Chicago Bears CB Tim Jennings Arrested For DUI

Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings has been arrested for driving under the influence, speeding and reckless driving, according to a report from ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.

Wright has been covering the report from the start, and it appears that Jennings is still being held at the Gwinnett County jail in Georgia.

Details are still sketchy, but it doesn’t look like the Bears are off to a great 2015 after stumbling through a disappointing 2014 season. The Bears have yet to release a statement about the incident, and even though they are currently without a coach or general manager, it seems unlikely that the team will cut ties with the 31-year-old cornerback. Jennings started all 32 games for the Bears over the last two seasons, and he earned Pro Bowl selections in 2012 and 2013. Those successful years earned him a four-year contract extension after the 2013 season, and although he had a down here in 2014, we don’t think his roster spot is in jeopardy.

Tim Jennings

Possible Penalties

A DUI charge is fairly serious; Jennings is facing a loss of his driver’s license, community service and possibly even jail time. The criminal repercussions from this case could force him into alcohol treatment and substance abuse programs.

The NFL also has very strict policies dealing with criminal behavior and drug and alcohol violations by the players. Jennings could be suspended for a number of games at the beginning of the 2015 season, and face the very expensive prospect of losing game checks for any games he misses. He could be forced to attend the NFL’s own drug and alcohol treatment program as well as other sanctions the league might hand down.

The best thing Tim Jennings can do right now is start going to alcohol treatment immediately. In-patient treatment is his best option to show the league that he takes this matter seriously and that he want to address his alcohol issues.

Related source: Sports Illustrated, SB Nation

Law Banning Police Ticket Quotas Goes Into Effect Jan. 1

Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 3411 back on June 16, but the law banning police ticket quotas won’t go into effect until Thursday, when the calendar turns to 2015. There has been a lot of debate over what the law really bans, so today we delve into SB 3411.

Two Big Changes

SB 3411 offers two large tweaks to the ticket quota system. The law:

  • Provides that a county or municipality may not require a law enforcement officer to issue a specific number of citations or warnings within a designated period of time, and;
  • Provides that a county or municipality may not, for purposes of evaluating a law enforcement officer’s job performance, compare the number of citations or warnings issued by the law enforcement officer to the number of citations or warnings issued by any other law enforcement officer who has similar job duties.

Essentially, police leaders can’t tell their officers to write 200 speeding tickets each month or give Bill a promotion over Bob just because Bill writes more tickets. State Representative Jay Hoffman, of Swansea, said the banning of quotas will help restore the public’s trust in police.

“Arbitrary quotas on the number of tickets that have to be issued by police officers undermines the public trust in the police departments’ priorities,” Hoffman said. “By eliminating these quotas, we can restore that trust and ensure that police officers are free to do their job protecting the public.”

Illinois Ticket Quota

That said, not all police quotas have been banned. In some instances, police departments must meet certain targets in order to be eligible for federal and state grant money. Officials say targeted grants, like funding for extra DUI patrols during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, will be exempt from the ban. In most cases, the instances in which you may be subjected to a quota are times when you were going to get a citation or arrested regardless of whether or not a quota was in place.

Also, although ticket quotas have been banned, the law says nothing about required daily or monthly contacts. These are situations where an officer interacts with a citizen, but does not necessarily need to involve a crime.

“It could be serving a warrant, serving orders of protection, doing a community program,” said Sangamon County Sheriff Wes Barr.

Police believe these regular interactions help foster trust in officers and ensure their presence is made public in the community.

If you believe you’ve been unjustly given a traffic ticket or related violation, contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney right away.

Related source: The State Journal-Register, The Metro Independent

Illinois Police Add DUI Patrols For Thanksgiving Weekend

Drunk TurkeyThe night before Thanksgiving is often one of the most popular drinking nights of the year, and Illinois police are taking extra measures to cut down on the number of drunk drivers.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday are two of the more well-known days on the extended holiday weekend, but it’s tonight -Blackout Wednesday as it is known by some young people – that is of the most concern to local police.

“Obviously stores will be busy, we have plenty of establishments here which will be serving liquor,” said Batavia police director Kevin Bretz. “But we’re prepared for anything that comes up.”

Batavia police aren’t the only ones amping up their DUI patrols. Similar to years past, Kane County will be conducting a “No Refusal” program. Under normal circumstances, a person does not need to submit to a blood or breath test unless they give consent or an officer presents the suspect with a warrant. A warrant typically takes a few hours to be approved by a judge, but tonight and through this weekend judges will be available to sign off on search warrants around the clock. This means suspected drunk drivers will be required to submit to a test once presented with a search warrant or face the consequences.

The Geneva Police Department is also letting residents know that’s they’ll be stepping up DUI patrols. The department will have two extra squad cars out on the roads between 9 p.m. Wednesday and 3 a.m Thursday to catch any patrons who drive home from the bar when they should be in a cab.

“The purpose is to be proactive and hopefully deter poor decisions on the part of drivers,” said Geneva patrol operations commander Julie Nash.

Added police presence and better decisions from drivers should help reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal accidents this holiday weekend. Last year seven people died in car accidents during Thanksgiving weekend, and three of those crashes involved a drunk driver. In all, 723 drivers suffered an injury in a car accident over the holiday weekend last year.

Brett Appelman Comments

Make good decisions out there tonight. The night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest nights for drunk drivers of the year. Not only are you more likely to get pulled over if you drive drunk, you could end up injured if you are struck by a drunk driver.

Plan a ride home before you start drinking. A $40 cab ride is much better than a $10,000 DUI bill because you made a poor choice. If you do end up in a rough spot this weekend, give us a call at (630) 717-7801. Have a wonderful holiday!

Related source: Chicago Tribune

Illinois State Bar Attempting To Change DUI Law

Illinois Marijuana DUIThe Illinois state bar association is attempting to change the state’s current DUI law in the wake of a tragic accident.

The incident that spurred the call for change occurred back in December 2011 when Scott Shirey was driving his two 10-year-old twins to swimming practice. Along the way their car was t-boned by a distracted driver who ran a red light. One of Shirey’s kids died in the crash, and the other was severely injured.

Despite adhering to traffic laws, Shirey faced the possibility of 14 years in prison because a blood test found he had marijuana in his system. His attorney said Shirey admitted to smoking marijuana, but that was a month prior to the crash. His attorney argued that he clearly wasn’t under the influence at the time of the accident.

“Nothing can possibly illustrate this idiotic law more than the Scott Shirey case,” defense attorney Patrick O’Byrne said. “It’s incomprehensible how bad the law is. It’s a worst-case scenario, charged with the homicide of your own son for smoking pot that had nothing to do with the accident.”

Knowing that there was little they could do to challenge the law as it was written, Shirey decided his only option was to plead guilty. He was sentenced to 30 months of probation, while the driver who caused the crash received two months of periodic imprisonment and nine months of home confinement.

“We had no choice. We had no defense,” O’Byrne said. “Thank God the judge gave him probation instead of prison.”

Acting on what they believe is a travesty of justice, the Illinois State Bar Association submitted a bill to change the current law. They said the DUI statute shouldn’t apply to drivers who aren’t under the influence at the time of an accident or at fault for causing the accident.

Related source: Daily Herald

Illinois Police Adding Extra Halloween DUI Patrols

DUI roadblockGrants from the Illinois Department of Transportation are making it easier for many departments to police drunk drivers on Halloween and the holiday weekend.

Some departments are putting the extra funds towards DUI roadblocks, while others are simply using the funds to put more troopers on the road this weekend. The Lake County Sheriff’s office received a $135,000 grant from IDoT, and they plan to add roadblocks during most of the upcoming holidays.

“For this grant program, we anticipate conducting the enforcement campaigns during the weeks of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s (Day), the Super Bowl, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day,” the Lake County Board said.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office will also conduct “saturation patrols” during the Halloween weekend as they expect more people to take part in the holiday because it falls on a Friday. Similar patrols will take place in Will and Kendall County.

“Officers assigned to these details will be checking for impaired drivers, occupant/child restraint violations, cell phone violations, and other violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code,” said Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton.

Extra Emphasis

As noted above, the extra emphasis on pedestrian safety this Halloween is due in part to the fact that the holiday falls on a Friday. This means more teens and adults will be off to spooky parties on the same night that ghosts and ghouls hit the streets to go Trick or Treating.

As USA Today reports, Halloween is by far the most dangerous day for children in terms of being struck by vehicles. A 20-year study conducted between 1990 and 2010 found that an average of 5.5 people under the age of 18 are killed by vehicles each year on Halloween. That’s more the double the average of every other day on the calendar.

So it’s no wonder that Illinois police want to ramp up DUI patrols this Halloween. The holiday is already the most dangerous day for kids before you factor in drunk drivers. If you’re going to a Halloween party this weekend, please plan a sober ride.

Related source: News Sun, The Times Weekly, USA Today


Rhode Island Man Gets 4 DUIs in 36 Hours

4 DuisA Rhode Island man just set the unofficial record for most DUIs in a 36-hour span, racking up four drunk driving arrests in a day and a half.

The whole ordeal for John Lourenco, 53, began Sunday afternoon when his Dodge pickup collided with a family’s SUV, injuring a 4-year-old and 6-year-old in the other vehicle. The children received treatment and were released from a local hospital, and Lourenco was booked for driving under the influence after failing a field sobriety test.

According to the police report, Lourenco became hostile with officers and hospital staff while being treated for minor injuries. He allegedly threatened an officer and threw a bottle of urine at a nurse. He was released after being given a summons to appear in court on the drunk driving charge.

But Mr. Lourenco’s poor choices didn’t stop there. Bright an early Monday morning Lourenco was back behind the wheel, this time driving a Chevy Sedan. Police responded to a report of a traffic accident around 7 a.m. and found that Lourenco had hit another car. He blew a 0.220, nearly three times the legal limit, when given a Breathalyzer at the scene. He was charged with drunk driving and released to his parents.

Again, Lourenco failed to learn his lesson. Around 11 a.m. an officer noticed a Plymouth Barracuda driving erratically down the road. The officer stopped the vehicle and once again found Lourenco behind the wheel. Lourenco was arrested and taken to the hospital, where he was released to their custody. Lourenco was released from the hospital after having his blood drawn.

Sadly, just a few hours later, Lourenco again made the poor choice to get behind the wheel. He was driving a dump truck when he crashed into a tree around 5 p.m. Monday night. Lourenco was again booked on suspicion of driving under the influence, but this time the police kept him in custody after the hospital drew his blood. He was scheduled to remain in police custody until his September 24 court date, but he was released Tuesday on $25,000 surety bail.

In addition to the four drunk driving charges, Lourenco also faces charges of:

Reckless driving

• Refusing a Breathalyzer

• Failure to provide insurance

Brett Appelman comments

Sometimes a story provides more questions than answers, and that’s how I feel after reading this piece. Why did it take four arrests for the police to keep Lourenco in custody? Where did he need to get to so urgently? How they heck did he have access to three cars and a dump truck?

This is simply one of the stranger DUI stories I’ve ever read.

Related source: The Providence Journal

Huge 4th of July DUI Enforcement Underway in Illinois 

DUI Patrol ILThe Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois State Police (ISP) hope to continue the downward trend of traffic deaths on state roads by conducting a large scale DUI and seatbelt enforcement.

The Fourth of July is often a fun holiday filled with family and fireworks, but Tonya Loker, IDOT Director of Traffic Safety, said the holiday also involves two dangerous elements: heavy traffic and alcohol. Loker said the added patrols will help keep Fourth of July commuters safe.

“IDOT and law enforcement remind everyone this weekend that if you drink and drive in Illinois this Fourth of July, you will be caught,” said Loker. “Whether driving a car or motorcycle, if you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a sober driver or find a safe way home BEFORE the party begins. Be responsible or risk a DUI.”

The added patrols begin today and run through Sunday, July 6. ISP Director Hiram Grau said the patrols will focus on drivers who violate four of the most dangerous driving acts.

“The upcoming Fourth of July holiday means law enforcement statewide will be out on the roads enforcing laws to avoid tragic outcomes. To boost safety around the holiday weekend, the Illinois State Police enforcement efforts will focus on the Fatal Four – Speeding, Seatbelts, Distracted Driving and DUI.”

The Illinois State Police and more than 320 local law enforcement agencies will join IDOT in the DUI and seatbelt crackdown, and before you start thinking that you only need to make it to the state border to avoid the extra patrols, know that Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa are conducting similar sweeps.

Sobering Statistics

Although 85 less individuals have lost their lives on Illinois roads this year compared to the same time last year, the Fourth of July holiday if often the deadliest weekend of the year, especially when the holiday falls on a Friday.

According to IDOT, 18 motorists died on Illinois roads during the Fourth of July holiday last year, and 33 percent of those deaths involved at least one driver who had been drinking. 58 people have lost their lives on Illinois roads during the holiday weekend in the last five years, and 50 percent of the fatalities have involved an inebriated driver.

Brett Appelman added that the drive sober sentiment should apply to all vehicles this weekend.

“Be smart over the holiday weekend when it comes to drinking and driving,” said Appelman. “Just because it’s not a car doesn’t mean you aren’t subjected to the same laws. If you’re over the legal limit, steer clean of recreational vehicles like boats, pontoons and ATVs.”

Related source: IDOT


Chicago Bulls’ Brewer Pleads Not Guilty To DUI Charge

Ronnie BrewerChicago Bulls forward Ronnie Brewer pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of driving under the influence in the wake of a February traffic stop in Beverly Hills, California.

Brewer, 29, did not appear in court for the initial hearing. Brewer’s attorney entered the not guilty plea on his behalf.

Authorities allege that Brewer had a blood-alcohol concentration of .15 percent – nearly twice the legal limit – when he was pulled over by Beverly Hills police on February 19. His next hearing is scheduled for July 15.

Brett Appelman comments

Unfortunately DUI charges have become an epidemic with young, rich celebrities. Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, Justin Bieber and multiple professional athletes have recently been charged with DUI’s. It would seem that access to money, fast cars and the feeling of being untouchable by the law fuels this epidemic. Once arrested, these celebrities can afford the most expensive lawyers, and many times are let go with little to no punishment.

Just this morning Justin Bieber’s attorney announced that his client will plead guilty to a lesser charge of Reckless Driving and will only have to attend anger management classes. Not alcohol treatment, no probation, not even the usual celebrity “sentence” of having to make a Public Service Announcement about the dangers of DUIs.

If young celebrities continue to receive almost no punishment for these DUI cases, they will continue to do the same dangerous activities that got them arrested in the first place. They should not continue to get favorable treatment by the justice system simply because they have money.

Related sources: Sports Illustrated, Reuters

Groups At Odds Over Proposed DUI Bill

Repeat DUIA proposed bill that would allow individuals with four DUI convictions to obtain a driver’s license to help them get to and from work has been met with support and apprehension from legislators and anti-drunk driving groups.

The bill is being championed by Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, who said her redemption bill would only give work-driving permits to individuals who have truly turned their life around. She said she was moved when a local man came to her with a plea for help.

“I listened to his story. I went with him to his AA facility, and he proved to me that he turned his life around,” said Nekritz. “How do you look someone in the eye and say ‘no’ to that? How do you say ‘no’ to a man who has changed and is just trying to be a better person? I couldn’t.”

Strict Guidelines

In order to make sure the individual is truly reformed, the bill calls for stringent conditions that must be followed in order to re-apply for a work-driving permit. A person with four DUIs must:

  • Wait five years from the date of the last DUI conviction;
  • Complete rehabilitation successfully;
  • Test sober and drug free for at least three years; and
  • Appeal to the secretary of state for the permit.

Again, the bill would only reinstate partial driving privileges. Drivers would only be allowed to drive between their home and their place of employment, and their vehicle would be outfitted with an ignition interlock device that would prevent the person from driving if alcohol is detected on their breath.

Not All In Favor

Not surprisingly, some government officials and advocacy groups are against the proposal.

“If I was in the legislature, I would vote against it. If I was the governor, I would veto it,” said former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar. “My feeling is, if a person has had four DUIs, that’s a real serious problem. After the fourth, and letting that person drive again, it poses a risk for society. Four is a lot of convictions.”

The proposal is also being met with resistance from the anti-drunk driving group Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“The current reality is that our highways today are filled with repeat DUI offenders,” said the group’s Illinois executive director. “One DUI is one too many.”

However, the advocacy group Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists is in favor of giving reformed motorists another chance.

“We feel that the goal should be to rehabilitate people,” said Rita Kreslin, the group’s executive director. “If they meet the standards to get this permit, they should be given the chance to prove that they’re going to be driving legally.”

Lt. Donnie Pridemore, who testified in favor of the bill, supported AAIM’s beliefs that as long as the individual follows all the guidelines, they should be able to apply for limited driving rights.

“Some people don’t deserve another chance, but some do,” Pridemore said. “Some people really change, and those are the people who shouldn’t be punished for the rest of their lives.”

Related source: Chicago Tribune

Increased DUI Patrols Begin Today In Illinois

DUI patrolsThe Illinois State Police announced that they will be conducting extra DUI patrols through Memorial Day in hopes of deterring folks from driving drunk.

The added patrols are part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign aimed at reducing the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents. The added patrols will start today and run through May 26.

Authorities hope the added presence in the days leading up to Memorial Day will give drivers second thoughts about making risky choices during the long weekend.

“Memorial Day weekend kicks off the busy summer driving season, and we want to ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safe and sound,” said Sheriff Jeff Boyd. “Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone, front or back seat, who is not wearing a seat belt, and who are drinking and driving.”

Two people lost their lives due to alcohol-related car accidents during the holiday weekend in Illinois last year, and more than 600 were injured on Illinois roads. The Illinois Department of Transportation wants to remind citizens that your best defense against a drunk driver is your seat belt, and it can also help keep a little extra cash in your wallet.

Seat Belt Enforcement

Authorities will also be placing an emphasis on seat belt laws for all passengers. Illinois law requires all passengers to use a seat belt while riding in a car, but traffic data from the Illinois Department of Transportation found that back seat passengers were much less likely to buckle up in 2013. According to the data, drivers and front seat passengers fastened their seat belts 93.7 percent of the time last year, while only 77.4 percent of back seat passengers did the same.

Sherriff Boyd noted that of the 46 back seat passengers who lost their lives in 2013, 30 weren’t wearing a seat belt. He said some of those fatalities could have been prevented.

“Seat belts save thousands of lives every year, but far too many motorists still are not buckling up, especially in the back seat,” said Boyd. “Our goal is to save more lives, so the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office will be out enforcing seat belt laws around the clock, looking for those who are not buckled up, in all seating positions. If you are caught not wearing your seat belt, you will be ticketed.”

Brett Appelman comments

It takes two seconds to fasten your seat belt, so there’s really no good excuse not to buckle up. It can save your life. You may think you’re the best driver in the world, but it won’t matter whose fault it was if you don’t survive the accident.

If you don’t want to buckle up for your own safety, do it for the loved ones in your life. You wouldn’t want to cause them pain because you were in too much of a hurry to buckle up or the drive sober.

Make good decisions, especially during the holiday weekend. If something goes wrong, we’re here to help, but we would be more than happy if there were zero DUI arrests in Illinois during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign.

Related source: QC Online