Archive for the ‘DUI/DWI’ Category
April 14th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Operating a vehicle under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs is illegal in Illinois. Even though medical marijuana is legal with a valid medical card in Illinois, the state previously had a zero-tolerance policy regarding the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in one’s system.
Governor Rauner signed SB 2228 into law which made changes to the Illinois DUI statute. Instead of investigating whether there are trace amounts of THC in a defendant’s blood, this new law creates a tiered system for impairment.
The new law dictates that it is now illegal to drive or be in actual control of a vehicle with more than 5ng of THC per ml of a person’s blood or bodily substance. Officials have determined this level is close in proximity to the .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) level for driving under the influence.
While this change in the law leaves some uncertainty in the community, it corrected a legal paradox where a person could be charged with a DUI for cannabis that he or she may have smoked or consumed over a month prior.
I Have My Medical Marijuana Card
Illinois is an implied consent state, which means that when you applied for a medical marijuana card and were approved, you thus automatically consented to a field sobriety test. If a driver with a medical marijuana card refuses a field sobriety test after being pulled for reckless driving, he or she may have his or her license suspended or revoked. If the arresting officer suspects that the reason for the reckless driving was the medical marijuana, the officer may testify at trial as to the defendant’s appearance of impairment.
Are the Penalties the Same?
If you are arrested for an offense while being legally impaired by THC and driving a vehicle, Illinois traffic laws apply. For example, a reckless driving citation is not less reckless even though the THC that caused the reckless driving was legal under Illinois state law for medicinal purposes. The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol vary depending on the circumstances surrounding each case. Most DUI penalties carry hefty fines and usually involve the suspension of one’s license. After a DUI arrest, a driver’s license is automatically suspended for 180 days.
I Have Been Arrested for a DUI. What is My First Step?
A DUI arrest for drugs or alcohol is a serious charge that no one should face alone. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. Take advantage of our 24-hour answering service.
April 7th, 2017 at 9:29 am
Countless people in Illinois get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, despite knowing that driving under the influence is illegal. A driver may think that he or she is sober enough to drive or will not get caught. However, if you are caught, you will quickly find out that Illinois law enforcement does not take DUI very lightly.
Police are often harsh on drivers who are intoxicated behind the wheel and they will often look for ways to stack up as many criminal charges against an intoxicated driver as possible. But in some situations the driver actually gives the police good reason to add on additional criminal charges.
Extra Charges When the DUI Results in An Accident
If you are driving under the influence and you cause an accident, either a single vehicle accident or an accident involving another vehicle, when police arrive at the scene, they will look for every way that they can to charge you with criminal charges in addition to your DUI. For instance, if an accident was the result of your speeding or reckless driving, police will charge you with DUI, in addition to a reckless driving or speeding charge.
Tacking on Charges When Leaving the Scene of An Accident
Sometimes a driver involved in a DUI accident might decide that he or she should leave the scene of the accident in order to protect himself or herself from being arrested. For instance, this is common when a drunk driver hits a parked car. The intoxicated driver might leave the scene of the accident, thinking that because no one saw the accident there will be no liability. This is very far from the truth.
Hitting a parked car and then leaving the scene of the accident is a hit and run. Once the owner of the parked car discovers that his or her vehicle was involved in a hit and run accident, he or she will report the accident to police and the police will investigate. You could very well be identified as the culprit if the police are able to successfully conduct their investigation. You could be charged with DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, and hit and run.
If the accident involved another vehicle and you try to flee the accident scene before the police arrive, you will face additional charges as well. On top of your DUI charge, you will be charged with leaving the scene of the accident, and could be charged with other offenses based on the circumstances of the accident. For instance, if you left someone injured at the accident scene and you did not try to help that person, you could be further charged with failure to render aid.
Contact Us Today for Help
Driving under the influence charges are serious, and your situation can get far worse if you leave the scene of an accident. Even if you know that you are likely to be charged with a DUI if you stay, it is important that you stay until police arrive if you have been involved in an accident. Dealing with the DUI is one thing, but the additional charges that can be tacked on against you if you leave the scene of an accident can make things much worse for you. Furthermore, it is in your best interests to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for help with your case.
March 29th, 2017 at 8:00 am
Everyone with a driver’s license should be aware that it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Illinois. Yet there are many individuals who choose to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Someone who is charged with a DUI in Illinois faces jail time, a serious fine, and a permanent criminal record if convicted. However, people are often unaware that the court can impose additional punishments on a person convicted of a DUI. In particular, the court is likely to require someone who is convicted of a DUI to complete a mandatory drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. Completion of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program is also often a stipulation for getting your driving privileges reinstated in Illinois or as a condition of your probation.
Court-Ordered Drug or Alcohol Rehabilitation Programming
For an individual that the court views as having a drug or alcohol dependency problem, the court will order that the convicted individual complete a mandatory drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. Oftentimes, the drug and alcohol rehabilitation program is in lieu of jail time, but there are many instances where the judge sentences a defendant to both jail time and the mandatory rehabilitation program.
The program must be completed with a licensed treatment center and the cost of the program must be borne by the criminal defendant. There are several qualifying treatment centers from which to choose. Therefore, if you would be more comfortable attending a treatment program that is, for example, strictly for women, works exclusively with adolescents, or that has a religious affiliation, then this may be possible.
In less serious DUI cases, the court may require only that the convicted criminal defendant participate in a drug and alcohol remedial education program, instead of a treatment program. The purpose of these programs is to educate and help those individuals who have committed criminal acts, such as driving under the influence, as a result of their drug or alcohol use.
Fight the DUI Charges
Fighting your DUI charges is your best shot at avoiding a conviction for driving under the influence. If your DUI charges are dismissed, then you will not have to face jail time, fines, or be required to participate in a drug and alcohol education or rehabilitation program. For many people, a DUI is often the result of exercising temporary poor judgement. Someone who does not have a substance or alcohol abuse may not need a drug and alcohol educational program or rehabilitation program.
Contact Us for Help Today
There are exceptions to the search and seizure protections offered by the U.S. Constitution. If you are facing DUI charges, please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer for assistance with your case.
March 22nd, 2017 at 7:59 am
After your driver’s license has been suspended, either for racking up too many points for traffic violations or getting a DUI, there can be many pressures to continue driving without a license. It may be difficult to find alternative transportation to your job or to school. Or, taking public transit may be a challenge. You may be concerned about asking your friends or family to drive you because you do not want to be an inconvenience. However, if the state has suspended your driver’s license and you choose to continue driving despite being legally stripped of your driving privileges, you can face serious consequences if you are caught by law enforcement.
Driving on a suspended driver’s license is a criminal offense in Illinois under 625 ILCS 5/6-303. The charges are usually a Class A misdemeanor, but you could possibly be charged with a felony under certain circumstances. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony will depend on the reason why your driver’s license was suspended in the first place.
There Are Serious Consequences for Driving on a Suspended License
Driving on a suspended license is not a small offense like a traffic ticket. It is a criminal offense that could put you in jail and could saddle you with a large fine. It also means that you might be sentenced to do community service and you will have a criminal record. It is possible that it could also take even longer to get your driving privileges reinstated because the Secretary of State will extend your driver’s license suspension period if you are convicted of driving on a suspended driver’s license. There is also the chance that your license could be permanently revoked.
There are other consequences that go along with a driving on a suspended license conviction. For instance, if the offense was a felony level offense, it could prevent you from voting, getting certain jobs, running for political or governmental office, getting certain business licenses, and even owning a gun.
There are nuances in the law and certain rules and procedures that need to be followed as you try to get your driver’s license reinstated. An experienced license reinstatement attorney can be a huge help in making sure that you do not make any mistakes that could make your situation worse. Do not take a chance by not having legal representation. Contact a lawyer as soon as you can to help you handle this matter.
Speak with a Driver’s License Reinstatement Lawyer About Getting Your License Back
If you have had your driving privileges suspended by the state of Illinois, then you need to look into getting your driver’s license reinstated. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can help you get everything in order to your driver’s license back as soon as you possibly can.
March 6th, 2017 at 9:51 am
Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can be scary, especially if you are a first time offender. You are likely unfamiliar with the DUI arrest and charging process, have little idea what happens next, and could use assistance to get through the process. Do not worry: an experienced criminal defense lawyer is able to help you throughout each step of your case.
What Can You Expect Happens Next?
Driver’s License Suspension. Once you have been booked and have had a chance to find a criminal defense lawyer, your driver’s license will be revoked. Driver’s license revocation is an automatic consequence of a DUI charge. If you quickly find a lawyer after being arrested for DUI, your lawyer can get to work preparing a petition for a hearing to rescind your driver’s license suspension.
First time DUI offenders also are able to apply for a monitoring device driving permit, which involves the installation of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device at the offender’s own expense that enables them to drive.
Arraignment Hearing. Shortly after the arrest, you will also have a hearing where the charges against you will be made clear. At this court appearance, your lawyer officially declares that he or she is your legal representative.
Strategy. You will talk with your lawyer and figure out what is the best criminal defense strategy for you. In some cases, it makes the most sense to work out a plea bargain with the prosecution. Other times, it makes the most sense to fight the charges that are pending against you. You may have a valid defense and believe that taking your case to court is the best option. Your lawyer will fight for you regardless of which path you choose.
Pre-trial Motions. If you decide to go on with a criminal trial, your lawyer will then work together with the prosecution to exchange evidence and other relevant materials so that your lawyer can prepare pre-trial motions. Pre-trial motions are motions to the court in advance of an actual criminal trial that attack certain deficiencies in the case. The point of pretrial motions is to either get the case dismissed or to prepare the case better for trial.
Criminal Trial. Next, you will have your criminal trial. This will be the formal trial where the elements of the alleged crime will be demonstrated (or not) by the prosecution, and your defense to your charges will be presented by your lawyer. You trial might be a jury trial or simple a trial before a judge. After the trial has concluded, a verdict will be rendered concerning your guilt or innocence.
Sentencing Hearing. If you are found guilty, there will be a sentencing hearing where the consequences of your DUI conviction will be handed down to you. At this hearing, your lawyer will work hard to present mitigating factors and other reasons why the judge should be lenient in your sentencing.
First Time DUI Offenders Should Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
First time DUI offenders need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help them fight their charges. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer immediately for assistance with your case.
January 18th, 2017 at 8:30 am
One interesting scenario that people often ask about is whether you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol when you are in the vehicle, but not actually driving the vehicle. The logic is simple: If you are not driving the vehicle while intoxicated, how can you be considered to be “driving under the influence?”
Countless criminal defendants have been arrested by Illinois law enforcement for DUI when they were not actually engaged in driving the vehicle. In fact, an arrest can take place after law enforcement finds an intoxicated driver stopped at the scene of an accident, or after an officer finds a driver passed out behind the wheel of a stopped, or even parked, vehicle.
Driving or in Actual Physical Control of a Vehicle
Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, a person shall not drive or be in actual control of a vehicle in Illinois while intoxicated to the point of being incapable of driving safely. The part of the law that confuses many is the “in actual control of a vehicle” language of the statute.
“In actual control of a vehicle” is purposely broad in scope, as it is meant to make intoxicated driving as broad a crime as possible. Many scenarios fall within the scope of “in actual control of a vehicle” while under the influence, such as:
- Being found by law enforcement in a condition where you are too drunk to drive, but you were just sitting in your car for a while until you felt sober enough to drive. If you have the keys, you are in actual control of the vehicle and can be charged with a DUI;
- Being found passed out in your parked vehicle with the engine off due to intoxication. If you have the keys and you are drunk, you can be charged with a DUI. Circumstances might be different if you are sleeping it off responsibly in the back seat of your car, with no keys in your possession; and
- Sitting in your vehicle while the engine is off after being involved in an accident. It does not matter if the accident was a single vehicle accident or a multi-vehicle accident; if you are intoxicated and behind the wheel at an accident, you may be charged with a DUI.
The main takeaway is that if you are intoxicated in your vehicle, it is critically important that you do not have your keys. Possession or easy access to your keys while you are intoxicated in your vehicle is a significant factor when the courts consider if you were in actual control of the vehicle while you were intoxicated for the purposes of DUI charges.
If you are facing a DUI charge because law enforcement found you in your vehicle while in an intoxicated state, even though you were not driving and the motor was not running, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to fight your DUI charges.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are facing DUI charges, an experienced DUI lawyer will know how best to proceed with your case. Please do not hesitate to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer immediately for assistance with your case.
December 23rd, 2016 at 9:20 am
If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol in Illinois, it is critically important that you fight the criminal charges that are pending against you. In order to do that, you will need an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney by your side fighting for you the whole way. These are important charges that you need to get reduced or dismissed—the consequences of being convicted for a DUI are life-altering and long-lasting. At worst, a lawyer can simply ensure that you receive fair treatment under the law. Consider the following when looking for a DUI defense attorney.
An Attorney Who is Qualified and Experienced
If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to hire an attorney who is experienced in handling DUI defenses just like yours. An experienced DUI criminal defense attorney will know the specifics of the law, will understand the criminal court system, and will listen to you as you explain what happened that caused you to get arrested. The outcome of your defense will impact your life in a big way. Do not put your fate into the hands of an inexperienced attorney.
Consider Interviewing Prospective Lawyers
Do not be afraid to request an interview with a few criminal defense attorneys that you are considering hiring. Conducting an interview will give you a chance to meet the attorney in person and have an initial conversation together. Conducting an interview is a great opportunity to determine if the attorney will really listen to you, and can help you determine if he or she is a good communicator.
What is the Cost?
It is a good idea to figure out up front how a criminal defense attorney will be paid for his or her time and what that time will cost you. You will want a lawyer who is appropriately priced for your particular circumstances, and you should get a better understanding about how your lawyer will bill you before he or she begins working on your defense.
Get a Lawyer Who Will Explore All of Your Legal Options
Having options is good. It is best to work with a criminal defense attorney who will consider all of the legal options that are available to you. It is even better if your attorney can tell you about the pros and cons of each legal option you have, and the likelihood of success that each option offers you.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
When you need to hire a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney to help you with your DUI defense, make sure that you take some time to figure out which attorney is right for you. Criminal defense attorneys are not all alike, and you may find that you can work better with a certain attorney, rather than others.
December 16th, 2016 at 9:47 am
When a person is stopped by law enforcement for a traffic violation, and the officer who made the traffic stop develops a reasonable suspicion that the driver of the vehicle is intoxicated by alcohol, the police officer can request that the suspected drunk driver submit to a breathalyzer test.
A breathalyzer test is a chemical test that analyzes the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath and then determines whether the person has a blood alcohol concentration that is over the legal limit of 0.08. Under Illinois implied consent law, drivers are required to submit to a breathalyzer test upon a police officer’s request or else face consequences, such as the automatic suspension of their driver’s license. But remember: you do have the right to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test.
Even if you are pulled over and you do submit to breathalyzer testing, there are many things that could render your breathalyzer testing results invalid. It is well established that breathalyzer tests are not foolproof and there can be any number of procedural mistakes that could make your test results invalid. Invalid breathalyzer test results cannot be used against you in a DUI case against you. A few examples of things that can make your breathalyzer test results invalid include:
- The breathalyzer machine malfunctioned during your test;
- The breathalyzer machine was not properly calibrated before you took your breath test;
- The police officer who administered your breathalyzer test did not follow proper protocol;
- The police officer who performed your breathalyzer test was not properly licensed or trained to conduct breathalyzer test in the field;
- The breathalyzer machine used to perform your breath test it was not of the type that is an approved testing device;
- The police officer who administered your breathalyzer test did not conduct the required observation period before conducting the breath test;
- The police officer who administered your breathalyzer test did not record the breathalyzer device certification tests of the simulator solution (used to calibrate/test the device before the suspected drunk driver uses the breathalyzer machine); or
- You have a medical condition that influences your breathalyzer test results.
If you have been charged with a DUI and you have submitted to a breathalyzer test, a skilled and experienced criminal DUI defense attorney can help fight your charges by attacking the validity of your breathalyzer testing results based on any of the above identified reasons. DUI charges can result in serious consequences if you are convicted, such as costly fees, jail time, mandatory drug and alcohol educational classes, and the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle, for which you have to pay. Your driving privileges will also be suspended, and you will have to get your driver’s license reinstated. A lawyer can help you with your driver’s license reinstatement as well.
Let Us Help You Today
If you are facing DUI charges and there is chemical testing evidence in your case, an experienced DUI lawyer will know when this evidence should be challenged. Please do not hesitate to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer immediately. Our passionate attorneys are eager to help you today.
December 14th, 2016 at 11:01 am
Illinois has strict laws when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol. Driving under the influence is defined by 625 ILCS 5/11-501 as occurring when a person is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, which can be shown if his or her blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or more.
Law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts take DUI offenses very seriously. Moreover, they levy the harshest criminal charges that they can justify against an alleged drunk driver. However, when children are involved in a DUI, punishment can become substantially worse for the accused drunk driver.
Not only is your driver’s license automatically suspended when you are arrested for DUI, but you also face a misdemeanor charge for a first time offense, presuming that there are no aggravating factors involved in your DUI. If there are aggravating factors, your offense could be upgraded to a felony DUI offense.
One aggravating factor for a DUI is when a child is being transported in the vehicle as a passenger when the driver gets a DUI. Not only can a drunk driver be charged under the state’s DUI laws when he or she is transporting a child while under the influence of alcohol, but the offense could also result in additional child endangerment charges.
Child Passengers Enhance DUI Penalties
Illinois lawmakers were concerned about protecting children from drunk driving when they created Illinois’ DUI laws and penalties. That is why the penalties associated with a DUI are enhanced if a child under the age of 16 is in the vehicle at the time of the DUI. If a DUI involves some sort of automobile accident, and the child is injured during the DUI-related accident, then the offense can be upgraded to a class 4 felony.
This is sometimes also referred to as an aggravated DUI, and a conviction for an aggravated DUI involving an injured child carries additional penalties, such as an increased fine and a longer community service requirement. For example, when a child is injured in a DUI-related accident, the driver could face six months in jail with no chance of work release, a $5,000 fine, and a community service requirement of 25 hours.
The consequences for driving under the influence with a child passenger in Illinois can be expensive, very serious, and long lasting. If you have been arrested and charged with violating Illinois DUI laws, and you had a child passenger at the time of your DUI arrest, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It may be possible to get your charges reduced to a lesser offense.
Contact Our Offices Today
DUI charges should never be taken lightly. Only an experienced Rolling Meadows DUI defense attorney will know how to help you fight your DUI charges. Contact us today for help.
December 1st, 2016 at 1:02 pm
Even the most sensible people can sometimes exercise poor judgement, or think that they are sober enough to drive after a few drinks. Drunk, intoxicated, or even buzzed drivers are often pulled over by law enforcement and arrested on DUI charges. Oftentimes, these individuals have no idea what to do because they are first time DUI offenders. A DUI conviction can have a profound impact on your life beyond the obvious criminal consequences, such as jail time and fines. Many first time DUI offenders are stunned by the additional consequences of a DUI.
DUI Facts: The Profile of the Average DUI Offender
According to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, the average DUI offender in Illinois is a male around the age of 34 years old, who is intoxicated behind the wheel between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. This typical DUI offender generally has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of twice the legal limit (legal limit being 0.08 BAC in Illinois for drivers over the age of 21). Ninety percent of the drivers who were arrested in 2014 for DUI lost their driving privileges as a result, and 86 percent of those drivers who were arrested were first time offenders.
Additional Consequences of A DUI
In addition to the misdemeanor or felony penalties associated with a DUI conviction, there are a number of additional consequences that many people do not realize also result from a DUI conviction. For instance:
- In order to get your driver’s license reinstated, you will have to successfully attend and complete a drug and alcohol remedial education course, or a substance abuse course;
- You will have a permanent DUI conviction on your driving record;
- You may miss time from work or school because you have to deal with your DUI hearing;
- You may be able to get a restricted driving permit, but you will have to meet certain requirements for an administrative hearing before you can get the permit;
- Your vehicle registration will be suspended;
- Your vehicle will likely be impounded, and you must pay to get your vehicle out of impoundment;
- You will be required to get high-risk auto insurance for three years following your DUI conviction; and
- If you were subject to a blood test to determine your blood alcohol concentration level, you may be held liable for the cost of that blood test if you are subsequently convicted of a DUI.
First Time DUI Offender? Contact Our Offices Today
The courts do not take DUI offenses lightly and may be particularly harsh on first time DUI offenders. If you have been charged with a DUI, you will need help navigating your criminal charges and understanding the DUI court procedures for getting a restricted driving permit, a judicial hearing, and fighting your DUI charges. Please contact a passionate Rolling Meadows DUI defense attorney immediately to discuss your case.