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What You Should Know About Chemical Testing During a DUI StopWhen a law enforcement official pulls you over, they are professionally trained to look for signs of inebriation. As they ask for your driver’s license and vehicle registration, they will be listening for slurred speech, smelling for traces of alcohol, and looking for other signs of intoxication. If the officer suspects that you may be under the influence, they will likely request for you to take part in field sobriety testing. If your field sobriety testing indicates likely inebriation, you will be placed under arrest for driving under the influence. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. 

Can I Refuse Chemical Testing? 

After being placed under arrest, you will be placed into police custody and asked to submit to chemical testing. It is critically important to understand that regardless of what the acting officers say to you, you are not legally required to submit to chemical testing. In short, refusal to submit to chemical testing is not a criminal offense. It is an administrative offense that violates the agreement you made when acquiring your driver’s license. Due to the violation, you will face a license suspension for refusing chemical testing. A first-time refusal will result in a 12-month statutory summary suspension. A second refusal within a five-year period will result in a three-year suspension. It should be noted that a first-time offender will likely be eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP), which means they will be able to drive vehicles that are equipped with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID). 

Submitting to Chemical Testing 

If you are not inebriated and a police officer has incorrectly identified signs of intoxication, it may turn out okay if you take part in chemical testing, though there are still risks. If you have a blood alcohol content of less than .05, the charges will likely be dropped. If you test between .05 and .08, you will not face a statutory suspension but may still have a DUI charge that goes to court. Regardless of what your alcohol content is, it is important to share information regarding the testing with your attorney. If the officer incorrectly administered the test or forced you to submit to chemical testing against your will, the results may be deemed inadmissible in court. If you believe that the results are incorrect, it is within your legal right to take part in additional testing at your own expense. 

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Examining the Most Serious Traffic Violations in Illinois When most people think of the ramifications of a traffic violation, they envision a minimal ticket and at most a court date. In reality, some traffic violations can lead to serious criminal consequences. Among other things, a traffic violation that endangers other travelers can lead to significant fines, income loss, potential loss of driving privileges, a mark on your criminal record, and jail time. If you have been charged with a traffic violation, the most important step you can take is reaching out to a knowledgeable legal professional. Here are three examples of serious traffic violations:

  1. Reckless Driving: According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, reckless driving is the wanton disregard for the safety of others while using a motor vehicle. Because of the serious nature of reckless driving, an offender can face life-changing consequences. If an officer apprehends a driver for reckless driving, they have the legal right to take them into police custody, forcing the offender to either post bail or spend some time in jail. Additionally, the driver will have to go to court and fight against the conviction. If convicted of reckless driving, one will face up to one year in prison and fines up to $2,500.
  2. Aggravated Speeding: If a driver is clocked by a law enforcement official while traveling at 26 miles per hour or more over the legal speed limit, they may be facing aggravated speeding charges. An aggravated speeding charge constitutes a misdemeanor due to the fact that disregarding speed limits is a direct example of putting others at risk. If convicted, a person will face up to one year in prison and fines as high as $2,500. It should be noted that there are a number of defenses such as unmarked or difficult-to-see speed limit signs that can help a person avoid an aggravated speeding conviction. 
  3. Driving Under the Influence: In the state of Illinois, upwards of 20,000 people are charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol every year. Due to the sheer number of inebriated drivers, it should come as no surprise that police are constantly looking out for signs of intoxicated driving. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is critically important to seek out the assistance of an attorney. A DUI conviction can result in a Class A misdemeanor, a license revocation, and potential jail time. 

Contact an Oak Brook Traffic Violation Attorney

At McMahon Law Offices, we firmly believe that no person should face life-changing consequences due to one traffic violation. Whether you are facing DUI or reckless driving charges, you deserve an attorney that will work diligently to help you avoid a conviction. To schedule a free consultation with a DuPage County criminal defense attorney, call us today at 630-953-4400. 

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Oakbrook Terrace DUI defense lawyerEvery year, thousands of Illinois residents are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI). According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, over 26,000 people were charged with DUIs statewide in 2018 alone. According to Illinois state law, a DUI conviction constitutes class A misdemeanor charges, significant fines, and potential jail time. It should also be noted that a DUI conviction will likely result in a one-year license revocation period. Statistics compiled by the Secretary of State’s office reveal that 96% of eligible arrested drivers lost their driving privileges in 2018. While the consequences of a first-time DUI conviction are severe, the impact of multiple DUI convictions can be life-changing. 

Examining Subsequent DUI Convictions 

If you have been previously convicted of a DUI, a subsequent conviction can result in increasingly severe criminal punishment. While a second DUI conviction still only constitutes a misdemeanor charge, the convicted party will lose their driving privileges for a minimum of five years and face mandatory jail-time or 240 hours of community service. In many cases, time spent in jail or community service time will impact a person’s employment status, and subsequently, their income. If a person is charged for a third DUI, the legal ramifications are significantly intensified.

According to Illinois state law, a third DUI charge will automatically be elevated to an aggravated DUI which is considered a felony charge. In some cases the escalation to a felony can be due to other case factors, such as traveling with a minor or causing bodily harm to another party. A third DUI charge is elevated to an aggravated DUI due to the fact that the driver has displayed a disregard for state law and a willingness to continue to drive while impaired.

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The Ramifications of a DUI Resulting in Harm Illinois law enforcement officials are constantly searching for signs of drunk drivers. The concern over drinking and driving is warranted, considering the thousands of Americans that lose their lives each year due to inebriated driving. If you have been arrested on DUI charges, it is important to understand the way in which a conviction can impact your life. In DUI cases in which a person suffers significant injuries, the legal consequences can be incredibly severe. Below we will discuss the ramifications of a DUI resulting in injury

The Legal Consequences 

In Illinois, all felony DUI charges are classified as aggravated DUIs. If a person is injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, the inebriated driver will face felony charges. According to Illinois state law, a DUI resulting in great bodily harm to another party constitutes a Class 4 felony charge. If the defendant is sentenced to prison, they will face a minimum one-year sentence and up to 12 years in prison. If a person is charged with a standard DUI after previously being convicted of a DUI resulting in harm, the charges will be elevated from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 3 felony. 

If a person is charged with a DUI resulting in the death of another person, they will face Class 2 felony charges. If the incident resulted in the death of one person, the defendant will face three to 14 years in prison. If multiple people were killed in the accident, the defendant could spend up to 28 years in prison. 

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How a DUI Conviction Can Change Your Life In the state of Illinois, thousands of drivers are charged each year with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Despite the fact that even a first time DUI offense constitutes a Class A misdemeanor charge, many drivers make the reckless decision to drive while inebriated. In legal terms, a DUI conviction can lead to significant fines, loss of driving privileges, and even potential jail time. As it pertains to other aspects of your life, the impact of a DUI conviction can go much further. Below we will discuss the true impact of a DUI conviction. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you need strong legal representation. 

  1. Jeopardizing Your Financial Future: A first-time DUI offender can face fines as high as $2,500, but the financial implications of a DUI conviction are more severe. First and foremost, a conviction of this magnitude can lead to loss of employment, especially in heavily scrutinized careers such as teaching or the medical field. A person can also be forced to pay higher insurance rates due to the fact that they were charged. Lastly, if a person who has been charged with DUI hopes to continue to drive, they will need to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID). What most people do not know is that they themselves will be forced to pay for the monitoring and installation of the BAIID. 
  2. Impacting Your Personal Life: Being charged with a DUI can drastically change the way a person is viewed by their peers, friends, and family. If you have been charged with a DUI, your name (and possibly your mugshot) will be in the paper and easily accessible through an online search. As mentioned above, a conviction can impact your employment status but also your personal relationships. If you are navigating the divorce process when you are charged with a DUI, you could jeopardize your chances of securing significant parental responsibilities. 
  3. A DUI WIll Follow You: Once you have been convicted of a DUI, the charge will follow you. In the state of Illinois, it is not possible to expunge a DUI conviction, meaning the charges will remain on your criminal record. If you are charged with a second DUI conviction, the criminal ramifications will be drastically more severe. It is also worth noting that a DUI conviction can impact your ability to travel out of the country. If you have been convicted of a DUI, it is time to recognize that your life will be changed forever. 

Contact an Oak Brook DUI Defense Attorney 

Recognizing the life-changing consequences of a DUI conviction, the importance of a quality defense attorney cannot be understated. At McMahon Law Offices, we are dedicated to defending our clients with vigor and technical legal precision. We understand the way in which a conviction can change a person’s life and will do everything we can to avoid one. To schedule a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable DuPage County criminal defense attorney, call us today at 630-953-4400. 

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DuPage County traffic violation attorney suspended license

In the state of Illinois, a variety of traffic violations can result in a license suspension or revocation. While the severity of the suspension or revocation will depend on the type of offense, losing driving privileges is not as uncommon as many would assume. Most people have an understanding of the fact that major traffic violations such as driving under the influence of alcohol or reckless driving can result in a license suspension, yet few understand that minor offenses can lead to a suspension. If a driver receives three minor traffic citations for a moving violation in a span of a year, he or she could face a suspension. All that being said, it is essential to understand the legal ramifications of driving with a suspended or revoked license

Understanding the Legal Consequences 

Operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license is not a minor traffic violation – it is a criminal offense. A first-time offender is likely to face a Class A misdemeanor charge, which could lead to up to one year in prison and fines as high as $2,500. It should be noted that if a driver has lost their driving privileges due to a serious violation (such as a DUI), the charge may be elevated to a felony charge. If a driver is apprehended while driving on a suspended or revoked license for a second time, they will face Class 4 felony charges, which can result in up to one year of jail time and fines up to $25,000. 

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How a DUI Conviction Could Impact Your Parenting Case When a person is arrested on DUI charges, it is important to recognize the monumental way in which their lives can be altered in the event of a conviction. Not only will a conviction constitute a Class A Misdemeanor and come with significant fines, but a conviction can also impact one’s ability to drive without restrictions and secure employment opportunities. In other instances, a DUI conviction can result in drastic changes to a person’s life, simply due to the timing of the case. Below, we will analyze just a few ways in which a DUI conviction could impact your child custody case, which Illinois calls the allocation of parental responsibilities. 

Implications of a Conviction 

When a parenting issue is taken to court, a judge will use a number of criteria to gain an understanding of which parent is most fit to meet the needs of the child. In Illinois, parents are awarded amounts of parenting time and decision-making authority based on their ability to display a certain level of responsibility and care towards the child. These are just a few of the ways in which a judge may consider a recent DUI conviction as they make their decisions:

  1. Irresponsibility: As the judge considers which parent should have the majority of parental responsibility, a large criterion they will consider is whether or not the parent is mature enough to raise a child independently. While driving under the influence does not mean that one is a bad parent, it certainly will not help your case as the judge considers your parental viability. 
  2. Substance Abuse: A DUI conviction is often the byproduct of one bad decision, but you can be confident that a judge will ask you questions regarding your use of substances, due to the recent conviction. You will have to demonstrate to the judge that you do not have a substance abuse problem and that the DUI was an unfortunate event. The last thing a judge wants to do is send a child into the arms of someone with a substance abuse issue. 
  3. Impact of the DUI Penalties: Because a DUI conviction constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, the impact on one’s life can be significant. For instance, a person can struggle to secure employment or housing opportunities. This may impact the way a judge views a parent as a provider. It should be noted that a parent with a restricted driver’s license essentially restricts the activity of the child, which may be taken into consideration as well. 

Contact an Oak Brook DUI Defense Attorney

At McMahon Law Offices, we are dedicated to assisting our clients throughout their criminal defense cases. In the case of a DUI, we fully understand the ways in which a conviction can impact a person long-term, and we will do everything in our power to avoid that legal outcome. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation with an experienced DuPage County DUI defense attorney, call us today at 630-953-4400. 

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Oak Brook drunk driving defense attorneyAccording to an annual report on DUI arrests in Illinois, law enforcement efforts remain one of the most significant deterrents to drunk driving. The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) has been producing this report for over 25 years in order to highlight the efforts of individual police departments and specific officers. 

Illinois State Police Make the Largest Number of DUI Arrests

According to the latest AAIM report, the Illinois State Police make more than 5,000 DUI arrests each year. They get credit for making the most arrests of any law enforcement agency in the state, in part because they employ more than 1,700 troopers. However, when you consider the ratio of DUI arrests per sworn officer, the State Police ratio of three arrests per officer per year is well below the arrest rate for several county and city police departments. Still, anyone thinking about drinking and driving on the interstate highways should think twice, because there is a good chance of being caught by a state trooper.

Several DuPage County Cities Rank High in DUI Arrests

You might think that the city of Chicago, with over 12,000 sworn officers, would also have a large number of DUI arrests. However, the opposite is true. With just under 2,000 DUI arrests per year, the CPD makes just 0.1 arrests per officer per year.

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Illinois DUI defense lawyersWhen a driver is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the police will do some preliminary tests, roadside. If the police believe they have probable cause for a DUI arrest, the driver will then be taken to a nearby police station (or sometimes to a hospital) for chemical testing. When the driver is finally released from police custody, yet another problem must be faced: what happened to their car?

Vehicles Used in DUI Typically End Up in an Impound Lot

Every police department has one or more authorized companies that can be summoned to tow and store vehicles that have been, for example, wrecked in an accident, illegally parked, or left at roadside following a DUI arrest. The police will inform a driver arrested for DUI where their car has been towed.

Towing and storage fees alone can easily add up to hundreds of dollars. The city or county where the DUI occurred may also charge an administrative fee since a city police officer or sheriff’s deputy had to take the time to arrange the towing.  In DuPage County, the administrative fee alone can be as high as $500.

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Illinois DUI defense lawyerWhen the police see someone driving erratically, they often jump to the conclusion that the person must be driving drunk or high. In such cases, a police officer may be predisposed to find reasons to request a breathalyzer test and make a DUI arrest. By the time they are done with you, you may feel like you have already been convicted. But breathalyzer tests can be wrong and there are many ways to challenge the results.

Reasons a Breathalyzer Result Could Be Wrong

You will want to let your attorney know about any possible grounds on which the breathalyzer result could be challenged. Here are some examples.  

Waiting period. To ensure that you have not consumed anything that could cause a false reading, the police are supposed to observe you for 20 minutes prior to running an evidentiary breathalyzer test (the one done at the police station). Police procedural error is a common DUI defense strategy.

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Illinois DUI defense lawyerIn Illinois, if a driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) measures .08 or higher, they are automatically deemed guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. Under the law, a driver is assumed to be too impaired to drive when their BAC is .08 or higher. However, you should be aware that, under certain circumstances, Illinois drivers can be penalized for drinking and driving with a BAC below .08.

Four Ways You Can Be Penalized for Driving with a BAC Below .08

Scientific studies have shown that alcohol begins to affects your judgment and reaction time starting from the first drink, well before your BAC reaches the .08 level. Therefore, some types of drivers are held to a stricter standard for highway safety reasons. Illinois law defines four ways you can be charged with DUI or otherwise penalized for driving with even a very low level of alcohol in your system.

While driving a personal vehicle, you could be charged with DUI if your BAC tests higher than .05 but less than .08. However, in this situation, in order for you to actually be convicted of DUI, the police must present other convincing evidence that you were actually too impaired to drive safely. The arresting officer would have to testify, for example, that you were driving erratically, failed field sobriety tests, and/or admitted to consuming other types of intoxicants in addition to alcohol.

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IL DUI lawyerBefore the police can legally arrest someone for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI), the police must have “probable cause” to believe that the person actually committed the crime. Probable cause consists of specific facts or observations made by the police.

This is not the same as proving the person “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is the standard for actually convicting someone and punishing them for the crime.

Lack of Probable Cause for an Arrest Is a Common Defense Strategy

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IL defense lawyerImagine you are on vacation in Florida, or maybe up at the lake in Wisconsin. You go out for dinner and have a few cocktails. Driving back on unfamiliar streets, you get pulled over by the police for a traffic violation, and end up arrested for driving under the influence (DUI)—or as they call it in Wisconsin, Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).

If you get arrested in another state, one of your first thoughts is likely to be, “Will the state of Illinois find out about this? Can I lose my Illinois driver’s license as the result of a DUI committed in another state with different laws?”

The short answer is, “Yes.” States share driver information. The effect of an out-of-state DUI conviction on your Illinois driver’s license can be the same as if you got the DUI conviction in Illinois.

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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 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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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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Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois DUI attorneySocial gatherings can be a great way to bring people together. If there is alcohol involved at the social gathering, then whoever decides to partake will need to make prior arrangements to get home safely, in order to avoid legal issues involving drinking and driving. There is a common misconception that Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are the exact same. While the description of each charge is very similar, there are some differences. Both the DUI and DWI have undesired consequences that could cost the offender his or her driving privileges, quality of life, and even up-and-coming career opportunities.

What Is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI?

The terms DUI and DWI are often misunderstood, as many believe that these charges are the exact same. However, the term “DUI” is an acronym that stands for “Driving Under the Influence.” The term “DWI” is an acronym that stands for “Driving While Intoxicated.”

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Illinois DUI lawyerA drink or two of alcohol can be a great way to spend time with family and friends. In order to ensure the best quality of life possible, it is best to decide how to safely navigate traveling from the social gathering back home. If caught drinking and driving, the person affected may face very serious consequences, especially if he or she fails to submit to a chemical field sobriety test. If the person actually fails a field sobriety test, once submitted, then he or she may face charges as well.

Consequences of Refusing to Submit to Chemical Testing

Refusing to submit to a field sobriety test or chemical testing can end in unwanted consequences. If the person commits a first offense of refusing to submit, then he or she will lose driving privileges for one year. However, the offender may be eligible for driving relief and will be given a Monitoring Device Driving Permit. Once the person is issued the MDDP, then he or she will only be allowed to operate vehicles with the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device installed, unless exempted by employment, and the offender must comply with all MDDP rules and pay all BAIID fees.

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