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Archive for the ‘DUI charge’ tag

What is an Aggravated DUI?

March 12th, 2018 at 3:39 pm

aggravated DUI, DUI charge, felony DUI, Illinois automobile insurance, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneysIn Illinois, the more a person is charged with driving under the influence (DUI), the harsher the penalties get. The different types of DUI charges that are possible in Illinois are outlined in 625 ILCS 5/11-501.

A DUI can be classified as both a felony and misdemeanor. An aggravated DUI is a felony DUI. You can be charged with a felony DUI, even if it is your first DUI arrest or charge.

Proving an aggravated DUI is the same as proving a misdemeanor. The prosecutor must show that the defendant broke a law in some way, most often driving with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08 percent.

In addition to proving a violation of law, there are 11 circumstances that can elevate a misdemeanor DUI to an aggravated DUI. The following are the circumstances that make a DUI a felony:

  • The charge is the 3rd or subsequent DUI charge. A DUI arrest will always be a felony if you have two or more prior DUI convictions;
  • Driving a school bus with children under the age of 18 on board;
  • Driving under the influence that results in a car accident with a victim who suffers permanent disability to great bodily harm. This injury must be caused because you were driving under the influence;
  • Having a reckless homicide conviction on your record because of intoxication or impairment;
  • Having an accident in a school zone where another person suffered bodily harm;
  • The DUI being the proximate cause of death of another;
  • Being arrested for a DUI while having a suspended or revoked license. The suspended or revoked license must be the result of a prior DUI, statutory suspension, or reckless homicide.
  • Not having a valid license at the time of the DUI offense;
  • Driving a car that you know is not insured;
  • Being the proximate cause of bodily harm to a child; and
  • Committing a DUI with a passenger that is under the age of 16 and you already have another DUI.

How Serious is an Aggravated DUI?

Any kind of DUI conviction can be detrimental to you and your family, but an aggravated DUI can create many more problems. A misdemeanor DUI has a maximum sentence of less than one year. A felony offense can carry a much higher jail or prison sentence. A felony DUI carries a prison sentence of one year or more. In addition, there is a maximum fine of $25,000.

Reach Out to an Attorney for Help

If you are facing criminal charges, you should contact an attorney immediately. Choose an attorney with the experience and skill to represent you. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can defend you zealously in an aggravated DUI case. Our Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can provide an effective defense. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Do I Need to Participate in a Field Sobriety Test?

March 9th, 2018 at 7:18 am

drunk driving, DUI charge, field sobriety test, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, DUI attorneyRed, white, and blue represent freedom in the United States, but those take on a completely different meaning when you see them flashing in the rearview mirror of your car. Being pulled over can be scary and you might not be sure what to expect. If a police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, a simple traffic stop turns into much more.

Illinois Field Sobriety Tests

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study to determine what sobriety tests are the most effective in determining if a suspect is driving under the influence. Illinois uses “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” on individuals to determine their intoxication. It is imperative that individuals understand what these tests are so that they are better equipped should a situation arise when they are faced with the question of participating in them.

  • Walk and Turn: This is a test that officers use to judge your balance and if you stagger while you walk. This test requires that you walk in a straight line, heel to toe, for nine paces and then turn around and walk back to the start. Arms are kept at your side, and the officer may instruct you to count the steps (one through nine) out loud.
  • One Leg Stand: This test also judges your balance and ability to follow directions. You will stand with your legs together and then the officer will instruct you to lift one leg off of the ground and stand there. Usually, the officer will instruct you to lift your foot six inches off the ground for up to 30 seconds.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: This is a more “complex” test and it produces the most reliable results of the field sobriety tests. The officer will look for involuntary jerking of your eyes that is linked to alcohol consumption. The officer will move his finger, or a pen, from side to side and instruct you to follow it with your eyes.

Participation Requirements

Illinois law does not require you to participate in field sobriety tests. You are allowed to refuse any field sobriety test that the officer wants to conduct. There are no penalties for refusing the sobriety test. This is different than other states that will use this refusal to participate in a field sobriety test against you in further charges. Again, it is likely that you will be arrested after refusing a field sobriety test, but there are no further penalties associated with the refusal.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you have been charged with a DUI, or submitted to field sobriety tests, but wish you had not, contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we will explore every option and defense that is available to you. Reach out to a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office today for immediate help with your case.


Understanding the Ramifications of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Illinois

October 23rd, 2017 at 6:21 am

breathalyzer test, DUI charge, DUI conviction, DUI defense, Rolling Meadows DUI attorneyIf you or a family member is pulled over, should you consent to taking a breathalyzer test? This is a common question and, in truth, the answer is—it depends. This is because each case is different and your circumstances may have presented a scenario where refusing a Breathalyzer test was appropriate, or vice versa.

Under Illinois Law, when you obtain a driver’s license you are impliedly consenting to take a Breathalyzer test if you are requested by a police officer to do so. This implied consent is codified in state statute 625 ILCS 40/5-7.1.

Even with the existence of an implied consent law, you have the right to refuse a Breathalyzer test, but the ramifications can be quite severe. For example, if you are convicted of a DUI and you refused to take a breathalyzer test, then your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year.

Warning Required

When a police officer asks you to take a breathalyzer test, they are legally obligated to inform you that refusing to take the test may result in the aforementioned suspension of your driver’s license.

The suspension of your driver’s license can go beyond one year, depending whether you have a criminal record and/or a prior DUI conviction.

Why Some People Opt to Decline the Breathalyzer Test

There is a belief that if you refuse a breathalyzer test, it will improve your chances of prevailing against the government’s DUI charge. This is not a sound legal strategy. Yes, the lack of an official breathalyzer result may make it more challenging for the prosecution to obtain a conviction, but it does not guarantee your victory in court. This is because the government can prove a DUI through a variety of methods, even without a breathalyzer result.

For example, the police officer who pulled you over could testify in court concerning your driving behavior and physical appearance when you were pulled over. If you underwent a field sobriety test, the results of that test are generally admissible as evidence. Also, there may be video footage from the police officer’s squad car which could potentially reveal that you were intoxicated. Some, or all, of these tests and other evidence could be considered sufficient by a jury to find you guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Speak to a Rolling Meadows DUI Defense Attorney Today

Whether you agreed to take a breathalyzer test or not, you have the right to quality legal representation. That is why it makes sense to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows DUI attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We are eager to assist you immediately.


Can a Sleeping Driver be Arrested for DUI in Illinois?

September 27th, 2017 at 7:26 pm

DUI arrest, DUI charge, Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyer, sleeping driver, DUI defenseWe all know that driving under the influence is illegal, but is it illegal to sleep one off in your car? You may be surprised to learn that, in Illinois, the answer is yes, under some circumstances.

Under code section 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a), it is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in Illinois while under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicating compound to a degree that you are not capable of driving safely. Therefore, if a court of law determines that an individual had actual physical control of the vehicle that they were sleeping in while intoxicated then that person can rightfully be convicted of driving under the influence in Illinois.

What Does it Mean to Have “Actual Physical Control” of a Vehicle?

Having “actual physical control” of a vehicle essentially means having the ability to operate the vehicle. Illinois case law notes that a person does not need to move, or even have the intent to move, a vehicle to have actual physical control.

Relevant case law also indicates that there are several factors that courts in Illinois should take into account when determining whether or not an individual charged with a DUI had actual physical control of their vehicle.

Key factors include whether the individual:

  • Had the vehicle’s ignition key,
  • Was physically capable of operating the vehicle, and
  • Was sitting in the driver’s seat.

Please note that this list of factors is non-exhaustive and that the court will examine the totality of the circumstances on a case-by-case basis in order to determine whether or not the individual charged with driving under the influence did in fact have actual physical control of the vehicle.

How Can I Avoid a DUI Charge While Parked?

The best way to avoid a DUI charge while parked is to simply not sit in your parked car while intoxicated. Ask a sober driver to give you a lift, take a cab, or walk home. However, if you have no other option but to sleep or wait in your car, do whatever you can to show that you do not have actual physical control of the vehicle. For example, it is probably a good idea to put the car’s ignition key in the glove box and sit or lie down in the backseat.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you have been accused of driving under the influence in Illinois, The Law Offices of Christopher Cosley is here to help. Attorney Christopher Cosley is an experienced Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyer who handles all types of DUI cases in Rolling Meadows and throughout the greater Chicago area. Being convicted of driving under the influence can hugely impact your life, so it is important that you take steps today to protect your future. Start by hiring a tenacious DUI defense lawyer to argue your case.


Can I be Arrested for DUI if I Am in My Vehicle, But Not Driving?

January 18th, 2017 at 8:30 am

arrested for DUI, Rolling Meadows DUI LawyerOne 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.


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.

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