Attorney Profiles

Donald J. Ramsell

Wheaton, Illinois
Managing Partner
phone (630) 665-8780
(800) 342-5384
(800) 342-5394
fax (630)665-9599

Donald J. Ramsell was born on November 28, 1958. He is married to his wife Veronica, and has two daughters, Jennifer and Anne. He is a resident of St. Charles, Illinois. His interests include golf, Corvettes, the Cubs, travel, and winning cases.

Donald Ramsell has the proud distinction of having argued Illinois v. Lidster, a DUI/roadblock case, before the United States Supreme Court. In the past 24 years, his law firm has defended over 13,000 drivers. He is Board Certified in DUI Defense; the NCDD State Delegate for Illinois and a Sustaining Member of the National College for DUI Defense. Don is also a Certified Standardized Field Sobriety Test Instructor.

In 2009, Donald's book, Illinois DUI Law and Practice Guidebook was published by West Publishing. Also, the second edition of Ramsell's co-authored national book, Inside the Mind: Understanding DUI Scientific Evidence published by Aspatore Books, was released. Also in 2009, Don argued two DUI cases before the Illinois Supreme Court, and he successfully completed a course in gas chromatography.

In November of 2009, Don Ramsell successfully argued that the Illinois DUI Vehicle Forfeiture statute was unconstitutional. This ruling has made front page headlines in the largest legal newspaper in Illinois.

In 2008, Don was added as a contributing Board Member to the nationally acclaimed DWI Journal: Law & Science'. Also in 2008, Donald Ramsell completed reliability hearings ordered by the Illinois Supreme Court regarding the sobriety test known as horizontal gaze nystagmus'.

Donald was the only Illinois Attorney identified as an Illinois Super Lawyer in DUI Defense in 2009. Ramsell has presented to DUI Attorneys in New Orleans, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, Illinois, Nevada, Massachusetts, Missouri, the Bahamas and nationwide through webinars at Thomson-West Publishing.

Donald is a Past President of the DuPage County Bar Association (2,000 Members) a past ABA Delegate, and Past President of the DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Don is also a former Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association Traffic Law Section Council and an ISBA State delegate. Don has appeared on Oprah Winfrey, ABC's 20/20, Nancy Grace, Hannity & Colmes, and his cases have been featured in London's Financial Times and mentioned in over 229 newspapers worldwide.

In 2006, Ramsell successfully fought and obtained orders compelling the ISP Breath Testing Section to begin downloading and turning over the internal memory of the breath testing machines, which has revealed numerous errors in breath testing equipment being used across Illinois.

In 2005, Chicago Magazine first named Donald Ramsell an Illinois Super Lawyer. He has been so identified again in 2006 2007, 2009, and 2011 - 2020. Also, Donald Ramsell became the first Illinois attorney ever to become Board Certified in the area of DUI Defense under the American Bar Association's standards, through the National College for DUI Defense.

In 2004, the Chicago Sun Times identified Mr. Ramsell as one of the top 5 DUI Defense Attorneys in the State of Illinois.

In 1999, after a two year investigation, Ramsell discovered that the Department of Public Health had failed to perform critical testing on breath testing equipment, causing test results to be suppressed across the state. Later that same year, the IDPH was forced to turn over control of the entire program to the State Police.

In 1998, Ramsell successfully proved that the Intoxilyzer 5000 (Series 6400 and 6600) breath testing instrument software had been rigged to produce false negative air blank results, causing all breath tests using that model to become inadmissible in the State of Illinois.

In 1988, Ramsell discovered that the statewide breath testing program was falsifying testing documents, again causing thousands of tests to become suspect.

In 1986, Donald J. Ramsell discovered that the statewide breath testing program was using questionable procedures in certifying breathalyzers, causing thousands of tests to become disputed, and forcing immediate changes in the program.

Illinois Criminal Defense
DUI Case Highlights
40 Ways To Beat A DUI
Illinois DUI Penalties

Juris Doctor, Law Degree, DePaul University, 1984
Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice, Loyola University, 1981
President, DuPage County Bar Association , 2002-2003
State Delegate, National College for DUI Defense, 2005-Present
President, DuPage County Bar Foundation, 2003-2004
President, DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association , 2000-2001
ISBA, Assembly Member, 2004-Present
Chair, Judiciary Committee, DuPage County Bar Association, 2003-2004
Chair, ISBA Traffic Law & Courts Section Council, 2004-2005
Vice-Chair, ISBA Traffic Law & Courts Section Council, 2003-2004 
Delegate, American Bar Association, 2002-2003
President-Elect, DuPage County Bar Association, 2001-2002
Planning Committee Chairperson, DuPage County Bar Association, 2001-2002
Second Vice President, DuPage County Bar Association, 2000-2001
Member, Mental Health Court Committee, DuPage County Health Dept., 2000-2001
Third Vice President, DuPage County Bar Association, 1999-2000
Chair, Lawyer Referral Service Committee, DBCA, 1999-2000
Chair, Membership Committee, DuPage County Bar Association, 1999-2000
Director, DuPage County Bar Association, 1998-1999
Chair, Entertainment Committee, DuPage County Bar Association, 1998-1999
Member, Traffic Laws & Courts Section Council, ISBA, 1997-Present
Chair, Judges' Nite, DuPage County Bar Association, 1996-1997
Member, DCBA Judiciary Committee, 1994-1996

Past & Present Memberships:   
U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society
National Association of Bar Presidents
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National College of DUI Defense  (Sustaining Membership Awarded - July 2007)
Illinois State Bar Association
DuPage County Bar Association
Kane County Bar Association
Northwest Suburban Bar Association
Association of Trial Lawyers of America
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association    
American Bar Association

United States Supreme Court, 1989-present
U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 1986-present
Northern District of Illinois, 1985-present
Illinois Supreme Court, 1984-present
Wisconsin Supreme Court, 1989-present

DWI Newsletter, Regional Editor   
DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Newsletter 2000-2001

Board Membership:
DWI Journal: Law and Science, 2008-Present

"Defending DUI Refusals in Jury Trial Cases - Practical Tips," DWI Journal: Law & Science Vol. 23, No. 2 pp.3-8, February 2008

Chapter Author, Inside the Minds: Understanding DUI Scientific Evidence, (2008) Aspatore Books ISBN 978-0-314-97967-4

"A Review of Recent U.S. Supreme Court Cases and their Application to DUI/DWI Fact Scenarios and Issues," DWI Journal: Law & Science, Volume 22, No. 9, September 2007

"The Effect of 9/11 on the United States Supreme Court - The Shrinking of Fourth (and Fifth) Amendment Freedoms in Response to Terrorism," Adelphia Law Journal, Volume 15, pp. 9-50, 2007

"Illinois DUIs and Wisconsin OWIs: The Acronym is the Least of the Differences, " (reprint) The Docket (Lake County Bar Association), Sept. 2007 Vol. XIV No. 9

"Handling OWI Cases for those !@#! Illinois Drivers," Wisconsin Lawyer, March 2007

"Alcohol Monitoring Ankle Bracelets in DUI Cases (SCRAM)," ISBA Traffic Law & Courts Newsletter, Vol. 16, No. 3, March 2007

"Using the Confrontation Clause to Win DUI Cases", Illinois Traffic Law & Courts Newsletter, January 2005

"Illinois v. Lidster: A View from the Inside" DCBA Bar Brief, DuPage County Bar Association, April 2004

"Field Sobriety Testing", Chapter Author, Defending DUI and Related Cases, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education 2004

"Are all Breath Tests taken in Illinois Between 1986 and 2000 Invalid?  Two Recent Developments Suggest that they are."  ISBA Traffic Laws & Courts Newsletter, Vol. 12, No. 2, November 2002

"Every Lawyers Guide to DUI" Illinois Bar Journal, June 2002

"Field Sobriety Testing; Science v. Law" DuPage Bar Brief, March 2002
"Field Sobriety Tests in Illinois: Valid Psychophysical Tests or Voodoo
Science?", ISBA Traffic Laws & Courts Newsletter, Vol. 11, No. 2, February 2002

Illinois DUI Fact Book 2001-2002, Contributing Author

"Recent Developments in DUI Law" DCBA Brief, June 2000

"Effective Closing Arguments in DUI Cases" Illinois Bar Journal,
 May 2000

"Breathalyzer Logbooks - What they don't and won't tell you", ISBA
Traffic Laws & Courts Newsletter, Vol. 8, NO. 3, April 1999

"Criminal Trial Case Study, The Trial of a DUI" DCBA Brief,
January 1998

"A Practical Guide to Summary Suspension Law", Illinois Bar Journal, August 1997

"Foreign Substances and Breath Testing", ISBA Newsletter, January 1997

"Summary Suspension Issues and Use of Experts in DUI Jury Trials" DCBA Brief, October 1993

"A Practical Approach to A Successful Summary Suspension Hearing"
DCBA Brief, September 1992

"Impeaching 10,000 Breath Alcohol Tests: The Solution is the Solution," DWI Journal, February 1989

"Impeaching Infrared Absorption Breath Test Devices," DWI Journal, March 1988

"Cross Examination of the Breath Alcohol Test Operator, Testimony of the Observation-Period Requirement," DWI Journal, August 1987
"A Practical Guide to the New DUI Laws" Illinois Bar Journal, July 1986
Media Features:  
ABC's 20/20
The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Aaron Freeman Show
Justice Files, Discovery Channel
Chicago Tribune, Front Page of Metro Section
Daily Herald, Front Page
Chicago Sun Times, Front Page
Kane County Chronicle
Court TV
Hannity & Colmes, Fox News Channel
Washington Post
New York Times
CNN Headline News
Boston Globe
Houston Chronicle
Christian Science Monitor
WGN Television
WLS Television
WMAQ Television
WBBM Television
Fox Television, Chicago
MSNBC News Channel
CLTV News Channel
Road & Track Magazine, February 2002
Reason Magazine
Financial Times (US & London Editions) 2004
Lawyers Weekly USA 2004
Over 229 Newspapers across America
Over 75 Radio Interviews across America

Recent Seminars Presented:
"BAIID/SCRAM Devices," CLE Fest St. Louis, Illinois State Bar Association, Saint Louis Missouri June 26, 2008

Mastering Scientific Evidence (Defense Attorney Mock Trial) Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, March 27-29, 2008 Dallas Texas

Illinois Jury Trials involving Scientific Issues, IICLE DUI Advocacy Seminar, Peoria IL March 17-18 2008

Illinois DUI Jury and Bench Trial Techniques, Illinois State Bar Association, March 8, 2008, Oak Brook, Illinois

D.U.I. Issues, Illinois Public Defender Association Spring Seminar, Springfield Illinois, November 17, 2007

DUI Information, DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Monthly Dinner, November 15, 2007

Jury Trial Techniques in DUI Cases, Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan, Traverse City, Michigan November 3, 2007

Alcohol Testing Issues, ISBA, Springfield Illinois March 3, 2007

"Illinois Field Sobriety Testing," IICLE, March 2007, Peoria, Illinois

Breath Testing Machines, Blood Testing, Rules and Regulations, ISBA, October 28, 2006, Rockford, Illinois

NWSBA Seminar: DUI Tricks and Traps, Northwest Suburban Bar Association, Rolling Meadows IL 10/18/06

Pretrial Substantive Motions in DUI Cases, Chicago Bar Association, April 27, 2006

"Illinois Search and Seizure Law for Vehicles," ISBA, March 2006, Chicago and Oak Brook, Illinois

"Illinois Field Sobriety Testing; Illinois Breath and Blood Defenses," IICLE, March 2006, Peoria and Chicago

Illinois Traffic Law Issues and Update, ISBA , September 2005, Collinsville, Illinois Hot Topics in Traffic Law, Chicago Bar Association , May 2005

Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois DUI Issues, 2005

Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Illinois DUI Testing, 2005

"DUI & Field Sobriety Testing: A Practical Guide for Defense Attorneys and Prosecutors" Chicago Bar Association, March 3, 2004

"DUI Defense and Jury Trials" West Suburban Bar Association, October 2003

"DUI Forfeitures and Blood Testing" Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Champaign, IL, June 2003
"Field Sobriety Testing" 38th Illinois Traffic Conference, Bradley University, June 2003

"DUI and Blood Draws: A Practical Guide for the Defense" Chicago Bar Association, March 2003
"Standardized Field Sobriety Testing" Panel Discussion, Illinois State Bar Association, March & April 2003, Oak Brook and Springfield, IL
"Moderator, Illinois State Bar Association Field Sobriety Testing Panel, March & April 2003
"Field Sobriety Testing" Illinois State Bar Association, April, 2002, Springfield, IL

"Field Sobriety Testing" Illinois State Bar Association, March 2002, Oak Brook, IL

"Field Sobriety Testing" DuPage County Bar Association, February 2002

Criminal Law Seminar, DuPage County Bar Association, January 2002

NHTSA Certification Course Instructor, Wheaton, IL, 2002

Illinois Public Defenders Conference, 2002

Illinois Attorneys for Criminal Justice, 2002

"DUI Defense" DuPage County Bar Association, September 2001

"Pre-Trial Motions, Requests to Admit, and Bill of Particulars in DUI Cases", Illinois State Bar Association, March 2001 Oak Brook, Springfield, IL

"Practice Tips for the Prosecution and Defense of DUI", Illinois State Bar Association, February & March 2000

Kane County Violent Crimes Defense Seminar, Office of the State Appellate Defender, August 1999, Geneva, IL

"Closing Arguments in DUI Cases", Illinois State Bar Association, February and March 1999, Oak Brook and Bloomington, IL

"Secretary of State Hearings and Breath/Blood Alcohol Testing", Kane County Bar Association, February 1998

"Freedom of Information Act and Breathalyzer Repair Records", Illinois State Bar Association, April 1997, Springfield and Oak Brook, IL

Joint Civil/Criminal Law Seminar, DuPage County Bar Association, January 1996

"Update on DUI Law", DuPage County Bar Association, October 1995

Law Practice Management Seminar, DuPage County Bar Association, September 1995

Civil/Criminal Joint Seminar, DCBA, April 1995

Criminal Law Seminar, Kane County Bar Association, March, 1995

Criminal Law Seminar, DuPage County Bar Association, Sept.1993

DuPage County Bar Association, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994

Ill. Dept. Public Health Breath Test Operators Conference, 1986-87-88 

Outstanding Author, DuPage Bar Association, 1992-1993
DUI Corner, DuPage Bar Briefs

Board Certified in DUI Defense, NCDD/ABA Standards, January 2005
National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration Field Sobriety Student Course, San Francisco, California
National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration Field Sobriety
Instructor Course, Nashville, Tennessee   

National Seminars Attended:
Team Instructor, National College for DUI Defense Summer 2008
National College for DUI Defense Winter Session 2008
Team Instructor, National College for DUI Defense Summer 2007
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - DUI 2007
National College for DUI Defense Winter Session 2007
National College for DUI Defense Summer 2006
National College for DUI Defense Winter Session 2006
National College for DUI Defense Summer 2005
National College for DUI Defense Winter Session 2005
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - DUI 2004
National College for DUI Defense Summer 2004
National College for DUI Defense Summer 2001

Attended over 100 Criminal Defense and DUI Seminars
Defended over 10,000 DUI cases as an attorney
Tried over 500 DUI and Criminal Bench Trials
Tried over 100 DUI and Criminal Jury Trials
Written over 25 Appellate Briefs
2001 Graduate, National College of DUI Defense Summer Session
Qualified as an Expert on Standardized Field Sobriety Testing

Published Appeals:  
People v. Carpenter, --- N.E.2d ----, 2008 WL 4119058, Ill.App. 2 Dist., September 04, 2008
People v. Aleliunaite, 379 Ill.App.3d 975, 885 N.E.2d 463, 319 Ill.Dec. 192, Ill.App. 2 Dist., March 12, 2008
People v. Mizaur, 376 Ill.App.3d 1066, 877 N.E.2d 1185, 315 Ill.Dec. 856, Ill.App. 2 Dist., October 25, 2007
People v. Brown, 374 Ill.App.3d 385, 871 N.E.2d 931, 313 Ill.Dec. 204, Ill.App. 2 Dist., June 29, 2007
People v. So Young Kim, 368 Ill.App.3d 717, 859 N.E.2d 92, 307 Ill.Dec. 92, Ill.App. 2 Dist., November 16, 2006
People v. Trimarco, 364 Ill.App.3d 549, 846 N.E.2d 1008, 301 Ill.Dec. 405, Ill.App. 2 Dist., April 11, 2006
People v. Feddor, 355 Ill.App.3d 325, 823 N.E.2d 217, 291 Ill.Dec. 207, Ill.App. 2 Dist., Feb 02, 2005
People v. Cortez, 361 Ill.App.3d 456, 837 N.E.2d 449, 297 Ill.Dec. 366, Ill.App. 2 Dist., Oct 14, 2005
People v. 1995 Ford Van, VIN 1FTJE34GOSHA15603, 348 Ill.App.3d 303, (2d Dist., May 07, 2004)
Illinois v. Lidster Illinois v. Lidster, 540 U.S. 419, 124 S.Ct. 885, 157 L.Ed.2d 843 (2004)
People v. Hernandez 02-03-1098 (Rule 23 Decided 11-03-04)
People v. Rosinski 813 N.E.2d 1078, Ill.App.2Dist., 2004.
People v. Synnott 811 N.E.2d 236, Ill.App. 2 Dist., 2004.
People v. Rozela 345 Ill.App.3d 217 (2d. Dist. 2003)
People v. James Kelly 344 Ill.App.3d 1058 (2d. Dist. 2003)
People v. Blankschein 337 Ill. App. 3d 526 (2d Dist. 2003)
City of Naperville v. Schiavo 327 Ill. App. 3d 230 (2d Dist. 2002)
People v. O'Neill 329 Ill. App. 3d 213 (2d Dist. 2002)
People v. Poncar 323 Ill. App. 3d 702 (2d 2001)
People v. Hruza 312 Ill. App. 3d 319 (2d 2000)
People v. Gemeny 313 Ill. App. 3d 902 (2d Dist. 2000)
People v. Petty 311 Ill. App. 3d 301 (2d Dist. 2000)
Village of Bloomingdale v. Meline 309 Ill. App. 3d 389 (2d 1999)
People v. Thill 297 Ill. App. 3d 7 (2d Dist. 1998)
People v. Gallegos 293 Ill. App. 3d 873 (3rd Dist. 1997)
People v. Bavas 251 Ill. App. 3d 720 (2d dist. 1993)
People v. Diaz 247 Ill. App. 3d 625 (2d Dist. 1993)
People v. Simac 236 Ill. App. 3d 1096 (2d Dist.1992)
People v. Burke 220 Ill. App. 3d 839 (1st dist. 1991)
People v. Lendabarker 268 Ill. App. 3d 170 (2d Dist. 1991)
People v. Kilpatrick 216 Ill. App. 3d 875 (2d Dist. 1991)
People v. Bulman 212 Ill. App. 3d 795 (1st Dist. 1991)
People v. Krueger 208 Ill. App. 3d 897 (2d Dist. 1991)
People v. Madsen 196 Ill. App. 3d 220 (2d Dist. 1990)
People v. LaRosa 198 Ill. App. 3d 862 (1st Dist. 1990)
People v. Ramsell, 266 Ill.App.3d 297, 301, 203 Ill.Dec. 825, 640 N.E.2d 975, 978 (1994)
People v. Tritthardt 195 Ill. App. 3d 167 (2d Dist. 1990)
People v. Spence 188 Ill. App. 3d 761 (2d Dist. 1989)
People v. Phillipi 186 Ill. App. 3d 353 (2d Dist. 1989)
People v. England 188 Ill. App. 3d 9 (2d Dist. 1989)

Trial Cases Reported: 
People v. DiPace 354 Ill.App.3d 104, 108, 288 Ill.Dec. 839, 818 N.E.2d 774 (2d Dist. 2004)
People v. Baltzer 327 Ill.App.3d 222, 261 Ill.Dec. 247, 762 N.E.2d 1174 (2d Dist. 2002)
People v. Kamide 254 Ill. App. 3d 67 (2d Dist. 1993)
Certification Courses Taught:    
Instructor, NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing March 15-17, 2002, Wheaton, IL
Instructor, NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing October 2002, Wheaton, IL


Areas of Practice:
Criminal Law
Drug Violations
Traffic Violations
Personal Injury -- Defense
Personal Injury -- Plaintiff
Workers' Compensation Law
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