Illinois Man Sentenced to Community Service for Speeding over 100 mph

speedingDaryl F. Dourado was arrested for speeding (at 103 mph) in Naperville last spring. This month he was sentenced to community service as part of his punishment.

Dourado was doing more than 40 mph over the 45 mph speed limit. His sentence included 60 hours of community service, a fine of $400, a year of probation, and mandatory attendance of traffic school.

These punishments reflect some of Illinois recent traffic law changes. Here’s Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer Brett Appelman with more information.

Brett Appelman Comments

In 2011, Illinois changed a few of its traffic laws.  The new law dictates that if you are caught speeding 40 mph over the speed limit, you will be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor.  That is the same level of crime as a DUI.  The potential punishments for this type of speeding ticket are:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • A fine of $2,500
  • Community service

These new repercussions vastly outweigh the prior potential sentence for this offense which was only a fine of up to $1,000.

In addition, the new law mandates that a speeding ticket of over 30 mph over the limit is now a Class B Misdemeanor, which carries a potential sentence of six months in jail, a fine of $1,500, and community service.

Why these increased penalties? The state legislature decided to crack down on speeding after a series of high profile cases in 2010 showed that many speeders were getting sentenced to small fines, even for egregious cases like speeding over 100MPH.

 

Related Sources:

napervillesun.com

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White Supremacist’s Comments not Protected Free Speech, Court Rules

first amendmentToday a Chicago appellate court made an important ruling, stating that a white supremacist’s harmful comments are not protected under the free speech rights of the First Amendment.

In 2011, neo-Nazi William White was convicted of solicitation after he published to his website information (name, address, phone number, photo) on a juror who helped convict another white supremacist back in 2008. This ruling was overturned later that year when a judge ruled that White’s actions were protected under the First Amendment. The original ruling has now been reinstated.

White also entered the national spotlight in 2008 when he posted death threats to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Sean Sullivan Comments

This is an interesting case as it allows a higher court to continue to refine the constitutional definition of the freedom of speech. As most people know, the First Amendment protects an individual’s right to the freedom of speech. This is an ideal I hold more or less inviolate. The tricky question with free speech is when is free speech not free speech? Answer: when it places someone else in danger.

If Mr. White had simply expressed his opinion for disliking this juror’s vote, that would be protectable as free speech. Here he has clearly crossed the line though. He openly advocated for someone to harm this individual and then assisted them in doing so by posting this person’s personal information online. His speech has now become harmful action. This is a clear distinction that the higher courts have always upheld in cases like this.

 

 

Related Sources:

Chicagotribune.com

Will a Bullet Tax Reduce Chicago Gun Violence?

bullet taxCook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has proposed a tax on bullets in the hopes that it will curb the city’s rising gun violence.

The proposal would implement a tax of 5 cents for each bullet purchased and a tax of $25 on each firearm sold in Cook County – which includes Chicago. If imposed, the tax would garner nearly $1 million per year. This money would be used for medical care for gunshot victims and other services.

But the big question is will this bullet tax actually decrease gun violence?

Brett Appelman Comments

I certainly appreciate what Ms. Preckwinkle is trying to do with this proposed tax.  The violence and homicide rate in Cook County is getting out of control.  The government is seeking any way possible to curb the violence (gun violence in particular).  But you have to question the point of this tax, when deciding whether to implement it or not.

Would a tax of 5 cents have any effect on stopping gun violence?  Probably not.  Most shootings are not carefully planned out, but rather heat of the moment decisions. The average shooter will not even consider the tax when aiming and shooting his gun.

However, the taxes raised could go a long way to helping out the victims of gun violence.  Treatment, rehab, and medical costs could be defrayed by the implementation of this tax.  Classes that teach children about stopping violence could be implemented with this money.  So, while I do not believe this tax will stop any potential future violence, I do believe that it could be a valuable tool to help the victims of gun violence.

What do you think?

 

Related Sources:

timesunion.com

4 Tips to Remember when Pulled Over for DUI in Illinois

pulled over for duiIf you are pulled over for a drunk driving, the first thing to remember is not to panic.  Do not make any rash decisions, and do not attempt to “talk your way out” of the DUI.

If you are pulled over for a DUI it all boils down to 4 simple rules:

  1. Be polite and follow the officer’s basic requests.
  2. Do not answer any questions, and immediately ask to speak to your lawyer.
  3. Do not perform any sobriety tests, and do not give a breath sample.
  4. As soon as possible call a DUI defense lawyer.  You rights and your driver’s license need to be protected.

Pull over quickly and safely when the police turn their lights on.  Find a clear, lighted area to park in if possible.  Keep your hands on the steering wheel, so the officer can see them at all times. Do not reach into your glove box or center console without first telling the officer what you are doing.

When asked, give your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration to the officer.  Do not say any more than is required: give your name and address, but do not answer any questions about where you were or where you are going.  Never admit to drinking any alcohol or taking any drugs.  Do not lie about it, simply state that you will not answer any questions until you have spoken to your lawyer.

If requested to do so, step out of the car and stand perfectly still.  Follow the officer’s directions if he wants you to walk to the rear of your car.  Walk as calmly and steadily as possible.

When the officer tells you that he is going to have you perform “some tests,” politely state that you are refusing any and all tests. Do not perform any Field Sobriety Tests, such as:

  • Standing on one leg
  • Walking a straight line
  • Following an object with your eyes

There is no penalty, and you will not get into any trouble for refusing to do these tests.

If asked to give a breath sample, known as a “breathalyzer,” again politely refuse.  Do not agree to give a breath sample unless you are 100% positive that you have had NO alcohol that day.  The only penalty for refusing the breath test is a suspension of your license. In many cases a DUI defense lawyer can get you back driving quickly, even if you refuse the breath test.  If you do provide a breath sample you are giving the police very strong evidence against you that they will use to prosecute you for DUI.

The police will try to scare and intimidate you. Do not give in and do not take the breath test. They will promise to let you go if only you give them the breath sample.  They are not telling you the truth.  If you blow over the limit they will arrest you no matter what they have promised.

Being pulled over for DUI is a scary experience. But knowing your rights and following these tips will make the process much less nerve-wracking.

Illinois Supreme Court Lifts Ban on Divorce for Mentally Disabled

illinois supreme courtThis month the Supreme Court of Illinois released the long held ban on the ability for mentally disabled people to file for divorce.

For many years, Illinois state law stated that mentally disabled couples and/or their guardians could not file for divorce. This included people in the following categories:

  • Those with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Those with severe brain damage
  • Those with mental illness

Those who fought to lift the ban argued that many of these people were able to articulate their wishes, despite their mental condition.

The Supreme Court suspended this ban earlier this month. The Court will now make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

“This is an important decision for people with mental disabilities,” says Illinois Family Law Attorney, Miriam Szatrowski. “Under the old law, people with mental disabilities who were married could be stuck in abusive or exploitative marriages with no recourse unless their spouse filed for divorce. This could result in a physically dangerous power imbalance, or allow an unscrupulous spouse to drain their partner financially. This decision will allow the family courts to treat people with mental disabilities as individuals by giving them and their guardians the ability to file for divorce, and then present their side at a hearing to see if the divorce is in their best interest.”

 

Related Sources:

stlouis.cbslocal.com

 

Chicago Police Find 2 Football Fields Worth of Marijuana

marijuanaThis week Chicago police reportedly found massive fields of marijuana on the south side of the city.

The marijuana fields were the size of two football fields, with a total estimated value of $7-10 million – the largest cannabis crop ever discovered in Chicago. The area was concealed by thick brush right off of the Bishop Ford Freeway. A police helicopter discovered the fields during a flyover.

The plants had been growing for 4-6 months and had an average height of six feet. Police also found a small camp with a sleeping bag and food.

So far, no arrests have been made. Officers are still trying to pin down who owns the land.

Attorney Commentary from Brett Appelman

Whoever owns the land that these plants were found on will have a lot of explaining to do to the police.  The owner can claim that he or she did not know about the massive pot farm growing on their land, but it will be a hard sell.

Clearly whoever is found responsible for these plants will be facing charges of Cannabis Possession, as well as Possession with Intent to Deliver, also known as Dealing.  In Illinois anytime you possess pot, or any drug for that matter, you can be charged with Intent to Deliver if the prosecutor can show that the drugs were not intended for your own personal use.  If you possess thousands of pot plants, you clearly were not keeping them solely for personal use.

 

Related Sources:

myfoxchicago.com

Teen Drunk Driver hits Cop Car while Fleeing Shootout

Last weekend, 18-year-old Kendall Collier hit a squad car and injured a police officer while drunkenly driving away from a shooting at a house party.

Early Saturday morning, gunfire erupted at a Montgomery Illinois house party. The shooting caused attendees to scatter. Collier was one of those in attendance who got in his car and drove away to avoid this shooting. In the process he ran into a squad car and injured the officer inside.

Police say Collier was intoxicated at the time of the accident. He is being charged with aggravated DUI.

No one was hurt in the shooting. The injured officer was initially in serious condition, but has since been stabilized.

Brett Appelman Comments

This kid is in serious trouble, but he might get a break based on his reason for driving while under the influence.

Necessity is a defense to most crimes. The argument goes that “I HAD to commit the crime because it was necessary in order to avoid a much worse event from happening.”  Just as firemen will not get prosecuted for kicking your door in to run into a burning house (Breaking and Entering), this defendant might be able to argue that it was necessary for him to drive, even while drunk, to avoid getting shot.  A jury might believe that he had no other choice.

Even if he is found guilty, I would imagine that the judge would give him some leniency in sentencing him, based on his reasons for driving.

 

Related Sources:

Chicago.cbslocal.com