Archive for the ‘Chicago DUI lawyer’ Category

What Are Your Rights at a DUI Checkpoint?

October 27th, 2016 at 7:00 am

DUI checkpoints, Rolling Meadows DUI attorneyDUI checkpoints are common in Rolling Meadows and the surrounding areas. Law enforcement will set up a checkpoint—a temporary stop—to see if a driver is intoxicated on drugs or alcohol while driving. However, the problem with DUI checkpoints is that the police officers who man these stops may take too many liberties when it comes to investigating potentially intoxicated drivers. Therefore, it is important to understand your rights if you are stopped.

You Do Not Have to Answer Questions

Often, drivers do not realize that they are not required to answer a police officer’s questions when stopped at a DUI checkpoint. When a police officer asks where you were earlier in the evening, or where you are going, you do not have to answer. Police officers ask these questions to gather evidence against you, and you do not have to incriminate yourself. If you are not under arrest, then the police have no right to interrogate you. As such, you can politely decline to answer their questions at a DUI checkpoint.

You do, however, need to comply with their commands such as providing your driver’s license and registration upon request. Use common sense when you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint if law enforcement ask you a few initial questions. You can always say that you will not answer any questions without your lawyer present.

Police Cannot Search Your Vehicle Without Probable Cause

While law enforcement officers have the right to briefly stop you at a DUI checkpoint, they do not have free reign to search your vehicle without permission. A law enforcement officer has to have probable cause in order to conduct a search of your vehicle during a DUI check under your 4th Amendment protections. Police often develop the necessary probable cause to conduct a search of your vehicle if they observe something during the DUI stop that suggests you may be intoxicated behind the wheel. Common examples of evidence that supports the police officer having probable cause includes smelling alcohol in the vehicle or on the driver’s breath, or witnessing an open alcohol container in the vehicle.

Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint? Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you were arrested for DUI during a DUI checkpoint, it is important that you contact a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows DUI defense attorney who can review your case and explain your rights. Do not delay when it comes to getting the legal defense that you need. Call 847-394-3200 today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

Chicago Suburbs Lead in DUI Arrests

September 2nd, 2014 at 7:11 am

DUI, breathalyzer tests, Chicago criminal defense attorney, driving under the influence, Although it may seem like more people recently are being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), it should still be considered a serious offense that deserves the proper attention. Depending on the circumstances, an individual convicted of a DUI can face a substantial prison term, in addition to subsequent supervision and related costs and fines. Considering these potentially harsh penalties, it is advisable to consult with an attorney who is experienced in handling various types of DUI matters for those who are charged with the offense.

DUI Penalties

The sentencing guidelines for DUI offenses increase in severity depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. The penalties are more severe for those convicted of multiple DUIs in the past than they are for a defendant who has been charged for the first time. Still, even those convicted of DUI for the first time can face a maximum of one year of incarceration and an additional six months if a child was in the car while the offender was operating it. Other factors, such as an accident, or the injury or death of another as the result of the DUI, would enhance sentencing structures, as well as lead to additional criminal charges.

 Popularity of DUI

According to a news article recently published, four suburbs just west of Chicago are in the top ten Illinois communities for most DUI arrests in 2013. It found the community of Rockford was first, with a total of 556 DUI arrests last year. The suburb of Naperville was a close second, with 553 arrests for DUI, which was actually a four percent decrease from the 576 that occurred in Naperville in 2012.  The remainder of the suburbs were Carol Stream, which was number five on the list with 392 arrests, Elmhurst ranked sixth with 300, and Aurora, with a total of 256 individuals arrested for DUI, came in tenth place across the state.

The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists completed the survey and compiled the data related to Illinois’ DUI arrests, which it does annually. The purpose of the survey, in part, is to determine how many DUI-related arrests are made by law enforcement in the state of Illinois and to recognize the police departments and officers who are the most productive in combating drinking and driving. Almost 700 police agencies were surveyed, and about 84 percent of those responded. Other suburbs were notably ranked in the top 25 for DUI arrests, including Wheaton and Lombard.

Criminal Defense Attorney

DUI cases call for expert guidance from an experienced Illinois defense attorney. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in the Chicago area of Illinois, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation to discuss your matter. We have experience representing clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.

Illinois’ Marijuana DUI Law Not Changed by Legislators

July 18th, 2014 at 7:58 am

Chicago DUI lawyer, Cook County criminal defense lawyer, DUI charge, illegal drug, Illinois’ marijuana DUI law, marijuanaAccording to an article recently published, state legislators in Illinois will likely not address issues brought up by the inclusion of marijuana in the state’s DUI law until next year. Currently, the law allows law enforcement to charge drivers with a DUI who were driving under the drug’s influence, even when no evidence of impairment exists. Many are joining in an effort to change this portion of the DUI law in Illinois.

A Bill to Change the Law

A bill was drafted to address the issue and was sponsored by a Senator from Chicago. Although it was recently returned to the Senate committee, likely for the rest of the General Assembly’s current session, supporters are adamant that it will not be forgotten. The plan is to reintroduce the bill next session. Many supporters of the bill are saying the reason for the delay is due to the perception that the bill may be moving backwards in DUI enforcement. Because of this perception, it may take some time for the proposal to gain support.

The bill would seek to change the DUI law by not imposing a DUI charge if any amount of illegal drug is found in a person’s system, but instead imposing a separate criminal offense if the presence of a drug was detected in a person’s system. Many are supporting the bill, but acknowledge that it may require some minor changes to gain enough support to pass. One such change may be to focus the proposed change only on marijuana and not any other illegal drug.

Current Law

Under the relevant Illinois DUI law currently, a driver can be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana if any trace of the drug is detected in his or her blood or urine. The problem is that traces of marijuana can be found in a person’s system several weeks after they actually used the drug. The law does not require prosecutors to prove that a driver was impaired by the drug that he previously ingested, only that traces of the drug were found in his system at the time he was operating a vehicle.

This law is having profound and sometimes tragic outcomes for those charged with a DUI. Numerous defendants have been charged with aggravated DUI causing death under the marijuana portion of the DUI law, and have been sentenced to years in jail as a result.

DUI Defense Attorney

While the bill has not yet passed, many supporters are considering the simple discussion of the issue a positive step towards addressing it. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in Illinois, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successfully represented clients in DUI cases. Contact our experienced Cook County criminal defense lawyers today for a consultation to discuss your case. We serve clients in Cook and DuPage Counties.

Proposed Legislation to Ease Penalties for Drunk Drivers

June 19th, 2014 at 7:00 am

penalties, ease penalties, anti-drunk-driving groups, Chicago DUI lawyer, Christopher M. Cosley, drunk drivers, DUI laws, DUI offenses, DUI penalties, redemption bill, repeat DUI offendersAccording to an article recently published by the Chicago Tribune, one Illinois lawmaker is going against past trends of increasing penalties provided for by state law associated with driving under the influence (DUI) offenses. Instead, the representative is attempting to build support for a measure that would somewhat ease penalties faced by repeat DUI offenders.

Redemption Bill

The representative decided to sponsor what is known as the “redemption bill” after being confronted by an individual from her district. The man told his story, and the representative took a first hand look at his treatment, which proved to her that the man had turned his life around since his offense. Her measure would change the existing DUI laws in a limited way. The proposal would apply to those people found guilty of a fourth DUI offense who would have otherwise permanently lost their licenses and allow them a limited permit to only drive to and from work.

In addition, the proposal would carry various conditions. In order to get driving privileges restored, offenders would have to go through a five-year waiting period since their last conviction. Offenders would also have to successfully complete rehabilitation, pass three years worth of screenings, and request the permit from the Secretary of State. If approved for the permit, the offender would be required to equip his or her vehicle with a breath-testing device that would lock the steering wheel if attempted to operate while intoxicated.

Opposition

There are those who have voiced opposition to the measure. They argue that being charged with a fourth DUI indicates a serious problem, and allowing such a person to get behind the wheel poses a threat to society. Others, including anti-drunk-driving groups, are split on their support of the measure.

Although repeat DUI offenders pose a serious risk to the community, the ultimate goal is to rehabilitate offenders and the legislation gives them the opportunity to prove themselves. Some point out that a portion of repeat offenders do change and learn from their mistakes. The ones that are able to turn their lives around should not be punished for the rest of their lives for past mistakes.

Criminal Defense Attorney

It remains to be seen whether this measure will garner enough support to make it into law. However, old DUI penalties remain in effect while it is pending. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have experience representing many clients who have been charged with various levels of DUI offenses. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office. We have represented clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.

Severe Consequences for Fatal DUI Driver

April 21st, 2014 at 2:22 pm

drug crimes, lawyer, attorney, criminal defense lawyer, criminal defense attorney, Illinois, ChicagoMany people struggle with addiction and as a result, many criminal cases involve the use, possession, or other acts that occur while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. While these cases alone are often troubling, combining the use of illicit substances and deciding to operate a vehicle can significantly compound a tragic outcome. Such was the case for a man who was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison after being responsible for a fatal accident while under the influence of drug and alcohol.

The Criminal Case

The defendant was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, heroin, and alprazolam at the time of the crash that occurred when he rear-ended a car, killing an 11-year-old boy and severely injuring another car occupant. The car struck was stopped in a line of other vehicles because of an earlier accident that occurred on the road.

After the accident, a urine analysis determined that the defendant had heroin and alprazolam in his system in addition to an illegal amount of alcohol while driving. He pleaded guilty late last year to two counts of aggravated DUI, which meant he would face a maximum sentence of 14 years of incarceration. He was sentenced last week to 12 years jail time, plus a $4,500 fine. Illinois law will require him to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

The Dangers of Heroin Use

This case represents just one of the dangers of heroin use. Not only was the incident that claimed the life of an 11-year-old completely preventable, but the defendant will have to deal with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life. The prosecutor on the case used the defendant’s sentencing hearing as an opportunity to expand on the potential repercussions of using the drug. He stated that heroin in particular is a highly addictive drug that quickly leads users to uncontrollably self-destruct. While the issue of addiction is one that deserves attention, it takes a back seat when that addiction gives rise to criminal behavior that has permanent, devastating effects on other people.

This case represents one of the most tragic outcomes possible for those who participate in drug use. Cases involving the illicit use of drugs and alcohol commonly bring up addiction and treatment issues for the perpetrator of the crime, but in cases like these, where a life is lost senselessly, the needs of the defendant are often secondary to the interest in public safety. If you have been charged with a crime involving drugs, it is crucial to speak to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney about your options and rights. The attorneys at the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley have successful experience representing clients charged with drug offenses in the Chicago area. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Zero Tolerance in Illinois

April 10th, 2014 at 12:34 pm

zero tolerance, DUI, driving under the influence, Chicago criminal defense lawyer, DUI defense attorney in IllinoisAccording to United States law, no person under the age of 21 is allowed to consume alcohol and no person of any age is allowed to drive while intoxicated. Many times, adults will have a couple drinks and drive home safely, with a blood alcohol content below the legal level of 0.08. If a person under 21, however, is pulled over and is found to have a blood alcohol content of anything above 0.0, he or she can be charged.

This is called the zero tolerance policy of Illinois for underage drinking, says  CyberDriveIllinois.com. If a person under 21 is caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in his or her system, he or she will lose all driving privileges. Police officers can only pull over a person if he or she has probable cause.

Probable causes can include:

  • Driving over the speed limit;
  • Running a red/yellow light;
  • Not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or four-way stop;
  • Not driving straight in the traffic lane.

The zero tolerance law says:

  • No person under the age of 21 can purchase, accept, possess, or consume alcohol. Penalties may be suspension/revocation of driving privileges;
  • Any person under 21 who receives court supervision as penalty will receive 3-month suspension of driving privileges;
  • Certain exemptions include religious and medical reasons;
  • All states have zero tolerance laws;
  • Other penalties may be fines, jail time, high insurance costs, mandatory alcohol evaluation and treatment, negative effects on driving record, and negative effects on job opportunities.

If you are caught with alcohol in your system while driving and you are under 21, your driving privileges will be suspended for 3 months. The suspension will be lengthened to one year for a second offense.

Although you can refuse to take a test to determine your blood alcohol level, you can be charged for refusal or failure to complete the test if you are under 21. The first time you refuse, your driving privileges will be suspended for 6 months and as a second offense, they will be suspended for 2 years.

Keep your driving record clean by not drinking and driving. If you have been caught drinking and driving, especially if you are under the age of 21, contact an Illinois criminal attorney to help you in court today.

Changes to Illinois Law in 2014: A Rundown

January 18th, 2014 at 12:47 pm

As we mark the beginning of 2014, many new laws will emerge in the state of Illinois.  We previously discussed the change in Illinois law regarding the use of mobile phones while driving and the consequences of doing so, but there are other changes that will take place that are worth mentioning as well. According to an article recently published by NPR for St. Louis, the relevant issues encompass everything from marijuana to littering.

Medical Marijuana

The new law involving medical marijuana involves a four-year trial program that allows individuals that are plagued with certain specified ailments to get a prescription for medicinal marijuana. Regulations and licenses have not been issued, so this may not go into effect right away in 2014. In addition, in order to meet the requirements of the law, the illness must be considered debilitating.

changes to Illinois law IMAGE Smoking Cigarettes

In 2014, smokers will have to take their habit outside and find a proper receptacle to get rid of the cigarette butts when they are finished. Illinois’ Litter control Act has been amended to include cigarettes, so people in violation of the policy can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, plus a fine of up to $1,500.  A second offense is graded as a Class A misdemeanor, and a third will be considered a felony, which can be punishable by a jail term of one to three years and up to a $25,000 fine.

As an extension of the law, property owners are also required to place enough waste receptacles on the property. If they fail to do so and littering takes place where a receptacle should be, the property owner can be charged with a petty offense and be fined $100. After getting a warning, property owners have 10 days to place the necessary waste receptacles on the property. If he or she fails to do so after the warning, they may be charged with a petty offense and be fined $25 for each receptacle they failed to obtain.

Minors

For purposes of delinquency or records concerning a minor in Illinois, the relevant age will be increased to 17 in 2014, up from 16 as it was previously. In addition, those under 18 will not legally be allowed to use facilities for tanning, minors will be prevented from buying e-cigarettes, and students will have the right to refuse a school’s request for their passwords to social networking sites unless the school can show good cause.

Alcohol

It will be legal to seal and travel with one unfinished bottle of previously opened wine beginning in 2014.

Traffic

In 2014, bicycles are considered an exception from the prohibition on two-wheeled vehicles moving on the right of a separate craft that is not propelled solely by a human being.

The speed limit will be raised to 70 mph on some highways, but areas of Chicago and Metro East will reserve the right to set speed limits at a lower number.

Miscellaneous

Beginning in 2014, it will be considered a crime to accept payment for altering a criminal record.  Also, it will be illegal for State grant recipients and their employees to knowingly using grant funds for political activities or as compensation for time spent on political work.

These are only a few of the many laws that will go into effect in Illinois in 2014. Many other changes in the law, and changes in rules and procedures, may affect your rights if you were or will be charged with a crime. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Chicago can help you understand changes in the law and how they may apply in your case. Contact us today for a consultation.

Why bring Minor Felony Charges in Juvenile Court?

January 14th, 2014 at 11:34 am

As we discussed in one of our recent posts about all of the laws set to take effect in the New Year, minors up to age 17 who are charged with certain felony crimes can be tried in juvenile court in Illinois. Previously, 17-year-olds charged with a felony crime were held in county jail with other defendants of all ages, and, if convicted, would have a felony on their record for the rest of their lives. There are many motivations for the change in the law, as Illinois seems to be echoing a change in thinking that is already occurring in states across the nation.

According to an article published by DNA Info Chicago, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission’s stance on the issue and the support of local politicians had a lot to do with the change, which was voted on by lawmakers in earlier in 2013.  The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission took the position that since 17-year-olds cannot participate in activities such as vote or play the lottery, join the military, or pierce their ears absent adult permission, they should not be treated as adults under Illinois law for the purposes of committing a crime. The decision was made to handle 17-year-olds faced with felony charges within the confines of the juvenile justice system.  The crimes that will be encompassed in the change may include anything from illegal substance charges to burglary and assault, but will specifically exclude murder and sexual assault.

juvenile crime IMAGEMinors Previously Charged as Adults

Questions are arising about those minors who have been charged with felonies prior to the law taking effect on January 1st, who would otherwise be having their case heard in juvenile court. While the law is not intended to apply to previously filed cases, defense attorneys are pointing out the inherent injustice in that fact. In the cases that are pending in adult court, the defendants are being charged with offenses that, if committed after January 1st, 2014, would have been handled in the juvenile justice system. The only difference lies in the date the alleged offenses were committed. Some defense attorneys are arguing that the charges should be transferred to juvenile court in the cases that are still awaiting trial.

Advantages of Juvenile Court

The juvenile justice system allows for offenders with pending cases to continue their education and to take advantage of services provided by local agencies. Further, a minor having their case handled in juvenile court gives them the opportunity to avoid a permanent criminal record that can negatively impact them for the rest of their lives.  Otherwise, they can lose a lot of future opportunities and face a bleak future, one with severely limited job prospects. The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission points out that minors placed in juvenile detention are more likely to make a positive change in their behavior that they would be if they were incarcerated in a county or state prison.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a juvenile crime in Illinois, hiring a criminal defense attorney experienced in juvenile matters is essential. Not only can we ensure your rights are protected in light of any changes in the law, but we can defend your case to the fullest extent. Contact us today for a consultation.

New Laws to Improve Illinois Boating Safety

November 7th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

boatSenator Julie Morrison has sponsored a bill, which along with other measures will make waterways safer next year.  For Morrison, this bill is personal.  In 2012, her nephew, 10 year old Anthony Borcia was killed after falling off a tube on Petite Lake in Northern Illinois.  Morrison stated that “for me, this law is about turning a personal tragedy into an opportunity to protect other people.  Last summer, my nephew was killed by a boater under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  I’m doing everything I can to keep other families from experiencing our loss.”

The person responsible for Tony’s death was David Hatyina.  He was sentenced to ten years in jail after pleading guilty to operating a motorboat while under the influence of alcohol and cocaine.  His blood alcohol level while operating his boat was between .09 and .12, which is over the legal limit.

One measure that was signed into law would make the penalties harsher for people who operate boats under the influence.  If convicted of this crime, offenders would have their driver’s license suspended for three months.  It also requires boaters who are involved in boat accidents to submit to a breathalyzer or other chemical blood alcohol test.  This is how implied consent works when a driver is suspected of DUI.

The other measure would require certification before certain people can operate a watercraft.  People who were born on or after the first day of 1990 would need to complete a boat operation safety course and also receive certification from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  Without this new law, only kids from the ages of 12 and 18 need to be certified unless they are driving a boat with their parent or 18 year old guardian.  The last bill would require boats who are towing a person to show an orange flag as a warning to other boaters.

Morrison also stated that “people need to know that drinking and boating is every bit as serious as drinking and driving.  I hope that requiring blood alcohol tests in the case of serious boating accidents will make some people think twice before they crack open a beer while they are operating a boat.”  If you have been operating any vehicle and pulled over for suspicion of DUI, you need help.  Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Rolling Meadows who can handle your case.

Cook County Juvenile Probation Basics

October 26th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

According to the state of Illinois, probation is one of the most common forms of punishment for juvenile crimes in the state. Understanding the limitations linked to probation is helpful for understanding what a juvenile’s life might look like after court. If you or your juvenile child is facing charges, contact an experienced Illinois criminal attorney today.

 Cook County Juvenile Probation lawyerProbation means that those individuals are able to return to the community so long as they comply with court-ordered requirements. A probation officer is appointed to review their compliance with these court conditions. Generally, Illinois probation sentences last from 12 to 24 months, although this period can be extended to five years or until the youth’s 21st birthday, whichever comes first. This extended probation period is mandatory for those with first degree murder cases, class X felony cases, or forcible felony charges.

The conditions for juvenile probation may be different for each case, but generally, some of the same guidelines will apply in most situations. Individuals will generally have to refrain from the following:

  • possessing or discharging a firearm,
  • violating any laws (at the local, state, or federal level),
  • leaving the state without probation officer permission,
  • and skipping scheduled probation officer meetings.

Where school or employment apply, those individuals will be expected to report as otherwise required. Paying a probation fee, completion of community service hours and home confinement are other penalties that may be associated with juvenile crimes. If found guilty of a felony, a DNA sample will also be required.

Depending on the crime, probation can be linked to the consequences of being charged. Continuing to report for probation and remaining in the home of his or her parents is the responsibility of the convicted juvenile. Since the ramifications for juvenile crimes can impact your life significantly, you need to take juvenile matters seriously and contact a licensed Illinois criminal attorney as soon as you have been charged.