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Criminal Nuggets

Jun 21, 2016

Did you know the actual and full title to Illinois’s DUI statute is…

“Driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds or any combination thereof.”

See 625 ILCS 5/11-501.

Though driving under the influence of alcohol is by far the most common type of DUI, we ought not forget about the drug DUI’s.

I would describe the Drug DUI sections this way:

625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(3) prohibits while driving under intoxicating compounds. For example, this section deals with aerosol cans, cleaning agents, and any other substance not thought of as a “drug” yet clearly intoxicating.

625 ILcS 5/11-501(a)(4) prohibits driving on drugs if you can’t do it safely. Usually, we are talking prescription drugs or any drug that has not been labeled as a controlled substance.

625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(6) prohibits driving whenever there is any amount of a controlled substance (including marijuana) in a person’s body. This does not actually require proof of intoxication.

Crucial and important differences are buried within the Drug DUI law and cases.

Illinois criminal law attorney Sami Azhari agreed to sit down with us to help identify some of the crucial features of drug DUIs.

[sami’s background]


In podcast Episode 184 of the Criminal Nuggets Podcast Sami Azhari…

✓ Reveals questionable short-cuts a judge may take when confronted with a drug DUI.

✓ Provides some specific details on what a drug recognition expert can and cannot do in court.


✓ Defines the 12 steps of every drug recognition expert should be taking when evaluating a suspect in the field.


✓ Tells us the truth about how common drug recognition training is among patrol officers.

✓ Highlights a crucial legal difference between prescription drugs and illegal drugs that can get a non-lawyer in serious legal trouble.

✓  Answers the question: Do you know how much of an officer’s training with standard field sobriety testing carries over to drug intoxication investigations?

✓ Discloses the sneaky way state prosecutors may use a drug recognition expert in court.

✓ Outlines the scene: An officer comes upon a driver who has just had a serious accident. The driver is incoherent, can’t put logical sentences together, is non-sensical, has terrible balance, and is obviously under the influence of something. When alcohol is ruled out this is NOT THE TIME to assume drugs are involved.

✓ Tells about the A.R.I.D.E. training program and how it differs from traditional drug recognition training.

✓ These and many other important topics are covered.

Here are the links to some of the cases covered by Sami Azhari

People v. Foltz, 403 Ill. App. 3d 419, 424 (2010)

People v. Vanzandt, 287 Ill. App. 3d 836, 845 (1997)

But also check out…

People v. Ciborowski, 2016 IL App (1st) 143352 (June)

I think we need Sami to come back and help us make sense of Ciborowski.