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Contrary to what you may have seen on TV, running a stoplight that results in a traffic death is not automatically a criminal offense.  Of course, the death is a terrible tragedy, and you may be sued in civil court for negligence, but you will not go to prison.
However, a traffic accident may become a criminal offense if you: (1) drove recklessly, (2) were impaired or (3) left the scene of an accident.
In Illinois, you may be charged with reckless homicide if you unintentionally kill someone while driving a motor vehicle. Your actions, whether lawful or unlawful, must
Continue Reading WHEN DOES A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT BECOME A CRIME?

You find that marijuana gummies ease certain health problems, although you don’t have a prescription for them. One day, you may have eaten too many before driving on an errand.  Police stopped you for weaving and arrested you for DUI.
What are the charges?  What can you do?
In Illinois, there are two primary types of marijuana-based DUIs:
Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(7),  you may not be in actual physical control of a vehicle if within two hours you have a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of either 5 nanograms or more, of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or
Continue Reading WHAT IS A CANNABIS DUI IN ILLINOIS?

After a DUI arrest, the Secretary of State automatically sends a notice that your driver’s license will be suspended on the 46th day after your arrest.  The length of that suspension depends on whether you took the field sobriety tests or breathalyzer as well as whether it’s a first or later offense.  The minimum suspension period is six months.
Your attorney may fight your suspension by promptly filing a petition with the court.  The earlier the petition is filed, the better your chances of driving. This does not mean that you win your DUI. Likewise, if you win your DUI,
Continue Reading CAN I DRIVE AFTER A DUI?

Once you have been arrested, you are typically brought to the police station, asked to take a breath test and released.  You will be given a court date for your first court appearance. You will also be given a Sworn Report stating that the Secretary of State will suspend your driver’s license, usually beginning 46 days after your arrest.
On the first court date, you are best advised to show up with an experienced DUI attorney. The attorney will enter his or her appearance, which tells the court that he or she is your official representative. The attorney will also
Continue Reading WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE ON A FIRST TIME DUI IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, a battery can become an aggravated offense if you knowingly commit battery  on a public way.  See  720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(c).
To convict you, the state must prove that you knowingly, without legal justification caused bodily harm to or made physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with another person while on a public way. The state need not prove an exact location, and any injury to the victim need not be serious.
Depending where it happened, an attorney may argue that you were not on a public way. Whether the road’s owners were public or private does
Continue Reading WHAT IS BATTERY ON A PUBLIC WAY?

Even though Illinois abolished cash bail, you may still be held in jail on a DUI before trial if  you are a threat to safety or a flight risk. Even so, the state must show by clear and convincing evidence that  less restrictive conditions than jail would not avoid this threat.
At your pretrial release hearing, your attorney may be able to argue that some combination of conditions would protect public safety and avoid your flight.  Perhaps you could wear a SCRAM device which monitors your drinking, or at least, go on electronic home monitoring.
In deciding your release, a
Continue Reading CAN I STAY OUT OF JAIL ON AN AGGRAVATED DUI BEFORE TRIAL?

You swore you’d never drink and drive again, but you did it anyway and now you have a second DUI.
What can happen to you? What can you do?
As you might expect, the penalties are greater for a second  DUI. If convicted, you may be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service on top of other criminal and secretary of state sanctions. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501(c)(2).  (A first time DUI is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine, but actual jail
Continue Reading WHAT TO EXPECT ON A SECOND DUI

 
The answer is yes.  But your cannabis card makes a difference as to what the state must prove.
As of January 1, 2020, you may legally consume certain amounts of cannabis if you are over age 21. If you have a medical cannabis card, you may only be prosecuted for a marijuana DUI if you drove impaired. Without the card, you may be prosecuted if you were over the legal limit: a delta-9-THC concentration of either 5 nanograms per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms per milliliter of another bodily substance.  This limit does not apply if you
Continue Reading CAN I BE CHARGED WITH DUI IF I HAVE A MEDICAL CANNABIS CARD?

Your original criminal case ended in a sentence of supervision or probation, albeit with certain conditions.  You thought you were done.  But now the state is trying to violate you.  Maybe you failed a drug test, failed to pay a fine or got in trouble for another offense.
What can happen to you?  What can you do?
After the state petitions the court to violate your probation/supervision, you may be summoned to appear for a hearing, or in some cases, arrested.  At the hearing, the state must prove your violation by a preponderance of the evidence. This is easier for
Continue Reading WHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN YOU VIOLATE PROBATION IN ILLINOIS?

Even if your breathalyzer reading is below .08, police can still charge you with DUI. That’s because the .08 limit is only a legal presumption that you were intoxicated.
A reading below .08 can help disprove that presumption of drunk driving.  But if you slurred your speech, had glassy eyes, drove erratically and messed up the field sobriety tests, a judge or jury can still convict you.
Can you still fight the charges? Absolutely. The State has the burden of proving all  elements of the DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced attorney can reviewyour case for  its best possible
Continue Reading CAN YOU BE CONVICTED OF DUI IF YOU ARE BELOW THE LEGAL LIMIT?

You were on your way home from a night out on the town when the police pulled you over for a minor traffic violation.  They asked you to perform some field sobriety tests and take a breathalyzer.  Should you do it?  Here are some pros and cons:
PRO:
(1) Taking the Test Cuts Down on the Length of Your Driver’s License Suspension:  After a DUI arrest, the Illinois Secretary of State will automatically suspend your driver’s license for a certain length of time (although you can try to fight this).  For a first-time DUI, the suspension lasts  six months.  If
Continue Reading THE PROS AND CONS OF TAKING THE BREATHALYZER

You didn’t see the cop until you went through the stop sign. Or maybe you were in an accident after leaving a party, and the cops were called. Now you are charged with drunk driving.  Can you defend your case?
To be convicted of DUI in Illinois, the State must prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements are: 1) you had too much to drink, and 2) you were driving.
To prove  drinking, the State must show  you were over the legal limit of .08, or that you were so intoxicated that it impaired your
Continue Reading THE ABCs of DUI Defense

You were driving down the road when you thought you saw an animal so you slammed on your brakes.  Then you noticed a police car behind you. After a few blocks, the officer stopped you, even though your driving was just fine despite having had a few beers.  Can the officer still make the stop?
To stop you, an officer needs a reasonable suspicion based on articulable facts present at the time of the stop.  However, under certain circumstances, that reasonable suspicion can disappear or dissipate.  Dissipation usually occurs when suspicion is based (1) on the vehicle’s appearance such as
Continue Reading DID THE OFFICER’S REASON FOR STOPPING YOU DISAPPEAR?

You had an argument with your wife, and the police came to your house.  After you both cooled off, the officer gave you a stern talk but decided not to make an arrest.  The very next night, the same officer pulled you over for DUI on what seemed like a trumped-up excuse.
You believe the officer has it in for you.  Is that a defense to your DUI?
In truth, each DUI case is unique. An officer’s dislike, prejudice or grudge against you could make a difference to a judge.  However, few officers are likely to admit under oath their
Continue Reading CAN AN OFFICER’S PREJUDICE BE A DEFENSE TO DUI?

You thought you were safe to drive, but unfortunately, you caused an accident.  An ambulance took you and the other party to the hospital.  At the hospital, the nurse drew your blood to run some tests.  One test was for blood alcohol, which came out clearly over the limit.  Can the state use the results to convict you?
The rules about using a hospital blood test as evidence are often tricky and fact specific.  Generally, compulsory testing of blood and other bodily fluids is a search under the Fourth Amendment.  The Fourth Amendment applies to private individuals such as medical
Continue Reading CAN POLICE USE THE RESULTS OF A HOSPITAL BLOOD TEST AGAINST YOU?

The answer depends on the evidence against you and how the state has charged your offense.
The state can charge you with aggravated DUI if you were involved in a motor vehicle crash (including with a snowmobile or boat) that killed another person when your DUI was the proximate cause of the death.  To convict you, the state must show that your driving was impaired, and that impairment resulted in the death.
Illinois DUI law, however, has several types of DUI offenses.  The most common may be simple driving under the influence of alcohol, but the state may also charge
Continue Reading AM I AUTOMATICALLY GUILTY OF AGGRAVATED DUI IF WHEN THE ACCIDENT KILLED SOMEONE?