Social Media Influencer Gets DUI Charges Dropped
By: Attorney Shahina Khan
She walked into Court wearing a beautiful, simple black dress and a stunning Gucci bag. Her hair was tied in a neat, slicked back ponytail. She looked better than me. I walked into Court behind her and checked in with the Assistant State’s Attorney on our case. All I knew about my client was that she was 19 and that she was facing a DUI charge. At that time, I didn’t know she was a famous social media influencer.
I approached my client and asked her to follow me outside. I was surprised when her entire family got up from the gallery and began following us. “No pressure”, I said to myself as I walked into a conference room that seated only two people. I asked her large family to remain outside. I suggested that she bring her parents into the conference room, if she wanted. She obliged. I sat in an 8×6 conference room with my client and her parents.
“So” I began. “What happened?”
At first she was clearly uncomfortable. Then she relaxed and began telling me about the incident. She told me that she was returning home from her boyfriend’s house around 5 a.m. when she fell asleep behind the wheel of her car. All she remembered is a loud crash. Other than that, she couldn’t remember how or when she fell asleep behind the wheel. When the officer arrived at the scene, he claimed that he smelled alcohol on her breath. At this point she was nervous and just wanted to get home. They requested that she perform field sobriety tests and she complied. She was then escorted to the police station. That’s all she remembered from that incident.
I told them that I need to request discovery – all the evidence necessary for this case – and only then could I determine how we should proceed. We walked back into the courtroom, I told the Judge that we wanted discovery, the Court admonished my client and we walked out. Done for the day. “That was easy!”, she exclaimed to her family as we headed over to the elevator.
A couple days later, I received the discovery. I was able to review the videos in her case, read the accident report, arrest report, and statements that were made. The more I read, the more I was convinced that my client was in a bad place. However, as I kept watching the videos, I noticed that part of her booking video was missing. This is it!, I thought. This is how we can get the case dropped. I emailed the Assistant State’s Attorney and told him that we were missing part of the video. He responded immediately, and assured me that he’d get it to me before the next court date. Deep down, I was hoping they wouldn’t, so we could win on technicality and my client wouldn’t get her license suspended.
That’s exactly what happened on the next court date.
We never received the additional video from the Assistant State’s Attorney. I told the Judge that we were missing discovery, and pursuant to an Illinois Supreme Court decision, my client’s motion should be granted. Without hesitation, the Judge granted the motion!
After Court, I spoke to the State’s Attorney and we had a long conversation about the case. I requested that my client’s DUI be dropped. He said he needed to consult with his supervisor and get back to me.
A few days later, I received an email from the Assistant State’s Attorney. He said the DUI was getting dismissed! I was so excited and couldn’t believe my eyes. I called my client to explain what had happened. She was ecstatic.
During our phone call, she mentioned how she has a huge social media following and how a DUI charge would affect her influencer status. Let alone going to jail for a DUI! I was more than happy to explain that she doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.