An Illinois lawmaker might be considering a plea deal after being charged with drunk driving in March. He initially pleaded not guilty.
According to media reports, state Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, was arrested on March 28 after he was found asleep behind the wheel of his car at an intersection in Springfield. Apparently, his car sat idle at the stop light for four traffic signal cycles. Footage from a police body camera showed officers asking Buckner why he was passed out in his car. He replied that he was “just tired” and “fell asleep.” When officers asked how many drinks he’d consumed that night, he claimed he’d had just one. At that point, officers noted an empty plastic cup in the center cup holder, but Buckner claimed it didn’t belong to him.
Officers subjected Buckner to a series of field sobriety tests, which he allegedly failed. After reportedly refusing to take a breath test, he was arrested and charged with DUI. At first, he pleaded not guilty to the charge, but his attorney recently indicated that his client might accept a plea deal before trial. His next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 6. In April, state Rep. Steven Reick, R-Woodstock, was also arrested on DUI charges. He eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to supervision.
Individuals who face DUI charges after a breath test refusal might need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. After reviewing the case, the attorney may find ways to successfully contest the prosecution’s evidence and get the charges dismissed. If that isn’t possible, legal counsel might still be able to negotiate a plea deal that significantly reduces the charges. This strategy might help the defendant obtain a more lenient sentence.