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There are a host of offenses that can be either a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony if you knowingly possess or display a fictitious or unlawfully altered driver’s license or permit.  (See 625 ILCS 5/6-301.1).  Simply possessing such a license is a Class A Misdemeanor on a first offense and a Class 4 felony on a later offense.
It is also a Class 4 felony if you possess or display that altered license under any of the following circumstances:

  • You wanted to obtain an account, credit, credit or debit card from a bank, financial institution or


Continue Reading WHAT IS THE CRIME OF “FICTITIOUS OR UNLAWFULLY ALTERED DRIVER’S LICENSE OR PEMIT” IN ILLINOIS?

When you were very young, you got caught driving while intoxicated and pled guilty to DUI.  That was more than 20 years ago.  Now you have been arrested for a second DUI.
Does the first one still count?
The answer is yes.  The DUI law does not limit the amount of time the state can look back in order to enhance your punishment for a second-time DUI or upgrade you to an Aggravated DUI for a third or later offense.
Is there anything you can do?  First contact an experienced DUI attorney.  The attorney can review your case for your
Continue Reading CAN MY PAST ILLINOIS DUI HURT ME EVEN IF IT HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO?

Driving without a license is a bad idea.  Driving without a license while intoxicated is even worse.  Your DUI can then be upgraded to an aggravated offense and a Class 4 felony if you did not possess a driver’s license or any type of driving permit and you drove while intoxicated.
You can also be convicted of aggravated DUI if you had a license, but that license was suspended or revoked due to a reckless homicide or alcohol-related offense. Besides having a Class 4 felony DUI, you can also be convicted of driving on a suspended license and sentenced to
Continue Reading DUI WITHOUT A LICENSE

According to a recent Illinois Appellate Court decision, the answer is no. Further, you could end up with additional criminal charges.
In People v. Hutt, an officer obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s blood and urine after arresting him for DUI.  The defendant refused to give the samples.  The state then charged the defendant with obstruction of justice.  Under one definition of that offense, you obstruct justice when you knowingly destroy, alter, conceal or disguise physical evidence, plant false evidence or furnish false information with intent to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any
Continue Reading CAN YOU REFUSE TO GIVE A BLOOD OR URINE SAMPLE WHEN THERE IS A VALID SEARCH WARRANT?

The answer is not necessarily.
If you were pulled over for DUI based on speeding, then the police likely have the probable cause they need to stop you, and you would not be able to fight the stop itself.  But the good news is that speeding doesn’t necessarily equal impaired driving.
To convict you of DUI, the state must prove that 1) you drove and 2) your driving was impaired by drugs or alcohol.   If you otherwise drove safely, performed well on field sobriety tests and spoke clearly and intelligently to police, you may be able to win a not
Continue Reading DOES SPEEDING PROVE I WAS DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE?

Many years ago you were young and reckless.  You got arrested in Illinois.  You wanted to pretend your case didn’t exist, so you skipped out on your court date and eventually moved out of state.  Older and wiser, you worry that a routine traffic stop will send you back to Illinois in handcuffs.
Now, you are ready to deal with your past, clear the warrant and deal with the underlying case.  Can you put it behind you?
The answer is very likely yes.  An attorney can bring your open warrant before your original court to ask a judge to vacate
Continue Reading CAN I CLEAR MY OLD ILLINOIS ARREST WARRANT WHEN I LIVE OUT OF STATE?

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?