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IL DUI lawyerYou have probably seen news stories about people who have been arrested for driving under the influence 10 or 15 times, and wondered, “15 DUIs? I thought Illinois was super-strict on DUIs. How was that person not already in prison?” In reality, Illinois law is very tough on driving under the influence. The state simply prefers to keep non-violent offenders out of prison, so they can be working and supporting their families, rather than being a huge financial burden on their fellow tax-paying citizens. In addition, multiple offenders often have records dating back to years when DUI laws and judges were far less strict than they are today.

The Case of the Man with 15 DUI Convictions

One Illinois citizen has had 15 DUI convictions dating back to 1982. His driver’s license was revoked years ago, but he continued to drive without a license, in at least one case showing police a fake ID. He has been arrested in at least 10 Illinois counties, been involved in collisions and committed various traffic violations.

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IL DUI lawyerA look at the Oak Brook Police Department’s DUI arrest record reveals a good tip for DuPage County drivers: do not drink and drive in Oak Brook, particularly on the area’s busiest streets and during peak traffic hours. The Oak Brook PD made 43 arrests in 2017 for driving under the influence, roughly in line with its average of 50 arrests per year in 2013-1016. That’s roughly one per week.

Unfortunately, the number of DUI-related car crashes in Oak Brook hit a five-year high of 18 in 2017, twice as many as in 2016. So, even if you are not driving while intoxicated, stay alert and drive defensively on the busy roads around the Oak Brook shopping mall, because some driver around you very well could be driving impaired. If you are involved in an accident, even if you are not at fault, no one wants to spend their free time dealing with insurance adjusters and body shops.

Note that across all of DuPage County, there were about 2,900 DUI arrests each year in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

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IL teen DUI lawyerWhat can happen to a 16- or 17-year-old driver if they get arrested for drinking and driving in DuPage County? In short: A lot. While drivers under the age of 18 have the advantage of being treated as juveniles, rather than adults, in the Illinois legal system, they have the disadvantage that state law is very tough on underage drinking and driving.

Drivers Under Age 18 Go to Juvenile Court

When a minor under the age of 18 is arrested in Illinois, they are processed through the juvenile justice system. By law, the police can only detain 16- and 17-year-olds in a municipal lockup or county jail for a maximum of 12 hours, after which they must either be released to parents or processed for placement in a juvenile facility. If a DUI charge is filed against the juvenile, they can either make a plea deal with the prosecutor or have a bench trial before a judge; juveniles are generally not entitled to jury trials.

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IL DUI lawyerMemorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer in Illinois, and anyone with a boat (or a friend with a boat) is eager to get out on the water. And what is a day on the water without a cooler full of ice and beverages? Just remember: Safety first. Nobody wants to end an otherwise good day on the water with somebody in the back of a police car—or worse, an ambulance. Drunk boating, also known as operating under the influence (OUI), is a serious offense in Illinois, akin to drunk driving on the road.

Operating a Watercraft Under the Influence Is a Crime

Under Illinois law (625 ILCS 45/5-16), it is a crime to be in physical control of a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other intoxicants that render the driver incapable of safely operating the watercraft. The term “watercraft” includes all motorized vessels including Jet Skis and all non-motorized craft such as sailboats, kayaks, and canoes.

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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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