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When the officer behind you turned on his signal lights, you knew you were in trouble.  So you decided to ignore the signal and try to get away.  The officer caught you anyway, and now you have a fleeing and eluding charge on top of other offenses.

What is fleeing and eluding?  What can you do?

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-204,  you commit fleeing and eluding if an officer has signaled you to stop, you willfully fail to obey, increase you speed, extinguish your lights or otherwise flee or attempt to elude the officer.  The officer must be in uniform,
Continue Reading WHAT IS FLEEING OR ATTEMPT TO ELUDE POLICE IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, you have a legal duty to remain at the scene of an accident, provide information and render aid.  Failing that, you have a duty to report it.
Leaving the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury is a Class 4 felony.  If your accident resulted in personal injury and you failed to report it within half hour of either the accident or your discharge from a hospital, your offense becomes a Class 2 felony. Your offense is a Class 1 felony if it resulted in death.
You may also be subject to testing for alcohol or
Continue Reading WHAT IS AGGRAVATED LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT IN ILLINOIS?

The answer is not necessarily.  Although blood testing for marijuana is available, it is unlikely your blood would be tested if you did not end up in the hospital due to an accident.

However, there are other ways that the state can seek to prove you were under the influence of cannabis.  Police have specialized field sobriety tests for marijuana that are separate from the field tests for alcohol.  For example, the Romberg test examines if you can maintain your balance with your eyes closed.  Another example is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test which tests whether your eyes bounce up
Continue Reading DO POLICE NEED A BLOOD TEST TO PROVE I DROVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA IN ILLINOIS?

In criminal or traffic law, the outcome of your case often comes down to how your particular judge sees all the facts in your particular situation.  One example of this can be found in People v. Hall, which involved obstructing a peace officer.
In that case, an officer had received notice of a possible domestic disturbance or kidnapping.  The officer stopped defendant and asked for his identification, which the defendant refused. Officers then questioned a woman in defendant’s car. Defendant swore at police, yelling for them to get away from his car.
To convict under 720 ILCS 5/31-1(a),
Continue Reading OBSTRUCTING A PEACE OFFICER IN ILLINOIS

A charge of reckless driving can be a kind of catch-all offense for police. It can cover everything from excessive speeding to swerving around corners to weaving in and out of traffic. Although less serious than a DUI, it can still have significant consequences.
In Illinois, the most common definition of reckless driving is someone who uses or drives a vehicle “with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”  (See 625 ILCS 5/11-503.)  A secondary definition is using an incline such as a railroad crossing or hill to make your car  airborne.
Reckless driving
Continue Reading WHAT IS RECKLESS DRIVING IN ILLINOIS?

 
The answer is that it’s possible.  By the same token, you may still be found guilty of DUI if your blood alcohol was below .08.
Your blood alcohol reading leads to a presumption that you were or weren’t driving under the influence.  If your reading is under .05, the presumption is that you were not driving under the influence.  If it is between .05 and .08, the presumption can go either way.  If you are over .08, the presumption is you are guilty.
But a presumption can be overcome by other evidence.
Your driving is the most important factor
Continue Reading CAN I BE FOUND NOT GUILTY OF DUI IF MY BREATHALYZER IS OVER .08 IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is a separate category of DUI. As with alcohol-based DUI, this form is a Class A Misdemeanor for a first or second offense but can become a Class 4 felony based on certain aggravating factors.
Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(4), you commit driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs when you drive or are in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drug such that you cannot drive safely.
Your offense can become aggravated if: (1) this is your
Continue Reading DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF BOTH DRUGS AND ALCOHOL IN ILLINOIS

In Illinois, you must stop for police when an officer gives you visual or audible signals directing you to stop your car.  The signal given by the peace officer may be by hand, voice, siren, red or blue light. The officer must be in uniform. Further, the officer’s car must display flashing red or blue lights used along with a horn or siren to indicate it is an official police vehicle.
You can be charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer if you willfully ignore such signals, increase your speed or turn off your lights.  A first
Continue Reading WHEN MUST I STOP MY CAR FOR POLICE IN ILLINOIS?

The answer is yes, if a turn signal was legally required.

Under Illinois law, you must use your turn signal whenever you make a turn, change lanes, encroach onto the other side of the road or leave the roadway.  Failure to do so can give an officer a valid basis to pull you over.

Questions may arise, however, as to whether your driving fell into one of the above categories.   For example, did you actually change from one lane to another? You are not required to signal movement within a single lane, and a roadway with more than one lane
Continue Reading CAN FAILURE TO USE A TURN SIGNAL BE PROBABLE CAUSE FOR A POLICE STOP?

Once you are charged with DUI, some counties will sell the list of new DUI defendants to attorneys who request it. These attorneys often send postcards or letters offering services for a seemingly reasonable fee. While we cannot comment on the quality of these attorneys, beware of those who nearly always plead their cases out. They may not be doing you a real service. For a limited fee, they may simply show up once to plea you out, and frankly, you could probably manage that on your own.
A quality attorney will likely cost more. But he or she will
Continue Reading WHY AM I GETTING POSTCARDS FROM LAWYERS? HOW DO I CHOOSE A GOOD ONE?

Let’s say you were distracted by some family problems, ran a stop sign and hit a car that was already in the intersection.  You panicked and drove away.  The officer somehow tracked you down, and now you are charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death.
What does that mean?  What can you do?
In Illinois, you have a legal duty to remain at the scene of an accident, provide information and render aid.  To convict you, the state must prove:
1) You were the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident;
2) The
Continue Reading WHAT IS LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT INVOLVING PERSONAL INJURY OR DEATH IN ILLINOIS?

You were speeding when someone in front of you slammed on their brakes, so that you rammed the back of their car.  You panicked and took off.  After taking a deep breath, you drove back to the scene, but you are still charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to property.
What does that mean?  What can you do?
In Illinois, you have a legal duty to remain at the scene of an accident, provide information and render aid.  To convict you, the state must prove that
1) You were the driver of a vehicle involved in
Continue Reading WHAT IS LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT INVOLVING PROPERTY DAMAGE IN ILLINOIS?

To be convicted of DUI, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were 1) driving while 2) under the influence.  But it may surprise you to know that sleeping in your car can fall under the definition of “driving.”

Under Illinois law, you may not drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  See: 625 ILCS 5/11-501.

Illinois courts have found actual physical control to include the following:

  • You are behind the steering wheel in the driver’s seat with the ignition key and physically capable of starting

  • Continue Reading What is the Definition of “Driving” under Illinois DUI Law?

    Getting arrest for DUI can feel humiliating and stressful.  Knowing what happens next may help ease some of the anxiety:
    What is the procedure? Once you have been charged with DUI, you will be given a court date for your first court appearance. Currently, these appearances are often on zoom.  (See our related post:  Do I Need to Come to Court for an Illinois Traffic Ticket?)
    On the first court date, your attorney will enter his or her appearance and ask for copies of the evidence against you, including the police video of your arrest.  The appearance tells the
    Continue Reading WHAT TO EXPECT ON A FIRST-TIME DUI IN ILLINOIS

    The answer is yes, if you showed other signs of impairment.
    In Illinois, the legal limit is currently .08 for alcohol. For marijuana, the limit is 5    nanograms per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms per milliliter of other bodily substance.  See 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2.
    These limits, however, are only a presumption that you were intoxicated.  If you drove badly, fell out of your car or garbled your words, the state can still convict you.  On the other hand, if you drove perfectly, enunciated like British royalty and carried yourself like a ballerina, you might win at
    Continue Reading CAN I BE CONVICTED FOR DUI IN ILLINOIS IF I AM UNDER THE LEGAL LIMIT?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has, at least for the time being, changed court procedures in the Skokie and Rolling Meadows courthouses, the Daley Center and elsewhere.  Depending on your jurisdiction, most of your court appearances will take place on zoom.  This can seem intimidating, but it’s really not that scary.
    When you are arrested for DUI, the officer will give you a ticket with information for your first court date and place.  Unfortunately, this does not usually include the zoom meeting and pass codes you will need to log into the courtroom.  You will have to search the court’s website in
    Continue Reading WHAT TO EXPECT FOR YOUR FIRST DUI APPEARANCE ON ZOOM COURT IN ILLINOIS