The New Year and DUI enforcement

Posted by Charles Beach on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 @ 03:44 PM

Once again the new year is upon us and our legislature, at the behest of MADD and AAIM has passed sundry new laws regarding DUI and driving on suspended and revoked.  I appreciate the attention they have paid to this area of law but wonder if these resources could not be betters spent elsewhere.

We all want to live in a safer society and drunk driving is clearly a danger to us all.  However, many years of stiffening penalties has not necessarily born out the reduction in drunk driving that these organization have hoped for.

I believe that resources are better spent on the law enforcement end of the equation rather than on the punishment end.  

AAIM and MADD spend millions of dollars on lobbyists in the effort to effect changes in law which punish drivers who are arrested for DUI.  This money would and could be better spend by increasing the number of officers on the road and better equipping these officers to do their job.

 

Every time an officer stops a vehicle that is swerving that leads to a DUI arrest they are saving a potential life.  That officer has stopped someone from potentially killing another human being.

 

Severe punishment does not stop that driver from putting the keys in the ignition and starting the car.  I will grant you that severe punishment gives society a sense of well being but it is ineffectual in saving lives.

 

Do not drink and drive.

 

crash

Tags: dui, dui arrest, drunk driving, alcohol

Charles Beach - in the press

Posted by Charles Beach on Thu, Oct 25, 2012 @ 09:00 PM

The Northshore Weekender published a front page article about DUI and the personal ramifications of a DUI arrest.  Mr. Beach was quoted extensively in the article discussing the financial ramifications of a DUI as well as the personal ramifications.  He cited an example of an executive stopped at the border of Canada while traveling with his management team.  The exec was stopped because of a DUI he had received in Chicago.

Pickup the article...makes for a great read.

Traffic Court Judges lose discretion

Posted by Charles Beach on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 @ 05:58 PM

The Legislature and Jessie White, our Secretary of State, have decided in a series of legislative maneuvers that Judge's should not be given discretion in sentencing certain moving violations.

To date, they have removed the possibility for Court Supervision from speeding 40+, speeding 31-39, and moving violations involving a fatality.  

Unfortunately, these moves are a step in the wrong direction.  Judges need and should have discretion to fashion a punishment that is appropriate to the crime.  When the legislature removes discretion they create a "one size fits all" approach that rarely works.  We saw how this failed on the Federal level with sentencing guidelines.  

For example:  A doctor who is an OB/GYN is called to deliver a baby in the middle of the night. The expressway is devoid of cars and the Doctor is traveling 86 in a 55.  The Doctor has zero previous infractions of any kind.  Does it make sense to convict this Doctor of a Class B Misdemeanor and subject her to 6 months of jail?  Of course it does not.  Historically, a Judge would find someone guilty of this and give them Supervision so that insurance rates would not be effected and the Doctor could avoid saying that "she was convicted of a misdemeanor." Furthermore, the Judge then could monitor the offender for a period of time up to 2 years to be sure the offense did not re-occur.

I understand and promote the importance of the law.  I also understand that families who have suffered a loss because of a speeder or a drunk driver or any other traffic violation suffer greatly.  It would be nice to do something for them.  However, the Legislature must respect the seperation of powers and must respect the need to have a Judge exercise discretion.  The temptation to grand stand by the Legislature and appear to be doing something is not productive.  Let the Judge's judge...that is their job-- that is what they are elected to do.Gavel

Tags: speeder, dui, accident, chicago

Charles Beach - Sharing his knowledge on DUI

Posted by Charles Beach on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 @ 08:09 PM

Last Friday, firm founder and principal, Charles Beach shared his vast DUI knowledge with the Cook County Public Defender's Office.  Mr. Beach spoke at the Public Defender Nutshell program where approximately 100 people came to watch Mr. Beach's lecture and presentation.

Charlie lectured on breath analysis and what the prosecutor must establish to introduce breath test results into evidence.  Mr. Beach also did a demonstration using an actual breath machine licensed by the State of Illinois and used by the Chicago Police Department.

Charlie was able to demonstrate, with the help of an audience volunteer, Julie Koehler, how a positive alcohol result can be created when white bread is consumed just seconds before a breath test.  False positives were produced using Bianca breath spray, Dr. Tichenor's mouth wash and by dipping a breath mouthpiece into a can of beer prior to the breath test.  

Charlie will next be teaching a class this Friday the 14th of September for the Illinois Association of Criminal Defesne Lawyers (IACDL).  The class will be at Northern Illinois University.

Tags: dui, breath test, breathalyzer, drunk driving, alcohol

The Fourth, our freedom and DUI

Posted by Charles Beach on Sun, Jul 08, 2012 @ 05:38 PM

The Fourth of July is a yearly reminder that our country was founded based upon the concepts of liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness.  Most of us pursue happiness on the Fourth by hanging out with friends and family and sometimes having a drink or two.  Charles S. Beach and Associates does not advocate drinking driving, but we do recognize that sometimes the pursuit of happiness and liberty collide head on when people drink and drive.  This collision tends to happen more often around the Fourth because law enforcement is on high alert. DUI arrests around the major holidays always surge and that is where the third piece of this puzzle comes into play....Justice. 

A DUI arrest is not the end of the world, however, Justice is more likely to be served properly if all sides of the Justice equation do their job.  In other words, the Prosecutor needs to prosecute and the Defense Attorney has to defend and finally the Judge has to Judge.  I point this out because to often in our society Justice is not served because one part of the equation fails to do their job.  Often, that failure is the Defense Attorney who fails to properly defend.  

I touch on this because we believe in our founding fathers principles... the pursuit of happiness and Justice.  Charles S. Beach and Associates always strives to live up our end of the bargain...defending our clients to the best of our abilities... no matter what time of year it is.  Enjoy the Fourth! 

 

Tags: arrest, justice, defense attorney, dui, Fourth, July, liberty

Charles S. Beach giving back

Posted by Charles Beach on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 @ 05:50 PM

This past Wednesday, the founder of Charles S. Beach took time out of his day to speak to a group of 140 young and aspiring DUI defense attorneys.  The seminar was hosted by the Chicago Bar Association and Charles Beach was the featured speaker.

During the seminar Mr. Beach discussed topics like Statutory Summary Suspensions, Vehicle Impoundments and basic DUI laws.  The group was very interactive and asked some great questions.  

Mr. Beach is next scheduled to speak on September 7 for the Cook County Public Defender's Office where he will teach a course entitled: "Defending the DUI"   

Mr. Beach speaks as many as 5 times a year on various DUI topics and is considered an authority on DUI law, particularly in Cook County.

Tags: dui, chicago dui, cook county

Good Time Credit; Calculating a Prison Out Date - revoked license

Posted by Charles Beach on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 @ 07:49 AM

The Illinois Department of Corrections calculates prison sentences on a basic formula of divide the total time in half.  Limitations to that formula are sentences that require 85% time be served or sentences where the legislature establishes a fixed minimum sentence.  An example of a fixed minimum sentence would be the 180 consecutive day requirement for a 4th offender of 625 ILCS 5/6-303 commonly known as driving on a revoked or suspended license.

The Illinois Legislature has proposed the return of additional time credits that are discussed here:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/sns-ap-il-xgr--earlyrelease,0,3124267.story

Once upon a time the above calculation was slightly different in that the sentence was calculated as divide the total time in half and subtract six months.  The new legislation may be a return to that sentencing structure.  However, one should note that the IDOC first looks at the statutory minimum before giving any good time credit.  Therefore, an individual who receives a one year sentence under the above referenced 180 day minimum 6-303 charge will still have to spend the 180 days in before getting the credit.  In other words, 180 days really means 180 days.

Tags: driving on revoked license, traffic law, driving on suspended/revoked

Chicago Bar Association Criminal Law Meeting: Traffic Law Update

Posted by Sarah Manning on Tue, May 08, 2012 @ 02:57 PM

Click here for an outline of today's discussion!

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Tags: Kladis motions, traffic law, dui, drug dui

Driving on a Revoked License in IL: "The Incarceration Nation"

Posted by Sarah Manning on Tue, May 01, 2012 @ 03:15 PM
For more information on the rate of incarceration in the US:
While the state of Illinois is unable to pay its bills and Cook County is consistently in a budget crisis our legislature continues to pass laws that require non violent offenders to spend time in custody.  An all too often occurrence exists where a defendant's license is revoked for a DUI, he/she is caught driving for the fourth time after the revocation and he/she is required by the statute to spend 180 days in the Illinois Department of Corrections.  Bear in mind that many of these defendants have no other criminal background, no history of violent crimes, and many times, have only had one DUI (but poor legal representation on the DUI case).
If Illinois wants to save money, they should find a way to stop locking people up for something as silly as driving a car.  I have more than a few clients who would be happy to help the State with their bills by paying a fine rather than costing the State money by being locked up.

Tags: incarceration, revocation, driving on revoked license

The laws surrounding civilians calling on suspected DUI drivers

Posted by Sarah Manning on Wed, Apr 18, 2012 @ 02:53 PM

"Restaurant worker calls police on alleged drunk driver

The following was taken from Arlington Heights police records April 13.

DUI

  • A 26-year-old man of the 1200 block of Inverrary Lane, Palatine was arrested at 10:13 p.m., April 10, in a parking lot at 69 W. Rand Road and charged with DUI, aggravated DUI for not having a valid driver’s license and aggravated DUI for not having a valid insurance. An employee at Smash Burger called police when the man walked into the restaurant and appeared intoxicated before leaving and getting into his vehicle. His court date is May 29."  TribLocal
smashburger logo call in dui suspect resized 600
Whether or not a stop is justified based on a "tip" of drunk driving depends mainly on the type of person who makes the call to authorities.
Where a citizen complaint is made face to face with the police or by the use of the 911 system, they are given enhanced reliability because that person is taking a risk by reporting such activities, which if false, would subject that complainant to possible arrest for disorderly conduct.
While reasonable grounds to stop an individual may be based on an anonymous informant's tip, there must be some indicia of reliability to justify the stop.  Case law provides that certain factors may aid the courts in determining reliability, such as, independent corroboration by the police of the information provided by the caller and evidence that the information provided was specific enough to show that the caller had access to reliable information.
Informant's tips of drunk driving require less corroboration than tips related to matters presenting less imminent danger to the public.
The appellate court has held that information provided by a 911 caller justified a stop of a vehicle where the caller was not anonymous (e.g. smashburger employee above) and gave sufficient details about the suspect vehicle, including make, model, color and license plate; the 911 dispatcher reported the number of occupants in the vehicle; the time between the call and the stop was short; and the 911 operator informed the officers that the caller reported that the defendant had just left the caller's workplace and was extremely intoxicated.
Let's hope our Smashburger fan didn't take any of the tests that were offered him once he was pulled over!

Tags: informant, tip, dui, investigatory stop