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22 07, 2016

What are the Penalties for Possession of Ecstasy? 

By |July 22nd, 2016|Drug Charges|0 Comments

In the matter of ecstasy and possession of drugs, over my years representing clients accused of possessing various sorts of drugs, I have had several clients accused of possession of ecstasy who want to know what kind of punishment they may face. MDMA, better known as Ecstasy, is a Schedule I drug under Illinois law which means that it is a controlled substance with a high potential for abuse and no currently-accepted medical use for treatment in the United States.  Because there is no accepted use of MDMA in the United States, there is no regulation of how MDMA is manufactured and what chemicals that may appear in the drug.  This means that sometimes an ecstasy pill is laced with another drug.  What the drug is laced with may change what kind of punishment you may face for possession of the drug; for example, if it is laced with methamphetamine, then you could be charged with possession of meth. For non-laced ecstasy, because ecstasy can be pills, tablets, or powder, the punishment for possession ranges according to the weight of the drug or the number of pills that you have.  Under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, if you have less [...]

21 07, 2016

What is a Vehicle for Illinois DUI?

By |July 21st, 2016|DUI Defense|0 Comments

What is a Vehicle for DUI Purposes in Illinois? According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, in order to be guilty of a DUI, the prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving or were in actual physical control of a vehicle.  In a recent post, I discussed what it meant to be in actual physical control of a vehicle, but that begs the question of, what is considered a vehicle for DUI purposes? Under the Illinois Vehicle Code, a vehicle is every device which allows for a person or object to be transported on a highway (which includes roads as well as what we typically think of as a highway), not including devices powered by humans, that run on tracks, or snowmobiles. For example, a car would be considered a vehicle—it is used to transport people and objects, drives on highways and roads, isn’t powered by humans, doesn’t run on tracks, and isn’t a snowmobile.  Likewise, a truck, a motorcycle, a tractor, moped, and a scooter will also meet this definition. You will notice that there is no requirement that the vehicle have a motor—even a horse can meet this definition! This definition also deals [...]

17 07, 2016

Can I Receive a DUI if I am Not Driving?

By |July 17th, 2016|DUI Defense|0 Comments

Having handled so many DUI cases over the years, I have seen several clients who were charged with a DUI but claimed that they were not driving the vehicle and argued that this meant that they can’t be guilty of a DUI.  According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, in order to be guilty of a DUI, the prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you either were driving the vehicle or in actual physical control of the vehicle.  We all know what it means to be driving a car, but what does it mean to be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle? While there is no simple definition of “actual physical control,” we know that you do not need to be driving the vehicle to be in actual physical control of the vehicle.  Since there is no clear definition, the courts often look at a number of factors to determine if you were in actual physical control of the vehicle.  The factors most considered by the courts are 1) whether you were positioned in the driver’s seat, 2) whether you had the key needed to start the vehicle, 3) whether you were alone in the vehicle, [...]

15 07, 2016

Is Public Intoxication a Crime in Illinois?

By |July 15th, 2016|DUI Defense|0 Comments

I have been asked this question by numerous clients over the years.  The short answer is that just being drunk is not a crime unless you are under the legal age.  There is no statute in Illinois which makes it illegal to be drunk in public.  In addition, there is actually a statute in Illinois that prevents counties and municipalities from passing or enforcing any sort of ordinance that would have intoxication as the sole basis of the offense. But just because public intoxication in and of itself is not a crime does not mean that you cannot be charged for other offenses in which intoxication is an element.  For example, while you cannot be charged for public intoxication, you could be charged for driving under the influence if you are operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.  In addition, you are still liable for crimes you commit while intoxicated as intoxication is rarely a viable defense to a crime.  For example, if you are drunk and you urinate in public, you can be charged for disorderly conduct, and if you punch someone while you are intoxicated, you can still be charged for battery.  In addition, it is illegal to possess [...]

10 07, 2016

Should I blow on a DUI arrest?

By |July 10th, 2016|DUI Defense|0 Comments

In DUI law, one of the biggest questions people have about what to do when pulled over for suspected drunk driving is, should I blow or not?  The quick answer is unsatisfying: it depends.  There are situations where the best response is to blow, and situations where it would be better not to. Illinois, like many states, penalizes suspects who choose not to take a breath test.    If you are arrested for a DUI and you blow over .08% BAC, you will have your license suspended for six months.  However if you are arrested and you refuse to take a breath test, you will have your license suspended for twelve months if you cant beat the statutory summary suspension.  This legislation is intended to encourage people to take the breath test; however, many people choose not to blow so that there is less evidence to be used against them in court.  The problem becomes more difficult on a second DUI conviction.  Refusal to blow will result in a three year suspension of your driver's license, but blowing over .08% will leave you with only a year of suspension.  The choice of whether or not you should blow is weighing two [...]

8 07, 2016

Warrantless Blood Tests in DUI

By |July 8th, 2016|Drug Charges, Drunk Driving, DUI Defense|0 Comments

In DUI law, most Americans remember the fourth amendment from high school civics class: it protects our right to privacy from the government. Police officers need probable cause or a warrant to search our person our property. The fourth amendment is complicated, and occasionally the Supreme Court will have to settle an interpretative issue. One question that came up recently, in Birchfield v. North Dakota, was whether or not the fourth amendment allows for warrantless blood tests on people who had been arrested for DUI charges. Ordinarily, the police operate under an exception to the fourth amendment called the searches incident to arrest exception; the police can search a person they arrest and their possessions to ensure their own safety. One frequent element of this is mandating that people take a breathalyzer test. Many states – including Illinois – penalize arrestees who choose not to blow. It’s possible to draw an analogy between breathalyzer tests and blood tests – both are supposed to determine whether or not someone is driving while intoxicated. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that there is no real comparison between these breath tests and blood tests. A breath test is non-invasive and not particularly humiliating, but [...]

4 07, 2016

4th of July DUI Arrest

By |July 4th, 2016|DUI Defense|0 Comments

Being the Fourth of July weekend, there is no doubt that many of you will participate in festivities this weekend.  But while you should be careful on the roads every day, you need to be especially careful this weekend.  There usually is an increase in DUI-related accidents on holidays and during three-day weekends.  In fact, over the past five years, more people have died in motor vehicle crashes on Independence Day than any other day of the year.  This means there will be more police patrolling the roads than usual, and you might even come across a DUI checkpoint.  The DUI checkpoints are supposedly randomly placed, but you will often see such checkpoints on frequently-traveled roads.  And no, the US Supreme Court in Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz found that DUI checkpoints are not per se unconstitutional as long as the State’s interest in keeping the roads safe by removing intoxicated drivers is greater than the intrusion caused by a brief stop. If you run into a DUI checkpoint, your experience will be somewhat like this.  You are driving down a road when you see on the side of a road an officer that is signaling to you [...]

3 07, 2016

Are Fireworks Legal in Illinois?

By |July 3rd, 2016|Criminal Defense, DUI Defense|0 Comments

With Independence Day right around the corner, this is the time of bottle rockets, roman candles, and firecrackers.  But are fireworks legal to own and use in Illinois? Unfortunately, most fireworks are illegal in Illinois if you do not have a permit.  The Fireworks Regulation Act defines fireworks as “any explosive composition or any substance or combination of substances, or article prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect of a temporary exhibitional nature by explosion, combustion, deflagration or detonation.”  In other words, an object is considered a firework that explodes for the purpose of creating a visible or audible effect.  What is not a firework and you can therefore own and use without having a permit includes: trick noisemakers (ex. party poppers or snappers), sparklers, and snake or glow worm pellets. The Pyrotechnic Use Act makes clear that it is illegal to knowingly possess, sell, or use any sort of display fireworks, flame effects, and consumer fireworks.  The Pyrotechnic Use Act does give cities and counties the ability to adopt reasonable rules and regulations to award permits for pyrotechnic and consumer displays—it is these permits that allow professionals to launch fireworks for your local city’s firework [...]