Archive for the ‘DUI Statistics’ Category

Man Charged in Christmas DUI Crash That Killed Daughter

December 30th, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Drinking and DrivingJeffrey Smith, 26, of South Wolcott Avenue, has been charged in a drunk driving Christmas Eve crash that killed his 8-year-old daughter. According to the Chicago Tribune. Smith, who was driving a Chevrolet sedan, struck a curb and then rammed into a tree. His daughter, Lauren, was “trapped in the car when it rolled over on its side,” the Tribune reports. Her father was also critically injured and as of December 27 was still in the hospital. Regardless, Smith was “charged with a felony count of aggravated DUI and was also cited for negligent driving, failure to reduce speed and failure to adhere to child restraint regulations,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Lauren’s mother, Loressa Hall, was skeptical that Lauren’s father was drunk at the time of the accident, telling the Tribune that Smith is a devoted father “who she believes would not have had more than a single drink,” knowing that he’d have to drive Lauren. Police say that it is doubtful that Lauren had been wearing seatbelt at the time of the crash. According to a different Tribune article, the “3rd grader was looking forward to opening presents, especially a karaoke machine, as she returned from a Christmas Eve family dinner in the south suburbs.” They were on their way to Lauren’s grandmother’s house at the time of the crash. “Firefighters freed Lauren in 20 minutes” from the mangled car, reports the Tribune, “but their efforts to save her life were unsuccessful.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and reported by LifeSafer.com, “data shows that the daily death toll from drunk driving during the holiday season is significantly more than the rest of the year.” Between 2001 and 2005, for example, there were an average of 36 deaths per day resulting from an alcohol-related crash. “That number increases to 45 per day during the Christmas period and jumps to 54 per day over New Year’s holiday,” according to LifeSafer.com.

If you or someone you know has been accused of DUI or involved in a DUI crash in Chicago, the most important first step is to seek legal counsel. Don’t go through it alone. Contact Ramsell & Associates, Attorneys at Law today.

Roving Checkpoints Used to Stop DUI

December 6th, 2013 at 10:42 am

Roving Checkpoints Used to Stop DUIThe holidays can be a busy time for local law enforcement when it comes to dealing with drunk driving and DUI-related crashes. During the Thanksgiving holiday, for example, Elgin police officers were out in force, participating in what was billed as a “No Refusal Weekend,” according to the Chicago Tribune. The initiative enforced a policy that required all persons arrested for impaired driving to submit to chemical testing “to determine if charges for Driving Under the Influence are appropriate,” according to the Chicago Tribune. The crackdown was part of a statewide initiative known as “Click It Or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns.

It wasn’t only in Elgin that Chicago-area police officers were on alert for DUIs in the area. According to a press release issued by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office the week before Thanksgiving, “Illinois State Police and nearly 250 local law enforcement agencies” participated in a crack down on seat belt law violators and conducted roving DUI patrols in prime hours around the holidays. These roving patrols are thought to catch DUI drivers much more frequently and reliably than holiday sobriety checkpoints. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “while traffic snarls are touted by many traffic safety advocates as necessary to catch drunk drivers, their effectiveness leaves much to be desired.”

The Review-Journal cites statistics from all over the country to purport that roving checkpoints, such as those used over Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago, are a better option to catch drunk drivers. In Ohio, for instance, “police conducted 135 sobriety checkpoints between January 1 and September of this year, but more than a third of those checkpoints yielded zero drunk driving arrests.” These checkpoints ended up accounting for less than 1 percent of “all those stopped for impaired driving,” the Review-Journal states.

One reason for this could be because people are able to alert one another to the possibility of a police checkpoint. This isn’t the case with roving checkpoints, such as those employed in the Chicago area over Thanksgiving. With the anticipated (but not yet evaluated) success of these roving checkpoints, it is expected that the Chicago Police Department will continue in this vein throughout the holiday season.

If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges that resulted from a roving checkpoint or any other situation, don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced DUI attorney today.

Per Se Drugged Driving Law Result in Felony DUI Charges

November 29th, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Willie Craft Sr., 58, of Urbana, was charged in mid-November “with two felony counts of driving under the influence and one count of reckless homicide,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Craft was piloting a pick-up when he went over a curb and “struck two students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, killing one of them.” It was later discovered that Craft had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash, according to Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz and as reported by the Tribune. Craft was initially “cited for driving without insurance and improper lane usage,” after the incident, but according to Rietz it was upon further investigation that officials stated that Craft was driving under the influence. He was also “not properly treating his diabetic condition,” according to the Tribune. Per Se Drugged Driving Law Result in Felony DUI Charges IMAGE

Mimi Liu, 20, of Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood was killed in the crash, and another student was injured. According to Rietz, Craft “told officials he was driving on the day of the crash for the first time in three years with the intent of getting insurance for his vehicle.” He had previously stayed away from getting behind the wheel because of his diabetic condition, according to the Tribune. That day, according to the Tribune, Craft said that, “he did not eat breakfast that morning even though he knew he needed it to keep his blood levels up.”

According to NORML, a non-profit that works to reform marijuana laws, Illinois is one of a handful of states that enforces per se drugged driving laws, in which a driver who tests positive for an inactive THC metabolite can be slapped with a DUI. This byproduct, however, “may be present in the urine of daily cannabis consumers for several weeks, or even months, after past use.”

A Court of Appeals in Arizona earlier this year deliberated a case involving the per se law in Arizona, and upheld the validity of the state’s per se law. As an attorney told the USA Today, “as things stand, a person from Arizona could go on a snowboarding trip to Colorado or Washington state, where marijuana is legal… and then a month later… get stopped and be convicted of DUI.”

If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges because of the per se drugged driving law in Illinois, don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced Illinois DUI attorney today.

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