Carpentersville will soon be handling misdemeanor DUI cases with its own prosecutors, an action officials say frees up officer time and gives police more input during prosecution.
Right now, the state, through the Kane County state attorney's office, takes care of all of the village's DUI cases.
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Under the new arrangement, expected to start in a month, the local prosecutor will take Carpentersville's cases to the Kane County court but receive a separate monthly court date with a judge.
That would give officers an opportunity to talk to the prosecutor about special circumstances they think are needed in the prosecution, such as information about fine structure and licensing status, as well as the use of community services programs or intervention.
"Each one of these cases, to treat them cookie cutter, I don't know that we're doing anybody the best service," Public Safety Director Al Popp said.
Officials say police interaction with state prosecutors is limited in the existing system, due to the sheer volume of misdemeanor cases in Kane County. Using their own prosecutor helps avoid that structure, they said.
"With the use of the local prosecutor, we get more control of the prosecution process," Deputy Chief Michael Kilbourne said.
"We can have more input to those prosecuting the case as to what we think is necessary to effectively address the actions that led to the arrest and citation."
On average, Carpentersville police make 130 arrests a year for DUI-related offenses.
Felony DUIs will continue to go through the Kane County court system.
While police would still drive to St. Charles for the misdemeanor DUI cases, they don't expect to be in court as long, since a judge will be set aside for those particular cases.
The village board voted last week to use two attorneys from the Law Offices of Johnson and Buh for the prosecution. Village Manager J. Mark Rooney said Holland and Knight, the firm that handles Carpentersville's legal services, recommended the firm, and the village ran its own review of the firm before hiring.
The firm would receive a $275 base fee per citation, $50 for every litigated motion and a $75 additional fee for a bench trial, documents show.
Carpentersville will get more revenue for successfully prosecuted cases this way, than if it turned them over to the state, Rooney said. The offender pays the fees and the attorney gets a portion of them, Rooney said.