Chicago lawyer charged with four felonies

Cala Smoldt/Staff Reporter

Mercer County Circuit Judge Gregory Chickris found probable cause against Chicago Lawyer, Charles C. Harth, Thursday, Jan. 8. Harth faces multiple charges in Mercer County. According to Assistant State's Attorney Meeghan Lee, a concerned citizen called the Mercer County Police Department the night of Jan. 7 when they saw a Lincoln driving erratically, ending up in a ditch.

Deputy Schultz arrived on the scene and found Harth behind the wheel seemingly asleep. Harth then got out of the vehicle, smelling of alcohol. He was unable to say his 'ABC's' correctly.

He then refused to comply with the deputy. He was arrested and taken to Mercer County jail.

Formally charged with 5 counts. Count 1 is a Class 2 felony alleging that Harth was under the influence of alcohol while driving his 2007 Silver Lincoln on 40th Ave. at 160th St. near Seaton, and has at least twice previously committed the offense of DUI. Count 2, a Class 4 felony, alleges that Harth was under the influence of alcohol while suspended or revoked for statutory summary suspension. Count 3, a Class 4 felony, driving while driver's license is suspended, in that said defendant drove a vehicle while he had been issued a MDDP (Monitoring Device Driving Permit), but the vehicle was not equipped with the ignition interlock device at the time of the offense of DUI. Count 4, a Class 4 felony, charges state that Harth, with the intent to prevent the apprehension of himself, knowingly reused to comply with a search warrant issued by a Circuit Judge for the taking of blood, breath, or urine to verify if he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, thereby allowing the evidence to be destroyed.

Finally, he was charged with a 5th count, a Class A misdemeanor, in that said defendant had an ignition interlock device in the vehicle but the device was disabled at the time of the accident.

Judge Chickris asked Harth if he would be able to post bond totaling $7,514. He replied, "I do not believe so." Harth indicated he will be able to hire an attorney. He was quieted by Chickris when he said, "I don't know how the device was disabled - it got me here last night (from Chicago)." Conditions imposed if he were to bond out include no possession of alcohol, no consumption, and he will be subject to random testing.

Preliminary hearing in the matter is set for Tuesday, Jan. 13.