McDonald’s Employee Arrested For Distributing Heroin Through Happy Meals

Happy MealPolice in Pennsylvania arrested a McDonald’s employee for selling heroin through the drive-thru window by placing drugs inside Happy Meals boxes. 

According to the police report, customers used the buying code “I’d like to order a toy,” to signal that they’d like to buy heroin from employee Shantia Dennis.

Authorities arrested Dennis, 26, on charges of drug distribution after undercover officers conducted a purchase at the fast food restaurant. A subsequent raid uncovered 50 units of heroin as well as the 10 units purchased by the undercover officer.

“I’d Like To Order A Toy”

When customers uttered the magic words at the drive-thru order screen, they would be directed to the first of the two drive-up windows. After customers paid Dennis, they would be handed a Happy Meal box packed with heroin.

Authorities aren’t sure how long the operation had been taking place, but they said there was no indication that the franchise owner knew about Dennis’ actions. Dennis is currently being held on $30,000 bail at the Allegheny County Jail.

Possible Penalties

Although the story says the dealer was caught with a total of 60  “units” of heroin, let’s assume she was caught with 60 grams. Had this crime occurred in Illinois, Dennis could have faced some stiff penalties.

Under Illinois law:

  • A person can face 4-15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 if they are found to be in possession of between 15 and 100 grams of a controlled substance (cocaine, heroin, meth, etc.)
  • A person can face 6-30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000 if they manufacture, sell, or distribute between 15 and 100 grams of a controlled substance.

Currently, Pennsylvania authorities have only charged Dennis with distribution of a controlled substance, but more charges could be forthcoming as the investigation into the operation continues.

Related source: Chicago Tribune

Russian Drunk Driver Has License Suspended For 106 Years

Longest Drunk Driving SentenceA drunk driver in Russia had his driver’s license suspended for a record-breaking 106 years after he was caught trying to evade a police checkpoint.

Although the man’s name was not released, Russian police say he was pulled over in Perm, a city that arrests between 40 and 70 drunk drivers every day. According to Russian authorities, the man is a frequent drunk driver, and this isn’t the first time he’s had his license suspended. Local Traffic Police Spokesman Vladimir Vasenin said the lengthy suspension was “the sum of all driving license suspension rulings ever issued to such a driver.”

New Record

Russian officials said about 10 people in the Ural region have been given extremely long license suspensions as a result of multiple drunk driving violations. Those individuals had their licenses suspended for between 80 and 102 years, but the newest 106-year suspension takes the cake.

“There are some people whose licenses have been suspended for 100, 102 years,” said head of regional traffic police Oleg Churkin. “For 106, the person’s driving license suspended for life for DUI.”

Police said that those individuals who have been given lengthy suspensions often appeal, but a shortened term has never been given. Eventually, they say, the majority of drivers simply sell their car and never drive again.

Illinois Harsher?

Although it’s uncertain how many previous DUI violations this Russian had, Defense Attorney Brett Appelman explains how someone could actually have a longer suspension in Illinois.

Just like in Russia, you can have your driver’s license suspended in Illinois for being arrested for a DUI. You can then also have your license revoked for being convicted of a DUI, which means that there is not just a time period to wait for the return of your license. You must also have a hearing with the Secretary of State to request a reinstatement of your license.

In Illinois, the driver’s license consequences for DUIs are:

1st DUI conviction – 1 year Revocation

2nd DUI conviction – 5 year Revocation (If within 20 years of the 1st DUI)

3rd DUI conviction – 10 year Revocation

4th DUI conviction – Barred from diving for life

So while it seems like a 106-year driver’s license suspension is quite harsh, the Russian system actually is more lenient that our system in Illinois. The defendant in Russia would be barred for life from driving in Illinois, but if he lives long enough, assuming he makes it to 135 years old, he might still get his license back over there.

Related source:

5 Traffic Tickets that Increase your Insurance Premiums

traffic violationMSN Money recently published an article discussing five types of traffic tickets that can have a huge impact on your auto insurance.

Here are the five tickets and how much each will increase your insurance premiums (roughly):

  1. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – 25% increase
  2. Reckless Driving – 15% – 20% increase
  3. Speeding – 10% increase
  4. Running a Red Light – 10% increase
  5. Driving without a valid License – 10% increase

The percentage increases are all estimates. How much your premiums actually increase is based on a variety of factors surrounding your individual driving record, criminal history, and other factors.

Sean Sullivan Comments

As a criminal traffic law firm, we routinely deal with these types of tickets. The vast majority of tickets we see are driving on a suspended license or DUI tickets. We deal with these types of cases on a daily basis.  However, what people need to keep in mind (and what this article does not tell you) is that not only are these serious hits on your insurance record, but they are not simple traffic tickets. In Illinois these tickets are, in fact, criminal misdemeanors. This means that the maximum penalty for these offenses can be up to a year in jail.

Bottom line, these violations greatly impact your auto insurance, and your criminal history. They should be taken very seriously.

Our firm has experience in handling all these types of cases. If you find yourself charged with one of these cases please give us a call to discuss your options.

Decades Old Murder Conviction Reversed in Cook County

Conviction overturnedLate last week, Cook County prosecutors agreed to drop the decades old murder conviction and life sentence of a Chicago man after new evidence emerged suggesting he was innocent.

Deon Patrick, 42, was released from prison on Friday after prosecutors agreed that the case against him was flawed because it was based on questionable confessions.

The Case In Question

The case and subsequent conviction revolved around the November 1992 murders of Jeffery Lassiter and Sharon Haugabook. Patrick was one of eight men charged with murder in connection with the incident. When police grilled the men about the killings, each accused member implicated a different person as the triggerman, while Patrick remained adamant that he was innocent.

Patrick spent 30 hours in custody being interrogated about the incident, and he eventually signed a written confession that was drafted by the state prosecutor. While the signed confession made up a large portion of evidence against Patrick at the trial, it was the testimony of another accused member that sunk Patrick’s proverbial ship. Daniel Taylor provided a lengthy court-reported confession at trial that stated Patrick had shot both Lassiter and Haugabook.

The judge eventually sentenced five of the eight men to prison, and three of them were given life sentences, Patrick being one of them.

Truth Comes Out

In 2001, as part of an investigative series called “Cops and Confessions,” the Chicago Tribune uncovered evidence that Taylor was actually in police custody during the time of the murders. Police records show that Taylor had been arrested two hours before the murders, and he wasn’t released until an hour after the killings.

Based on the new evidence, prosecutors agreed to release Taylor from prison in June of 2013, saying it was done in the interest of justice.

Patrick’s attorneys attempted to secure release for their client based upon the fact that if Taylor was locked up during the murders, he couldn’t have definitively known who pulled the trigger.

Taylor’s release prompted a months-long review of Patrick’s case. Prosecutors listened to new arguments at a hearing last month, but they still refused to drop the charges. On Friday, the prosecutors reversed their stance.

Sean Sullivan comments

It sounds like there were serious holes in the prosecution’s case against this man.

When people ask me why I am a defense attorney, I tell them it is because of cases like this. People like to think that everyone convicted is actually guilty, but that is not always the case. Sometimes innocent people go to jail for crimes they could not have committed, or they fall victim to false testimony.

That’s why I am a defense attorney. To see that innocent people never go to jail for a crime they did not commit.

Related source: Chicago Tribune

Winter Driving Tips To Avoid An Accident

Winter Driving TipsWinter weather is here to stay in Illinois, so it’s important that residents take precautionary measures to ensure they stay safe on the road until the snow thaws. Today, Sean Sullivan shares some tips every driver should follow so he doesn’t have to represent you in a personal injury suit or insurance claim! That said, Sean is more than willing to help you if you end up in a messy situation this winter.

1. Prepare Your Car

To give yourself the best chance to avoid an accident, take time to prepare your car for winter weather by:

  • Swapping out your all season tires for winter tires.
  • Adding a blanket and a sandbag to your trunk. The sandbag will provide your car with extra weight which will help it grip the road, and it can be used to provide traction if you get stuck in the snow or ice.
  • Checking your fluid levels.
  • Packing the car with winter essentials, like jumper cables, an ice scraper and flashlights.

2. Slow Down

It may seem obvious, but excessive speed is the most common cause of traffic accidents during the winter. Just because Illinois raised the speed limit to 70 mph on some rural highways doesn’t mean you need to go that fast.

Remember, the worse the road conditions, the more time you’ll need to bring your car to a halt. Ease into intersections or stop signs. Just because the light is green doesn’t mean you shouldn’t slow down. Maybe the car in front of you can’t get traction and is struggling to get moving, or a driver coming from another direction can’t stop in time and skids into the intersection. Always keep your head on a swivel when you’re driving during the winter season.

If you know a particular section of highway usually has delays, or if there is a sharp turn coming up, ease off the gas. You may be able to go from 65 mph to 30 mph in no time during the summer, but you might not have the same luck with snow on the ground.

3. Prepare Yourself

Your car may be prepped for the winter weather, but you should also make sure you take steps to keep yourself safe this season.

Always dress appropriately for the weather, even if you’re just driving two blocks to the store. If you get in an accident, you’ll probably regret quickly throwing on your moccasins instead of your boots.

Also, keep your emergency information handy. Put your AAA card in your wallet, or write down a list of towing companies or garages in the area in case you need some roadside assistance. It’s also smart to keep a spare cell phone charger in your car. Most people carry their cell phones with them at all times, but it will do you no good in an emergency if it’s out of battery.

Lastly, make sure people know where you’ll be. If you have to travel a long distance, let someone know which direction you’ll be taking. If you don’t show up, they’ll be able to tell authorities where to begin looking. Usually this isn’t a problem on major highways, but if you’re going over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house, you might end up driving on less-traveled, less-plowed roads. Cell phone reception could be poor in these areas too, so let friends know when they can expect you, and where you’ll be coming from.

All too often I get calls from potential clients that have been involved in car accidents and need help settling a claim. As much as I love to help people resolve their legal issues, I never want anyone to get into an accident. Please remember these tips in the treacherous winter driving season!