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drugged driving, DUI, driving under the influence, Arlington Heights criminal defense lawyerCherise Wardlow, 39, was charged with "aggravated driving under the influence involving a death and a count of misdemeanor DUI," after an early April incident in Aurora, reports the Chicago Tribune. Wardlow, of Montgomery, tested positive for marijuana after hitting and killing a homeless pedestrian at about 4am on a February night. "She told police she heard a loud thump and immediately stopped and discovered she had hit the pedestrian," states the Tribune. The man, Donald L. Early, 54, was pronounced dead at the scene. A warrant was issued for Wardlow’s arrest, but the next day, reports the Tribune, she turned herself in and posted the $7,500 bond.

Driving after smoking marijuana is as common as driving while impaired from alcohol. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), more than 11 percent of all drivers on the road during the weekend or nighttime tested positive for illegal drugs. "Even more concerning," the NCADD reports, is that a different study "found that 1 in 12 high school seniors reported driving after smoking marijuana."

While nearly 4,000 fatally injured drivers tested positive for illegal drugs in 2009, there is no blood test that can be definitively administered the way there is for alcohol. To combat this, many states—including Illinois—follow so-called per-se laws, which state that any amount of cannabis in one’s system when behind the wheel is a punishable offense, even if he or she has not smoked in days.

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wrong way, DUI, drunk driving, driving under the influence, Arlington Heights DUI defense, lawyer, attorneyA woman was arrested for DUI in north suburban Skokie after driving the wrong way on I-94 and crashing her vehicle at around 2:05am, according to Chicago CBS Local. Illinois State Police Sgt. George Jimenez told CBS Local that after the woman crashed her vehicle she must have "gotten turned around," and "began driving north in the southbound lanes." She eventually turned the vehicle around and was driving the correct direction in the southbound lanes, but was pulled over when she exited the expressway. "The female, who was the only occupant of the vehicle, suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene," reports Chicago CBS Local.

According to a publication from the Illinois Center for Transportation, there were 217 wrong way crashes on Illinois freeways between 2004 and 2009. These resulted in 44 deaths and 248 injuries. More than 50 percent of these incidents were caused by drivers, "confirmed to be impaired by alcohol." An additional "5 percent were impaired by drugs, and more than 3 percent had been drinking," according to the report. The number of fatalities nationwide resulting from wrong-way crashes also remains disproportionately high—in 2009, there were more than 900 fatalities caused by wrong-way crashes, as opposed to 420 fatalities on average per year.

According to the Illinois Center for Transportation publication, one reason that wrong-way crashes result in a disproportionate number of fatalities to crashes is due to their severity. "Since wrong-way driving often leads to head-on collisions, wrong-way crashes tend to be more severe when compared to other types of crashes."

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DUI, traffic stop, DUI arrest, lawyer, attorney, drunk driving, driving under the influenceThe superintendent of Schaumburg schools was arrested for a DUI in February and plead guilty in early March to a reckless driving charge, according to the Chicago Tribune. Andrew DuRoss was dining at a restaurant and called the authorities to report a missing purse from his table. When the authorities arrived DuRoss was warned not to drive. When he was pulled over near the restaurant, "his blood alcohol level was 0.117, according to court documents," and as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

After his arrest, DuRoss received court supervision and "agreed to undergo alcohol counseling, wear an alcohol monitoring anklet for six months and pay $2,500 in fines and court costs." Because DuRoss took this part of the plea the DUI case against him was not pursued. "It’s been a humbling and very difficult experience for me and my family," DuRoss said after his hearing in court, according to the Tribune.

While his legal battles may be over, DuRoss’s brush with the law could have far-reaching consequences. The Schaumburg Township District 54 school board is planning to further discuss the case’s outcome in March. DuRoss, according to the Tribune, did not tell the board that he would plead guilty to the charge.

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Posted on in DUI

DUI charges, DUI lawyer, criminal defense, Arlington Heights, Illinois, cirminal defense attorneyA 22-year-old southwest suburban woman "was charged with drunk driving after she swerved into a Hickory Hills police car that was trying to pull her over and then fled from the scene, leaving behind two officers who were injured and trapped inside their squad car," according to the Chicago Tribune. One of the officers trapped in the car recognized Olivia D. Aguilar, and directed other officers to her home, a Cook County prosecutor told the Tribune. When they got there, "police tracked blood and shoeprints in the snow to Aguilar, who they reported was belligerent and seemed intoxicated," reports the Tribune.

The cruiser that the alleged intoxicated driver slammed into was fully marked. Police first began to pursue Aguilar when they attempted to stop her for driving without headlights, reports the Tribune. Instead of stopping, however, she accelerated and swerved toward them. "The officers had to be extricated from the cruiser and were hospitalized with bruising and swelling," reports the Tribune. Aguilar is currently facing a slew of serious charges, including "aggravated battery, failure to stop after an injury accident, driving under the influence, failure to reduce speed, no proof of insurance, failure to give aid, no headlights, and driving with a suspended license."

According to the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), anyone arrested for DUI must undergo "an alcohol and drug evaluation before sentencing." The purpose of the evaluation is to determine the full extend of the defendant’s relationship with drugs or alcohol, "specifically as it relates to driving history." Once the defendant’s risk level (minimal, moderate, significant, or high risk) has been determined, DHS makes a minimum recommendation to the Court or the Office of the Secretary of State.

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Posted on in DUI

Aaron I. Moore was charged with "two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in death; two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs resulting in death; and two counts of leaving the scene of a fatal crash," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Moore, 26, was driving on a Sunday morning in mid-January on the Eisenhower Expressway, when his Durango slammed into the back of Windstar van that had stalled near the First Avenue exit. Both the van’s driver and backseat passenger died on impact, according to the Sun-Times. "Moore and a 25-year-old woman who was in the SUV with him were taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries," reports the Sun-Times. Man Arrested for DUI After Son Ejected From Window

According to the 2013 Illinois DUI Factbook, aggravated DUI is a felony charge. This comes with mandatory revocation of driving privileges and likely prison time. Any DUI that results in death, such as the one with which Moore is charged, incurs a two-year license suspension that begins from the date that incarceration ends. It’s a conviction, according to the Factbook, that becomes a permanent part of the offender’s driving record. And that’s not the only punishment Moore is facing—the average cost of a DUI conviction in Illinois, including insurance, legal fees, court costs, income loss, rehabilitation, driver’s license reinstatement and breath ignition interlock device hardware, is about $16,580.

According to the Century Council, an organization of distillers which aims to fight drunk driving and underage drinking, "alcohol impaired driving fatalities have declined 35 percent, and among our nation’s under 21 population such fatalities have declined 58 percent" in the past two decades. In 2011, the Council reports, more than 30 percent of all driving fatalities in Illinois involved alcohol-impaired drivers and there were 279 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the same time period.

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