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Scott’s Law: Move Over or Possibly Lose Your License

May 30th, 2019 at 5:09 pm

IL traffic attorneyIn the first two and a half months of the year, 13 State Troopers have been hit by vehicles while working on the side of the road. In early January, one was fatally struck and killed while working the scene of an accident. The number is too high in the state, and Illinois State Police are trying to change that. With a blitz on social media, they are reminding all drivers about Scott’s Law, and what can happen if they fail to comply and reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Scott’s Law

According to 625 ILCS 5/11-907, Scott’s Law requires all motorists to move to another lane when approaching an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. The law was named after Lieutenant Scott Gillen, a firefighter with the Chicago Fire Department that lost his life after being struck by a passing vehicle while he was working the scene of an emergency. It is also sometimes called simply the “Move Over Law.”

The law applies to any vehicle that has flashing lights, a siren, or both. Police vehicles are the most common emergency vehicles seen along the side of the road, but the law also applies to ambulances, firefighters, and even tow trucks in some cases. Construction vehicles could also fall under the definition of emergency vehicle according to Scott’s Law definition. Motorists wishing to keep safe, and avoid penalties, should simply move over when approaching flashing lights ahead.

The law only states that drivers must move to another lane if the lights or siren on the emergency vehicle are activated. When changing lanes is unsafe, drivers are expected to slow down and proceed with due caution past the emergency vehicles.

Penalties for Violating Scott’s Law

Drivers found in violation of Scott’s Law will face mandatory fines. The minimum fine is $100, but that cost could increase to $10,000, depending on the nature of the violation and if the driver caused an accident when failing to move over.

However, drivers found in violation of this law will face more than just fines. They could potentially lose their license for a long time, depending on the circumstances.

If the driver caused an accident that involved property damage, the Secretary of State will revoke the driver’s license for 90 days. If the driver caused an accident resulting in injury, the driver will lose their license for 180 days. If the driver caused a fatal accident, the driver’s license is suspended for two years. They could also face other charges as well, such as involuntary manslaughter.

Contact a Rolling Meadows License Reinstatement Lawyer to Get Your License Back

If you have had your license revoked due to Scott’s Law or any other traffic violation, you need to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we are very familiar with the state’s system for revoking, and reinstating, licenses. We want to put that experience to work for you and help you get your license back as quickly as possible. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation and we can begin discussing your case.

 

Source:

https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/03/19/illinois-police-report-troopers-struck/

What Is a Class X Felony in Illinois?

May 23rd, 2019 at 4:59 pm

IL defense lawyerRecently in Macon County, a man was found guilty of delivering heroin, which is a Class X felony. While many people understand what a Class 1 or Class 4 felony is in the state, what exactly is a Class X felony in Illinois?

Other than first-degree murder, which is not classified, a Class X felony is the worst charge a person can face. It has mandatory jail time, and sentences are typically for a long period of time. Due to this mandatory sentence, negotiating with the prosecution to reduce the Class X felony charge is very difficult. Anyone charged with this type of felony in Illinois must speak to a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney to give them the best possible chance of success in court.

Class X Felonies in Illinois

Under Illinois law, there are ten different charges classified as a Class X felony. These include:

  • Aggravated kidnapping;
  • Aggravated battery with a firearm;
  • Aggravated battery of a minor;
  • Home invasion;
  • Aggravated criminal sexual assault;
  • Predatory criminal sexual assault of a minor;
  • Armed robbery;
  • Aggravated vehicular hijacking;
  • Aggravated arson; and
  • Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.

Penalties for Class X Felonies

The penalties for a Class X felony are some of the harshest in the state. If convicted, those accused face a minimum sentence of six years in prison. The maximum sentence is 30 years. This jail time is in addition to a maximum fine of $25,000. Due to the minimum sentencing requirements for these types of felonies, even first-time offenders will face jail time if convicted.

While the maximum sentence is 30 years, judges are given the discretion to add more jail time if certain aggravating factors were part of the crime. If a judge decides aggravating factors were present, they can sentence a defendant to 30 to 60 years in prison. Some aggravating factors include:

  • When the defendant has been convicted of any crime in the past;
  • When the victim of the crime was over the age of 60 or disabled;
  • When the crime was committed based on discriminatory factors such as the victim’s race, religion, or sexual orientation; and
  • When the defendant caused or threatened serious harm to the victim.

It is also important that anyone facing charges understands that probation is not possible with a Class X felony charge.

Negotiating with the Prosecution

Due to the mandatory sentencing requirements, it is typically very difficult to negotiate with the prosecution when the defendant faces a Class X felony. The State’s Attorney’s office typically chooses the best prosecutors to try a case involving a Class X felony. In addition, due to the fact that a defendant will face jail time no matter what if convicted, the prosecution does not often have reason to negotiate with the defendant.

However, negotiating with the prosecution is the only way probation is possible. If the prosecution is willing to reduce the charge, there is still a likelihood the defendant will face jail time if convicted, but they will also be eligible for probation in many cases.

Charged with a Class X Felony? Speak to a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer

Class X felonies are the worst charges a person could face other than first-degree murder. Due to this, and the possibility of extremely harsh penalties, anyone charged with this type of felony must speak to a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for immediate legal assistance. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we know how to negotiate with the prosecution in any case. We will work hard to ensure your rights are upheld and that, when possible, your charges are reduced. No one should leave these types of cases in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. The stakes are simply too high. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for your free consultation so we can begin discussing your case.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-4.5-25

https://newschannel20.com/news/local/decatur-man-found-guilty-of-delivering-heroin-to-springfield-resident

 

What Are the Penalties for Heroin Possession in Illinois?

May 16th, 2019 at 4:49 pm

Illinois defense attorneyA Du Quoin man was found in possession of a small amount of heroin in early April. That was a violation of his parole and he was sent back to the Illinois Department of Corrections to serve out the rest of his sentence on previous charges.

Heroin possession is considered one of the most serious drug crimes in Illinois. Those convicted will have a criminal record for the rest of their life and could face several years in prison, as well as extremely high fines. While the penalties for heroin possession are extremely harsh within the state, a criminal defense lawyer can help those charged and give them the best chance of a successful outcome in court.

Illinois Law on Heroin

Heroin is classified as a Schedule 1 drug on the Illinois Controlled Substances Act and is illegal for anyone to possess, manufacture, or distribute. The specific classification of being on Schedule 1 means that heroin is considered a “hard” drug. In the eyes of the law, this is the most serious designation and as such, law enforcement and the prosecution pursue these cases aggressively.

Narcotics listed within the Schedule I are believed to have a high potential for abuse. They have no accepted medical benefits or uses, and there is no protocol that allows someone to use the drug safely, even under medical supervision. Due to this very strict classification, those charged with heroin possession face very serious penalties.

Penalties for Heroin Possession

All heroin possession charges in Illinois are considered felonies. This means they have some of the harshest penalties for those convicted. However, the actual sentence will depend on the amount of heroin a person had at the time of arrest. The amounts and associated penalties for heroin possession are:

  • 15 to 100 grams: 4 to 15 years in state prison, or a maximum fine of $200,000, or both.
  • 100 to 400 grams: 6 to 30 years in state prison, and/or a maximum fine of $200,000 or the street value of the drug.
  • 400 to 900 grams: 8 to 40 years in state prison, and/or a maximum fine of $200,000 or the street value of the drug.
  • 900 grams and over: 10 to 50 years in state prison, and/or a maximum fine of $200,000 or the street value of the drug.

In certain circumstances, these penalties are increased. For example, those caught in possession of heroin with 1,000 feet of a school, park, movie theater, or church can have their sentences doubled. This is also true for those found in possession of heroin and a firearm.

The penalties for heroin possession are certainly some of the harshest of all Illinois drug crimes. Those facing charges need the help of an attorney that can build a solid defense for their case.

Call Our Rolling Meadows Drug Crime Attorney Today

If you are facing heroin possession charges, or have been accused of any other drug crime, call a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. We can represent you if you are questioned by the police and challenge searches of your vehicle or home, all to create a strong defense for your case. Learn more about how we can help by calling or filling out our online form for your free case evaluation today.

 

Source:

https://thesouthern.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/du-quoin-man-gets-prison-time-for-possessing-heroin/article_4f926a6e-312c-5974-992d-8407edb1d927.html

Illinois Considers Reducing Minimum Sentences for Certain Charges

May 9th, 2019 at 4:38 pm

Illinois criminal lawyerIllinois lawmakers want to change the laws on mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes. In mid-April, the Illinois House of Representatives voted on legislation that would give judge’s more discretion during sentencing. If recent House Bill 1587 becomes law, judges could consider further reducing minimum mandatory sentences for individuals convicted of drug possession, retail theft, and driving on a revoked license because of unpaid fines, child support, and other financial obligations.

The Court System and the Proposed Law

Currently, when a defendant is convicted of a crime, a judge has a range of sentences to choose from during sentencing. Each crime has a minimum mandatory sentence, as well as a maximum mandatory sentence. Judges are granted some discretion, but they cannot move outside of that range. A judge will consider a defendant’s past criminal history, and the nature surrounding the crime and determine what sentencing within that range is fair.

Under the proposed law, however, judges would have much more discretion in cases involving certain revoked licenses, retail theft, and drug possession charges. For example, if an individual was convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana and had no criminal history, a judge may not impose the minimum sentence, but reduce the sentence even further.

Current Penalties for Crimes

If the proposed law is passed, it will be a huge move for the criminal reform so many have called on Illinois legislators to make. Currently, those convicted of these non-violent crimes face severely harsh penalties and in many cases, jail time that many argue is unnecessary when the person poses no threat.

Some of the current penalties in Illinois for these crimes include:

  • Marijuana possession in an amount between 10 and 30 grams: Up to one year in jail;
  • Meth possession in an amount of fewer than five grams: Minimum two years in prison;
  • Misdemeanor retail theft (value less than $300): Up to one year in county jail;
  • Felony retail theft (value over $300): One to three years in prison; and
  • Driving on a revoked license for financial obligations: Minimum sentence of 30 days in jail.

As the lawmakers have been arguing, clearly some of these minimum sentences need to change. However, with lawmakers on either side debating the issue, some have raised concerns about the proposed bill. Some believe the criminal justice system is not broken, and so there is no reason to fix it.

Still, the bill passed the House of Representatives by a very narrow margin. In order for the bill to be passed, the Senate would have to debate it within the next coming weeks.

Facing Criminal Charges? Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer

This new proposed law is good news for those convicted of certain crimes, but it is one that will still only apply after someone is convicted of those crimes. Those facing criminal charges still need the help of a criminal defense attorney for help ensuring their case does not make it that far.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. We will help you build a solid defense so you can retain your freedom and beat the charges. In some cases, we may also negotiate with the prosecution and make solid arguments in court to have charges or sentences reduced. If you are facing criminal charges, do not try to go it alone. Call us today or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation.

 

Source:

https://www.northernpublicradio.org/post/legislation-would-let-judges-depart-mandatory-minimums-only-few-crimes

 

What to Expect When Charged with Domestic Violence

April 25th, 2019 at 8:37 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois domestic violence lawyer, Being accused of domestic violence can be terrifying. It is likely that your accuser is someone you love, and there is a possibility you could end up with a criminal record. Not knowing what is going to come next is one of the most frightening aspects of the entire process.

While each domestic violence case is different, there are a few similarities they all share. They all typically begin with a phone call to the police, reporting the domestic violence. It is important for anyone to understand that once this happens, the decision to lay charges does not rest with the alleged victim. When police respond to a 911 call to report domestic violence, they must make an arrest. After the arrest is made, the accused will face a number of hearings and possibly a trial.

The Bond Hearing

When people are accused of committing a crime, they are often able to post bond or bail. This releases them from the police station until they have their first hearing in front of a judge. According to the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure, however, bond is not possible for those accused of domestic violence. At least, not right away.

Instead, defendants must wait for a bond hearing when they will appear in front of a judge. There is no law that states this must happen right away. Often defendants must wait until the following day, or even until the following Monday if there were arrested during the weekend.

At the hearing, a judge will only determine if the defendant is eligible to post bond, how much it should be, and whether or not to issue a protective order. The judge will consider the defendant’s criminal history and the seriousness of the alleged crime.

When a judge allows the defendant to post bond, they still cannot have any contact with the alleged victim for 48 hours. This remains true even if the alleged victim wishes to see the defendant.

The Status Hearing

The status hearing is held to determine if the case is going to trial. The court will call upon the victim to make an appearance. When the victim fails to appear, this is often enough for the courts to dismiss the case. If the court still wishes to speak to the victim, they will sometimes schedule another status hearing.

There are some cases a judge may decide to take a case to trial even if the victim was not present at the status hearing. These include when the defendant has confessed, or there is substantial evidence against the defendant.

The Trial

If an alleged victim comes forward and wishes to testify, the case will most likely move to trial. A judge will set a trial date, but this does not necessarily mean that the case will go before a jury. At this time, the defendant can ask their attorney to negotiate a plea bargain deal with the prosecution. For those that do not want to take their chances at trial, this option allows the defendant to enter a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Charged with Domestic Violence? Call the Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer that Can Help

The process after being charged with domestic violence is a lengthy one, and no one should handle their case alone. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help anyone charged build a strong defense and possibly even get all charges dismissed. If you were charged with domestic violence, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. Cases involving domestic violence charges move quickly, and there is no time to waste. Call today for your free consultation so we can start reviewing your case.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ChapterID=59&ActID=2100

When Does Burglary Become a Serious Felony?

April 18th, 2019 at 8:32 pm

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois theft lawsRecently, thieves broke into a Lincoln Park bike shop. It is estimated that approximately $20,000 in merchandise was stolen. It was also the second time in the same month the shop was targeted. Police do not yet have anyone in custody for this latest crime that seems to be part of a rash of burglaries in the same neighborhood.

Some may consider this burglary, while others may consider the value of the goods stolen and think it is a burglary, but one with a more serious charge. The confusion begs the question, when does burglary become a serious felony in Illinois?

The Crime of Burglary in Illinois

Under Illinois law, burglary is defined as the act of entering a structure illegally with the intent to steal property or commit another serious felony. Normally, burglary is charged as a Class 2 felony, regardless of the amount of goods stolen. This means that the crime is always a felony.

Felonies are always considered more serious than misdemeanor crimes. The penalties for burglary in Illinois are severe, with those convicted facing anywhere from three to seven years, depending on the case. However, there are circumstances that can make felonies even more serious and increase the charge to a Class 1 felony.

When Burglary Becomes a Serious Felony

According to the legal statute, there are many structures that could amount to a burglary charge if someone breaks into them. Sheds, vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, and railroad cars are just a few of the structures outlined in the law. These would all fall under the category of Class 2 felonies, the lesser charge for burglary.

Certain structures can make a burglary a Class 1 felony, though. These include schools, daycares, or other child care centers. When these structures are broken into, the charge of burglary will increase and so too, will the penalties. The sentences for this crime if convicted is a maximum prison term of 15 years.

Other Factors Leading to Serious Felony Charges

In addition to defining the type of structure that was broken into, the prosecution will also take other factors into consideration. For example, if tools were used during the burglary, this can also lead to serious felony charges.

Considering that the thieves in the Lincoln Park bike shop case cut through the locks on the doors as well as the locks securing the stolen bikes in the store, it is reasonable to think they had these tools that will increase their charge if caught.

Those Charged Need the Help of a Burglary Lawyer in Rolling Meadows

Facing a charge of even a Class 2 felony has serious consequences. Those penalties become even more serious when the charge is increased. Anyone facing these accusations must speak to a dedicated Rolling Meadows burglary lawyer for help. If you have been charged with burglary, regardless of whether it is considered a Class 1 or Class 2 felony, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200. There is a possibility that you could have your charges reduced, and we can provide you the strong defense you need. We also offer free consultations, so call today and we will begin discussing your case.

 

Sources:

https://abc7chicago.com/$20k-in-merchandise-stolen-from-lincoln-park-bicycle-shop/5144942/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K19-1

When Is Meth Possession a Felony in Illinois?

April 11th, 2019 at 8:27 pm

Illinois drug crimes lawyer, Illinois defense lawyerThe drug laws in Rolling Meadows and throughout Illinois are often confusing, and the line between a misdemeanor drug charge and a felony charge can become blurred. Most of the time, the charge that is laid depends on the scenario surrounding the alleged crime.

There are instances though, in which a drug crime is automatically a felony. Typically a harsher charge is laid when there are large volumes of a controlled substance involved, or when the crime includes certain substances. LSD, cocaine, and heroin are a few drugs that automatically make a crime a felony. Methamphetamine, or meth, is another.

Methamphetamine Laws in Rolling Meadows

According to 720 ILCS 646/60 of the Illinois statutes, meth crimes are always charged as a felony. This means that even when a person is caught with the smallest amount on them, and they did not intend to distribute the drug, they will face felony charges.

The law imposes such strict charges and penalties on those caught with meth because it is a very dangerous drug. It is incredibly addictive and exposes those that use it to toxic chemicals. Manufacturing the drug is also particularly dangerous, which is why the law also outlines severe penalties for anyone that does.

Methamphetamine Possession Felony Charges

The crime of meth possession is the most minor meth crime of all in Illinois. These are still treated as felonies. Individuals charged with meth possession face a number of possible charges, depending on the amount they were carrying at the time of arrest.

  • Class 3 felony for any amount under five grams;
  • Class 2 felony for any amount of at least 5 grams, but under 15 grams;
  • Class 1 felony for any amount of at least 15 grams, but under 100 grams; and
  • Class X felony for any amount over 100 grams.

When charged with a Class X felony, the penalties will increase even more if the amount was over 400 grams, and then again on any amount over 900 grams.

Penalties for Methamphetamine Possession in Rolling Meadows

With meth possession being the most minor of all meth crimes, it makes sense that these also carry the lightest sentences. However, anyone charged with a meth crime in Rolling Meadows must understand these sentences are still very severe.

A Class 3 felony offense, the least severe of them all, still has a potential sentence of two to five years in jail. A Class 1 felony offense carries a much longer prison sentence of 15 to 30 years in jail. Class X felonies, although rarely charged in meth crime cases, can send someone to prison for several decades if they are convicted.

Been Charged with Meth Possession? Call a Rolling Meadows Drug Crime Lawyer

Being charged with meth possession, or any other meth crime, is very scary. Those accused begin to worry about their future and what it may hold for them. A skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can help ensure that future is a little brighter. If you have been charged with a meth crime, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. We know how serious the charges are that you are up against, and we will build a strong defense against them. Do not wait for representation when you can call and get a free consultation right now.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072006460K60

https://www.iwu.edu/counseling/Illinois_Drug_Laws.htm

Is There a Lookback Period in Illinois for DUIs?

April 4th, 2019 at 8:22 pm

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois DUI attorneyMany states have a lookback period for DUI convictions. A lookback period, which is typically five to 10 years, indicates the amount of time a DUI conviction remains on a person’s driving record. This is helpful for those charged with subsequent DUIs because the prosecution and courts can only see DUIs within that timeframe. If a person was convicted of a DUI but the conviction took place longer than the lookback period, that DUI is not considered during sentencing.

So, is there a lookback period in Illinois for DUIs?

Lookback Period in Illinois

Unfortunately, in Illinois, there is no lookback period for DUIs. If a person is convicted of a DUI, it remains on their permanent driving record. This means the prosecution and judge can charge for a subsequent DUI no matter how long ago the first conviction occurred.

However, the courts will still take into consideration the length of time between a first offense and subsequent offenses when revoking a person’s driver’s license. For this reason, it is important anyone charged with a DUI speaks to a Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer that can help them beat the charges and continue to enjoy an unblemished permanent driving record.

Court Supervision

After being found guilty of driving under the influence in Rolling Meadows, the best chance a person has at avoiding jail time and high fines is court supervision.

When a judge sentences a person to court supervision, the defendant will have certain requirements and obligations they must meet. The court will then supervise that person for a period of time to ensure they are fulfilling those obligations, such as community service. Once a person can complete their court supervision successfully and without further incidence, the charges are dismissed without a conviction.

It is important that anyone sentenced with court supervision for a DUI understands this is only possible after their first DUI. Any subsequent DUI convictions are not eligible for court supervision, even if the defendant was not ordered to court supervision previously.

It is also important for all drivers in Illinois to understand that court supervision is not only possible for first-time DUIs, but also first offenses of reckless driving. The stipulations of court supervision remain the same regardless of the charge a person is facing.

Driver’s License Revocation

While Illinois may not have a lookback period for DUIs, the length of time in between subsequent DUIs does have an effect on how long a person’s driver’s license is revoked.

First-time DUI convictions will result in a person losing their driver’s license for one year. If a person is then convicted a second time of a DUI, their license is revoked for five years, but only if 20 years have passed since their first DUI.

The only subsequent DUI convictions that will not have any effect on the amount of time a person loses their driver’s license are third and fourth convictions. After a third DUI, a person will lose their license for 10 years, regardless of how long it has been since their last DUI. After a fourth conviction, a person loses their driver’s license for the rest of their life.

Without a Lookback Period, Anyone Charged with a DUI Needs a Rolling Meadows DUI Attorney

In Rolling Meadows, even one DUI conviction has serious consequences. Not only will individuals go a year without their license, but they will also have a permanent mark on their driving record. They could even have a permanent criminal record. For these reasons, anyone charged with driving under the influence needs a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer that can help them build a solid defense. If you have been charged with a DUI, you simply cannot take your chances with the wrong lawyer, or try to beat the charges on your own. There is simply too much at stake. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 for your best chances at retaining your license, and your freedom. Do not face the difficulties that come with even just one DUI conviction. Call today for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

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

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-6-3.1

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities During a Traffic Stop

March 28th, 2019 at 3:56 pm

Illinois traffic offenses, Illinois traffic stops, police search, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, searches and seizuresMany people do not have much interaction with the police. If they do, the chances are good that it is going to happen during a traffic stop. Even then, many people will only get pulled over two or three times while they are behind the wheel. When it happens, it is often very stressful. People imagine the worst as they sit in their car and watch the officer approaching.

In these cases, people are sometimes prepared to cooperate with the officer and do whatever they ask. These individuals do not understand that they have rights, and are not required to comply with everything an officer may request. Still, others may think they do not have to follow anything an officer instructs them to do at a traffic stop. These individuals may become belligerent or aggressive at a traffic stop.

So, what rights and responsibilities do people have when they are pulled over for a traffic stop?

Drivers Are Required to Pull Over

Any time a driver sees the flashing lights of a law enforcement vehicle, they must pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. In a few cases, a police officer may ask a driver to pull over, such as if the two vehicles are at a stop light, or if an officer walks up to the driver’s window while the vehicle is stopped. In either case, it is important that the driver complies with the officer’s request.

Under Section 11-204 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, failing to pull over for a police officer is considered fleeing the police, and it is illegal. Even if a driver simply takes too long to pull over, the officer may believe they are trying to evade the police. When this is the case, the driver will face penalties that are likely much more serious than the penalties they would face for the initial traffic violation.

Drivers Must Remain Calm

This is not written into Illinois law, but it can prevent the situation from escalating. When a driver can remain calm and speak politely to a police officer, it is less likely that the situation will develop into anything more. When drivers are aggressive and rude to police officers though, it could lead to further charges than they would have faced from the traffic stop alone. Police can misinterpret even small gestures such as the driver reaching for something in the vehicle. Due to this, it is always best if the driver keeps their hands visible and only gets out of the vehicle if the officer asks them to.

Drivers Are Not Required to Answer Questions

Drivers are required to provide a police officer with their driver’s license and registration if they are asked. However, they do not have to answer any questions the officer asks. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows individuals to refrain from answering questions that may incriminate them in a crime. This includes traffic stops.

Officers often ask a lot of questions during a traffic stop. They may ask a driver if they knew how fast they were going, or if the driver knows why they were pulled over. It is often advised that even when a driver feels as though they have done nothing wrong that they refrain from answering these questions. Anything a driver says can be held against them later on.

Drivers Do Not Have to Consent to a Search

Just because a driver has been pulled over does not give police officers the right to search the vehicle. Drivers can refuse this search, although officers are also given quite a bit of leniency during traffic stops. If they have reason to believe there is evidence of a crime in the vehicle, they can perform their search without the driver’s consent. For example, if an officer noticed drug paraphernalia in the vehicle, they might search the vehicle.

In order to search a vehicle, police officers must have probable cause. Due to this, drivers can ask police what they are searching for, or what probable cause they have.

Did You Get Into Trouble at a Traffic Stop? Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer that can Help

Traffic stops may seem minor, but they can quickly become a much more serious situation. When this is the case, drivers should contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer for help. If you were pulled over and it led to serious charges or you feel as though you were treated unfairly, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 today. We understand you have rights that may have been violated, and we will help make to correct that situation, ensuring those rights are upheld. Do not try to handle your case on your own. Call now for your free consultation.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-204

Harsher Penalties Now in Effect for Wrong-Way DUI Crashes

March 21st, 2019 at 5:53 am

duiOften with a new year comes new laws, and 2019 was no different. In fact this year, over 250 new laws went into effect on January 1, 2019. One, in particular, affects those charged with a DUI while traveling on the wrong side of the road. Now, wrong-way travel is an aggravating factor in sentencing for DUIs.

What exactly does the new law entail, though? And what does it mean for drivers in Rolling Meadows?

The New DUI Law

House Bill 4554 was debated throughout most of 2018. In August of that year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill that would become law in January of the new year.

The new law amends a section of the Illinois Criminal Code. It does not, however, actually change the drunk driving laws in Illinois. Those found driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher will still likely be charged with driving under the influence. This will apply regardless of the side of the street they were driving on at the time, or whether or not the DUI driver caused an accident.

The new law will only change a wrong-way DUI case during the sentencing phase of trial. When aggravating factors are present, the courts can impose harsher sentences, which means longer jail times and higher fines.

The new law was prompted by the number of wrong-way DUIs seen throughout Illinois. One in particular, however, occurred in 2015 near Oak Brook. That incident resulted in the death of a young police officer. Three other people were injured. At the time, judges wished to consider the wrong-way travel as an aggravating factor but were not permitted to. If that same circumstance happened today, they could consider wrong-way travel as an aggravating factor.

Penalties for Wrong-Way DUIs

The penalties for driving under the influence in Illinois are already severe. DUIs are already considered a Class 2 felony within the state. If convicted, individuals face between three and seven years in prison.

When individuals are charged with a DUI while traveling the wrong way on a road though, those penalties could potentially double. With the new law in effect, judges will have the authority to hand down an extended term prison sentence of seven to fourteen years.

Beat DUI Charges with the Help of a Rolling Meadows DUI Attorney

Even without aggravating factors present, the penalties for a DUI conviction are extremely harsh. Those charged need the help of a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer. If you have been charged with a DUI, with or without aggravating factors, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. These are serious charges, and no one should try to beat them on their own. We will investigate the circumstances of your arrest, and analyze all the evidence to build the strong defense you need. There is no time to waste. We want to get started on your case today, so call now for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=4554&GAID=14&DocTypeID=HB&SessionID=91&GA=100

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