Top 3 Most Common Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety testField sobriety tests are conducted by police officers when they suspect a driver may be intoxicated. Police use these tests to gain evidence of a person’s intoxication so they can make an arrest for DUI. However, these tests are often a poor indication of a person’s actual level of intoxication. Many people are simply uncoordinated and can’t pass the tests dead sober.

Here are three of the most common field sobriety tests:

  1. Walk & Turn. This is a very simple test in which you walk in a straight line, heel-to-toe for about 10 paces, before turning (pivoting off the front foot), and retracing your steps. Sometimes an officer will have you count the number of steps you’re taking as well. This is to test your ability to multitask.
  2. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. In this test, the officer will place a pen in front of your face and ask you to follow it with your eyes as he moves it right to left.  You are only allowed to move your eyes to follow the pen, moving your head will result in failure. Here the officer is checking for nystagmus – the involuntary jerking of the eyes that intensifies with alcohol consumption.
  3. One legged stand. This one is just what it sounds like. The officer will ask you to raise your foot six inches from the ground and count out loud. Additionally, you are required to keep your arms down at your sides (instead of using them for balance). Here the officer is looking for your ability to balance your body. Swaying, flailing your arms, or putting your foot down, are all seen as signs of possible impairment. This test is very subjective, as some people simply have terrible balance and wouldn’t be able to ace the test sober.

As you can tell, these tests are incredibly subjective. Officers only use them to gain reasonable suspicion that you’ve been drunk driving, so they can arrest you and administer a BAC test. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to know your rights, and contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

18-year-old Drunk Driver Charged with Underage DUI

This weekend, 18-year-old Luis Romo was charged with 2 counts of felony DUI after a car accident that injured 3 people.

Romo allegedly ran a stop sign and struck another vehicle that was carrying three men. Police estimate that Romo’s blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was 0.17 – over twice the legal limit of 0.08.

The injured men were all taken to the hospital, but none sustained life threatening wounds.

This case brings up an interesting legal topic – underage DUI. How do the charges differ if a drunk driver is under the legal drinking age?

According to Illinois DUI attorney, Brett Appelman, “This young man is in serious trouble. Besides a charge of DUI, he is likely facing multiple charges of Aggravated DUI, due to his elevated BAC level and the fact that injuries resulted from the crash. He is also facing a long term suspension and possibly a revocation of his driver’s license. If you are under 21 and get a DUI you can be barred from driving under the state of Illinois’ ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy.

“It is likely that he will not face any jail time for these charges, if this is his first DUI. While the accident and injuries appear quite serious, DUIs tend to be considered as reckless behavior (that is, not having been planned or with done with malice). So the sentences, at least for first time offenders, can be lighter than most people expect them to be.”


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Illinois Mom Files Personal Injury Suit after Birth Injury

baby personal injuryA year ago last week, Illinois resident Joanna Carey filed a personal injury lawsuit after her baby was born with brain damage due to alleged malpractice by Advocate Hospital staff.

Carey gave birth to her daughter, Lillian back in 2003. As she went into labor she exhibited signs of fetal distress. Carey alleges that the hospital staff knew about the fetal distress, but did nothing about it. In fact, they continued to administer drugs that are known to intensify fetal distress.

This fetal distress ultimately resulted in Lillian being born with brain damage and mental disability.

“Medical Malpractice cases are always emotional,” says personal injury lawyer, Sean Sullivan. “None more so than those malpractice suits that involve the injury of a child. These types of suits often seek damages in the millions. Most people wonder why the plaintiff would ever need that much money. But most people don’t realize all of the hidden medical costs associated with a disabled person. In fact, in a malpractice case such as this, where a child has permanent brain damage, this child is now going to need specialized care for the rest of her life, perhaps even full time care. Caring for the disabled child becomes the parent’s full time job at that point. Such a large settlement is necessary when you realize it may be the sole support for 2 or more people. Injuries of this type impact the whole family, not just the victim.”


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Illinois Teen Charged with Terrorist Bomb Plot may have been Entrapped

court18-year-old Illinois teen Adel Daoud was arrested last Friday for attempting to set off a fake explosive devise set up by the FBI in a sting operation.

Daoud’s defense attorney is now arguing that FBI agents unlawfully lured him into committing the act. Undercover officers allegedly told Daoud that a religious leader from overseas wanted him to perform terroristic acts, despite the fact that Daoud’s own personal religious leader preaches against violence.

According to the affidavit, Daoud met with an undercover agent six times over the summer. They exchanged messages and plotted an attack on a downtown bar (the affidavit did not reveal which bar). Last Friday, Daoud and the officer drove to a parking lot where a Jeep carrying a false explosive was parked. Daoud parked the vehicle outside the bar, walked away, and pressed the false trigger. Officers arrested him immediately afterward.

“The defense attorney in this case seems to be planning to use the entrapment defense,” says Chicago Defense Attorney, Miriam Szatrowski. “Entrapment occurs when police convince a person with no criminal intent and no propensity to commit a particular crime to commit that crime. That is, the person never would have committed the crime on their own, but did it only because the police persuaded them to. In this case, the defense is stating that the police, over a long period of time, talked Daoud into committing a violent act and then provided him with the means to do it. The fact that he is 18 means he is considered an adult, but the defense may still argue that his youth made him more vulnerable to police pressure, and less likely to develop such a plan on his own. If they raise this defense at trial, the State will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not entrapped in order for him to be found guilty.”


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5 Men Face Felony Drug Charges after Lake in the Hills Drug Bust

marijuana Five men are facing felony drug charges after police raided a Lake in the Hills home and found $4,500 worth of heroin, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

Specifically, police found and seized 15.2 grams of heroin, 2.5 grams of marijuana, as well as syringes, scales, and grinders.

The five men are being charged with drug possession with the intent to deliver. One of the men had an existing warrant for a felony drug charge at the time of arrest.

“These guys are in serious trouble,” says Illinois Drug Defense Attorney, Brett Appelman. “They are facing Class X Felonies which can carry up to 30 years in prison.  Those in this group with prior criminal records could have their sentences enhanced and be sent away for up to 60 years. Typically these types of cases can be negotiated down, with the defendants agreeing to plead Guilty to a lesser charge. If a plea deal is made in this case I would expect the charges to be lowered enough so that the defendants with no criminal history might only get 2 or 3 years in prison, and those with some history might get anywhere up to five years.”

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Sean Sullivan Recovers $20,000 for Client in Civil Law Suit

Sean SullivanSean Sullivan, civil defense attorney at Appelman & Associates, won a major civil law suit last week. His client had purchased a used BMW from a car lot and the car quickly broke down within a week. It turns out the transmission was bad and the car lot knew about it, but hid it when the client purchased the car.  The car lot refused to refund his money or even to pay for repairs.

Sean brought suit against the lot and the case was sent to binding arbitration. Using his superb litigation skills, Sean proved the following:

  • That the car was defective
  • That the car lot knew it was prior to the sale
  • That they had purposely not disclosed that information to the customer

Sean even proved that the lot tore out the last two pages of the Illinois car buying contract (which by law must include some warnings to buyers) just to trick their customers.

Sean’s client was awarded his entire purchase price, plus any and all expenses he went through to attempt to fix and return the car. In the end our client will be receiving over $20,000!

Read more of our case successes.

Chicago Man Facing up to 80 years in Prison for Sexual Assaults

prisonThis week Chicago police arrested 20-year-old Tyreese T. Richardson and charged him with 2 counts of home invasion and 3 counts of aggravated sexual assault.

The three attacks occurred between July 27 and August 5. Richardson allegedly broke into the victims’ homes wielding a knife and sexually assaulted them.

If convicted of these charges, Richardson will face a long stay in prison.

Home invasion is a Class X Felony, which can lead to a 30 year prison sentence in Illinois. But the aggravated criminal sexual assault charges are the more serious crimes. Each count is a Class X Felony, and each can bring a sentence of up to 30 years jail time. An additional 10 years will automatically be added because of the use of a weapon during the assault. He is potentially looking at two separate sentences of 40 years each, to be served consecutively. This means that he would serve the first 40 year sentence before the second 40 year term even begins.

He also clearly has a prior felony record, because police caught him through DNA matching.  All felons in Illinois are forced to submit a DNA sample, which is then stored by law enforcement for use in solving future cases.

This defendant needs to immediately contact a criminal defense attorney to represent him.  Anything he says or does right now will be used as evidence against him, and he needs someone to prevent him from digging himself an even deeper hole.

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