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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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Understanding License Suspensions and Revocations in Illinois In Illinois, a person can lose their driving privileges for a number of violations. In the majority of cases, a person will face a license suspension or revocation period when their actions endangered other travelers. Unfortunately, a license suspension can significantly impact a person’s livelihood, due to their inability to drive to and from work, their child’s school, and other necessary locations. Fortunately, a skilled attorney can work diligently to help you regain your driving privileges when facing a suspension. If you are facing a driver's license suspension, there are steps you need to take to regain your driving privileges. 

How You Can Lose Your Driving Privileges 

As mentioned above, there are a number of violations that can result in a license suspension or revocation. The most common violation leading to loss of driving privileges is a DUI. According to Illinois’ Secretary of State’s Office, more than 20,000 Illinoisans were arrested on DUI charges throughout 2018. Of those arrested, 90% of eligible drivers lost their driving privileges. During the court process, the defendant's license will be suspended. If convicted of DUI, the guilty party will face a one-year license revocation period. 

A person will face a one-year license suspension period if they refuse to submit to chemical testing when the acting officer has arrested them on suspicion of DUI. A person can also lose their driving privileges for receiving three traffic citations within one calendar year, as well as failing to pay traffic tickets or failure to appear in court. In some instances, an unrelated violation such as refusal to pay child support can result in a license suspension. 

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The Importance of Hiring a Skilled Attorney in Your DUI Case With more than 20,000 DUI arrests made throughout the state of Illinois each year, it is easy to say that law enforcement personnel are constantly looking for inebriated drivers. With the shocking number of DUI arrests made each year, it is important to understand that a DUI charge is not simply a minor traffic violation. A DUI conviction can compromise one’s ability to legally operate a vehicle, can lead to significant fines, and in some cases even lead to jail time. Below, we will examine some of the ways in which a knowledgeable attorney can assist you throughout your DUI case. If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI, you need to hire an attorney that you can believe in. 

A Charge Does Not Have to Result in a Conviction 

When charged with driving under the influence, many people falsely believe that a conviction is inevitable. In reality, there are a number of defense strategies a quality attorney can utilize to avoid a conviction or diminish the charges that their client is facing. First and foremost, if you declined to take part in chemical testing, your attorney should have a good chance of developing a defense that will avoid a conviction altogether. If you did submit to chemical testing, there are cases in which police oversight or negligence can lead to charges being dropped. In other cases, false signs of inebriation such as allergies or medical conditions can lead to an incorrect diagnosis of intoxication. Speaking openly and honestly with your attorney can be immensely helpful throughout the legal process. 

Regaining Your Driving Privileges 

Even if a conviction is unavoidable, an attorney can continue to assist you through helping you regain your driving privileges. If convicted of a DUI, you will be facing a one-year license revocation period. Fortunately, you will likely be eligible to obtain a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). A compassionate attorney will walk you through the necessary steps you have to take to obtain an MDDP, such as equipping your vehicle with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) and taking part in rehabilitation courses. A truly dedicated attorney will stand by you through every step of your legal process. 

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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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The Impact of a DUI Charge as a Minor In the state of Illinois, police officers are constantly on the lookout for inebriated drivers. As a result, more than 20,000 Illinoisans were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol throughout 2018 alone. The impact of a DUI can be staggering considering the potential loss of income, significant fines, rise in insurance rates, and mark on one’s criminal record. For a minor, the ramifications of a DUI conviction can be life-changing. If your child has been charged with driving under the influence, it is time to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. 

Ramifications of a Criminal Charge

A DUI conviction is a Class A misdemeanor charge in Illinois. If aggravating factors are present during a crash or arrest, the offender could face felony charges. It should also be noted that a DUI conviction cannot be expunged from a person’s criminal record. If a minor is convicted of a charge of this magnitude, they can face increased difficulties securing advanced education and employment opportunities. The importance of ensuring that your child is represented by a skilled defense attorney cannot be overstated. 

Loss of Driving Privileges

Unsurprisingly, minors face tougher penalties after being convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most notably, a minor will face a two-year license revocation if they are convicted of a DUI. Illinois’ Zero Tolerance Law states that if a minor is found with traces of alcohol in their system while driving, they will face a license suspension. If the driver refuses chemical testing during the traffic stop, they will face an automatic license suspension. It should be noted that a minor will not automatically regain their driving privileges at the conclusion of the suspension. If a person has their license suspended prior to the age of 21, they will be forced to enroll in a driver remedial education course prior to regaining their driving privileges. 

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Understanding Drug Charges with New Illinois LawsWhile the state of Illinois’ stance on recreational marijuana use drastically changed when Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act into law last January, the state still has some strong policies against the use of marijuana. In reality, a serious drug charge can compromise one’s ability to land a good job, secure housing, or seek education advancement opportunities. If you or a loved one have been charged with a drug-related crime in the state of Illinois, it is time to speak with a criminal defense attorney you can believe in. 

Marijuana and Drug Charges in Illinois

Due to the new state law, an Illinois resident can legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower (marijuana). It is important to recognize that this does not mean that marijuana is legal with no contingencies. Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana still constitutes a misdemeanor charge and potentially up to one year in prison. Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana with intent to sell constitutes a felony charge and can possibly result in up to five years of jail time if convicted. It should also be noted that it is still considered an offense to smoke or consume marijuana on public property. 

With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana, police officers statewide have been ramping up the search for high drivers. Law enforcement officials are trained to look for signs of intoxication such as the odor associated with marijuana, bloodshot eyes, and signs of cognitive impairment. If convicted, a marijuana DUI charge constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, fines up to $2,500, and a one-year license revocation period. 

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Reckless Driving Is More Serious Than Typical Traffic ViolationsWhen people think of traffic violations, they usually think of petty fines or points against their license. The reality of the situation is that not all violations are created equal. In the state of Illinois, a reckless driving charge constitutes a Class A misdemeanor. According to Illinois state law, reckless driving is defined as the act of operating a motor vehicle in a dangerous manner that demonstrates a lack of consideration for the safety of others. If you have been charged with reckless driving, you need to speak with an experienced defense lawyer. 

The Ramifications of Reckless Driving 

A police officer has the legal authority to arrest a driver and take them into custody if there is probable cause that the driver has committed reckless driving. After the arrest, the driver will then have to post bail or go to jail. The driver will have to appear in court and could be sentenced to up to 364 days in prison and be forced to pay fines as high as $2,500. Outside of the fines, the driver may have to pay for the towing service after the arrest, various court costs, and significant rises in insurance rates. A misdemeanor offense can have serious implications on a person’s ability to secure employment, loans, or housing opportunities. It should be noted that much like a DUI charge, a reckless driving charge cannot be expunged or removed from a person’s criminal record. 

In many cases, a judge will choose to put the offender on probation rather than sentencing them to jail. In these instances, the offender will likely be forced to take part in traffic safety courses and possibly community service. While a misdemeanor offense should be taken incredibly seriously, it is also important to understand that some reckless driving charges can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony. Most notably, if the defendant’s reckless driving resulted in great bodily harm to another party, they will face felony charges.  

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Taking a Deeper Look at Possible DUI Defense Strategies When a person is charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is not uncommon for them to feel as though their life will be changed forever. The ramifications of a DUI conviction can be significant, but just because someone has been charged with a DUI does not mean they will necessarily be convicted. Many people assume that fighting against a DUI charge is incredibly difficult when in all reality there are a number of effective defense strategies that can be used when a client is facing DUI charges. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it is time to speak with an attorney you can believe in. 

An Improper Stop

A police officer must have just cause for pulling you over on suspicion of driving under the influence. In other words, an officer cannot simply pull a person over because of their instincts telling them that the driver may have been drinking. If your attorney can prove that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion for pulling you over, the traffic stop could be defined as an illegal search and seizure, making all evidence gained after the initial stop inadmissible. Your attorney may rely on witness testimony and surveillance footage to prove that the officer improperly stopped you. For instance, if a police officer states that you were recklessly swerving and surveillance footage can prove that you were driving responsibly, the charges could be dropped. 

Inappropriate Police Behavior

Some of the most common DUI defense strategies are centered around police missteps. Being a police officer comes with an incredible amount of responsibility, but that authority does not give them the right to act as though they are above the law. If a police officer attempts to intimidate or scare you into chemical testing, they are acting illegally. If an officer states that not participating in chemical testing is a criminal offense, they are making a false statement regarding Illinois state law and acting negligently. If an officer does not read you your Miranda warning in a timely fashion, all statements made in response to questions after your arrest will be inadmissible. When it comes to chemical testing, law enforcement officials have to follow a strict protocol, and failure to adhere to that protocol can result in an inadmissible test. 

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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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Fighting a Marijuana-Related DUI Charge With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois, law enforcement officials throughout the state have increased concern over drugged driving. According to a study conducted by the American Automobile Association, approximately 14 million Americans admitted to driving while under the influence of marijuana in the past month. The concern from law enforcement is based on the fact that marijuana use can decrease reaction time and doubles the likelihood of a collision. Recognizing this concern, Illinois established a DUI Cannabis Task Force to take a deeper dive into drugged driving throughout the state. Still, the testing for marijuana use is somewhat controversial as it pertains to DUI charges. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it is time to speak with an attorney. 

The Arrest Process and Chemical Testing 

In order for a DUI traffic stop to be warranted, a police officer must witness the driver violate Illinois traffic laws in some form or fashion. When the police officer begins speaking with the driver, they will immediately look for signs of inebriation. Signs of inebriation related to marijuana use include bloodshot eyes, drowsiness, and delayed reaction time. If the officer smells marijuana or believes that the driver is under the influence of marijuana, the officer will likely ask the driver to take part in field sobriety testing. If through testing the officer concludes that the driver is likely impaired, they will arrest the driver and bring them to the local police station. 

Once at the police station, the driver will be asked to submit to chemical testing. The most common forms of chemical testing in marijuana cases include blood, breath, and urine tests. While the refusal to take part in chemical testing is an administrative offense that will result in an automatic one-year license revocation period, the refusal does not constitute a criminal offense. A person will fail chemical testing if the test comes back positive for more than 5 milligrams of THC per milliliter of blood. 

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Examining the Consequences of Traffic Violations in IllinoisEvery single day, hundreds of Illinoisans are cited for violating the state’s traffic laws in one fashion or another. While the vast majority of traffic violations are considered petty offenses, there are a number of violations that can lead to serious legal ramifications for the driver. Below, we will discuss some of the consequences of violating Illinois’ traffic laws and the need for you to hire a knowledgeable attorney if you are facing charges related to a traffic violation

Misdemeanor Offenses 

In the state of Illinois, the overwhelming majority of traffic violations fall under two categories: petty violations and misdemeanors. A misdemeanor charge can vary in severity from Class A to Class C, with a Class A misdemeanor coming with the most serious potential legal consequences. Class C misdemeanors tend to be fairly harmless crimes that are considered more reckless than a petty offense. Class C misdemeanors can include violations such as stealing or destroying a traffic sign and are only punishable by up to 30 days in prison. It should be noted that a person can still be fined up to $1,000 for a Class C misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors come with more serious consequences. They include violations such as speeding anywhere from 26 to 35 miles per hour over the legal speed limit. If convicted, a Class B misdemeanor can result in a six-month prison sentence. 

The most serious misdemeanor offenses are classified as Class A misdemeanors. The most common traffic violation leading to a Class A misdemeanor is a first-time DUI offense. Other common Class A misdemeanors include reckless driving charges, driving with a suspended license, or traveling at speeds over 35 miles per hour over the legal speed limit. A Class A misdemeanor can lead to up to one year in prison and fines as high as $2,500. It is worth noting that a Class A misdemeanor can also impact a person’s ability to land future employment, loans, and housing opportunities. 

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Identifying Police Missteps During a DUI Stop According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, over 26,000 people were charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol throughout 2018. With law enforcement officials constantly on the lookout for inebriated drivers, it is fair to say that anyone can be pulled over for a DUI traffic stop. One of the most important steps you can take in preparing for the possibility of a DUI stop is understanding your rights throughout the entirety of the process. Unfortunately, it is common for law enforcement officials to overstep their legal parameters in the hopes of making an arrest. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it is time to seek out the help of an attorney. 

Law Enforcement Negligence 

When a police officer pulls you over, it is important to begin identifying their behavioral patterns, from the beginning of the interaction. If the police officer is behaving in an aggressive or agitated manner, this information could be critical to your attorney’s defense strategy. If the acting officer demands that you take part in chemical testing and refuses to take no for an answer, they are violating Illinois state law. Although you will face an automatic 12-month driving suspension for refusing to take part in chemical testing, you are not legally obligated to do so. 

If you do take part in any form of chemical testing, most commonly a Breathalyzer test, it is still possible that the officer has acted in a negligent manner. If the officer fails to film the testing, the evidence gained from the test will likely be deemed inadmissible in court. The officer is also obligated to ask you to clear your mouth of any gum or other substance that could lead to an inaccurate test. Failure to inform you to clear your mouth could also result in an inadmissible test result. 

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The Impact of Driving With a Suspended License In the state of Illinois, thousands of drivers lose their driving privileges each and every year. While driving your car is a necessary part of life for the vast majority of Americans, making the decision to operate your vehicle while your license is suspended or revoked can come with serious legal consequences. Below we will discuss the violations that can constitute a license suspension in Illinois, the consequences of disregarding the suspension, and how a skilled attorney can assist you in regaining your driving privileges. 

How You Can Lose Your License 

According to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, one can lose their driving privileges for a number of traffic violations and other offenses. The most common violation leading to a suspension is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If convicted, a person that failed chemical testing will receive a six-month suspension. If a driver in the state of Illinois receives three traffic citations within 12 months, they will also face a suspension. A person who receives 10 or more parking citations and fails to pay the tickets will receive a parking suspension. Under the state’s Failure to Pay and Failure to Appear policies, failure to pay for tickets or failure to appear in court can also allow a license suspension. It should be noted that a person can receive a license suspension for a non-traffic violation. Illinois’ Family Financial Responsibility Law states that a person can receive a license suspension for failing to pay court-ordered child support. 

The Consequences of Driving With a Suspended License 

According to Illinois state law, driving with a suspended license constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, fines of up to $2,500, and up to one year in prison. In other instances, a person can face felony charges for driving with a suspended license. For instance, if a person with a suspended license for a prior DUI conviction is apprehended while driving under the influence, they will face a Class 4 felony charge. 

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How to Hire the Right Criminal Defense Attorney When you are facing criminal charges, whether they be drug-related or a violent crime, there will likely be a lot going through your mind. The blatant truth is that you could be facing serious legal ramifications if convicted of the charges. That being said, one of the most important steps you can take when facing criminal charges is hiring the right criminal defense attorney. Below we will walk you through some simple steps you should take prior to hiring a lawyer. If you are facing serious criminal charges, you deserve to work with a quality and compassionate legal professional. 

  1. Speak With the Attorney: Prior to hiring an attorney, it is critically important to ensure that your personality will work with theirs. You and your attorney will need to spend hours together going through your case and developing a comprehensive defense strategy. If your personality is simply not a good fit with theirs, you should probably look in a different direction. By speaking with an attorney, you can also gain a better understanding of their personability and rhetorical navigation, two skills that can be critical in the courtroom. 
  2. Look Into Their Track Record: The most important aspect of a relationship with an attorney is trust. You need to be able to trust your attorney to assist you in the entirety of the legal process and provide you with the best opportunity to see the charges be dropped. A great way to gain trust for an attorney is through exploring their previous track record. If you are facing DUI charges, look for information on their recent DUI cases. If they have failed to help previous clients have their charges dropped or diminished, they may not be the right attorney for you. Client testimonials can also provide you with an honest insight into what it is like to work with a specific attorney. 
  3. Ask Legal Questions: Personability is key in the courtroom, but it is not everything. In order to ensure that your case is handled with care, you need to know that your attorney is knowledgeable of your state’s laws. For instance, if you are fighting a DUI charge in the state of Illinois, does your attorney understand how a mishandled chemical test could lead to dropped charges? In order to gauge an attorney’s knowledge, it is important to ask them a number of legal questions that pertain to your case. A skilled legal professional will be more than willing to answer any and all of a prospective client’s questions. 

Contact a Lombard Criminal Law Attorney

At McMahon Law Offices, our attorneys are dedicated to providing our clients with a unique quality of care throughout the entirety of the legal process. We are prepared to do everything in our power to ensure that our clients have their charges dropped or significantly lessened in severity. Do not leave your future in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation with a DuPage County criminal defense attorney, call us today at 630-953-4400. 

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Why You Should Fight Against a Reckless Driving Charge In Illinois, a reckless driving charge has serious legal ramifications and criminal punishment. Reckless driving is defined as the act of driving with a willful disregard for the safety of yourself and others, and a conviction constitutes a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you can face up to one year in prison and fines as high as $2,500. If another party suffers injuries in a collision caused by reckless driving, the charges can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony. Understanding the possible consequences of a reckless driving conviction, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable defense attorney and aggressively fight against the charges. 

Possible Defenses for a Reckless Driving Charge 

While a reckless driving conviction can result in life-changing consequences, there are a number of defensive strategies that can be effective in a reckless driving case. The first step you should take after being charged with reckless driving is hiring an attorney you can trust. After securing a qualified lawyer, you and your attorney will examine the events that lead to your arrest and the arrest procedures taken. Challenging the evidence in a reckless driving case is a common defense. Your attorney will inspect the evidence collected in the case, which usually consists of radar gun readings, video evidence, and witness reports, and determine if an argument can be built on the notion that the evidence was inconclusive. These defenses can center around a witness misremembering the incident, or a radar gun that was improperly calibrated. 

In other instances, your attorney can argue that you were not intending to operate your vehicle in a reckless manner. For instance, a person can be charged with reckless driving for driving upwards of 35 miles per hour over the speed limit. If the arrest took place in an area in which the speed limit dropped rapidly such as a school zone, but speed limit signs were difficult to see, the charges may be dropped. Your attorney can also argue that your intent was not reckless, but negligent, resulting in a petty violation rather than a conviction and a mark on your criminal record. 

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Can I Still Face Legal Trouble for Possession or Ingestion of Marijuana? Since the start of the new year, recreational marijuana use has been legal in the state of Illinois. When Governor JB Pritzker signed House Bill 1438, also known as the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana use and changed the landscape of marijuana distribution statewide. The law took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and also made thousands of prior marijuana convictions eligible for expungement. All that being said, there are still a number of marijuana-related violations that can result in serious drug charges and legal ramifications. 

Possession and Use 

While it is now legal for people in the state of Illinois to possess marijuana, you must comply with the state guidelines. Adults over the age of 21 are legally allowed to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, edible products totaling no more than 500 milligrams of THC, and up to five grams of cannabis concentrate products. If you are a non-resident visiting Illinois, those possession limits are cut in half. Possessing more than 30 grams of marijuana can result in a Class A misdemeanor charge and up to one year in prison. It is also important to note that only licensed dispensaries are allowed to distribute marijuana. The illegal sale of marijuana can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges. One can also face fines for using marijuana in public areas, motor vehicles, or in the presence of minors. 

Marijuana and Motor Vehicle Operation 

With recreational marijuana use now legal in the state, law enforcement officials are now increasingly on the lookout for drugged driving. If you are tested with a THC blood concentration upwards of five nanograms per milliliter of blood, you will face a charge for driving under the influence of marijuana. Law enforcement officials have the right to request chemical testing if they have probable cause to believe you may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Signs of marijuana use can include drug paraphernalia, smell, and visible symptoms such as eye discoloration. A first-time DUI offender can face Class A misdemeanor charges and significant fines. 

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Fighting Against a Domestic Violence Charge Domestic violence continues to be a massive issue throughout the United States. Recognizing this, law enforcement officials treat domestic violence accusations with extreme care and the legal ramifications of a conviction can be life-changing. Unfortunately, there is an alarmingly high number of false or fabricated domestic violence accusations made each and every year. If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is important to act quickly and reach out to a knowledgeable criminal defense professional.  

Defining Domestic Violence 

Domestic violence accusations do not have to come in the form of physical violence. A person can make a domestic violence claim due to threats, verbal abuse, and intimidation, as well as physical or sexual abuse. If a claim is made that one party was physically harming the other, the accused can face serious legal consequences. In the state of Illinois, a domestic battery charge can lead to a Class A misdemeanor, significant fines, and up to one year in prison. There are a number of aggravating factors that can elevate the charge to a felony and lead to harsher criminal punishments. 

Victims of abuse can pursue an order of protection against their alleged abuser, prohibiting the subject from approaching or contacting the petitioner. A violation of a protective order can result in legal consequences. According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, an order of protection violation constitutes a Class A misdemeanor charge and can lead to one year in prison. False accusations of domestic violence are often made during the divorce process, in an attempt to secure full parental responsibility for children. Whether you have been accused of domestic battery or any form of domestic violence, it is critically important to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, as soon as possible. 

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Examining Charges for Illegal Drug Possession in Illinois With the passing of Illinois’ new marijuana law, it is now legal for people to recreationally consume marijuana within the state. While the law may have changed the way in which law enforcement officials look at marijuana use, that is not the case with substances such as cocaine, heroin, and various schedule two drugs. If you have been charged with possession of illegal narcotics, you could be facing serious legal ramifications. 

The Legal Consequences

Thousands of drug arrests are made throughout the state of Illinois each year and come with significant criminal punishment. According to the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, possession of an illegal narcotic like heroin or cocaine constitutes a felony charge. The severity of the charges will vary based on the amount of the substance the person has in their possession. For instance, if a person is apprehended with less than 15 grams of cocaine, they will face Class 4 felony charges, fines up to $25,000 and one to three years in prison. If they have more than 15 grams in their possession, prosecutors may conclude that they were attempting to distribute and sell the narcotics. This charge constitutes a Class 1 felony and a mandatory four-year prison sentence. 

It should be noted that if an officer believes that the person is attempting to sell the substance, the charge will be more severe than a possession charge, regardless of the amount of the substance. If a person has the intent to sell, even with less than one gram of cocaine, they will face Class 2 felony charges and no less than three years in prison. Drug charges for other substances such as heroin and morphine mirror the charges that come with cocaine possession and distribution. 

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Posted on in DUI Defense

What Constitutes a Felony DUI Charge? Every year, thousands of drivers in the state of Illinois are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Due to the inherent risks of driving while intoxicated, DUI charges can come with severe legal ramifications. While the vast majority of DUI convictions constitute a Class A misdemeanor charge, some DUIs can be elevated to a felony charge. A misdemeanor DUI can result in temporary loss of driving privileges and fines but rarely leads to jail time. A felony DUI charge, on the other hand, can lead to life-changing consequences. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, speak with a skilled legal professional immediately. 

Why DUIs Are Elevated to Felony Charges

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, a DUI can be elevated to a felony charge for a number of reasons, most commonly for a repeat offense. A third DUI charge is elevated to a Class 2 felony charge and will come with a 10-year license revocation. A fourth conviction will result in a lifetime revocation of driving privileges. Once the charge has been elevated to a felony charge it is known as an aggravated DUI. 

Outside of multiple convictions, there are a number of aggravating factors that add to the severity of the crime in the eyes of law enforcement officials. These aggravating factors include:

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