Chicago DUI Lawyer Ava George Stewart
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Arrested and Charged with DUI by John Haleas?

If you have been arrested by Chicago Police Officer John Haleas, you need to call the Law Offices of Chicago DUI Lawyer Ava George Stewart.

Over the last two and a half years, Chicago Police Officer John Haleas compiled the most DUI arrests in Illinois. In fact, he has been honored for writing the most DUI tickets in Illinois for three of the past five years. The Schaumburg-based Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists gives an award to the police officer who makes the most DUI arrests in a given year. In 2006, Haleas made 344 DUI arrests. However, Office Haleas failed to follow proper procedures during an arrest on April 9, 2005. The prosecutors dropped the case because of Haleas’ misconduct. After further investigation, 50 additional cases have been dropped. In the last three years or so, Officer Haleas has made more than 500 DUI arrests, mostly in the 25th District, which is bordered by Belmont to the north, Central Park to the east, Division to the south, and Harlem to the west.

Office Haleas’ misconduct arises from his failure to follow standard procedures while administering a breathalyzer test to drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. After pulling a suspected drunk driver over, he failed to comply with the following procedures:

  • Keep the suspect under 20 minutes of continuous observation;
  • Give the suspect a field sobriety test; and
  • Warn the suspect of the consequences of refusing to take a Breathalyzer exam.

Haleas lied about the procedure he used on the police report. The Internal Affairs Division of the Chicago Police Department disciplined Haleas. He was also taken off street duty, but he remains on the force. He could be facing felony charges of official misconduct, filing a false report and perjury.

Because of Officer Haleas’ misconduct, at least 500 of his DUI arrests are now under scrutiny, and charges may be dismissed for those cases. If you have been arrested for DUI by this officer, you should contact our office immediately.

About Roadside Alcohol Screening Tests

If a police officer stops you at a roadside safety check or pulls you over for probable cause, reasonable suspicion or unusual operation, you should expect to go through the following process:

  • The officer observes you and requests your driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance card.

  • If the officer suspects that you are under the influence, you will then be requested to submit to field sobriety tests.

  • If the officer does not suspect that you are under the influence, you will be released with any applicable violations.

  • If the officer has probable cause based on the standardized field sobriety tests, you will be placed under arrest for DUI and taken to

  • the police station. You will be requested to submit to a chemical testing of breath, urine or blood.

  • If the chemical test determines that you are not under the influence, you should be released with any applicable violations.

  • If your Blood Alcohol Content or Concentration (BAC) is more than .05 but less than .08 percent and no drugs are found in your system, a Statutory Summary Suspension will not apply, and your license will not be suspended. However, the associated DUI charge will remain until appropriate action is taken by the court.

  • If you refuse or fail to complete testing, the Statutory Summary Suspension will apply, and your license will be confiscated. If you are a repeat offender, and you refuse testing, you will not be eligible for a Judicial Driving Permit (JDP) during the three-year suspension. A repeat offender who takes the test and fails is not eligible for a JDP during the 12-month suspension.

  • If your test results show a BAC of .08 percent or more, or any trace of a drug, illegal substance or intoxicating compound, you will be issued a law enforcement sworn report notifying the driver of a Statutory Summary Suspension, and your driver’s license will be confiscated.

  • If your confiscated driver’s license is valid, a receipt is issued that will allow driving for 45 days.

  • You may obtain additional testing at your own expense; the results of which are admissible in court.

  • You will be required to post bond and may be detained until bond is posted.

  • Your vehicle may be towed, impounded or seized.

Standardized Field Sobriety Testing

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are three tests administered by a police officer to evaluate a suspected drunk driver, obtain validated indicators of impairment, and establish probable cause for an arrest DUI. The three tests of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)—the officer will have the suspect track his finger or a pen with his eyes. Eyes that have difficulty tracking or easily flicker back and forth are considered signs of intoxication.

  • Walk and Turn/Walk the Line—the suspected drunk driver is asked to walk, heel-to-toe, in a straight line for nine steps, turn around and come back.

  • One-Leg Stand—the suspected drunk driver must stand on one leg with the other leg lifted six inches above the ground.

The police officer will administer these tests systematically and then evaluate the suspected drunk driver according to his or her measured responses.

Breathalyzer Test

A Breathalyzer® may be used by a police officer in determining whether you are under the influence of alcohol. Like the Standardized Sobriety Tests, Breathalyzers are used on the street. Like Officer Haleas, some police officers do not observe a 20-minute observation period or regularly check the device for calibration. The observation period is designed to insure that the driver did not consume anything that would impact the results of the Breathalyzer test; something as innocuous as breath spray or even burping or belching may affect the results of the test.

Illinois Drunk Driving Laws

Evidence and Burden of Proof

In Illinois, it is not essential that a police officer observe you in the act of driving while intoxicated in order for you to be convicted of a DUI. However, the elements of the offense must be established by evidence and not by conjecture or speculation. In other words, the State must prove that there is sufficient proof of facts tending to show intoxication and that the defendant was at the same time driving or in actual physical control a motor vehicle. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient. For example, where a police officer observed a lone occupant of a vehicle slumped over the wheel of a running vehicle at 5:30am, the court ruled that although the officer did not see the person actually driving the vehicle, there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to show the defendant was in actual physical control of the vehicle.

When prosecuting you for drunk driving, the state must prove that you were under the influence of alcohol while you were driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle.

Statutory Summary Suspension

A Statutory Summary Suspension is an administrative procedure providing for the automatic driver’s license suspension of a driver arrested for DUI who fails chemical testing (a test showing a BAC of .08 percent or more or any amount of cannabis, controlled substance or intoxicating compound). The automatic suspension also applies to those who refuse to submit to or fail to complete testing. Notice that the suspension is automatic and that the suspected drunk driver does not need to be convicted, only arrested.

Penalty for failing chemical testing:

  • first offense – mandatory 3-month driver’s license suspension
  • second offense – mandatory 12-month suspension

Penalty for refusing to submit to chemical testing:

  • first offense – mandatory 6-month driver’s license suspension
  • second offense – mandatory 36-month suspension

Penalties for a DUI Conviction

Penalties for a DUI conviction in Illinois vary depending upon the circumstances of the arrest and conviction, the age of the driver, whether or not children were being transported, the driver’s BAC level, and whether or not the driver had previous DUI convictions. To view the range of possible penalties for a DUI conviction, see the Illinois Secretary of State’s website at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a245.pdf.

What to Do If You Are Arrested for a DUI

If you are arrested for violating Illinois’ DUI laws, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately to preserve and protect your rights. You only have a limited window of time to avoid an automatic suspension of your license and to preserve evidence that may be crucial to your case. For further information on these time constraints, see the Firm Overview page of this website. A lawyer experienced in defending people accused of DUI can also challenge the validity of the alcohol test—especially when police officers like John Haleas are not following proper, required procedures.

There are serious consequences to a DUI conviction. Contact experienced Chicago DUI attorney Ava George Stewart by e-mail or telephone at (312) 944-3973 to schedule a free consultation.