Edwardsville Criminal Defense Law Blog

911 call about reckless driver leads to drug seizure in Illinois

A call from a concerned motorist about an erratic driver on the afternoon of July 8 led to a major drug seizure and serious narcotics charges for a 38-year-old man according to media reports. The motorist called 911 at about 1:45 p.m. to report a reckless driver on Illinois Route 106 between Detroit and Pittsfield. During the ensuing traffic stop, police allegedly found fentanyl, cocaine and heroin in the car.

A Pittsfield Police Department officer says that he pulled the car over because it matched the description given by the concerned motorist and he observed it making an unsafe lane change. A K9 unit was then called to the scene to conduct a drug sniff around the vehicle. When the dog alerted to the scent of illegal drugs, police reportedly conducted a search without first obtaining a search warrant.

Illinois Governor signs bill legalizing recreational marijuana

On June 27, it was reported that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438, which made possession of cannabis legal for those over the age of 21. The reform was designed to help those who were previously impacted by the state's marijuana laws. In addition to making marijuana legal, approximately 770,000 Illinois residents who have marijuana-related offenses on their permanent records may receive some relief. The passing of the bill makes Illinois the 11th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

According to reports, the passing of the bill fulfills the promise Governor Pritzker made while on the campaign trial to legal marijuana. The bill, called the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, will allow people to receive clemency for drug convictions involving up to 30 grams of cannabis. For those who were convicted on drug charges involving up to 500 grams of cannabis, the bill allows for them to petition the court to have the charges lifted.

How drivers can defend against DUI charges

Drivers who are charged with DUI in Illinois or any other state are not necessarily guilty of the charge. There are multiple defenses that defendants may use in an effort to obtain a favorable outcome in their case. For instance, an individual may claim that he or she was forced to drive or that he or she was not actually intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle. It may also be possible for drivers to claim that they became intoxicated against their will.

Drivers may assert that an officer had no right to make the traffic stop that led to the charge. Furthermore, it may be possible to claim that there was an error in administering a field sobriety or other test at the scene of a traffic stop. Although this is not a common defense, a defendant may assert that a police officer acted improperly prior to charging that person with DUI. For instance, information in a police report may have been embellished or completely fabricated to justify the charge.

Former Sinaloa drug cartel member sentenced to prison

On May 30, a federal judge in Illinois sentenced a former top-level member of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel to 15 years in prison. The defendant previously testified against infamous drug lord "El Chapo."

The sentence was handed down in the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago, and the U.S. district judge said that the case involved one of the highest-ranking drug cartel members he has ever sentenced. According to court records, the defendant, age 44, was a member of the Sinaloa drug cartel and trafficked narcotics into the U.S. from 1996 until 2008 using private planes, submarines, fishing vessels and container ships. In 2013, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and agreed to testify against his boss, Joaquin Guzman Loera, also known as "El Chapo."

Deputy accused of involvement in criminal activity

On May 21, an Illinois deputy was taken into custody on a warrant for unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. The deputy, who is employed with Peoria County Patrol, had reportedly been on administrative leave beginning on February 22.

The deputy was hired in January 2017. Peoria Police authorities filed a report in February 2019 after it had been suspected that the deputy was involved in criminal activity while he was off duty. He was put on administrative leave while an internal investigation was conducted. However, on May 21, he was taken into custody following an investigation in association with the Illinois State Police. His bond was set at $5,000. He was released later the same day after posting 10% of the bond.

Medical conditions, ketosis may cause DUI false positives

Some people in Illinois who are on low-carb diets or who have other medical conditions may have false-positive results for a blood alcohol content that is over the legal limit on some types of breath test. A Texas attorney was able to get his client's case dismissed because the man was in ketosis at the time he took his breath test.

Ketosis, which is a state that results from low-carb diets, causes the liver to produce acetone. Acetone can be converted to isopropyl alcohol when it is breathed out, and some argue that certain types of breath tests cannot tell the difference in this and ethanol alcohol. Self-checking testers that use semiconductor technology are probably not reliable, but the portable models that police usually have use fuel cell technology. Manufacturers say these are accurate, but the Texas attorney says no peer-reviewed studies have proven they can distinguish ethanol from isopropyl. Furthermore, one study was published in 2006 that examined a man who could not start a company vehicle that required a breath test using fuel cell technology. The man was on a low-carb diet. Diabetes and acid reflux could also create false positives.

Police enforce no-refusal DUI policies with electronic warrants

If you have followed the news related to drunk driving laws, you realize that the laws change often. Safety advocates may push for stronger laws with stricter sentences, but civil rights groups push back in defense of the rights of the accused.

One important issue is the rights of those accused of drunk driving to refuse to submit to breath or blood tests. Refusing to consent may result in additional penalties. However, how far can police go to obtain the blood alcohol concentration measurement they need to prove you are impaired behind the wheel?

Man faces 10th DUI charge

An Illinois man had his bail for drunk driving set at $1 million after he was taken into custody on April 13. While this is an unusually high amount for a drunk driving offense, it was the 10th time the 55-year-old had been detained on similar charges.

In the latest incident, the man was driving southbound on Interstate 55 when he was stopped by state police. Allegedly, his blood alcohol content was above .08. He is facing two charges of aggravated driving under the influence. This is a Class X felony.

Former police lieutenant charged with stealing opioids

At the end of March, a former Illinois police lieutenant was charged with six crimes, including possession of controlled substances. He left the Joliet Police Department in late 2018.

According to authorities, the defendant is accused of stealing opioids from a drug drop box located within a Joliet Police Department substation in Kendall County. The offense reportedly took place in October. He has been charged with two counts of possession of controlled substances, two counts of official misconduct, one charge of obtaining a substance by fraud and one count of theft. A warrant was issued for his arrest on March 22, but he posted 10 percent of his $30,000 bond, which allowed him to remain free. On April 15, he is scheduled to appear at a hearing at the Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville.

Illinois felon arrested after drug raid

On March 17, an Illinois man was arrested on drug charges during a safety checkpoint conducted by officers with the Palatine Police Department. Reportedly, authorities raided the defendant's home days earlier, finding cocaine and other drugs.

According to media reports, a search warrant was served at the 31-year-old defendant's home, located on the 1300 block of W. Deer Cort in Palatine, on March 14. During the ensuing search, investigators allegedly uncovered over 100 grams of cocaine, more than 30 ecstasy pills and unspecified amounts of other suspected controlled substances. They also found a Winchester 410-model shotgun and various items of drug paraphernalia, including digital scales, sales packaging and cash.

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