Please have a safe and Happy New Year!

This video of a Chicago Heights roadside sobriety checkpoint is an example of what you can expect to see out on the road tonight.

So here is a reminder that the CTA is offering penny rides tonight.

Best wishes for a happy and safe New Year’s Eve! Please drink responsibly.  I hope to see all of you back here in 2013.

Updates on Sen. Crapo and Robbins Police Chief

Here are a couple of links to stories updating two of the more notable DUI arrests this week.

Johnny Holmes apologized for his conduct and it appears that a “voluntary resignation” is in the works for the Robbins Police chief.  It appears that the chief has been undergoing a lot of stress in his personal life lately, although he refuses to use that as an excuse for his conduct.  I should also note that the story claims that when Chief Holmes had his 2010 DUI, that a judge reduced his license suspension from one year to one month.  There are two problems with that:  (1)  The Chief should have had a six month suspension because he apparently took a breath test with a result in excess of 0.08; and (2) a judge cannot “reduce” a suspension; he or she can only uphold or rescind it.  It is possible that the judge rescinded the suspension after the Chief had served one month of suspension time, or that the Judge granted a driving permit, which by law cannot begin until after a 30 day “hard-time” period.

Senator Michael Crapo of Idaho does not plan to contest his pending DUI charges.  Also interesting (at least to me) was that it was also revealed that the Senator took a second breath test an hour after the first.  The first test had a BAC of 0.11, the second had a result of 0.14.  To me, this indicates that the alcohol level in Senator Crapo’s blood was rising at the time of the arrest due to alcohol absorption.  Perhaps he was below 0.08 at the time of the arrest?  In the link, ABC consulted with retired University of Washington physiology professor Michael Hlastala (who I once used as an expert in a Chicago DUI case), who suggests that rising alcohol, breathing or other factors could explain the discrepancy.  This is an issue that almost never comes up in Illinois, because our regulations require only one test instead of two (which is the rule in most states).  Two tests are clearly preferable to one, because it provides a chance to compare the results for consistency and accuracy.

The “wake-up” call of the year?

People often refer to their DUI arrest as their “wake-up call” — the moment when he or she realized that his or her drinking had gotten out of control.  Often, an arrest for DUI is the first step on the road towards sobriety.

I mention this because of a news story that a man was arrested for DUI after he drove onto the lawn of the former home of Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Perhaps this incident will be a wake-up for this motorist.

From the AP:

Vermont State Police say a man faces a drunken driving charge after driving onto the lawn of a historic home once owned by the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Police say 55-year-old Donald Blood III of Marlborough, Mass., was ordered to appear in court in Bennington on Jan. 14.

Police say Blood thought he was driving into a parking lot, but actually it was the lawn of the Wilson House, built in 1852 in Dorset, the birthplace of AA co-founder Bill Wilson.

The Wilson House’s website describes it as a “place of sanctuary where people can come to give thanks to God for their new lives.”

It still hosts several AA meetings each week.

You can learn more about A.A. at www.aa.org.

Update: Cowboy’s Josh Brent had 0.189 blood alcohol level

The results of the blood sample taken from Cowboy and former Illini Josh Brent following his involvement in the car crash that took the life of his teammate Jerry Brown have come back, and it doesn’t look good for Brent.

According to the AP, Brent had a blood alcohol level of 0.189, which is over twice the legal limit.  It has not been stated whether this result reflects “whole blood” or “serum blood;” in Illinois we use a whole blood standard and serum blood results have to be converted (always downwards, the Illinois State Police regulations call for an 18% reduction).  Even with a 20% reduction, Brent would still be around twice the legal limit.

Another question that I have is:  when was the blood drawn?  Alcohol in the blood would either be in an absorption or elimination phase, and depending on the length of time between consumption and the blood draw, Brent’s BAC might have been increasing or decreasing from the time of the crash.

In addition to these issues, in order to avoid a conviction, Brent’s attorneys will have to argue that there was something improper about the way that the blood sample was collected or tested, or that there was a medical explanation (such as internal injuries) to explain the inflated BAC.

Update: Carlton Fisk pleads guilty to DUI

FiskThis is an update to an earlier post about Carlton Fisk.

White Sox Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk plead guilty today to driving under the influence at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet.  He received a sentence of one year of court supervision, alcohol treatment, attendance at a victim impact panel and fines of $1,250.  This is a standard first offense DUI sentence.  (You can read more about supervision here).

South Suburban Police Chief is arrested for DUI for the second time in three years

chief holmesThis is not how to set an example.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The police chief of south suburban Robbins was charged with drunken driving this week — his second DUI charge in three years.

Robbins Police Chief Johnny Holmes was arrested in the neighboring suburb of Midlothian, according to Midlothian Police Chief David Burke.

Burke, who has been on vacation this week, could provide no additional details, but he confirmed that Holmes also was charged with driving under the influence in Midlothian in March 2010. The outcome of the earlier DUI charge was not immediately clear Wednesday night.

Holmes, 66, has headed up the police department in Robbins since 1991.

I will be updating this story as I get more information.  I am curious whether Chief Holmes submitted to a breath test.  I am also curious about the earlier case.  More to follow….

Update:  I was able to get some information about Chief Holmes’ 2010 DUI.  He was charged with two counts of DUI, one of which alleged that he had a BAC over 0.08.  He plead guilty to the count alleging that he had been driving under the influence and received one year of court supervision (I discussed supervision here),  This means that the chief is facing a driver’s license revocation if he is found guilty on the new case, and he won’t be eligible for a monitored device driving permit.  He also faces the possibility of jail time.

Update II:  The Sun-Times has more details of Saturday’s arrest.  They claim that a motorist called the police after Chief Holmes’ SUV swerved into oncoming traffic.  He did not immediately yield to emergency lights.  After being stopped, the Chief was disoriented, denied drinking at first, had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, bloodshot eyes and failed two field sobriety tests.  Holmes had a flask in his possession.  He blew 0.194 — over twice the legal limit.

What I received this holiday season.

thankyouI just wanted to share with you a couple of “Thank you” notes that I received from two clients who had a combined four years of license suspensions rescinded this month.

I cannot thank you enough for all of your help regarding my case! … you have helped me keep my job and save my license! This was indeed a early Christmas present and I can safely feel I am given a second chance … you have given me hope and strength to keep my head held high and go on! I am forever grateful! Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I wanted to reach out and say it after being difficult and so worried about it! You really made an impact on my life and I’m forever grateful! Have a wonderful holiday season!

– Client with case in Markham

You were able to obtain for me the results that I was looking for and I am grateful for that.  It would have been a big deal had I lost my drivers license, so I am glad you were able to get the summary suspension rescinded.  I will definitely recommend you if someone I know is ever faced the legal situation that I encountered.

– Client with case in Rolling Meadows

Update on Idaho Senator Crapo’s DUI arrest

Sen. Crapo's mug shot

Sen. Crapo’s mug shot

It has now been learned that Senator Crapo had a BAC of 0.110, which is greater than 0.08, but not extreme (by way of contrast, the typical DUI in Illinois is 0.17). Here is the link to the Alexandria, VA police department’s press release: http://alexandriava.gov/police/info/news_policedisplay.aspx?id=68136

Idaho U.S. Senator Crapo arrested for DUI in VA

crapoI admit I wasn’t aware that there is a United States senator named Crapo.  That is hard to forget, even if it pronounced Kray-poh.

It is also hard to forget when he is also a Mormon bishop yet also got arrested for a DUI.  So in one night, with one action, he managed to break his covenant with his religion (which bars the consumption of alcohol), his constituents and country (since he vowed to uphold the laws, not break them).

From an Associated Press report in the New York Times:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Idaho U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence in a Washington, D.C., suburb, authorities said.

Police in Alexandria, Va., said Sunday that the Idaho Republican was pulled over after his vehicle ran a red light. Police spokesman Jody Donaldson said Crapo failed field sobriety tests and was arrested at about 12:45 a.m. He was transported to the Alexandria jail and released on an unsecured $1,000 bond at about 5 a.m..

“There was no refusal (to take sobriety tests), no accident, no injuries,” Donaldson said. “Just a traffic stop that resulted in a DUI.”

Donaldson said he didn’t immediately know what Crapo’s blood alcohol level was, where he was coming from or the type of vehicle he was driving.

The 61-year-old Crapo (KRAY’-poh) has a Jan. 4 court date.

“I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance,” Crapo said in a statement Sunday night. “I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter. I will also undertake measures to ensure that this circumstance is never repeated.”

A Crapo spokesman declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

Currently in his third term, Crapo has been in the Senate since 1998, and served for six years in the U.S. House of Representatives before that. He was easily re-elected in 2010, and won’t have to run again until 2016.

In Congress, Crapo has built a reputation as a staunch social and fiscal conservative. It has been expected he would take over the top Republican spot next year on the Senate Banking Committee. He also serves on the Senate’s budget and finance panels. Crapo was a member of the so-called “Gang of Six” senators that worked in 2011 toward a deficit-reduction deal that was never adopted by Congress.

A Mormon who grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Crapo was named a bishop in the church at age 31. He is an attorney who graduated from Brigham Young University and Harvard Law School. He has five children with his wife, Susan, and three grandchildren.

The Mormon Church prohibits the use of alcohol, as well as caffeine and other mind-altering substances.

The economics of taking a taxi vs. risking a DUI

DUIfieldtestsWith the holidays upon us, I wanted to link to an article put out by MSN Money about the economic costs of being arrested for a DUI (I was consulted for the piece).

In the article, the writer breaks down all the costs of a DUI arrest:  impoundment fees, bond, legal fees, fines, alcohol treatment, court monitoring, higher insurance rates, etc.  They find that a DUI could cost as much as $10,000.  That is not including the value of not having a DUI on your record, including lost job opportunities.

So keep that in mind this holiday season when you are deciding between risking driving home while inebriated versus spending $20 or $30 on a taxi plus the hassle of retrieving your car the next day.