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Archive for December, 2019

What Are Your Rights When Approaching a DUI Checkpoint?

December 26th, 2019 at 9:07 am

IL DUI, IL drunk driving lawyer, IL DUI checkpoint lawyerThe holidays are approaching and that means in Illinois, you will likely come across more DUI checkpoints as you are traveling between shopping malls, restaurants, and the homes of loved ones. During the landmark case, Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, the United States Supreme Court ruled that these checkpoints do not violate a person’s rights. However, the federal government leaves it up to the individual states to determine if these stops go against the state’s constitution, and how to operate them if they determine they are legal.

Unlike some states, such as neighboring Wisconsin, in Illinois, DUI checkpoints are considered legal. That doesn’t mean though, that you do not have any rights when approaching one.

How DUI Checkpoints Work

Law enforcement has the right to set up DUI checkpoints any time they wish and in nearly any location. They cannot set these checkpoints up in areas that would cause needless traffic jams, or that would pose a hazard to drivers, such as on a highway. Police typically choose a location where arrests for DUIs are common. Sometimes police departments may announce where these checkpoints are, in the hopes that it will deter drunk driving. Other times, they may be more discreet, in the hopes of catching drivers off guard.

When setting up the checkpoint, law enforcement must use lights, signal flares, or signs to tell drivers that they are approaching a checkpoint. All vehicles and officers on the scene must be clearly marked to indicate that they belong to law enforcement.

Officers are not allowed to detain drivers they have no reason to believe has been drinking or committing any other criminal activity. If they want to ask a driver to get out of their vehicle, or to search the vehicle, they must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is drunk or has committed another offense. Lastly, officers cannot arrest someone without a reason to believe that the person has committed a crime.

Your Rights at a DUI Checkpoint

In Illinois, you are allowed to turn your vehicle around if you are approaching a DUI stop and wish to avoid it. You must make this turn legally. If you decide to proceed through the checkpoint, it is important to understand that you still have the same rights as someone that is pulled over by police for a suspected DUI.

You do still have the right to remain silent if you could incriminate yourself, such as admitting that you had been drinking. You can also refuse to perform field sobriety tests and can refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, although your driver’s license will likely be automatically suspended for one year.

If the police arrest you at the checkpoint, you still have the right to remain silent until speaking to an attorney. You also have the right to refuse to provide a blood sample until you are presented with a warrant signed by a judge.

Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint? Call an Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

Too many people in Illinois are confused about their rights when they approach a DUI checkpoint. The fact is everyone has them and, too often, law enforcement violate those rights in their eagerness to make an arrest. If you have been charged with a DUI arrest after passing through a checkpoint, call our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our attorney has the experience necessary to challenge these charges and give you the best chance of beating them. Call us today at 847-394-3200 to schedule your free consultation to learn how we can help.

 

Source:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/496/444

Understanding Reckless Homicide in Illinois

December 19th, 2019 at 8:56 am

crashCar accidents happen every day in Illinois. Many of these accidents are very minor and do not result in serious injuries. However, sometimes these crashes result in severe injuries and sometimes, even death. When one person causes the accident and another dies as a result, the driver may be found guilty of a felony. This is true when the driver’s negligent or reckless actions caused the accident and the resulting death. In Illinois, this is known as reckless homicide. Some drivers confuse this offense with reckless driving, but there are significant differences, including the penalties associated with them.

Differences Between Reckless Homicide and Reckless Driving

Reckless homicide and reckless driving both involve a driver acting negligently or recklessly while on the road. This means they show a blatant disregard for the safety of others. However, reckless homicide must involve a death for someone to be convicted of the offense. In fact, the Illinois statute governing reckless homicide also includes involuntary manslaughter.

A person charged with reckless homicide does not have to have intent to kill another person. In fact, if they do, they will likely be charged with murder instead of reckless homicide. Still, when a person takes the life of another, the law states they must be penalized for their actions.

Penalties for Reckless Homicide

Reckless homicide also has much harsher penalties than reckless driving. While reckless driving is usually considered a misdemeanor, reckless homicide is always charged as a felony.

A maximum fine of $25,000 can be laid regardless of whether the reckless homicide charge is considered a Class 2 or Class 3 felony. However, a Class 3 felony carries prison sentences of two to five years. A Class 2 felony carries a penalty of between three and 14 years in state prison.

Like any other criminal conviction, the penalties for reckless homicide can cause someone to lose their job, have their driving privileges revoked, prevent them from gaining employment, and from owning a firearm.

Defenses to Reckless HomicideLike any criminal offense, there are several defenses to reckless homicide charges. Some of the most common of these include self-defense and mistaken identity. Additionally, if the prosecution has insufficient evidence, they will also not be able to secure a conviction for the offense.

However, a very effective defense in reckless homicide is that it was truly an accident. When using this defense, drivers can show that they were not driving negligently or recklessly. For example, if a driver ran a red light and hit another car and died as a result, the driver of the vehicle they struck cannot be charged with reckless homicide because they were not driving recklessly.

Our Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney can Help With Your Charges

If you are facing charges of reckless homicide or any other traffic offense, ou r skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our attorney knows you have rights even after being charged, and he fights to ensure they are upheld at all times. He also has the necessary experience to craft a solid defense for your case and give you the best chance of a positive outcome. If you need help, call us today at 847-394-3200 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K9-3

 

Tips to Avoid a DUI This Holiday

December 12th, 2019 at 8:55 am

IL DUI lawyer, IL defense attorneyThe Illinois State Police (ISP) are warning drivers that, as the holidays approach, they still must remain safe on the roads. In a news story, the ISP have warned drivers that they will be looking for motorists that are under the influence, distracted while driving and drivers that do not wear their seat belts. The worst of these infractions is certainly a DUI, so below are a few tips on how to avoid getting one of these charges.

Learn of DUI Checkpoints Ahead of Time

Of course, it is going to be much harder to avoid a DUI if you have to make it through a DUI checkpoint. Of course, no one should be driving while under the influence, but law enforcement at these checkpoints also often want to simply make arrests, whether a person is guilty or not. So, to avoid them, download an app such as PhantomAlert that can tell you where the roadblocks are.

Do Not Drive Drowsy

Drowsy driving can look a lot like drunk driving to police officers that are eager to make an arrest. Even just one drink on a stomach full of turkey can make you drowsy enough to impair your driving. Another reason to avoid driving while drowsy is also to ensure your safety, and the safety of those around you.

Designate a Driver

Of course, the best way to avoid a DUI charge is to avoid driving drunk. That often means designating a driver before you go out. If there are many festivities that you and friends or family will be attending, you can all take turns being the designated driver so everyone can celebrate the holidays, while remaining safe.

Ask for a Ride

Sometimes you may find that you had the best of intentions but that you ended up having one or two more drinks than you thought. When this is the case, it is always better to ask for a ride. Ask around at the event you are at to find out if anyone is going your way, or call an Uber or Lyft.

Plan Ahead

One of the best ways to avoid a DUI is to plan ahead so you do not find yourself stranded, which can make it that much more tempting to get behind the wheel of your car. Also, preparing for your ride home ahead of time will also be easier than asking as everyone is leaving the party, and could be cheaper too, as you may not have to rely on paid services, such as taxis and ride-sharing programs.

When the Worst Happens, Call Our Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer

Whether or not you have followed all of the above tips, you may still find yourself facing charges. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer knows that not everyone charged is guilty, and he will work hard to prove you are not either. Attorney Cosley has the experience necessary to have your charges reduced, or dismissed altogether. Call us today at 847-394-3200 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Source:

https://www.galvanews.com/news/20191122/isp-prepare-for-increased-holiday-travel

 

What Happens if I Am Caught Driving with a Suspended License?

December 4th, 2019 at 8:50 am

IL defense attorney, IL traffic violations lawyerThere are many reasons a person may have their license suspended, or even revoked, in Illinois. A DUI conviction will certainly strip someone of their license, even for a first offense. Sometimes a lesser offense, such as failing to pay traffic tickets, is enough to have a license suspended. Whatever the reason for it, many people mistakenly believe that driving on a license that has been suspended or revoked does not come with serious consequences. They believe that if they are caught, it will be like any other minor traffic offense, and the most they will face is a fine. That is wrong.

Driving on a suspended or revoked license is a serious offense. Depending on the circumstances, you could even face jail time for it.

Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License

There are many penalties associated with driving on a suspended license. The offense is outlined in the Illinois Vehicle Code, Section 6-303. Under this statute, the offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor and could result in a maximum of 364 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. Individuals convicted also have to pay mandatory court costs.

In some situations, the offense could even be considered a felony, such as when the license was suspended after a DUI conviction. In these cases, driving on a suspended license has penalties of up to ten days in jail, or 240 hours of community service, which is approximately 30 days.

If you are charged with a second violation of driving with a license that was suspended or revoked after a DUI conviction, the offense is upgraded to a Class 4 felony. The mandatory minimum penalty for this conviction is at least 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service. However, the court has the ability to sentence you to one to three years in jail and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Driver’s License Suspensions

After being found guilty of the offense of driving with a suspended license, you will also face additional suspensions. The Secretary of State will extend your suspension for the same amount of time the original suspension dictated. If you are convicted of driving with a license that has been revoked, you will have to wait at least one year from the date of your conviction before your license is reinstated. Although there are no guarantees that you will get your license back after this time, one year is the minimum amount of time you will have to wait.

Convicted of Driving on a Suspended License? Call Our Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

Being charged with driving with a suspended license is a serious offense. However, facing charges is not the same thing as being convicted. While the situation may seem hopeless, there are many defenses to driving on a suspended or revoked license. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer knows what they are. If you are facing charges, call us today at 847-394-3200 to set up a free consultation so we can start discussing your case.

Source:

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

 

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