One Cook County Corrections officer dead, another charged in fatal DUI crash

From the Patch:

WOODRIDGE, IL — A Cook County correctional officer is facing DUI charges after a Monday afternoon crash that killed 27-year-old fellow officer Zachary Perry. At around 4 p.m., Woodridge police, along with Romeoville and Bolingbrook police, responded to a crash involving a box truck and two passenger vehicles near Joliet and Davey roads.

Police said Perry, of Addison, was pronounced dead at the scene, Another driver, 30-year-old Pablo Perez of Berwyn, was taken to an area hospital and later charged with DUI.

Both Perry and Perez worked as corrections officers, according to WGN. Perez was de-deputized following the crash Monday pending an investigation, officials told the outlet.

Illinois State Police, Bolingbrook and Romeoville police, and the Felony Investigative Assistance Team (FIAT) are investigating the crash.

Perez is charged with one count of misdemeanor DUI and one count of felony aggravated DUI, according to Will County jail records.

 

Utah’s new 0.05 BAC DUI law to go into effect December 30

From Fox News:

Utah is set to implement the strictest DUI law in the nation – just in time for New Year’s.

The new law, which takes effect on Dec. 30, lowers the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to .05 from .08 – the national limit imposed by former President Bill Clinton…

The state legislature approved the change in 2017 before it was signed into law by Republican Gov. Gary Herbert.

“That’s the mandate to law enforcement: You see someone driving impaired, you pull them over,” Herbert said earlier this year. “We’re not saying people can’t drink. You can certainly drink, and you can drink until your eyes bug out if you want. We’re just saying don’t’ drive and drink.”

A BAC of .05 percent typically results in about three alcoholic drinks for a 160-pound man, according to the CDC. Effects can include lowered alertness, exaggerated behavior and a “usually good feeling,” the CDC said. As for driving, people with a .05 percent BAC could have reduced coordination or difficulty steering…

Already, Utah has seen an uptick in people relying on ride-share programs, according to Highway Patrol Lt. Col. Mark Zesiger. He told The Salt Lake Tribune many people didn’t realize the law had a delayed implementation and assumed it went into effect immediately after the state legislature approved it.

“Our DUI squad definitely saw right after the law was passed an increase in the number of people who were using ride-share programs,” Zesiger said. “That’s a good thing; we’ll take that.”

Law enforcement officials are instructed to “make arrests based on observed impairment” rather than a “predetermined BAC level,” according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Zesiger said all officers have been retrained in field sobriety “to make sure … they do meets standards.”

Read the entire story here:  https://www.foxnews.com/us/utahs-new-dui-law-strictest-in-the-nation-set-to-be-implemented-ahead-of-new-years-eve

Insurance Institute Study says Ignition Interlocks for all DUI offenders will save lives

From the website of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:

Laws requiring all impaired-driving offenders to install alcohol interlocks reduce the number of impaired drivers in fatal crashes by 16 percent, a new IIHS study shows. If all states without such laws adopted them, more than 500 additional lives could be saved each year.

A separate study shows that those laws could be made even more effective. In a detailed examination of Washington’s interlock policies, Institute researchers found that, as the state’s interlock laws were strengthened, interlock installations went up and recidivism declined. At the same time, more DUI charges were reduced to lesser offenses that don’t require interlocks. That suggests states could increase the impact of their interlock laws by closing such loopholes.

The two studies are the latest to support the expansion of alcohol interlocks — in-vehicle breath-testing units that require a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below a certain level, typically somewhere between 0.02 and 0.04 percent, before the vehicle can be started.

More than a quarter of U.S. crash deaths occur in crashes in which at least one driver has a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. The prevalence of impaired driving in fatal crashes has changed little in the past two decades, and interlock laws are one of the few recent policy innovations that have made a difference.

Forty-five states require interlocks for at least certain impaired-driving offenders. Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and four California counties have some type of interlock requirement that applies to first-time offenders.

Even when they are mandated for first offenders, interlocks come into play only after a DUI arrest, so their direct purpose is to reduce recidivism. Like other types of sanctions, however, they may act as a deterrent for those who haven’t yet committed a first offense if they are well-publicized.

…For the analysis, the authors grouped together two types of all-offender interlock laws: those that require all offenders, including first-time offenders, to install interlocks in order to have their license reinstated and those that only require it to drive during a post-conviction suspension. The analysis controlled for factors besides interlocks that could affect crashes.

Laws that required interlocks for repeat offenders only cut the number of drivers with BACs of 0.08 percent by 3 percent compared with no interlock law, and that effect wasn’t statistically significant, the study showed. Laws that required them for both repeat offenders and offenders with high BACs provided an 8 percent benefit.

Read the entire story at the IIHS website at: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/53/2/1

IL Drunk Driving Fatalities down 43% in the 20 yrs since legal limit was lowered

According to this story in the Morris Herald, drunk driving related fatalities have dropped from 534 to 300, a decrease of 43%, since Illinois lowered its legal limit from 0.10 BAC to 0.08.

What the story doesn’t mention, is that during those years, Illinois has also made a great many changes to its drunk driving laws, greatly increasing the penalties for repeat drunk driving and requiring ignition interlocks for even first time offenders.  In addition, local municipalities began to impound (and sometimes forfeit) vehicles used in drunk driving and driving while suspended or revoked due to DUI cases.  Oftentimes, the impoundment fee alone is equivalent to several months car payments.

In addition to that, in the interim 20 years, there have been many social changes that have probably contributed to this drop, such as an increased awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, a dramatic decrease in bars and drinking establishments, and a general increase in healthier lifestyles.

Having said that, I am sure that the drop to 0.08 made a significant difference.  It probably meant that many people passed on that extra drink or two that they might have had in 1996.  And that extra drink or two can make all the difference.

What do you think?

 

Arrest of college football star demonstrates that you can get a DUI even when not driving

People are often surprised to discover that you can get charged with a DUI even if you are not driving.  A good example was recently demonstrated by the arrest of Alabama star defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand, who was found by police sleeping in his vehicle.

From the Sporting News:

Alabama defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand was reportedly not driving his vehicle at the time of his DUI arrest on Saturday, according to a report from The Tuscaloosa News. He was asleep behind the wheel in his car, which was parked.

The Tuscaloosa News reports that the officer who arrested Hand found him at 4:30 a.m. in a parking lot near campus. Hand was sitting in the driver’s seat with the car’s headlights turned on and his vehicle cranked. The fact that his keys were in the ignition is what prompted his arrest.

In Illinois, the DUI statute (625 ILCS 5/11-501) states that “A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while…”  [under the influence of alcohol, drugs, etc.].

The Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction (I.P.I. 23.43) explaining “actual physical control” states as follows:  “The phrase “actual physical control” means that the defendant was in the vehicle and in a position to exercise control over the vehicle by starting the engine and causing the vehicle to move.”  Actual movement, or even having the ignition turned on, are not required; just the ability to do so.

This means that if you get into your car while intoxicated, but decide that instead of driving home that you will just stay put and try to sleep it off, you are in danger of being arrested for a DUI.

I have never agreed with this law.  What do you think?

U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether states can criminalize DUI test refusals

In Illinois, the only consequence for a DUI suspect who refuses to take a blood, breath or urine is a license suspension which is longer than the suspension he or she would receive had he or she taken and “failed” the test (and there is no suspension for someone who “passes” the test).

However, thirteen states make it an additional crime for a person to refuse such a test.  The Minnesota law was recently struck down but the case, and two others, have been taken up by the United States Supreme Court.

From SCOTUSblog:

In a move that could have a nationwide effect on the roadside actions of police officers, the Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether a blood or breath test for drunk driving can be made without a search warrant and whether, if there is no warrant, an individual can be charged with a crime for refusing to take such a test.  The Justices took on three cases raising the issue: two from North Dakota and one from Minnesota.  Thirteen states make it a crime to refuse to take a drunk-driving test….

The drunk-driving cases provide the Court with something of a sequel to its ruling in 2013 in Missouri v. McNeely, which left the clear impression that, if police have enough time, they should get a warrant before taking a test of a suspected drunk driver.  The Court ruled that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not always amount to an emergency situation that permits a DUI test without a warrant.

In North Dakota, state laws bars a person from driving in the state if he or she refuses to submit to a chemical test, of blood, breath or urine, to determine alcohol concentration.  It makes refusal to take such a test open to prosecution for a crime that carries the same punishment as a conviction for drunk-driving.   In Minnesota, state law makes it a crime to refuse an officer’s request to take a chemical test for alcohol in the blood, if the individual has been validly arrested for drunk driving.  The cases to be reviewed by the Court involve either a blood or breath test.

Lawyers for the three men involved in the appeals said that the issues they were raising were coming up more frequently in the wake of the McNeely decision.  And they argued that the decisions by the state supreme courts in these cases conflict with the McNeely ruling.  The Supreme Court, at its private Conference on Friday, considered thirteen cases on these issues, and chose the three from that list — all filed by the same attorneys.

The three apparently were chosen because they involve different legal scenarios: in two of the cases, the individuals were convicted for declining to take a test — one a blood test, the other a breath test. In the third case, the individual was convicted of drunk driving after he refused field sobriety tests and then was taken to a hospital for a blood test against his wishes.  The Court will be reviewing that individual’s punishment for refusing the field tests — a two-year suspension of his driver’s license — instead of the jail time and fine he got for the drunk-driving conviction.

The three cases to be reviewed are Birchfield v. North Dakota, Bernard v. Minnesota, and Beylund v. North Dakota.  The three will be consolidated, and will be heard together at a one-hour hearing.

Amended version of new DUI law now online

The latest version of the proposed rewrite of the Illinois DUI statutes are now online and can be read here.

I see that it now fixes one obvious mistake — whereas first offenders who failed a breath, blood or urine test, and second offenders who either did that or refused a test could get their summary suspension periods reduced by complying with the Ignition Interlock Permit (“IIP”) program, repeat offenders who failed a test inexplicably could not.  Now, they too will be able to reduce the period of their suspension, from 18 months to 12, so long as they sign up for the IIP within 30 days of their suspension and are otherwise in full compliance.

They are keeping the part that requires everyone who receives a summary suspension to present proof of an alcohol evaluation and treatment before reinstatement, even if they are found not guilty of the underlying DUI offense.

The proposed law also changes the definition of “first offender” for summary suspensions.  Currently, a motorist is classified as a first offender under the suspension law if they have not had a DUI or similar offense in the past 5 years (note:  this only applies to summary suspensions, not DUIs). Under the bill, the “five year” rule would be eliminated and only actual first offenders would be classified as such.