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DUI knocked down to highway damage

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

DUI knocked down to highway damage

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
March 14, 2012

This morning's Northwest Herald reports that a driver, arrested in January for DUI and unlawful damage to highway, made a deal with the special prosecutor and look what happened. Only two months ago.

When is the last time that a DUI case was resolved within two months of arrest and without a defense attorney?

Joseph Salgado, 29, was arrested by a McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy on January 20. That's January 20, 2012.

The newspaper story didn't quite get it right, when it read, "...a DUI charge that was reduced to unlawful damage to a highway." The damage charge appears to have been filed in January, along with the DUI charge.

To avoid an appearance of impropriety since a relative of Salgado is employed in the State's Attorney's office, a special prosecutor handled the case on behalf of the State's Attorney's office.

Judge Gordon Graham imposed a fine, which with associated court costs and fees will total $1,628, one-year supervision, DUI school and victim impact panel.

So how did Salgado skate on the DUI charge?

The DUI charges were nolle prossed. Not quite the same as dismissed, but "not processed"; in other words, he got away without getting hung with a DUI conviction. What was his BAC? Was everything done "by the book" at the time of arrest, or was the prosecution's case so weak that they couldn't make the DUI charges stick?

Salgado didn't even have an attorney-of-record. No attorney for Salgado is listed in the Circuit Court online records. He probably saved $5,000 and a year of court dates by not having an attorney.

Frankly, I think the Northwest Herald's headline for its article was unfair. A 29-year-old driver stands on his own, and there was no valid reason for writing the headline as it was published.

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