Manuel Pineda-Chavez, 40, of Lake County

A 40-year-old man arrested in Lake County for his third DUI after recording a BAC four times the legal limit was released Sunday because prosecutors were unable to hold him under the state’s SAFE-T Act.

Manuel Pineda-Chavez, 40, appeared in front of Lake County Associate Judge Jacquelyn Melius Sunday on charges of aggravated DUI/3rd time, aggravated DUI while driving on a suspended or revoked license, DUI, and other smaller offenses as a result of a Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy traffic stop on Saturday, June 15, prosecutors said in court.

The most serious charge of aggravated DUI/3rd time is a class 2 felony that could put him in prison for three to seven years.

Pineda-Chavez was also wanted on an outstanding warrant for an arrest in March of 2023 for a misdemeanor charge of fleeing and eluding police, prosecutors said.  

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Prosecutors said Lake County Sheriff Deputies saw Pineda-Chavez swerving his vehicle before trying to make an improper left turn.

Prosecutors did not disclose in court where the alleged incident took place or the time of the traffic stop.

When officers approached his vehicle during the traffic stop, prosecutors said deputies could smell alcohol on Pineda-Chavez’s breath and he was looking through bloodshot eyes.

In addition, prosecutors said deputies reported Pineda-Chavez looked confused and told officers he didn’t know what time of the day it was or where he was located.

Officers performed a field sobriety test and saw multiple clues of impairment, prosecutors said.

A subsequent preliminary breath test produced a result showing Pineda-Chavez had a BAC level of .322, four times over the state’s .08 legal limit, prosecutors said.

In addition, Pineda-Chavez had two previous violations for driving under the influence on his record. His Illinois driver’s license had also been revoked during one of those cases, prosecutors said.

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Prosecutors said a third DUI is not detainable under the SAFE-T Act but sought to file a petition to revoke Pineda-Chavez’s pretrial release from the previous misdemeanor fleeing and eluding case.

Lake County Associate Judge Jaqueline Melius was prepared to revoke Pineda-Chavez’s release and detain him when defense attorneys discovered the fleeing and eluding case in 2023 was filed before the SAFE-T Act went into effect.

Due to the date of issuance of that case, prosecutors did not have the legal basis to detain Pineda-Chavez, defense attorneys said.

Following a lengthy discussion, prosecutors then tried to file a petition for sanctions that would have put Pineda-Chavez in Lake County jail for up to 30 days, which is the maximum allowed under state law, for committing a new offense and because he hasn’t checked in with Lake County probation since March 2023.

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However, Melius declined the request to grant the sanctions to put Pineda-Chavez in jail.

Instead, Melius ordered Pineda-Chavez released on pretrial conditions that included refraining from taking any drugs, alcohol, or cannabis, submitting to random testing, no driving without a valid driver’s license, not going to any bars or taverns, and ordering he must wear an alcohol monitoring ankle device (SCRAM).

Pineda-Chavez is also required to check in with Lake County probation by 5 p.m. Monday and appear in court for a status hearing Monday afternoon where the issue will be reviewed again.