Archive for the ‘Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer’ tag
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.
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 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 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.
August 30th, 2016 at 7:04 am
When you are suspected of driving while under the influence, law enforcement may request that you submit to blood alcohol concentration testing. While this testing often takes the form of a breathalyzer test, where a breath sample is analyzed for its alcohol content, sometimes blood testing is requested to determine a suspected drunk driver’s blood alcohol concentration. Blood samples are taken in one of two ways, either as part of a DUI kit that is completed at a hospital or as part of an emergency blood draw.
- DUI Kit Blood Samples. When blood is taken as part of a DUI kit, the arresting police officer must request the blood test and the driver must consent to the blood draw. The test must be done at a hospital by a qualified medical professional (i.e., a registered nurse, licensed physician, certified paramedic or trained phlebotomist). Urine samples are often also collected when a driver completes a DUI kit.
- Emergency Blood Draws. Emergency blood draws that are taken while a suspected drunk driver is receiving emergency medical treatment and can be used as evidence in DUI cases. These are blood samples that are taken as a matter of routine when a person receives emergency medical services.
Must I Consent to Blood Testing?
Under Illinois implied consent law, anyone who uses the state’s public roads automatically gives consent to chemical testing in suspected DUI situations. However, drivers do have a right to refuse such tests, but there will be consequences for doing so. In particular, a driver that refuse testing will have their driver’s license suspended for a certain period of time.
Fighting the Use of Blood Evidence in DUI Cases
There are plenty of reasons why it might be important for a person charged with a DUI to fight the use of blood testing results as evidence in a DUI case. The test results might show a blood alcohol concentration level that is above the legal limit of 0.08%, or the blood test results could show that the driver was under the influence of drugs. There are many ways that a skilled DUI criminal defense lawyer can fight the use of blood test results as evidence in a DUI case. For instance:
- Your lawyer could demand proof of custody of the blood sample every step of the way through the testing process. This means that if the prosecution cannot show that the sample was in the appropriate chain of custody (i.e., only people who were authorized to handle the blood sample ever touched it), the sample cannot be used as evidence.
- Your lawyer may be able to present evidence that medication you took or alcohol from an alcohol swab administered before your blood draw interfered with the accuracy of your blood sample.
- If appropriate, your lawyer may be able to argue that proper protocol was not followed by law enforcement when making your DUI arrest, the medical professional who drew the blood sample, or the lab technician when performing analysis on your blood sample.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are facing DUI charges and there is chemical testing evidence in your case, please contact a Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.
June 6th, 2016 at 8:27 am
Generally speaking, police need to have a good reason—probable cause—to make a traffic stop. Otherwise the traffic stop is an illegal seizure under the Fourth Amendment. However, there are limited exceptions to the prohibition against illegal seizures, and one of those exceptions arises when police are acting in their community caretaking function.
Police Officers As Community Caretakers
The community caretaking function of a police officer occurs when an officer engages in an activity, other than the investigation of a crime, that helps those in the community. A few examples include helping lost children find their parents, responding to non-criminal calls such as helping people, assisting with missing person cases, or helping drunk citizens return to their homes (presuming that the drunk individuals are not violating the law).
The Community Caretaker Exception to Search and Seizure
In order for the community caretaking exception to the Fourth Amendment to apply, the police officer must be engaging in an activity or job duty other than the investigation of a crime, and the search and seizure must be reasonable and undertaken with the purpose of protecting the public or promoting safety.
Community Caretaker and DUI Example
Very infrequently does a police officer stumble upon a person who is drunk behind the wheel, but who is not in fact driving. Still, this can happen, and it has happened in the past. In The People v. McDonough, a police officer came across McDonough’s vehicle on the side of the road. The officer stopped to check if the driver was ok. The officer turned on his lights, and proceeded like a traffic stop—he approached the vehicle and asked the driver questions. During questioning, the officer noted evidence of alcohol intoxication on the driver’s breath and asked the driver to participate in field sobriety testing. The driver failed these tests and then refused to submit to a breathalyzer test. McDonough was arrested for DUI, and the Illinois Supreme Court found that the police officer’s stop was not a violation of McDonough’s Constitutional rights because of the community caretaker exception.
When the officer turned on his lights, he engaged in a seizure of the driver. However, since the officer was looking into the vehicle that was stopped on the side of the road as a community caretaker, rather than as an officer investigating a crime, the police officer’s seizure, or traffic stop, was legal. Therefore, the resulting DUI charges were based on a legal stop and seizure. Furthermore, the evidence of the alcohol on the driver’s breath was obtained through a valid search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment community caretaker exception, and thus could not be excluded at trial.
When You Need a DUI Defense Lawyer
There are exceptions to the search and seizure protections offered by the U.S. Constitution. If you are facing DUI charges, please contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer immediately. We are happy to help you today.
June 3rd, 2016 at 7:40 am
Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal under Illinois law. A person is considered to be under the influence of drugs if his or her ability to drive safely is impacted by the drug use. Under Illinois’ zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugged driving, even a trace amount of drugs found in a driver’s blood, breath or urine, is sufficient to prompt criminal DUI charges. These laws apply to all drugs that are identified in:
- Illinois Cannabis Control Act under 720 ILCS 550;
- Illinois Controlled Substances Act under 720 ILCS 570;
- Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act 720 ILCS 690; and
- Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act under 720 ILCS 646.
The list of drugs covered by the above statutes include all kinds of drugs and controlled substances, such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, MDMA, and other popular drugs.
Reasonable Suspicion to Make an Arrest for Drugged Driving
In order to make an arrest for drugged driving, the law enforcement officer must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. No actual evidence of the drugged driving is required for the arrest to be made. However, law enforcement in Illinois is not as familiar with the signs and indications that a driver is under the influence of drugs, and the federal government wants to help change that.
According to KFVS12.com, Illinois is one of just four states in the country that was awarded federal grant money to help law enforcement identify signs of drug intoxication in drivers that have been pulled over or stopped. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility gave Illinois Department of Transportation grant money that will fund 10 Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement classes to law enforcement agencies across Illinois. Each class will educate up to 25 law enforcement officers on how to identify signs that a driver is under the influence of a drug.
DUI and Drug Testing
In Illinois, if you are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you are required to submit to testing under the state’s implied consent laws. Under the implied consent laws, by merely using the public highways of Illinois, drivers consent to submit to chemical tests, or blood or urine testing, for determining whether a driver is operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Law enforcement officers get to choose which type of testing is administered.
You have the right to refuse chemical and blood or urine testing, but there are consequences for doing so. Two main consequences exist when a driver refuses to submit to testing:
- Your driver’s license will be revoked and suspended.
- Your refusal can be used as evidence against you later in court.
Contacting a Rolling Meadows DUI Lawyer
A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs will leave you facing DUI penalties. It is important to work with an experienced drug offenses and DUI lawyer in order to fight the charges that are pending against you. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office. We will assist you throughout each step of your case.
April 10th, 2014 at 12:34 pm
According 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.
March 29th, 2012 at 4:42 am
Even celebrities and professional athletes can make the mistake of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to the Chicago Tribune, the latest athlete that has landed in this predicament is the former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks. Jenks, who signed with the Boston Red Sox following the 2010 season, was charged with a DUI on March 23, 2012 in Fort Myers, Florida, where the Red Sox are currently training.
A police officer pulled Jenks over after observing his vehicle weaving through traffic. Jenks failed field sobriety tests, admitted that he had taken too many muscle relaxers, and also stated that he had hit another vehicle earlier at a Fort Meyers strip club. He now faces five misdemeanor charges, including driving under the influence, property damage, and leaving the scene of an accident.
Jenks has already made the classic mistake of attempting to explain his behavior to police by blaming his intoxicated state on muscle relaxers. In doing so, Jenks only made it more likely that he will face convictions on these charges. By giving voluntary statements about his behavior to the police, without the presence of a qualified DUI attorney, Jenks is giving the prosecution more evidence of his alleged crimes.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence in Chicago, you have a constitutional right to contact an attorney and to refrain from speaking with law enforcement officers about the incident. Do not hesitate to exercise your rights and contact a Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyer at once for assistance with any DUI or related criminal charges that you may be facing.