritans Catch Juan Diaz on Possible 18th DUI

The details of Juan Diaz's history are sketchy, not the least because the man himself is sketchy. Ten days ago, Diaz was headed westbound on I-90 at 10:45 pm. A pair of people in a car that was near Diaz's van noticed him swerving lane to lane and contacted the police. They then followed him until he stopped in Elgin, where he was arrested by waiting officers. The witnesses say that at one point, he turned with such speed that he almost flipped his van, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

When the police questioned Diaz, he gave them two false names and birth dates. Fortunately, these cops weren't easily fooled and managed to track down his priors in two criminal databases. The results are astonishing: either 13 or 14 DUI convictions in Illinois since 1989, two DUI convictions in Texas, a warrant for outstanding aggravated DUI charges, and at least four convictions for driving on a revoked license.

Fourteen plus two plus one pending plus present arrest... that's eighteen!

How Long Will Your DUIs Follow You? Ask Politician Michael Carbone

Fair or not, Lake County Board candidate Michael Carbone is facing an unusually high level of scrutiny while running for a local political office. The man formerly known as Michael Jorudd apparently has a criminal record under his former name that is just now coming to light, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Truth be told, it all seems to be much ado about nothing. Readers see headlines about name changes and “criminal pasts” and it drives clicks and readership. We’re doing it right now. But Carbone has reasonable explanations for his past.

Only in the Midwest: Carlton Fisk Gets DUI in a Cornfield

That's a hell of a way to celebrate the 37th anniversary of one of the most famous home runs in Red Sox history. On Monday, at 7:20 pm, New Lenox police found Carlton Fisk asleep at the wheel of his Ford F-150 in the middle of a cornfield, with a flat tire and bottle of vodka in the cab, reports TMZ.

Needless to say, he was arrested and charged with DUI.

Man Hits Skateboarder, Arrested Three Blocks Later

Luis P. Pena is going to be facing a significant amount of jail time if convicted. According to the Chicago Tribune, Pena was behind the wheel of a Dodge Neon when he clipped a 42-year-old skateboarder at about 2 a.m. on Friday. He attempted to flee the scene, but was stopped a few blocks down the road by responding officers. His blood alcohol content was reportedly 0.18.

Now he's facing charges of aggravated DUI, leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, misdemeanor DUI, reckless driving, driving without a license, operating a vehicle without insurance, and a bond violation from a previous drunk driving charge. Because he was still on bond from the previous arrest, we can be pretty confident that the previous DUI happened recently.

U.S. Supreme Court Could Ban Forced Blood Draws

Our legal system is made up of flexible rules. For nearly every rule, there are exceptions. Eventually, the exceptions swallow up the rule and the rule changes. Our law is constantly on a path of clarifications and hopefully, improvement. It is the beauty and curse of our legal system that the moment we think we know the law, it changes.

We just discussed the "rule" regarding forced blood draws for DUI suspects in Illinois. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled first that "reasonable" force was allowable to withdraw blood. More recently, they held that five people holding down a suspect while blood is drawn is a bit beyond reasonable. What's the happy middle ground? That remains to be seen, though a case before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) could answer the question before Illinois gets a chance.

Woman Gets DUI After Toddler Found Wandering in Street

Krystal Rushing probably didn’t expect to see the police when she arrived at her home. Then again, no one expects to get caught when driving drunk. However, the police weren’t there for her drunk driving. They were there to investigate possible child endangerment charges.

Though we’ve covered the long version of Rushing’s story on our family law blog, here is the short version of her woes. In September, her child was found wandering in the streets. Rushing was outside looking for her while her other child, a one-year-old, was left unattended in her home. She was charged with two child endangerment counts.

Fatal DUI Crash Leads to ... First Degree Murder Conviction?

Sixteen-year-old Marquis Harrison was drunk. Really drunk. He was also "rolling" on ecstasy. Obviously, one should not drive in such a condition. He not only drove, but he stole a vehicle. Bad move, kid.

After he ran a red light, he was pulled over. He then decided to back into the police car before fleeing the scene. The cops gave chase before Harrison eventually collided with an off-duty police dispatcher's car. She died after her vehicle ended up wrapped around a fire hydrant on the driver's side.

You Refused the Blood, Breath, or Urine Test; Can They Force It?

Earlier this week, we addressed the question that has plagued Guinness drinkers for centuries: is it ever a good idea (legally) to refuse the implied consent (blood, breath, or urine) test? The answer was in most cases, no. However, if you are a repeat offender facing a massive penalty, it might make some sense to gamble that the officer’s observations and testimony about your refusal wouldn’t suffice to convince a jury of your guilt.

But, if you refuse, can the officers force you? Obviously, they can’t force the urine test. That would get kind of messy, and urethral catheterization is a difficult, invasive, and painful process. Breathalyzers only work if the person being tested blows sufficient air into the machine, so forcing that test is pretty much impossible as well.

Mark Ditka Arrested for --th DUI; We Lost Count

Mark Ditka’s going to have to call the same super-lawyers that worked miracles for his family’s previous DUI arrests. Hopefully, he’s got the number on speed dial. His brother, Michael Ditka, was arrested for the rare “DUI without the keys in the ignition” and had his charges dropped back in February. He faced up to seven years, as he is a repeat offender. His attorney got the charges dropped after successfully arguing that the cops did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to make the arrest.

Mark’s three prior arrests included a reduced charge to reckless driving, a not guilty ruling, and last September’s arrest. The Breathalyzer results from that test were tossed out after Mark claimed that he was chewing citrus flavored tobacco, which could have influenced the test. Those charges are still pending.

Is Refusing a Blood, Breath, or Urine Test Ever a Good Idea?

There are two questions that every DUI scholar hears often: "Is there ever a situation where it is to your advantage to refuse a blood-alcohol test?" and "Can the police force me to submit to a test?"

While we'd never advise refusing a field sobriety test, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in general, in some circumstances, it makes sense from a legal strategic standpoint to refuse a blood, breath, or urine test. Of course, this judgment call will have to be made by you while you are under the influence, which means you'll probably screw it up.

Victory in the War on DUI: Fewer Teens Driving Drunk, CDC Says

The war on drunken driving has been fought on many fronts. Some have chosen to tackle the issue of recidivism (repeat offenders), some have studied the impact of marijuana use on driving, and some have fought to curb underage drinking and driving.

At least on that final battle, we have what seems to be a dramatic victory. Drunken driving among teenagers has declined by 54 percent over the last two decades, reports Reuters.

Tailgating Rules: Laws, Tips For Soldier Field Pregaming

You may be ready for some football, but are you ready for the tailgate party, legally speaking?

The Bears will take on the Detroit Lions here at Soldier Field on national television Oct. 22. Monday Night Football. Does it get better than that? If you're the tailgating type, you have only a few weeks to prepare for that glorious matchup. With the way Cutler and Marshall seem to be meshing, and the way Matt Stafford has been collapsing for the Lions, that game looks to be a fun one for Bears fans.

Before setting up those tents, tapping those kegs, and grilling those brats, take heed of the following tailgating tips and laws. Doing so can prevent your tailgating experience from being more of a bust than Cade McNown.

DUI Hotel: Effective Alternative Punishment, or Absolute Joke?

Illinois' DUI laws aren't perfect, especially with regard to drugged driving. But one thing this fine state does not do is allow those sentenced to jail to serve time in a hotel. Yes, a hotel.

Allegheny County, Pa., has a "DUI hotel" program that does exactly that. Lawmakers in that state long ago decided that jail time should be mandatory for certain types of DUI offenses. It is essentially an alternative punishment program for those who are first-time DUI offenders, but are not otherwise eligible for programs offered to those with spotless records.