The number of McHenry County DUI cases is dropping. Currently the McHenry County State’s Attorney has decided after conferring with MADD and AAIM that there should be “no deals” regarding second time DUI cases. That is, the state will not offer to reduce the charges when a case suffers some defect (for example: not enough evidence of driving under the influence). Because of this policy many more DUI cases are being taken to trial. And consequently, more DUI cases are being thrown out by both judges and juries.
The question becomes, especially in this new era where there are a large number of DUI cases being thrown out by both judges and juries: Should we start to take every case to trial? While it is mathematically certain that we do not employ enough judges to hear all of the DUI cases:
Two Judges x (max) 150 trials per year = 300. Number of DUIs per year = Over 1,100.
This would cause a tremendous back log of cases, both slowing the delivery of justice, and causing cases that should not be thrown out to be disposed of without full consideration (a nightmare for both MADD and AAIM). And of course this causes many more cases to be thrown out. But when you are forced to take cases to trial, and discover there may be a lot of cases a jury might throw out, you start to think, “What if.”
Currently municipalities are suffering the loss of about $2,000 to $3,000 per DUI that is thrown out, not counting their investment in police hours and equipment hours. Also some municipalities have to return the $500 administrative fee by statute after the DUI is thrown out. (Municipalities like Woodstock, Illinois.) This comes at a time when budgets are stretched.
Of course municipalities have no choice in the matter because the county’s State’s Attorney is the person who authorizes the municipalities to prosecute DUIs, so that when he instructs them to “cut no deals” in bad cases the loss of revenue is felt directly by the City.
Maybe it’s time to take all of the DUI cases to trial?
Law Dude, Ray Flavin, represents drivers that have been charged with DUI in Woodstock, Illinois and other parts of McHenry County Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock, IL.