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November 03, 2007

Loopholes and mashed potatoes

Many times people are upset that drivers have avoided their DUI charges due to loopholes.  In this blog I am not going to examine loopholes, but I am going to blog about a couple of "loopholes" that have been closed by the State of Illinois.

The State of Illinois has decided that if you refuse to take the breathalyzer when asked your license will be suspended.  However, if you win your DUI case after being suspended, YOU ARE STILL SUSPENDED.

Do you see how the State is getting tougher on DUIs here by "getting tough" on drivers who weren't DUI?

The legal limit has dropped to 0.08.  When the State "gets tougher" on DUI.  Will they move it to 0.05? 

There has been about 30 years of aggressive legislative action against DUI, and yet the number of DUIs in Illinois has NEVER went down.  Is there some stone that they have left unturned?

Each time the Illinois legislature attempts to close a loophole, they create defenses and other ways to deal with the charges.  The problem is like mashed potatoes.  The more you try to squeeze it in your hand the more it escapes between your fingers.  I don't know what the solution to the "problem" is, but I know that I am going to keep helping people avoid the state's misguided attempts to solve it.

Ray Flavin

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Blog, I'll give you a blog

A friend of mine commented that I had not posted in some time, and he missed my sarcasm.  Anyway, I tried a case to jury two weeks ago, and I lost.  (I know, I am the only attorney in the world that has ever admitted to losing a case).  The jury was out for about 3 hours, when they came back guilty.

Part of me wanted to say, "If there is a reasonable explanation for the behavior, outside of being under the influence of alcohol, then there's a reasonable doubt."  I had said as much in my closing argument.  The other part of me wanted to jump over the short wall and start battering jurors.  What idiots!

The officer had testified that he did not know why field sobriety tests demonstrated intoxication, he only knew that they did, if you failed them.  He didn't know why failing them meant intoxication.  My client did not take the breathalyzer.

Also picking a jury had been difficult.  In the first 8 or so jurors, one had a daughter killed by DUI, one had a niece killed by DUI, one had a friend who had lost his whole family to DUI, and another's wife had been injured by a DUI Chicago Alderman that according to the juror "had gotten away with it'"  Of course, I had all of those jurors excluded, however the entire juror pool had heard the potential jurors tell their stories.

In short, DUI cases can be tough.  The State of Illinois is always trying to close "loopholes" and juries have more and more bad experiences with DUI drivers.  But they are cases that can be managed to successful results too.  And people can recover from DUI charges.

So, I apologize for not blogging as much.  I have just had a lot on my mind.

Ray Flavin


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Can trust be a part of DUI defense?

You get a DUI.  You hire a lawyer.  He tells you one thing when you meet.  He changes it the next time.   You don't trust the lawyer.

Is trust a part of DUI defense?

Probably.  If your case is particularly routine and the lawyer is affordable, perhaps you don't need that much trust.  However, if you have a difficult case and it is going to be a challenge and tough decisions are going to be made, well ... then trust is going to be important.

I had a former client, who received a second DUI in Cook Co.  I don't work in Cook Co., so he hired another attorney.  At some point the Cook Co. attorney waffled, and my former client wanted a referral to a Cook Co. attorney. 

Now this is a difficult issue for me for a number of reasons.  First, I don't practice in Cook Co. so I don't know who does the work and who doesn't.  Second, I don't want to refer when I don't have that information.  So, I did a little internet research  ... 

First, I want to say how hilarious some of the sites are.  For example, "I have been rated in the top 4 DUI attorneys by a big newpaper."  In the 15 years that I have been doing this it is obvious to me that the newspapers know about as much about something as you can gain from a telephone call to some one you think knows a subject, made by someone who has a preconceived idea about what the answer should be.  Let's just say they get it wrong a fair number of times.  So an endorsement by a newspaper, really isn't the gold standard.

Really, it is difficult to pick a good attorney.  That's really the truth.  Some of them have drinking problems, some of them have money problems, and others just don't do the work well.  There are others who really push the envelope.  It all comes down to how important the case is to you.

Ray Flavin



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