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29 05, 2016

DUI Arrest – Should I answer questions?

By |May 29th, 2016|Drunk Driving|0 Comments

As a DUI attorney in Illinois for almost two decades, I can’t tell you how often I’ve been asked this question over the years... "If I am stopped by the police for a possible DUI, should I answer all of their questions?" I understand why people ask this to me--people often want to be friendly and cooperative with the police, but are unsure of whether their cooperation can end up being used against them in a trial. An arresting officer for a DUI will often ask about the activities you engaged in before the arrest, whether you have consumed food recently, whether you have consumed alcohol and drugs and if so how much, whether you have any physical disabilities that the officer should know about, and other questions of a similar nature.  If you are involved in an accident, the officer will also likely ask about the details of the accident. The short answer is no, you shouldn’t answer every question asked by the officer. You have to remember what the officer’s job is when he suspects that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.  His job is to access whether you were driving under the [...]

26 05, 2016

Marijuana DUI charge issues

By |May 26th, 2016|Drunk Driving|0 Comments

DUI law covers not only driving under the influence of alcohol, but also driving under the influence of drugs.  There are two ways a driver can be charged with a DUI for drugs: First, if they are under the influence to the extent that they cannot drive the vehicle safely, and second, if they are driving with any amount of drugs in their system.  Notably, this covers both legal and illegal narcotics.  A person can be charged with a DUI even if they have a prescription for the drug, which makes no sense. There are several available defenses to these kinds of DUI charges.  If the officer is relying only on their judgement alone, a good defense is to question whether the officer is qualified to say whether or not the driver was too intoxicated to drive.  Most adults generally have a good understanding of what a person looks like when they’re too drunk to drive safely, but not everyone has the same kind of experience for marijuana, cocaine, or other illegal drugs.  Because there are no roadside tests for most of these drugs, cops often rely only on their judgement, and this can be fought in court.  Even if [...]

22 05, 2016

Refusal or Blow less than .08 on a DUI charge

By |May 22nd, 2016|DUI Defense|0 Comments

In DUI law, we all have a pretty solid image of someone getting arrested for a DUI in our heads – a cop administering a breathalyzer test on the side of the road, and bringing them in if they blow over .08% Blood Alcohol Content.  This can lead to a misconception where some people believe that cops can only charge you with a DUI if you blow over .08% BAC.  While a BAC over .08% will almost certainly lead to being charged, cops have discretion to bring charges against people who blow lower than than a .08 BAC. The Illinois DUI statute reads: “A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while:  (1) the alcohol concentration in the person's blood or breath is 0.08 or more based on the definition of blood and breath units in Section 11-501.2; [or]  (2) under the influence of alcohol.”  The .08 number acts as a presumption of intoxication; anyone driving who blows .08 is presumed by the state to be intoxicated.  There are plenty of ways to fight these charges discussed in other entries on this blog.  Most people, however, would be surprised to find [...]

20 05, 2016

DUI Field Sobriety Tests – Should I refuse?

By |May 20th, 2016|Drunk Driving, DUI Defense|0 Comments

In DUI law, while a client will rarely be afforded the opportunity to call his attorney before the client has to decide to perform a field sobriety test, I have been asked this question by individuals who want to know what they should and should not do if they are ever pulled over for suspected drunk driving. Officers often have people perform various forms of field sobriety tests, which are tests that are usually performed close to the location where you have been pulled over.  The three most common coordination tests are the One-Legged Stand, the Walk-and-Turn, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.  The officers have people perform these tests so they can determine if they think you have any of the signs of intoxication that the officers are trained to spot. Some appellate courts have held that a refusal to submit to a field sobriety test may be introduced into evidence at a DUI trial—this means that your refusal to submit to the test may be considered when the Court is trying to decide guilt.  However, while the trial court may note that you refused the field tests, most trial courts will find that the State is lacking crucial evidence it [...]

16 05, 2016

Marijuana arrest and drug charges

By |May 16th, 2016|Drug Charges|0 Comments

At the moment, Illinois has strict laws regarding marijuana possession.  There are signs that our marijuana laws might change soon, but for the time being Illinois is one of the toughest states in enforcing Marijuana.  People charged with possession might feel like they don’t have any way around the charges, but there are two common ways to attack a possession charge: challenge the search, and challenge the possession. First, you can try to challenge the search.  The constitutions of both the United States and the State of Illinois protect us from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government; there is a process which police officers have to follow, and evidence found by an unreasonable search might be thrown out by the court. Second, you can try to challenge whether you were actually in possession of the marijuana.  In the American legal system, every criminal defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.  In short: winning a case is based on showing reasonable doubt.  Were there other people in the area who the marijuana could have belonged to?  Is there proof that you knew it was there?  There are always ways to show the court that reasonable doubt exists. [...]

14 05, 2016

First time DUI conviction

By |May 14th, 2016|Drunk Driving, DUI Defense|0 Comments

If I am convicted of my first DUI, what will my punishment be? As a seasoned DUI attorney, I often have new clients who come into my office who are facing their first DUI offense. Often they ask what will happen to them if they are found guilty of their first DUI.  If the DUI was in Illinois, the consequences are serious but can be mitigated if you receive court supervision which is not a conviction.  You need an experienced DUI lawyer to help you beat your case or at least obtain court supervision. The consequences of a conviction of a DUI are harsh. A first-time DUI is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which means you can be imprisoned for up to 364 days or face a fine up to $2,500. The Illinois Secretary of State will also revoke your license for a minimum of one year. In addition, automobile liability insurance companies will have access to the driving records of Illinois motorists convicted of a traffic offense, and this means that your insurer may drop you or will hike your rates up.  If you have been arrested for a DUI outside of Illinois, you face the possibility of [...]

9 05, 2016

Carol Stream DUI Arrest

By |May 9th, 2016|DUI Defense|0 Comments

Carol Stream DUI arrests are very consistent year to year.  Most of the arrests that happen for DUI in Carol Stream happen on North Avenue in the late night and early morning hours on weekends.  North Avenue in Carol Stream looks like a highway - with three lanes moving in both eastbound and westbound traffic.  But the speed limit is only 45 miles per hour which makes it a speed trap.  The police in Carol Stream are very strict about the speed limit on North Avenue and pull people over for speeding just a few miles over the limit on these late night weekend hours.  Once the Carol Stream police officer smells any odor of alcohol at all, the DUI process begins. If the officer smells an odor of alcohol he will have you exit the vehicle and ask you to preform field sobriety tests.  While in Illinois it is almost always better to refuse these tests, even if you submit to a breathalyzer score above .08 it is important to remember that you can and should attack the breathalyzer score in court. There are also ways that a skilled DUI defense lawyer can attack the field sobriety tests even [...]

2 05, 2016

What if I am caught with drug paraphernalia?

By |May 2nd, 2016|Criminal Defense, Drug Charges|0 Comments

Paraphernalia is a vague term, and many of the people charged with possession of drug paraphernalia likely don’t understand exactly what’s going on. In Illinois, possession of drug paraphernalia is defined as possessing “an item of drug paraphernalia with the intent to use it in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing cannabis or a controlled substance into the human body, or in preparing cannabis or a controlled substance for that use.”   Possession of drug paraphernalia is a class A misdemeanor, meaning that a guilty verdict could come with up to a year in jail as well as fines upward of $750. Drug paraphernalia charges can be hard to fight, but they aren’t impossible to shake off. The state is constitutionally required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the item was intended to use with drugs. To escape these misdemeanor charges, you need to show reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt starts with the facts of your case; a person caught with rolling papers can and should argue that these are also used for perfectly legal tobacco use, a person caught with a scale should argue that scales have use in any situation that requires measurement, etc. If you’re looking to argue that there [...]