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People v. Archibald

FEBRUARY 3, 1972.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. JOHN VERKLAN, Judge, presiding.


On March 31, 1970, William E. Archibald, was operating his automobile in a southerly direction on Route 53 to his place of employment. He was observed by Deputy Sheriff Cimino, who with his partner Deputy Rathbun, were on routine patrol.

A few days prior, Deputy Cimino had acquired information from records in the Sheriff's office that the driving privileges of Mr. Archibald had been suspended by the Secretary of State.

The officers followed the defendant on Route 53, meanwhile placing a call to the Sheriff's office by radio requesting a confirmation of defendant's driving status. Having received confirmation, they sped ahead to the gate of the Joliet Arsenal, left their vehicle and awaited defendant's arrival.

Upon arriving at the gate, pursuant to instructions of the deputies, defendant pulled over to the side of the road and stopped. The deputies advised him he was under arrest for driving with a suspended license, and ordered him out of the car. After some discussion, the defendant turned off his motor and proceeded to roll up the window of the car. At that time Deputy Rathbun reached in and unlocked the car door while Deputy Cimino opened the car door and again ordered the defendant out of the car.

Deputy Cimino testified that as defendant was getting ready to exit from the car, the defendant made a motion with his right hand that held a blackjack. Deputy Rathbun contradicts this testimony and states that he observed the blackjacks hanging from the brake release of the vehicle, that he hollered to Deputy Cimino, that both officers then grabbed appellant and pulled him from the car, handcuffed him and transported him to the county jail.

The defendant was charged in a three count complaint with: I. Unlawful Use of Weapons in that he knowingly possessed a blackjack; II. The offense of Battery; and III. Resisting or Obstructing a Peace Officer. He was also charged in a Uniform Traffic Ticket and Complaint with driving while license suspended in violation of section 6A-303 of the Uniform Act Regulating Traffic.

A jury trial was held, defendant was found not guilty of the offenses of Battery and Resisting or Obstructing a Peace Officer, but was found guilty and fined Fifty Dollars for Unlawful Use of Weapons and was found guilty of Driving A Motor Vehicle while his license was suspended and was sentenced to a term of ten days in county jail.

Defendant first contends that the trial court erred in denying his Motion for a Directed Verdict at the close of the State's case which was based on the grounds that the Uniform Traffic Ticket and Complaint failed to charge an offense in that there was no such provision as 6A-303 in the Uniform Act Regulating Traffic. The State moved to amend the ticket on its face to show the offense to be in violation of Sec. 6A-303 of the Drivers License Act. Defendant objected and after argument the court allowed the Motion to Amend. "Unlike the case of indictments the common law permitted informations to be amended, the same as complaints in civil actions and under Illinois law informations are still amendable in proper cases, by leave of court, in the exercise of sound judicial discretion, on due and timely application of the officer by whom the information was presented * * *.

If the original information sufficiently states a case, it may be amended as to details which are not matters of substance, or in other words, as to details which do not change the substance of the offense charged". I.L.P. Indictments and Informations Sec. 102.

While the Code of Criminal Procedure requires that the charge cite the statutory provision alleged to have been violated, S.H.A. ch. 38, Sec. 111-3, it has been held that a deficiency in this respect is not fatal if the charge otherwise states an offense. People v. Hampton 105 Ill. App.2d 228, 245 N.E.2d 47; People v. Adams 113 Ill. App. 276, 252 N.E.2d 65.

Section 6A-303 of the Drivers License Act, Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 95 1/2 sec. 6A-303 provided "Any person who drives a motor vehicle on any highway of this state at a time when his driver's license * * * is suspended * * * shall be punished * * *."

The original complaint herein stated, among other things, that the defendant operated a motor vehicle on a public highway of this state and did commit the offense of driving while license suspended.

• 1 We conclude that where, as here, the complaint otherwise sufficiently states a case, the incorrect citation of the statute is a formal defect which may be amended. The defendant was fully informed of the ...

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