Traffic Stop Results in Two Drunken Driving Violations

Brenda G. Loth and Tami R. Lucibello of Naperville were arrested for driving under the influence after police pulled one of the vehicles over and the other driver stopped to wait for her friend.

The women, both 41, were driving back from a downtown bar around 1 a.m. when an officer spotted them committing lane violations and stop sign violations.  The officer pulled one of the vehicles over, which prompted the other woman to pull over to wait for her colleague.

After a short while, another officer appeared on the scene.  Both officers spoke with the women.

Lucibello allegedly told one of the officers that she and Loth had been at a downtown bar with workplace friends several hours earlier.  The women said they left the bar at the same time and began driving home together.

Loth lives in River Woods on Naperville’s southeast side, while Lucibello lives in the Windridge neighborhood on the city’s southwest side.

It was not reported who was pulled over first, but Loth was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, improper lane usage and disobeying a stop sign, while Lucibello was charged with driving under the influence, making an improper turn, and a license plate violation.

The women will also share a court date, as they are both scheduled in court for their arraignments on January 15.

Brett Appelman comments

Both of these women made a number of mistakes that night, aside from the simple fact that they drove while under the influence of alcohol.

When they were pulled over, they both admitted drinking, they both told the police that the other one had also been drinking, and they both committed small traffic violations which led to them being pulled over in the first place.

If you have been drinking and you get pulled over, the main thing to remember is to protect yourself by exercising your rights:

  • Your right to remain silent: do not speak to the police, except to say your name and address. Do not answer any questions about where you were, where you are going, or if you have had anything to drink.
  • Your right against self-incrimination: Do not take any sobriety tests. Do not stand on one leg, or walk a straight line, and certainly do not take the breath test.  You have the right to refuse these tests.

If you keep a calm head, and remember your rights, you can probably save yourself much of the troubles that these women got themselves into.

related source:  CBS Chicago

Chicago Man Gets 45 Years in Prison after 8th DUI

This week a man was sentenced by Champaign County court to 45 years in prison after being convicted of his 8th DWI charge.

48-year-old Carter Puckett was arrested last summer for aggravated DUI – the eighth such offense in his lifetime. Puckett was pulled over after police witnessed him swerving erratically in and out of his lane. The arresting officer reported that Puckett’s speech was slurred, and his breath reeked of alcohol.

Puckett blew a blood alcohol concentration of .15 – almost double the Illinois legal limit of .08.

Due to his record of 7 prior drunk driving charges, Puckett could have been sentenced to anywhere from 6 to 60 years jail time. The judge ultimately decided to sentence him to 45 years.

Brett Appelman Comments

An eighth DUI is charged as a Class X Felony, the highest criminal charge in Illinois, aside from Murder.  The legislature decided that having that many DUI convictions means that you are such a danger to society that you need to be locked up for a long period of time.  The absolute minimum time you would spend in prison based on this charge is six years.  This charge is not eligible for probation or any type of suspended sentence – if you are convicted for an eighth DUI you WILL go to prison for a minimum of six years.

Even though in this case the defendant did not cause an accident, injure anyone, or do anything else that would have aggravated his charges, the fact that it is his eighth DUI case mandated that he be charged as a Class X.  Even a second DUI charge carries a mandatory minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of Community Service.

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Do I Have to Take a Breath Test if Pulled Over for DUI in Illinois?

If you are pulled over for DUI in Illinois you do NOT have to take the breathalyzer test.  There are consequences for refusing, but you do have the right to refuse breath testing.

Under Illinois law driving is a privilege, not a right. As such, the government can put restrictions and rules on your ability to drive. One of these rules is called “Implied Consent.” The implied consent rule states that by the very act of driving on an Illinois road you have given your “consent” to being tested for alcohol or drugs if you are pulled over. But this consent can be withdrawn by refusing to give a breath test.

Since you are required to consent to the testing, if you refuse there are penalties that come into effect against you: your driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months.  If this is your second time refusing to give a breath test within five years, your license will be suspended for 3 years.

These license suspensions can be challenged in court at a “Rescission hearing.” At this hearing you can challenge the legality of the suspension based on 5 different grounds:

  1. Whether you were properly placed under arrest for DUI.
  2. Whether the police had reasonable grounds to believe you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  3. Whether you were properly warned about the consequences of giving or refusing the breath test.
  4. Whether or not you refused the breath test.
  5. Whether the tests showed that you had a BAC (blood alcohol content) above the legal limit (0.08) or had drugs in your system.

Most challenges to the suspensions are not successful. The law does allow a suspended driver to apply for and install a breathalyzer in their own car (known as the MDDP). With this device the suspended driver can drive at anytime and anywhere, as long as they first blow into the device to prove that they are not under the influence. However, during the first 30 days of the suspensions there is no driving allowed at all. This period of “hard time” is mandated by federal law.

You do in fact have the right to refuse testing in Illinois if you are pulled over for a DUI. You just need to be mindful of the consequences when you make your choice.

2 Illinois High Schools Involved in Hazing Scandals

Two Illinois high schools have been at the center of the high school hazing debate, and the schools are taking different paths to settle the issues.

Hazing Scandal #1

At Hoffman Estates High School, fourteen members of the high school basketball team were ordered to forfeit three games after alleged hazing incidents.

Officials said members of the basketball team would single out a player for initiation, then pile on top of that player and poke, grab and touch the individual in areas that sometimes included the buttocks and groin.  All players were fully clothed during the hazing incidents and the touching did not occur underneath a player’s clothes.

The Hoffman Estates police department is working with the school during the ongoing investigation.

The team’s coach is also being investigated, but players told school officials that their coach knew nothing about the initiation ritual.

The school has stated that the team will forfeit their next three games as a result of the “horseplay”, and members of the team will undergo training in hazing awareness.

Hazing Scandal #2

In an unrelated high school, the Department of Children and Family Services is looking into possible criminal violations stemming from hazing incidents dating back to 2008.

The DCFS is investigating one or more school officials at Maine West High School who may have known about the incidents and failed to report the conduct to proper authorities.  The Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act requires knowledge of alleged abuse to be reported, and violations range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony.

The investigation comes on the heels of a variety of incidents involving hazing on the boys soccer and baseball teams.

A parent of a freshman on the 2008 baseball team informed the school principal that members of the team had tore off her son’s pants and underwear on numerous occasions, sometimes exposing his genitals.

School officials investigated the complaint and four students were disciplined, but top district officials were not informed.  An internal investigation is being conducted to determine if the school acted appropriately.

The DCFS decided to get involved after the more recent hazing incident surrounding the boys soccer team.  Details about the latest incident have not been released, but six players were charged with misdemeanors after allegedly hazing three players.

Hazing and bullying is a growing epidemic in our schools,” says Illinois attorney Sean Sullivan. “What troubles me most about these two stories is that the Department of Children and Family Services is concerned enough to seek further investigation in one case, but not in the other.  It seems like a slippery slope to define one as ‘horseplay’ and the other as bordering on a sex crime. Both of these cases involve bullying of student athletes, and both deal with hazing related to school activities.  In my opinion both should warrant further investigation, not just one.”

Related source:  Chicago Tribune

Former Lake County Prosecutor Faces Disbarment in Wake of Drug Scandal

marijuanaAaron Isaacson, a former Lake County Prosecutor, faces possible disbarment after he was implicated in his roommate’s drug dealing operation.

In 2009, Isaacson’s roommate was arrested for delivering 23 lbs of marijuana to a customer. The roommate is currently serving a prison sentence of 12 years.

Isaacson initially denied his involvement in the drug operation, but eventually agreed to cooperate in exchange for all criminal charges being dropped. According to his roommate, Isaacson helped deliver drugs to customers, and was well aware of regular drug deals that occurred in the home.

Though Isaacson faces no criminal charges, he may well lose his law license because of his involvement in the drug operation. Last month, an Illinois disciplinary panel ruled that Isaacson should be disbarred stating that he showed “an utter disregard for his responsibilities to uphold the law.” The final decision on Isaacson’s disbarment will be made by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Sean Sullivan Comments

As a member of the legal community, I would defiantly agree that this person should lose their law license. It is clear this lawyer knowingly violated the law repeatedly, and then sought to continue to prosecute others for crimes they committed. This behavior is the very definition of hypocrisy.

It would be one thing if this was a one-time mistake such as a first time DUI or some kind of assault charge. Mistakes happen, and anyone can screw up and do something stupid. Lawyers are like anyone else, and should not necessarily lose their license for a momentary lapse in judgment. Clearly though this lawyer felt that the law didn’t apply to him. No one is above the law.


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