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Why Am I Facing Felony Charges for a DUI? In the state of Illinois, more than 20,000 people are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol every year. Of those arrested, approximately 90% of eligible drivers lost their driving privileges. Along with the suspension, many drivers will be convicted of misdemeanor charges and face up to one year in prison. For other drivers, a DUI can be elevated to an aggravated DUI and potentially result in felony charges. Below, we will examine why you may be facing felony charges for driving under the influence

Aggravated DUI in Illinois 

According to Illinois state law, there are a number of aggravating factors that can lead to a DUI charge being elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony. The most common factor is simply the fact that the defendant has already been convicted for two prior DUIs. If you are charged with your third DUI offense, you will be facing Class 2 felony charges. A third DUI conviction will result in a three-to-seven-year prison sentence. In other instances in which a person has a previous alcohol-related conviction, such as an alcohol-related reckless homicide offense, a DUI will automatically be elevated to a Class 3 felony. 

Other common aggravating factors include when great bodily harm is caused to another party. If a person is killed by a driver charged with DUI, the driver will be charged with a Class 2 felony and face up to 14 years in prison. If bodily harm is caused to a passenger under the age of 16, the driver will be charged with a Class 4 felony, which includes a minimum one-year prison sentence. 

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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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What Are the Most Effective Defenses Against a DUI Charge?In the state of Illinois alone, just under 30,000 DUI arrests were made throughout 2018. Reacting to an arrest and the fact that you are facing DUI charges can be difficult and frightening. While law enforcement officials and prosecutors will make you believe that fighting against a DUI charge is a virtual impossibility, there are a number of effective defense strategies in DUI cases. If you are facing DUI charges, you need the assistance of an attorney that will do everything in their power to help you avoid a conviction. 

Potential DUI Defense Strategies 

If convicted of a DUI, an offender can face Class A misdemeanor charges, significant fines, and even potential jail time. Recognizing the severity of a conviction, you need an attorney that will fight diligently to have the charges dropped. Below, we will explore a few of the most effective defense strategies used in DUI cases. 

  1. Improper Stop: An improper stop is one of the most common defenses used in DUI cases. Essentially, the law states that a police officer cannot pull over an individual unless they have reasonable suspicion to believe the individual has committed a crime. If you are the only driver on the road very late at night, an officer cannot pull you over due to a hunch that you may be inebriated. If your attorney can prove that you were not breaking any traffic laws, such as driving over the speed limit, swerving from lane to lane, or failing to use a turn signal, all evidence gained after the initial stop will be deemed inadmissible. 
  2. Police Oversight or Negligence: After a police officer pulls you over, their actions will in large part determine the outcome of the case. In some cases, police officers will act in a negligent or reckless manner and lead to the case being thrown out in court. First and foremost, if an officer fails to follow all testing procedures or uses disrespectful or intimidating language towards you, the evidence may be suppressed. Police oversight can also occur after you have been taken into custody. Improper storage or handling of blood alcohol samples can lead to the samples being tainted. It is also important to note that if an officer neglects to read you your Miranda warning after the arrest, any evidence gained after the fact cannot be used.  
  3. False Signs of Impairment: It is also possible for false signs of impairment to lead to an arrest and subsequent DUI charge. For instance, a person can be asked to take part in a field sobriety test in unstable footwear or in inclement weather and show false signs of inebriation. It is also possible for medical conditions to showcase symptoms that could be viewed as signs of impairment. For instance, a medical condition that causes slurred speech could lead to an officer believing you are impaired. In the aftermath of the arrest, speak with your attorney immediately and go over every step of the arrest process. 

Contact an Oak Brook DUI Defense Attorney 

At McMahon Law Offices, we understand how drastically a DUI conviction can change a person’s life. Because of this, we will do everything in our power to fight against a conviction. After walking through the events that lead to your arrest, we will develop a comprehensive defense strategy. Facing a DUI charge can be frightening, but do not face it alone. To schedule a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable DuPage County DUI defense lawyer, call us today at 630-953-4400. 

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Concerns with Underage Drinking and Underage DUIEvery parent worries about their child, so discussing drinking and driving from a parental perspective can be a difficult topic. While the dangers of drinking and driving cannot be understated, the legal ramifications of a drinking and driving conviction can be monumental. There are a number of ways in which a minor can face legal trouble as it pertains to alcohol. Below, we will look at Illinois’ laws on underage drinking, transportation of alcohol, and drinking and driving. If your child has been charged with an underage DUI, it is time to seek out legal assistance. 

Underage Drinking Laws in Illinois 

In the state of Illinois, there are a number of laws in place to discourage minors from consuming alcohol. While it is highly unlikely that a minor will face jail time for an alcohol possession charge, they will face the consequences of:

  • Having a Class A misdemeanor on their record
  • Fines as high as $2,500
  • Suspended driving privileges

Minors can face much more severe criminal charges if they are caught using a fake id. If a minor is apprehended while using another person’s driver’s license or identification card, they will face a Class A misdemeanor charge. If a minor is caught in possession of a falsified Illinois state driver’s license or identification card, they will face felony charges and possible jail time. 

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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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The Life-Changing Impact of Multiple DUI Convictions According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, 26,386 DUI arrests were made throughout the state in 2018 alone. While a large percentage of those drivers were facing their first DUI charges, many of them were arrested for driving under the influence for the second or third time. A first-time DUI charge constitutes a Class A misdemeanor and can come with some significant financial consequences, as well as the loss of your driving privileges for one year. The consequences of a first-time conviction, though, pale in comparison to legal ramifications a repeat offender can face. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is time to seek out the assistance of a knowledgeable defense attorney.

How Another DUI Charge Can Impact You

If you are charged with your second DUI within a 20 year period, you will again face a Class A misdemeanor. The primary difference between one’s first and second DUI conviction is that the second one comes with a five-year license revocation period. A third DUI conviction is where the legal consequences of a conviction really become life-changing.

A third DUI conviction constitutes a Class 2 felony charge, which includes a loss of driving privileges for 10 years and likely jail time or significant community service hours. If a third time DUI offender is apprehended with a blood alcohol content that is twice the legal limit, they will face a minimum of 90 days in jail. The felony charge on your criminal record can impact your ability to secure employment and the way in which financial institutions will evaluate your loan eligibility. The impact of multiple DUI charges can go much further than the initial conviction.

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Is It Wise To Refuse Testing During a DUI Traffic Stop? When a driver is stopped by a law enforcement official and the officer suspects that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is easy to panic. Interactions with law enforcement can be generally uneasy, especially when it becomes apparent that the officer believes you may be inebriated. Despite the stresses of a DUI traffic stop, it is important to remain composed and understand how your actions can impact your future. In some instances, the best decision you can make during a DUI traffic stop is refusing chemical testing. 

Refusing Field Sobriety Testing

In the state of Illinois, it is perfectly legal to refuse a field sobriety test. If an officer requests that you take part in a field sobriety test, they are looking for evidence to back up an arrest. While refusal of a field sobriety test will likely result in an arrest, it will limit the evidence that can be used against you in the case. It is important to remain calm throughout this process and politely refuse field sobriety testing. Any aggressive behavior towards the officer can negatively impact you moving forward. 

Refusing Chemical Testing

Refusal to take part in chemical testing will come with some consequences, but not a criminal conviction. Refusal to submit to chemical testing is an administrative offense that will come with a one-year statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license. In the state of Illinois, drivers that refuse to submit to chemical testing are eligible to drive with a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). You will have to pay for installing a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) on your vehicle and follow the restrictions of the MDDP for the remainder of your suspension. If this is the second time you have refused chemical testing, it will result in a three-year license suspension. While refusing to submit will cost you money and a license suspension, it will not result in the Class A misdemeanor that accompanies a DUI conviction. 

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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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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 an Underage Drinking Charge Can Impact Your Child Every year, hundreds of thousands of American teens take part in illegal underage drinking. Outside of the obvious health concerns of underage drinking, it is important for parents to understand the ways in which an underage drinking arrest can potentially impact your child’s future. Depending on the severity of the charge, an alcohol-related arrest can lead to serious fines, impact your child’s advanced education opportunities, and even potentially lead to jail time. If your child is charged with an alcohol-related crime, it is time to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced legal professional. 

Underage Drinking Charges in Illinois

Recognizing the way in which the activity can impact a child’s health, underage drinking is punished harshly in the state of Illinois. If a minor is found in possession of alcohol, they will face a driver’s license suspension of at least three months. If a minor is apprehended while transporting alcohol in a motor vehicle, they can face fines as high as $1,000 (this fine also applies to other minors in the vehicle, not just the driver). The driver of the vehicle will face a mandatory one-year license revocation period. While the consequences of drinking alcohol as a minor are significant, the legal ramifications of providing a minor with alcohol are much more severe. If you are charged with providing alcohol to a minor, you could face fines as high as $2,500 and a misdemeanor charge. It should be noted that there are a number of factors that can elevate the misdemeanor charge to a felony.

Drinking and Driving Underage

In the state of Illinois, law enforcement officials are constantly on the lookout for inebriated drivers. The “zero tolerance” law states that minors are prohibited from operating motor vehicles with a blood alcohol content over 0.0. The first offense for violating the zero-tolerance policy comes with a three-month license suspension. If the minor refuses to use a breathalyzer test, the suspension will be increased to a six-month suspension. If the driver is over the age of 18, they can regain their driving privileges after serving 30 days of the suspension and obtaining a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID). If the driver is caught operating a vehicle without a BAIID, they will face Class 4 felony charges. If a minor’s blood alcohol content is over the legal limit of 0.08, they will face a two-year license revocation period and up to one year in prison. 

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The Impact of Violating Illinois’ Weapons LawsViolent crimes occur daily throughout Illinois. Because of this, law enforcement officials are constantly on the lookout for those carrying weapons without proper permits, and the state laws regarding illegal weapon possession can come with very significant legal ramifications. As far as regulations and consequences of violating said regulations, Illinois is known to have one of the strictest gun policies in the U.S. If you have been caught carrying a weapon illegally, it is time to speak with a skilled attorney. 

How to Legally Carry a Gun in Illinois

According to Illinois state law, it is legal to carry certain types of guns as long as you have a state-issued Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID). In order to qualify for a card, one must:

  • Not have a prior felony charge on their permanent record
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have no history of domestic violence or narcotics abuse

While Illinois was one of the last states to allow concealed carry of handguns, it is now possible to get a concealed carry permit. In order to get a permit, one must go through 16 hours of firearms training. It should also be noted that open carry of any firearm and possession of automatic weapons is illegal in the state. 

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Examining Reckless Driving in Illinois and New Enforcement Efforts When a person makes the decision to become a licensed driver, they are agreeing to follow all traffic rules and regulations in their state. Despite this fact, many drivers decide to disregard these rules. In doing so, their actions usually put other travelers in danger. Legally speaking, the act of knowingly disregarding the safety of other travelers is called reckless driving. It is important to understand the ways in which a reckless driving charge can impact your driving record and the potential ramifications of a charge. If you have been charged with reckless driving, it is time to seek out the help of a knowledgeable legal professional. 

Reckless Driving in Illinois

In Illinois, reckless driving charges constitute a Class A misdemeanor, can lead to up to one year in jail, and come with fines as high as $2,500. A reckless driving charge can come from a number of offenses, including:

  • Driving at dangerous speeds
  • Recklessly weaving through traffic
  • Tailgating other vehicles
  • Racing

It should be noted that an aggravated reckless driving charge will be increased in severity to a felony charge and can lead to up to three years in prison. 

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How Legalized Marijuana Affects Your Driving Rights in IllinoisHere in the state of Illinois, marijuana will soon be both recreationally and medicinally legal. In other words, people can legally use marijuana products due to the presence of health issues or simply due to their desire for recreational use. While the legality of marijuana has prompted the Illinois State Police to establish a task force designed to look out for signs of marijuana-influenced driving, the legality of marijuana should not change the way DUI stops are handled by police officers. If you are charged with either a drug or DUI charge, it is time to seek out the help of a legal professional. 

Marijuana and DUIs

In Illinois, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana, whether it is medicinal or recreational marijuana. If you choose to utilize marijuana for medicinal purposes, you will enroll in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program. Once you have been enrolled in the program, the department of health will give you a registry card and make a mark on your driving record that you are legally allowed to carry medicinal marijuana. 

Whether you are a medicinal or recreational user of marijuana, you must comply with Illinois state law. Most notably, you are only allowed to transfer marijuana in an odorless and childproof case. If an officer has reason to believe that you may be under the influence of marijuana, they will ask you to submit to either chemical testing or some form of field sobriety test. It is important to understand that it is not illegal for you to refuse to take part in these tests. While refusing after you are arrested will result in a license suspension of 12 months, refusal is an administrative offense, not a criminal charge, and thus will not show up on your criminal record. 

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Posted on in DUI Defense

How to React to a DUI Traffic Stop It is never an enjoyable experience to look in your rearview mirror and see the flashing lights of a law enforcement officer behind your vehicle. The experience is markedly less enjoyable if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Still, when it comes to DUI cases, your actions during the traffic stop can make all the difference in whether you are ultimately convicted or not. With that in mind, it is important to understand how to react to a DUI traffic stop. 

Safety First

When you see police lights behind your vehicle, you are instructed to pull over to the right shoulder of the lane as soon as possible. Unfortunately, things are not always that simple. It is important to avoid pulling your vehicle over on bridges, sharp turns in the roadway, up against guard rails with limited shoulder space, or in any location where it may be possible to be struck by passing traffic. As the officer approaches the vehicle, remain calm and keep your hands on the wheel. Any sudden movement (such as exiting the vehicle) could be viewed as an act of aggression. Willingness to adhere to the safety principles of a traffic stop will not only decrease any chance of injury but also showcase your ability to cognitively react to the situation, potentially helping your case. 

Understand Your Rights

Once the law enforcement officer begins speaking with you, it is important to maintain a balance between cooperation and exercising your rights. If the acting officer believes there is probable cause that you may be intoxicated, they are mandated to request chemical testing. The officer will likely tell you that refusing to take part in the test will result in a loss of driving privileges, but refusal may, in fact, be your best option. A DUI conviction is at the bare minimum a Class A misdemeanor and will result in significant fines. While refusing to take part in chemical testing will result in a license revocation of one year, it is not a criminal offense and thus will not show up on your permanent record. Recognizing your rights in a DUI traffic stop can be paramount to avoiding a criminal conviction. 

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Exploring Common DUI Defenses If you are charged with driving under the influence, it is important to understand the legal ramifications of a conviction. In Illinois, over 26,000 DUI arrests were made throughout 2018, and the consequences of a DUI can be significant. A first conviction constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, which includes a one-year license revocation period. It should be noted that there are a number of aggravating factors that can result in an increase in the severity of the charges. Fortunately, there are several ways in which a skilled attorney can fight against a DUI charge

Common DUI Defenses

After you have been arrested on DUI charges, it is important to act quickly. The most important step you can take is hiring an attorney with experience in handling DUI cases. Once your attorney is hired, the two of you should review the events that lead up to the arrest process. One of the strongest defenses an attorney can use is an improper stop defense, which essentially argues that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to warrant a traffic stop. For instance, if an officer pulled you over simply due to the fact that it was late at night, an improper stop defense would likely be utilized. 

In other instances, an attorney will pursue a defense based on a field sobriety test or Breathalyzer test. A field sobriety test could indicate that a sober person is intoxicated if the person has medical conditions related to their balance or motor skills. A horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which looks at the eyes for signs of inebriation, could be inaccurate if the person has a medical condition related to eye function or appearance. In cases in which a breath test is used, it is possible that the Breathalyzer could have malfunctioned, leading to an inaccurate test. 

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Fighting Against an Aggravated DUI Charge Here in the state of Illinois, a DUI conviction can come with serious legal ramifications. Not only will the convicted party face a Class A misdemeanor charge, but they will also lose their driving privileges, face significant fines, and even potentially spend time in jail. Due to the fact that some crimes are blatantly worse than others, not all DUI charges are equal. There are a number of offenses that can elevate a DUI to an aggravated DUI, leading to even more potential punishment. Below we will discuss how to respond to an aggravated DUI charge

What Is an Aggravated DUI?

An aggravated DUI can simply be defined as a DUI with specific aggravating acts. For instance, if a person is charged with their third DUI, the charge will be elevated to an aggravated DUI. If the driver is apprehended while driving without a license or driving with a minor under the age of 15, the charge will be elevated. The most common aggravating factor is having a blood alcohol concentration over .16%. 

It is important to understand that an aggravated DUI can come with life-changing legal consequences. Even the most minor forms of aggravated DUIs constitute a Class 4 felony charge. If convicted, the driver could face as many as three years in prison. It should be noted that some aggravating factors, such as a DUI in which someone was injured, can lead to more severe punishments. 

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New Marijuana Law Will Have Little Impact on DUI Procedure With the national perception of recreational marijuana changing gradually throughout the United States, perhaps few were surprised when the Illinois General Assembly passed a marijuana bill last May, essentially legalizing marijuana for recreational users age 21 and older. With Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signing the bill into law, the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act will go into effect starting Jan. 1. While the new law is expected to bring in significant tax revenue and result in potential pardons for those previously charged with marijuana possession, it should have little effect on the way in which law enforcement officials view driving under the influence of marijuana. 

Driving After Marijuana Use

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act will drastically alter the landscape of recreational marijuana use statewide. Users will now be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana legally, and nearly 300 recreational marijuana stores could be established throughout the state by 2022. All that said, the law will not drastically change the way in which driving under the influence of marijuana is treated in Illinois. 

With a law already in place to stop people from driving after marijuana use, police will be on the lookout for impaired drivers. Drivers with THC blood concentration of five nanograms or more per milliliter will be found guilty of driving under the influence and face a Class A misdemeanor charge. The new law will likely lead to more roadside surveillance with Illinois State Police developing a task force to find the most accurate ways to roadside test for marijuana use. At this moment, the standard roadside procedures include:

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