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People v. Girot

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

September 25, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CHELSEA GIROT, Defendant-Appellant.

Rule 23 Order filed September 9, 2013

Motion to publish allowed September 25, 2013

Held: [*]

Defendant’s motion to suppress alleging that her vehicle was improperly stopped was properly denied and her conviction for driving under the influence of a controlled substance was upheld, since she was stopped after an officer observed that one of her taillights was emitting red and white light due to a chip in the lens, and such a condition is prohibited by section 12-201(b) of the Illinois Vehicle Code.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Will County, No. 11-DT-160; the Hon. Review James E. Egan, Judge, presiding.

Kerry J. Bryson, of State Appellate Defender’s Office, of Ottawa, for appellant.

James Glasgow, State’s Attorney, of Joliet (Richard T. Leonard, of State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor’s Office, of counsel), for the People.

Presiding Justice Wright and Justice McDade concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

O'BRIEN, JUSTICE

¶ 1 Defendant, Chelsea Girot, was charged with two counts of driving under the influence of a controlled substance (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(4), (6) (West 2010)). Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to suppress, alleging that the stop of her vehicle was not proper. The trial court denied the motion. The cause proceeded to a bench trial where defendant was convicted of one count of DUI. Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress. We affirm.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 3 On January 26, 2011, Bolingbrook police officer Patrick Kinsella initiated a traffic stop on defendant's vehicle. During the stop, defendant appeared nervous, climbed on the hood of the police car, and ran into traffic. The State charged defendant with two counts of driving under the influence of a controlled substance (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(4), (6) (West 2010)). Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence, alleging that Kinsella did not have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop.

¶ 4 At a hearing on defendant's motion, Kinsella testified that he was on patrol the night of January 26, 2011, when he spotted defendant's vehicle. Kinsella noticed a chip about the size of a dime or a nickel in the red plastic lens that covered the taillight. Because of the chip, the taillight was emitting a red and white light. Kinsella did not witness defendant speed or otherwise break the law. He initiated the traffic stop based solely on the white light emanating from the otherwise red taillight.

ΒΆ 5 After hearing the evidence, the trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress. The cause proceeded to a bench trial where defendant was found ...


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