23-YEAR-OLD CLIENT FOUND NOT GUILTY OF A DUI AFTER A TRIAL
People v. J.H. - Kane County DUI lawyer, James Dimeas, represented a client charged with a DUI in Kane County after he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree located in the backyard of a residence. The client admitted to drinking and the police and paramedics indicated that they smelled alcohol on the defendant after they arrived at the scene of the accident.
Illinois DUI Law
In Illinois, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle on the public roads under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you take a breathalyzer test, and the blood alcohol content (BAC) was .08 or above, you can be charged with a DUI. You can also be charged with a DUI even if there are no BAC results. This happens when a defendant refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test or refuses to submit blood or urine samples for testing. Just because the prosecutor does not have BAC results does not mean that you cannot be charged and convicted of a DUI. If the prosecutor is able to convince a Judge or Jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were under the influence of alcohol, you can be convicted of a DUI. A DUI in Illinois is a Class A Misdemeanor which carries a maximum punishment of up to one-year in County Jail and a fine up to $2,500. Depending on whether you receive a Conviction, Conditional Discharge, or Court Supervision, your driving privileges in Illinois may be suspended or revoked.
Facts Of the Case
In the early morning hours of August 25, 2019, my client was driving home from a friend's house. He was driving along a major suburban roadway that was going through a residential community. Traffic was light and the weather was clear. Homes were located on both sides of the roadway. The client lost control of his vehicle causing it to leave the roadway and drive into the backyard of a residence that was located adjacent to the road. The client's vehicle drove through a fence and ran over a small tree in the backyard coming to a stop against a larger tree in the backyard. The client's car was heavily damaged and the airbags had deployed. When the police arrived on the scene, they found my client sitting in the vehicle. When he was asked if he was injured, he I told the officers that he was fine and that he only had a few small cuts on his arm. When he was asked if he needed an ambulance, he told the officers that he did not need an ambulance. The officers indicated that they detected an incredibly strong odor of alcohol emitting from his breath as he spoke. The officer also indicated that client spoke with a thick tongue and that his eyes appeared bloodshot and glassy. When the officer asked the client if he had been drinking, the client admitted to having one beer earlier in the evening.
Even though the client did not want an ambulance, paramedics arrived on the scene and began to tend to my client. The client became upset with the police and paramedics and became uncooperative. The police reports indicate that my client was being argumentative and was being uncooperative. The client continued to insist that he did not need medical attention and when asked if he wanted to go to the hospital made it clear to the police and paramedics that he did not want to go to the hospital. Nonetheless, he was placed on a stretcher and put into the ambulance and taken to the hospital. When he arrived at the Emergency Room, he declined a blood draw or a blood test. The hospital personnel indicated that they suspected that he was under the influence of alcohol and was uncooperative. The client was released from the hospital and turned over to the police. The police took the client to the police station and charged him with a DUI.
The client came to me several months after the DUI arrest. His DUI lawyer had been appointed to be a Judge by the Illinois Supreme Court so he was leaving private practice. His DUI lawyer told him that he had worked out a plea agreement which would have required the client to plead guilty to the DUI and be sentenced to Court Supervision, undergo extensive alcohol treatment and counseling, pay substantial fines and court costs, and be under the Court's Supervision for 18 months. After I took over the case and received all of the evidence, I determined that the state would not be able to prove my client guilty of a DUI beyond a reasonable doubt and recommended that the case go to trial.
At the trial, the officer testified about what the scene looked like when he arrived at the scene of the accident. The client's vehicle drove through the fence, ran over a small tree, and came to a rest against a large tree. The officer testified about the extensive damage to my client's vehicle and how my client appeared when he encountered him. The officer testified that my client had a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath. The officer indicated that my client speech was mumbled and that his eyes appeared glassy. The officer testified that my client admitted to having a beer approximately an hour before the accident and insisted that he did not need any medical attention even though his vehicle had extensive damage. The officer also testified about how uncooperative and combative my client was with the police and paramedics. Because the officer was concerned about my client’s physical condition, he was unable to perform any Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. The officer was more concerned about my client's health than making a DUI arrest.
The officer testified about what happened when they took the client to the hospital. The officer asked the client if he would submit to a blood draw to determine his BAC and the client refused. When the medical personnel at the hospital tried to take his blood, the client refused. After the client arrived at the hospital, he became more uncooperative and argumentative. In closing arguments, the prosecutor argued that my client's unwillingness to submit to a blood test was consciousness of guilt. The prosecutor argued that the client did not want to take a blood test because he knew that he would be positive for alcohol. The prosecutor also argued that my client's behavior was due to him being intoxicated. I had the police officer admit that his police report indicated that the client told him that he hates needles. I introduced pictures showing the extensive damage to my client’s vehicle and argued that his behavior was due to the severe impact of the accident. At the very least, I argued that the state had failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that my client's behavior at the scene was as a result of him being intoxicated. I also argued that an equally valid reason for my client refusing to take a blood test was because my client may have had a phobia of needles. At the very least, I argued that the state had failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that my client refusal to take a blood test because he was concerned about the alcohol results. I argue that the lack of any Field Sobriety Tests, BAC results, or any direct evidence of how my client was driving before the accident, created enough reasonable doubt to call for a Not Guilty verdict.
The Judge found my client Not Guilty of the DUI and dismissed the case.
James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, DUI lawyer, with over 28-years of experience handling DUI cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. Recently, James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer in the State of Illinois for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021” by the American Society of Legal Advocates. James Dimeas was named a “Best DUI Attorney”, a “Best DUI Lawyer in Schaumburg”, and a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago” by Expertise. James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers. The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois”. James Dimeas is rated ‘Superb’ by AVVO, 10 out of 10, the highest rating possible for any DUI lawyer in the United States. The American Society of Criminal Law Attorneys named James Dimeas a ’10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction”. Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois”.
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