Archive for the ‘drunk driving’ tag

Illinois Law Enforcement Officers Sued for DUI Strip Search

January 3rd, 2014 at 9:12 am

illinois dui lawyerDana Holmes claims that a group of law enforcement officers crossed the line during her DUI arrest last May. Holmes says that she was mistreated, degraded, and required to go through a strip search after she was arrested for driving under the influence in LaSalle County. If you have been arrested for a DUI, it is important to note that you have rights and that mistreatment can affect the outcome of your case. Speak with a licensed DUI attorney for further details.

Holmes has video surveillance to back up her allegations, too. Tape from the arrest demonstrates four officers lifting her and carrying her into a jail cell where they put her face down on the floor and removed her clothes. Holmes admits to feeling helpless and scared during the process. Generally, officers of the same sex are the only ones allowed to remove clothing from an arrested individual. The usual procedure for doing this also requires supervisor permission and the use of a secluded area.

La Salle County Board attorney determined that the officers intentionally performed a strip search, but not with the goal of searching.  After Holmes was required to strip, she was placed in a tear-proof suit and put into a padded room, a move the officers involved say was for her own protection. LaSalle County officials are standing behind the officers responsible for the strip search, arguing that these individuals did nothing wrong and were only carrying out the responsibilities of their jobs.

Mistreatment during the arrest led Holmes to fear that others would return to her cell to sexually abuse her. Even following an arrest, you have rights. If you were cooperative during a DUI arrest and an officer or officers took advantage of that situation, you need to discuss your case directly with a knowledgeable Illinois DUI attorney.

What is Considered Aggravated DUI in Illinois?

December 11th, 2013 at 10:18 am

illinois aggravated dui lawyerIn Illinois, a person will be charge with a DUI if they are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In certain cases, a person may be charged with an aggravated DUI, which carries a stiffer sentence. One will be charged with an aggravated DUI in the following cases:

  • For getting a third DUI;
  • For driving a school bus with children on board;
  • For getting into an accident while intoxicated, the accident resulted in great bodily harm and permanent disability or disfigurement to another person, and the drunken driving was the proximate cause of the injuries;
  • For getting into a DUI accident in a school zone when the restricted speed limit is in effect;
  • For proximately causing the death of another during an ATV or boating DUI accident;
  • Getting a DUI without having a license or learner permit;
  • For getting a DUI without knowingly having insurance; or
  • For getting a second DUI if there was a person younger than 16 years old in the car.

The issue of proximate cause lends itself to litigation because it is open to subjective interpretation. Ultimately, the question becomes whether it was foreseeable that one could cause that type of accident/injury by driving while drunk, (i.e. did the person driving under the influence set in motion a chain of events that a reasonable person would expect to lead to the injuries).

Even though the answer may seem obvious, each case is different and will depend on individual circumstances.  Frequently, for example, there is an intervening event that interrupts the chain of causation, which allows a defendant to argue that they were not the proximate cause of the injuries.

Being charged with an aggravated DUI is a serious matter, as a conviction would mean a Class 4 felony. In Illinois, Class 4 felonies can result in a 1 to 3 year prison sentence (no laughing matter).

If you are facing a DUI, do not fight alone. Contact an experienced Illinois DUI defense attorney who can represent you with the experience and professionalism that you deserve.

Out-of-State Resident Charged with Aggravated DUI

November 15th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

illinois-reckless-dui-chargesA South Carolina man was charged with driving under the influence after a fatal car accident that claimed the lives of a Pontiac, IL police officer and his K-9 partner. The Pantagraph reports that Jason Collins of West Columbia, SC, struck a parked Pontiac Police SUV that contained Officer Casey Kohlmeier and a German Shepherd K-9 officer named Draco. Kohlmeier was taken to the hospital, where he died from his injuries. Draco died at the site of the crash.

Collins told police that he had been drinking at a bar before the accident. Surveillance footage confirms that he was at a Bloomington bar for 5 hours before getting behind the wheel.

Collins was charged with one count of reckless homicide, two counts of driving under the influence, and two additional counts of aggravated driving under the influence. In the State of Illinois, DUI is a Class A misdemeanor, and is only punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year minus one day, or a fine of no more than $2500. However, a charge of driving under the influence can be aggravated by a number of things, including:

  • Driving a school bus with juveniles on board;
  • Causing bodily injury to someone in a school zone;
  • Causing bodily injury to a passenger under the age of 16; or
  • Causing death or great bodily injury to someone as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

Aggravated DUI is a Class 4 Felony (for the first offense), and is punishable by incarceration of up to 3 years and a maximum fine of $25,000 for each offense.

Reckless homicide is defined as the unintentional killing of an individual while driving a motor vehicle and operating the vehicle in such a way that it becomes airborne. Ordinarily, reckless homicide is a Class 3 felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 5 years and a $25,000 fine. However, if the victim of the homicide is a peace officer in the midst of performing his law enforcement duties, reckless homicide is a Class 2 Felony, with a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

DUI is expensive, dangerous and, often, tragic. Losing one’s driver’s license is often the very least one can expect from driving under the influence. At worst, you can end up broke, incarcerated, and responsible for the death of an innocent police officer and his dog. The best way to prevent being arrested for DUI is to not drink and drive. If you do find yourself under arrest for DUI, contact an experienced DUI attorney in Illinois for guidance and representation.

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