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Aggravated DUI dismissed by jury in Cook County Criminal Court

A 12-member jury found a 30-year-old Northwest side man not guilty Wednesday on charges of aggravated DUI, but found him guilty of driving without a license.

The jury deliberated for about two hours at Cook County’s Criminal Court Building before announcing the verdict.

Alfonso Figueroa was arrested on a DUI charge and driving without a license on June 11 on West Grand Avenue. According to two Chicago police officers who testified Monday, Figueroa failed several sobriety tests at the scene and refused to take alcohol tests for breath, urine and blood.

“At one point, I felt he was too intoxicated to stand on one leg,” said police officer Adrian Wallascetti.

He also said Figueroa had “glassy eyes,” swayed while walking and leaned against his car for support. Figueroa also smelled of alcohol and was unable to walk a straight line, according to Wallascetti.

Wallascetti, who is certified to administer sobriety tests, was dispatched to the scene to assist in Spanish translation. Figueroa was first stopped by officer Benjamin Rhodes.

At the trial held before Judge Vincent Gaughan, defense attorneys said the officers failed to ask Figueroa if he had any medical conditions, whether he was using medications or suffered from allergies when they stopped him. They suggested that any of these conditions could have contributed to the behaviors the officers noticed.

Attorneys for the defense and prosecution agreed that Figueroa was driving without a license when he was arrested, so he was found guilty on that charge.

Rhodes testified that he stopped Figueroa after he was observed driving erratically, crossing over the center of the road into oncoming traffic at about 3 a.m. Figueroa pulled into a nearby grocery parking lot and stumbled when he climbed out of his vehicle, said Rhodes.

“In my opinion, the defendant was under the influence of .08 or higher alcohol volume,” said Wallascetti.

Defense attorneys also pointed out that Wallascetti’s statement of events was not on the arresting report.

Figueroa first agreed to a sobriety test, but after a short observation period he refused the breathalyzer at approximately 4:30 a.m., the officers said.

He said he then offered blood and urine testimg to Figueroa, who declined them. Figueroa was then placed under arrest.

His attorneys pointed out, however, that the portion of the sobriety report reserved for documenting Figueroa’s compliance or refusal was left blank.

Wallascetti said he has worked with the police department for four years and has seen hundreds of people under the influence of alcohol. Since the incident, he said he arrested 40 people, 15 of whom failed the sobriety test.

Figueroa could have received a sentence of one to three years in prison if he had been found guilty of the aggravated DUI charge.

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