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December 2012 Archives

Beating the Breath Test: Can You Game the Breathalyzer?

One of the most frequently asked questions about drunken driving is whether one can possibly trick a Breathalyzer test. It's an excellent question, as sometimes the outcome of a criminal case depends on the accuracy of such tests, and for much of the last thirty years or so, Breathalyzers have been the most popular blood alcohol content measuring test.

Of course, before the answer comes the disclaimer. You shouldn't need or want to beat a breath test. You shouldn't be drinking and driving in the first place. Seriously. DUIs cost thousands of dollars for convictions and sometimes even for acquittals (most lawyers aren't free). A cab is probably going to cost less than $100, even if you've got a ways to go. Plus, you're far less likely to kill someone riding in the back seat of a cab.

Hanin Goma Case Update: No Plea in Sight for Carter Vo's Killer

There is still time to avoid a trial, but the woman who caused a car accident that killed a 9-year-old on a bicycle while allegedly driving under the influence of multiple drugs failed to come to a plea agreement during yesterday’s court hearing. Should a deal not be struck by the next hearing, set for January 4, the case could be set for trial, reports the Chicago Tribune.

That probably would not work to Hanin Goma’s advantage. As we reported before, she confessed to police officers that she had smoked marijuana earlier that day. She was headed home from work when she hit a van while turning, spun out, and ended up on a sidewalk, where her car collided with Carter Vo, whose bicycle was hit so hard that it slid across the street and into a parked car.

NTSB Recommends States Require Interlock Devices for All DUIs

Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a legislative recommendation to the governing bodies of 33 states that don’t currently require ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers. The NTSB’s recommendation is that these states require ignition interlock devices in all cases, including first time offenders and those with borderline blood alcohol content convictions, reports USA Today.

Though the recommendation has no independent force of law, it could signal the future of DUI legislation. And fortunately or not, Illinois is already there.

Former Illini Brent's Crash, Brown's Death, Should Serve as a Lesson

There’s still time to serve as a role model. Professional athletes often lament being labeled a role model. They just want to play. Unfortunately, when you’re on the “big stage,” everything is magnified and scrutinized to a higher extent. Kids see everything you do, including your mistakes. Last week’s tragic mistake can still serve a greater good.

Josh Brent was, by many accounts, only a few months away from landing a big NFL contract. The former seventh round supplemental draft pick (which is about as low as a draft pick can possibly go) was finishing up his rookie contract and starting for one of the most storied franchises in professional sports. The week before the accident, his performance on the field sealed the victory when he stripped the ball from the opposing team in the game’s waning moments.

Three Ways to Avoid a DUI After the Company Christmas Party

Don't worry. No one really expects you to remain completely sober while listening to your boss drone on about keyword density, search engine optimization, and the ramifications of the Google Panda update. Whether you are a blogger, doctor, or McWorker, you're probably going to need a few drinks to make that company holiday party tolerable.

Other than sexually harassing a coworker, there really is no worse fallout from a holiday party than being late to work the following day because you spent the night in the drunk tank, with DUI charges pending a blood alcohol test. In light of that, and in hopes that no one will drive drunk during this holiday season, we present three ways to avoid a holiday DUI:

Medical Marijuana Bill, if Passed, Could Require New Drugged Driving Laws

Could Illinois become the eighteenth state to legalize medical marijuana? For the third time in recent memory, lawmakers are pushing for just that, reports the Chicago Tribune. Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, told the Tribune that they were "hovering around the votes needed to pass it." If it does pass, it will not only conflict with federal laws, (which still list marijuana as a controlled substance) but it will also require a new approach to drugged driving.

If the bill passes, it will authorize a three-year pilot program where those suffering from certain listed diseases, such as HIV, cancer, and multiple sclerosis, could qualify for a registration card. The patients could then purchase 2.5 ounces of marijuana from one of 59 nonprofit dispensaries (one per senate district). No home growing is allowed, though those who need more than 2.5 ounces at a time can apply for a waiver for more.

Illinois DOC Mishandling DUI Due to Nepotism?

Routine inquiries by the Associated Press may have unearthed a case of nepotism and foiled a DUI cover-up within the Illinois Department of Corrections. After the AP filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the DOC regarding an employee's DUI, the agency initially had no record of mandatory reports of the incident, nor of an internal investigation.

Jeffrey Beck, 27, is the son of the chief investigator for the agency. On February 27, he allegedly had a BAC of 0.257 -- more than three times the legal limit -- when he plowed through a tree and into the parked pickup truck of Steve Harter. Harter's truck was rammed through the wall of his home, knocking him and his easy chair into the next room. Miraculously, he suffered no significant injuries.