Penalties may go up for texting and driving in Illinois

From WGEM.com:

There’s a new push in Springfield to cut down on texting and driving. The proposal would increase the penalties for causing a crash while using your phone.

Even though it’s against the law in Illinois to be on your phone and drive, people still do it.

“I’ve seen people text, mostly young people,” said Camp Point, Illinois resident Dave Leezer.

“A lot of times you’ll see them at intersections, looking down at their phones and you can definitely tell they are texting and driving while they’re at the intersections,” said Payson, Illinois resident Janice Huber.

However, a new bill sponsored by Representative Norine Hammond, R- Macomb, would up the penalty for a driver who causes bodily harm to another while distracted.The fine would go from $75 to $1,000, plus a year without a license…

There are some state representatives who think this bill would affect low-income people. making it harder for them to absorb the cost of a $1,000 fine. However, most agreed that the current $75 fine is to low to be a real deterrent for this widespread habit.

The bill now needs a vote on the House floor before it can be reported to the Senate.

Lake Zurich Trustee Beaudoin arrested for DUI

From the Daily Herald:

Lake Zurich Trustee Jim Beaudoin was charged with DUI last Thursday after police say he crashed his car into a sign post and a tree near the intersection of Prairie Lane and Cedar Street in the Heatherleigh subdivision near his Lake Zurich home.

Beaudoin, who was first elected to the village board in 2013, did not respond for comment Tuesday.

According to Lake Zurich police documents, at around 6:20 p.m. Beaudoin was driving west on Cedar Street and attempted to make a left-hand turn onto Prairie Lane. He took the turn too wide, left the roadway, and his gray Audi A4 ran over a “No Outlet” sign and hit a tree.

According to statements given to police by several witnesses, whose names were redacted from the report, Beaudoin exited his car, surveyed the damage and threw some of the debris — including the sign, which had come detached from its post — into the back seat of his car. One witness in the report said that Beaudoin threw his hands in the air and appeared to be talking to himself, and another witness said he looked stressed.

Beaudoin then began walking away from the vehicle, reports said. A Lake Zurich police officer arrived on the scene and found that there was no driver. A nearby resident told the officer what the driver of the car looked like, and the officer set off south on Prairie Lane searching for him. Eventually the officer found Beaudoin, who lives on the 500 block of Dunhill Drive, near the intersection of Prairie Lane and Dunhill Drive, the reports said.

The officer asked Beaudoin what had happened, and Beaudoin’s response was redacted from the officer’s police report. The officer then asked Beaudoin if he needed an ambulance and Beaudoin declined. The officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol on Beaudoin’s breath as he spoke, reports said.

Another officer asked Beaudoin to perform a field sobriety test. What Beaudoin said and how he performed on the test was redacted from the police report. The officer told Beaudoin that, based on the crash, witness statements, physical evidence at the scene, his physical condition and the results of the field sobriety test, he was under arrest, suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Read the entire story here: https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20190326/lake-zurich-trustee-charged-with-dui-after-crash

Former All-Star Todd Helton charged with DUI after crashing into light pole

Helton

From Knox News:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Former Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton has entered a treatment facility following a suspected DUI-related crash in West Knox County.

Helton, 45, was cited, but not arrested, on a charge of driving under the influence after crashing his 2019 Ford F-150 pickup into a telephone pole on March 18, according to the citation. No other vehicles were involved.

The five-time All-Star told police he had taken the sleeping aid Ambien about four hours before the crash. Officers spotted a “travel cup” that smelled like alcohol inside Helton’s truck.

Helton required emergency medical care, according to a statement released Monday by his attorney, Stephen Ross Johnson.

“The Helton family is thankful for the officers and medical professionals who took great care of him,” the statement read. “Because of those first responders, he was not seriously injured.

“Todd is currently in a residential treatment program outside of East Tennessee, receiving the care he needs. He realizes there are parts of his behavior that need to change, and he is focused on doing just that. While there has not been a final court decision about his citation, Todd is still taking action.”

The Knoxville native retired in 2013 after 17 seasons playing for the Rockies, becoming the organization’s first player to have his jersey retired.

That same year, he pleaded guilty to drunken driving in a Denver suburb.

In October, a Knox County judge dismissed a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of a crash against Helton in connection with an incident at a West Knox County apartment complex…

Helton is set for arraignment April 1 on the DUI charge.

Actor Michael Madsen arrested for DUI after crash

madsen

From TMZ:

Michael Madsen is behind bars … after wrecking his Land Rover in Malibu, he got arrested for driving under the influence.

The veteran actor of Quentin Tarantino flicks like ‘Kill Bill,’ ‘Hateful Eight’ and “Reservoir Dogs” got into a single-car crash, hitting a pole, Sunday around 8 PM … according to law enforcement sources. We’re told the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded and, when they arrived, immediately suspected Madsen had been boozing.

We’re told Madsen smelled of alcohol, so he was given a field sobriety test and, according to law enforcement, it didn’t go well — his BAC was .10.

The legal limit is .08, so Madsen was arrested for misdemeanor DUI. His bail has been set at $15k.

Madsen was also busted for DUI in Malibu back in 2012, when his BAC was twice the legal limit. He entered a 30-day rehab after that arrest, and the judge also ordered him to get outpatient treatment.

Here is the link to my post about his 2012 DUI arrest:  https://illinoisduilawyer.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/michael-madsen-arrested-for-dui-had-0-21-bac/

Can an Illinois DUI get expunged? The answer to this question may soon change

Can an Illinois DUI get expunged?  The general answer is no, unless there was a finding of not guilty or it was otherwise dismissed.  A DUI sentence of supervision is not eligible for expungement.

This is one of the many situations where DUI offenses are treated differently than other similar offenses.  Most other misdemeanor offenses are expungeable.  Even some felonies, particularly drug offenses, are also eligible for expungement, because our legislature and courts are recognize the benefit of giving people a chance at a clean slate, and not penalizing people forever, especially over an addiction issue.

DUIs were barred from expungement during the “tough on crime” 1990s.  Over the past few years, the pendulum has been swinging back and I have been hopeful that Illinois would give some hope to past DUI offenders.

Now, it looks like it might.

The synopsis of HB 1634 and an amendment state as follows:

Amends the Criminal Identification Act. Provides that a person may petition for sealing or expungement for a violation of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a similar provision of a local ordinance after a period of 10 years after the termination of the petitioner’s sentence if the petitioner has not been arrested for, or convicted of, a subsequent violation.

House Committee Amendment No. 1
Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Amends the Criminal Identification Act. Provides that the court may not order the sealing or expungement of the records of arrests or charges not initiated by arrest that result in an order of supervision for or conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds or any combination thereof (DUI) under the Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance; except that the court may order the sealing of one misdemeanor record of arrest or charge not initiated by arrest that results in an order of supervision for or conviction of DUI under the Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance per petitioner if each of the following conditions have been met: (1) the petitioner has not previously been convicted of or placed on supervision for DUI under the Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance; (2) 10 or more years have passed since the termination of the petitioner’s sentence; (3) during the commission of the violation, the petitioner did not proximately cause death or personal injury to any other person or damage the property of any other person and was not arrested for a violation of resisting or obstructing a peace officer; (4) during the arrest or stop of the petitioner by a law enforcement officer for commission of the violation, the petitioner submitted to a test under the Illinois Vehicle Code to determine whether the petitioner was driving under the influence when requested by a law enforcement officer; (5) the petitioner has no other misdemeanor or felony driving charge on his or her driving abstract; and (6) the judge examined the driving abstract of the petitioner petitioning to have his or her records sealed under this provision and made a finding entered on the record that the petitioner did not enter into a plea agreement on a lesser charge other than a DUI under the Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance, and the facts did not support that the petitioner had previously committed a DUI under the Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance.

I’ve been informed by a member of the Illinois State Bar Association that the Office of the Secretary of State opposes this bill.  Hopefully, an agreement can be reached so that a person who gets a DUI (often a young person in their 20’s) does not have to worry about it staying on his or her record for the rest of his or her life, costing employment and other opportunities.

Lake County IL pilot program to help Defendants with court fines open through March 29

Exciting news from Lake County, where court fines are very high.  This is copied from a Lake County website:

Road To Reinstatement Pilot Program

Road-to-Reinstatement

Nationwide, individuals are unable to restore or renew their driving privileges based on inability to pay outstanding fees and fines. Unable to drive, this often prevents individuals from obtaining or maintaining employment so they can support themselves and their family. To combat this issue, Vice-Chair Mary Ross Cunningham and the Lake County Board, with support of its partners, are launching the new Road to License Reinstatement Pilot Program, which will provide qualified individuals the ability to get their license renewed or reinstated.

Apply for the Road to Reinstatement Pilot Program

  1. Complete the Personal Information Form and an Application for Waiver of Court Fees 
    Printed copies are also available at the Lake County Building, 18 N. County Street, 9th Floor, Waukegan, IL 60085.
  2. Obtain your Driving Abstract from the Illinois Secretary of State for $12.
  3. Return the completed documents no later than March 29 by email to communications@lakecountyil.gov, or mail or drop off the documents to the Lake County Administrator’s Office, 18 N. County St., 9th Floor, Waukegan, IL 60085.

About the Program

This program will provide Lake County residents who are unable to pay an opportunity to reduce outstanding costs and get their license renewed or reinstated. The following traffic offenses will not be eligible for participation in this program.

  • DUI citations
  • Habitual/dangerous offenders/offenses
  • Felony cases
  • Child support suspension
  • Financial responsibility suspension
  • Insurance suspension
  • Toll violations
  • Unpaid parking tickets
  • Citations issued outside of Lake County

Frequently Asked Questions

When will I know if I qualify for the program?
Applicants will be notified six to eight weeks after the documents are submitted.

How can I submit my documents? 
Fee waivers and driving abstracts from the Illinois Secretary of State can be submitted by email, mail or dropped off at the Lake County Administrator’s Office, 18 N. County Street, 9th Floor, Waukegan, IL 60085

How can I get my driving abstract?
Driving abstracts can be retrieved at a local DMV. Visit a facility or mail an abstract request form. The cost is $12.

When do I have to turn my documents in? 
All documents are due no later than March 29.

Who do I contact for further questions?
Contact Lake County at 847-377-2929

Arlington Heights to kick off St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a DUI roadblock tonight

checkpoint

From the Patch:

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL — St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and with it comes plenty of festivities. The Arlington Heights Police Department announced it will enforce activities centered on the St. Patrick’s Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign Friday, March 15. According to a release from the department, enforcement activities will include a safety checkpoint scheduled for that date on Rand Road at Beverly Lane.

This is certainly not the only extra DUI enforcement that will be going on this weekend.  Please be safe and use a designated driver.