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IL DUI lawyerWhen a police officer suspects a driver of DUI, the officer has to gather sufficient evidence to support that suspicion. If the officer does not build a strong enough case, the driver cannot be charged with and eventually convicted of DUI.

What kind of evidence are we talking about? There are four kinds of evidence that can be used to support a DUI conviction. Specific rules apply to each type of evidence, including whether or not a driver can refuse to participate and what happens if the driver refuses.

1. Law Enforcement Observations

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IL DUI lawyerLooking forward to sunning on the beaches of Mexico, skiing the mountains of British Columbia in Canada, or touring the historic sites of Europe? Or perhaps you are required to travel abroad for work? Most countries love American visitors (or at least our dollars), so you just need a passport and a plane ticket, right?

Well, not always. Rigorous electronic screening takes place almost everywhere you clear customs these days, and many countries have criminal records sharing agreements with the U.S. If you have a DUI conviction on your record, you could be denied entry to some countries. Before booking your flight, you should check the travel and immigration section of the website of the country you plan to visit.

You might think our neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico would not care if an American vacationer had a DUI, but you would be wrong. Mexican border agents can refuse entry if you have a DUI conviction within the past 10 years. However, entry will likely be allowed if it was a misdemeanor conviction.

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Illinois defense lawyerAlcoholic beverage drinkers can easily determine when they have drunk too much to drive. They can consult a simple chart that estimates blood alcohol concentration (BAC) based on gender, weight, and how many standard drinks they’ve had. Unfortunately, such simple charts do not exist for marijuana. So how can medical cannabis users know when they are safe to drive in Illinois and not get charged with driving under the influence?

Under current Illinois law, a THC level over 5 nanograms per milliliter of whole blood is per se (sufficient by itself) proof of marijuana DUI for most drivers. Illinois medical cannabis cardholders are exempt from the THC limit, but they can still be charged with DUI based on other evidence of impairment, primarily failure on the standardized field sobriety tests (walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and follow-the-object eye test).

This article provides a basic explanation of how the body processes THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana associated with driver impairment, to help users understand how marijuana may affect their ability to drive.

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Illinois defense lawyerWhen you or a loved one has had a previous DUI arrest, a subsequent DUI arrest is a serious matter. The penalties for repeat DUI are so harsh that you will want to do everything in your power to avoid a conviction and to minimize the loss of driving privileges.

Illinois Definition of a Repeat DUI Offender

The first thing you need to understand is how Illinois differentiates a first-time DUI offender from a repeat offender. A first-time offender is a driver who meets all of the following conditions:

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Illinois defense lawyerThe effect of alcohol consumption on the ability to drive safely has been studied intensely for over 60 years. Scientists have developed tests of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), including breathalyzers and blood tests, that are accurate enough to be fully accepted by American courts. Scientific studies have proven that alcohol impairment begins with the first drink; that the higher a person’s BAC level is, the more impaired their driving is; and that .08 is a level at which driving is so impaired as to pose a significant danger to public safety.

But when it comes to marijuana, such conclusive research does not yet exist. Yes, the level of THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive component, in the blood can be measured. But, different from alcohol, THC can be present in the blood long after its psychoactive effect has worn off. There is currently no test that can differentiate “active” THC that would impair driving from “inactive” THC that would not. Nor is there clear and convincing research showing what level of THC results in impaired driving, or widespread agreement on what the legal limit should be.

So how can Illinois arrest, much less convict, people of driving under the influence of marijuana?

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Illinois DUI lawyerIf you’ve been arrested for a first-time DUI, you might think your best option is to just plead guilty and get it over with. But is that really your best option? When it comes to DUI in Illinois, the law is quite complicated. To make it easier to understand, we will use the hypothetical case of 23-year-old Simon.

Simon was arrested for his first-ever DUI while driving home alone from a party in DuPage County. His blood alcohol level tested at .14, well over the legal limit of .08. So, he assumed that pleading guilty would be the quickest and cheapest way to get this mistake behind him.

Why would he plead guilty to DUI when the potential penalties are so high?

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois DUI lawyerSocial media can connect you to friends, jobs, DIY project ideas, and both fake and real news. But can it get you arrested? For two men in the Chicago area, the answer was “yes.”

Social Media Distraction Contributes to Aggravated DUI Charge

A 23-year-old Berwyn man had a little too much going on as he drove through the Cook County suburb of Lyons during the evening rush hour on Monday, October 9, 2017. Speeding through an intersection, he crashed into a work van carrying two men in their 60s, killing both. The responding police officers found the deadly driver still sitting in his car with earphones plugged in and, on his lap, a cellphone opened to a social media app. While hospitalized for his crash-related injuries, the Berwyn man was found to have both marijuana and cocaine in his system. Do you think he posted about his arrest on charges of Aggravated DUI and Reckless Homicide? Perhaps he used his social media skills to find a good criminaldefense attorney. As of March, 2018, he is still in residence at the Cook County Jail, where a judge ordered him held without bail.

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Illinois DUI lawyerWhen a motor vehicle crash results in severe injuries or death, one or more of the drivers will likely get a traffic violation ticket, and may even be charged with a more serious crime such as DUI, Aggravated DUI, reckless driving, or even reckless homicide.

If the police suspect that a driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of a crash, officers must act quickly to obtain proof of that, via chemical testing of the driver’s breath, blood, and/or urine. Speed of action is necessary because the body metabolizes alcohol to an undetectable level in a matter of hours and some drugs in just a couple of days.

Illinois Laws Governing DUI Testing

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Illinois DUI lawyerYou might think of driving under the influence (DUI) as a mere traffic ticket, a misdemeanor violation, with punishments limited to fines and some temporary restrictions on your driving. But all Illinois drivers should be aware that the consequences of DUI can be far more severe than that.

Consequences of Aggravated DUI in Illinois

Consider the facts of this recent DUI conviction in DuPage County. A 31-year-old man was driving up Route 59 in West Chicago around 11 pm on December 5, 2014. Later testing would show that his blood alcohol content was 0.16, twice the legal limit in Illinois. As he approached an intersection, he collided head-on with a car that was making a left-turn in front of him, and both cars caught on fire. While the man suffered severe burns in the crash, the other driver was killed.

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Illinois DUI lawyerWhen someone gets arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), what is the first thing they should do when they get home? Most people have no idea, and understandably so. But when a DUI arrest happens to you or someone you care about, getting the right information quickly is imperative. You may be shocked. You may be fearful. But when a DUI arrest happens, you cannot afford to be misinformed or to delay action. The sooner you start preparing your DUI defense, the better. Here are three critical steps you should take within a day or two of your arrest.

Step 1: Make Note of Your Court Date

Your first court date, also called the arraignment date, will be shown on the traffic ticket issued to you by the arresting officer. Your court date and location will also be shown on your bond slip.

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Illinois DUI attorneyThere have been far too many times where an evening of social gathering, fun, and laughter has turned into a night behind bars, as a result of drinking and driving. While the overall consumption of alcohol is not usually a cause for concern, drinking and then going behind the wheel is very problematic. During the period of statutory summary suspension, the offender may be able to obtain two different types of driving permits under strict supervision.

Monitoring Device Driving Permit

A first-time DUI offender who has not received a previous statutory summary suspension within five years, nor has been charged with drinking and driving in Illinois or in another state within five years, may be eligible for the Monitoring Device Driving Permit, or MDDP. The offender must have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device, or BAIID, installed in his or her vehicle.

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois defense attorneySpending an evening with family and friends is a great way to start a weekend. Shying away from the hectic schedule at work can prove to be mentally healing, and everyone needs some time to step away from work. At a social gathering, alcohol may be present, and it may be tempting to partake. Consuming alcohol is not bad, unless the person drinking decides to drive afterward. It is always a good idea to have a designated driver take you back home, in the event that you decide to drink. However, if no designated drivers are present, using a ride-share is the best practice, as to guarantee a safe ride home.

The Effects of Alcohol in Your System

Illinois is a Zero Tolerance state, meaning that any individual under the age of 21 years old may not present any trace of alcohol in his or her blood when driving. Otherwise, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08 percent. However, even at a blood alcohol content level at 0.02 percent, the ability to make responsible decisions with driving can be impaired.

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois defense attorneyDriving under the influence of alcohol is a very serious offense that can be deadly. Not only can a DUI negatively affect the lives of others involved, but the offense can also negatively affect your life, as you may have a much more difficult time gaining employment, rights to your driver’s license, and the ability for you to maintain a vehicle. Even though drunk driving can cause major problems, there has been evidence shown that driving under the influence of drugs may be more serious.

DUI Deaths Related to Drugs and Alcohol

Three years ago, in 2015, drug tests that had tested positive were more common than the presence of alcohol in drivers who were killed in a car accident. As much as 43 percent of motorists killed had used drugs prior to driving, and 37 percent of motorists killed had been drinking before driving. Even though drugs and alcohol can affect individuals differently, drinking and driving or using drugs and driving should be taken seriously all around. If a driver acts impaired after using drugs and alcohol, he or she should not drive.

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois defense attorneyOver the past few years, social media has been a main hub for all kinds of communication. Many social media platforms have had their privacy settings set to public so that anyone can see what the users have posted. During the massive evolution of social media, far too many users have abused these platforms and have gotten into serious trouble because of what was posted at that time. In the past, social media has often pinpointed dangerous drinking habits, including drinking and driving, underage drinking, and abusing alcohol overall.

Why Are College Students Displaying Dangerous Drinking Habits on Social Media?

College is a period of time where a young adult may go away to school to discover what life is really like outside of the home. When a student is feeling homesick, he or she may potentially engage in dangerous activities, including underage drinking, and driving while drunk. Oftentimes, college students may use references, such as “blacking out,” “getting wasted,” “getting smashed,” and “being drunk,” to name a few terms. There has been much evidence that many college students who reference dangerous drinking habits on social media are more likely to display drinking problems.

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Illinois DUI lawyerDrinking socially can be a way to unwind from a stressful week, as long as the individual drinking is doing so responsibly. Many parents, legal guardians, and other adults have furnished alcohol to their children, even if under the age of 21. However, even though the furnishing of alcohol may not be in a public place, the state of Illinois still considers this action to be illegal and it may come with very serious charges, including driving under the influence, if the person drinking alcohol decides to drive afterward.

Why Is Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor Illegal in Illinois?

If an adult over the age of 21 provides alcohol to a person under the age of 21, he or she may face some very serious consequences. The individual may face a fine of up to $2,500 and one year in jail for a misdemeanor offense. However, if the individual is charged with a felony, he or she may face a fine of up to $25,000 and at least one year in prison.

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Illinois DUI lawyerJust recently, there has been a novel way for law enforcement to determine whether or not a person has been driving after using drugs. To test for alcohol in the system, the standardized breath test is often administered. Then, if the driver who was pulled over had been drinking before going behind the wheel, he or she may be charged with a DUI, which could cause undesired consequences, such as lost driving privileges, loss of the vehicle, or even lost employment opportunities.

What Is This New Test?

Drunk driving is often very obvious to detect, with the slurred speech and the smell of alcohol on the driver. However, if the driver has been using marijuana, prescription drugs, and heroin, there are other ways that these drugs must be detected.

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Illinois DUI lawyerSpending an evening or weekend with family and friends is a common way to unwind from a very hectic week. Sometimes, these social gatherings include alcohol, and anyone who is driving must be aware of the adverse consequences that may follow after choosing to drink and drive. When leaving an event, there must always be a designated driver. However, if there is no designated driver, there is always the option for ride-sharing, as to prevent the possibility of driving under the influence otherwise. In Illinois, there are many DUI charges that have been administered, but ten notable cities in the state have experienced the biggest number of DUI charges.

Number of DUI Charges

In 2016, there were a total of 5,619 DUI arrests by the Illinois State Police. Between the years 2015 and 2016, the highest percentage point of DUI arrests included:

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Illinois DUI lawyerWe are now into 2018, with most of us on a clean slate. On New Year’s Eve, there are always parties that occur, which often include alcohol. Even though most people create a strategy to return home safely and without legal interference, DUI’s often occur around this time. Driving after consuming alcohol is very dangerous and can cause you and those affected undesired consequences, such as a criminal record, serious injury, or even death. However, mixing drugs and alcohol has been proven to be more potent than just alcohol by itself.

Why Is it Dangerous to Drive After Using Drugs?

Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines have been proven to cause harm on the roads. Alcohol and marijuana have been commonly known to cause a delay in reaction time, impaired judgment of time and distance from other vehicles, and decrease in driving coordination. Cocaine and methamphetamines often cause the offender to drive aggressively and carelessly, and benzodiazepines, one of many different types of sedatives, can cause dizziness and drowsiness.

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois DUI lawyerWe are approaching the end of the year, and 2018 is in plain sight. Many of us have already planned our New Year’s Resolutions for the upcoming year, and we want to keep them for as long as possible. Unfortunately, on New Year’s Eve, too many people decide to drink excessively and then go behind the wheel to attempt to go home. New Year’s Eve is a day when many DUI’s occur, and those who have been charged with a DUI may have to spend the beginning of the New Year behind bars.

How Can New Year’s Eve Celebrations Affect the Number of DUI Cases?

Every year on New Year’s Eve, law enforcement officers keep a much closer eye on the roads due to the number of parties that involve alcohol that occurs during this time. Another major concern includes the mixture of drugs and alcohol at parties, and those who use this concoction try to drive home; far too many cases involve DUI-related deaths from this “experiment.” Two years ago, there were three times as many DUI-related deaths that included the mixture of alcohol and drugs than there were if the alcohol and drugs were kept separate.

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Posted on in DUI Drugs

Illinois DUI lawyerDriving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of marijuana can cause serious injuries and even death if an accident was ever to occur. However, how each substance is measured is different. Individuals may use marijuana for medicinal purposes, but they still need to be aware of the potential dangers of driving after using the substance. Individuals are alarmed at what they find out about the dangers of driving after using marijuana.

What to Know About Marijuana Use and Driving

Three years ago, in 2014, there were about 7,000 individuals who started using marijuana or similar substances every day. During the weekend nights, as many as 13 percent of all drivers have some amount of marijuana in their system, compared to only nine percent of weekend nighttime drivers in 2007. Alcohol and marijuana are the two biggest contributors to drugged driving.

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