HOW A SIMPLE WELLNESS CHECK CAN TURN INTO A DUI ARREST

The officer may have simply been checking to make sure you were OK. You were slumped over your steering wheel, and the officer thought you might have a medical emergency. So she knocked on your window. You were startled and opened your window. Then, the officer clearly smelled alcohol, which led to your arrest.

Apart from patrolling for crime, an officer looks after public safety as a community caretaker. In that capacity, an officer may stop and question you to see if you need help. Under those circumstances, an officer does not need a reasonable, articulable suspicion of wrongdoing before stopping you.

But then things can get tricky. A community caretaking stop can turn into probable cause for arrest. After smelling the alcohol or spotting other evidence of wrongdoing, the officer now has the reasonable, articulable suspicion required to question you further which can lead to an arrest.

In a recent appellate case, an officer had been following a defendant’s car. The defendant did not commit any traffic violations. However, once the defendant parked, he did not leave his car. After five minutes, the officer became concerned and checked on the defendant, finding him passed out. The officer woke the defendant and then smelled the odor of alcohol which led to the defendant’s arrest. (See People v Winchester).

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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WHAT CAN HURT YOUR PERFORMANCE ON FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS?

You were stopped under suspicion of drunk driving. The officer asked you to take field sobriety tests, and since you didn’t have much to drink, you agreed. To your surpise, you failed the tests and were arrested.

What happened? What can you do?

In many cases, you might have been more intoxicated than you thought. But sometimes, other factors may have hurt your performance.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sets the standards for giving field sobriety tests. If the tests are not performed according to these standards, you may be able to challenge your arrest.

In Illinois, the three most common field sobriety tests are: 1) the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN), 2) the One-Leg Stand and 3) the Walk and Turn test. Judges generally disregard the HGN, while paying close attention to the other two tests.

The NHTSA advises that these tests should be performed on a reasonably, dry, level, non-slippery surface. A recent Illinois case struck down an arrest where tests were given on a wet surface in the rain. See People v Day. The Walk and Turn also requires enough room to take nine heel-to-toe steps.

The tests are not considered reliable for people over age 65. If you are wearing heels higher than two inches, you should be allowed to remove your shoes. The One-Leg stand may be more difficult if you have back, leg or inner ear problems or are more than 50 pounds overweight. The Walk and Turn requires enough room to take nine heel-to-toe steps.

If you are charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. If the tests were improper, an attorney may petition the court to suppress the arrest. Note that the court may still look at other evidence such as your driving to determine if there was probable cause for your arrest.

Even if the tests were proper and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you can on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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AGGRAVATED DUI: WHAT REALLY CAUSED THE ACCIDENT?

Before the Illinois legislature amended the law, you could be convicted of Aggravated DUI if you were the proximate cause of an accident that resulted in great bodily harm or death, and you had any amount of a controlled substance in your system. The state did not have to prove the drug caused impaired driving. The 2016 changes to the law, also known as the trace law, defines how much marijuana is enough to presume you were impaired.

But what if you can prove that something else really caused your accident? Are you automatically guilty?

A recent Illinois Supreme Court decision has held that a driver may show that another factor was the sole and exclusive proximate cause for an accident. In People v Way, a driver claimed that a sudden loss of blood pressure, rather than the drugs in her system, was the real reason for her crash. The court reasoned that nothing in the law prevented a driver from raising the defense that a sudden, unforeseeable medical condition made the driver incapable of controlling his or her car.

Generally, the state must prove all the elements of your crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Under the trace law, the state must prove you drove with drugs in your system, and you were the proximate cause of an accident resulting in great bodily harm or death. Under the amended law, the state must prove you were over the legal limit for marijuana use. If you claim another factor was the real reason for your accident, the burden of proof now shifts to you.

If you are charged with an Illinois Aggravated DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. If there was another cause for your accident, an attorney can help present the evidence you need in its best possible light. Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the court house may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See also Illinois DUI law.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS IN ILLINOIS

After the officer stopped you for a traffic violation, she searched your car and found illegal drugs. As a result, you were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs. Sure there were drugs in the car, but does that mean you were driving under the influence?

The answer to this question is very fact specific. Before making an arrest, an officer must have probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence at the time of arrest. Finding narcotics does not justify an arrest after the fact. To determine if probable cause exists, an officer generally must have training or experience in drug detection. The situation can be further complicated if you suffer from some other medical condition. Can the state prove you were intoxicated rather than suffering the symptoms of your disease?

In People v Gocmen, the court held that the officer lacked the necessary training or experience to make a DUI arrest. Although the defendant was sweating, had pinpoint pupils and his heart was racing, the officer had not witnessed any of these symptoms himself. Furthermore, the officer could not distinguish whether these symptoms were caused by defendant’s diabetes rather than the opiates found in his car.

If you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. As with most crimes, the state must prove the elements of DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. If the officer lacked the necessary training, an attorney may petition the court to return your driver’s license, or in some cases, suppress the arrest.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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EXTRADITION TO ILLINOIS: VIOLATION OF PROBATION

If you violate the terms of your out of state probation, you can be extradited to the state where you originally had the problem.

Extradition means you could be arrested in your current state and brought back to face charges in the original state. The county prosecutor in the original state often decides whether to extradite, and it is impossible to predict their decision in any given case.

If you are at risk of extradition to Illinois, you should contact an experienced Illinois criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case for your best possible defense. For example, an attorney may help clear a problem underlying your original case. Sometimes a violation of probation is the result of miscommunication between court agencies, and an attorney may help sort this out.

Even if you violated probation and there was no mistake, an attorney can still help. For instance, an attorney, who is respected in the courthouse, may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you might get on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.).

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THE ILLINOIS HABITUAL CRIMINAL STATUTE AND DUI

Clients often want to get their DUI cases over with quickly. Sometimes, the evidence is so overwhelming that a swift guilty plea to a lesser charge is actually in the client’s best interest. But many times, pleading guilty to a defendable DUI may result in greater trouble ahead. Particularly when it comes to sentencing under the habitual criminal statute.

A recent Illinois appellate court has held that Class 2 or greater felonies under the Illinois Vehicle Code can be included for purposes of sentencing under the Habitual Criminal statute. (See People v Dailey.) The Habitual Criminal statute states that if you have been convicted of two Class 2 or greater felonies, you may be sentenced as a Class X offender on a third Class 1 or 2 felony. 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-95b Habitual Criminal). Such felonies must have been committed after 1978 and cannot come from the same incident. Under the Vehicle Code, a third Aggravated DUI may result in sentencing as a habitual criminal. A class X felony carries a sentence of 6 to 30 years in prison.

If you are charged with an Illinois DUI, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best options. Maybe your performance on field sobriety tests or even your driving did not show impairment. Maybe the cops had no probable cause to stop you. Even if the evidence is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may help negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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CAN I BE DEPORTED FOR DUI?

The answer is probably no for simple DUI, but possibly yes for aggravated DUI. In short, the answer may depend on whether your DUI could be considered a crime of moral turpitude.

In Marmolejo-Campos v. Holder, the court stated that a simple DUI has never been considered a crime of moral turpitude, but an aggravated DUI could be such a crime. In interpreting an Arizona DUI law, the court reasoned that a simple DUI does not require an element of mental intent, but merely requires that you had control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In contrast, the Arizona aggravated DUI law required that you knew you shouldn’t have been driving while your license was suspended or revoked.

In Illinois, it is still up for debate which elements of our Aggravated DUI law involve mental intent. If you are convicted of Aggravated DUI, an immigration attorney may still be able to argue that your offense lacked the intent necessary to become moral turpitude.

In Illinois, you can be charged with aggravated DUI if 1) this is your third or greater offense; 2) you proximately caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement; 3) you had a prior offense involving DUI-related reckless homicide; 4) your license was suspended or revoked or 5) you knew or should have known the car you were driving had no liability insurance. (See Illinois DUI statute).

It’s important to bear in mind that even a misdemeanor DUI can reduce your chances of obtaining citizenship or even a green card.

If you are charged with a DUI, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your options to determine your best possible defense. Even if the police acted lawfully and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own. You should also check with an immigration attorney before entering a guilty plea to insure that the elements of your plea won’t subject you to deportation.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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EXTRADITION TO ILLINOIS: VIOLATION OF PROBATION FOR DUI

Violating the terms of your DUI supervision or probation could result in your extradition to the state where your case was originally heard. Extradition means you could be arrested in your current state and brought back to face charges in the original state.

Let’s say you didn’t attend alcohol education classes, or you failed to take required drug tests. If you did not honor the conditions of your original DUI plea agreement, a petition for violation of your probation could be filed in the original state. Whether you will be extradited to that state is usually up to the county prosecutor, and it is impossible to predict their decision in any given case.

If you are at risk of extradition to Illinois, you should contact an experienced Illinois criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case for your best possible defense. Sometimes a violation of probation is a result of a miscommunication, and an attorney can help sort this out.

Even if you did violate probation, an attorney may help you through the court system to clear the matter up. At times, this can mean negotiating a more favorable plea agreement than you might be able to get on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.).

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NEW ILLINOIS RULES FOR GUILTY PLEAS

As of January 1, 2017, changes to Illinois law require the court to give new warnings about the consequences of a guilty plea.

Before you plead guilty, a judge must first warn or “admonish” you about what your plea really means. The judge will ask if you understand the rights you are giving up, such as your right to a jury or to present evidence in your defense.

Under the new rules, the judge must clearly explain: 1) the maximum and minimum penalties for your crime; 2) that you are more likely to receive a higher sentence or consecutive sentences for any future conviction; 3) that your conviction may restrict where you can live, work or be present; and 4) that it may be more difficult to find a job or place to live, or to keep or obtain a license for a gun, car or occupation. The court can only accept your plea once you indicate that you understand these warnings and wish to move forward.

A guilty plea should be your last resort. Your attorney should review your case to determine if there is a better option. But if the evidence is overwhelming and the police acted lawfully, a guilty plea might be your only real choice. In that case, an attorney who is respected in the court house may help negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

Source: Illinois Plea Statute.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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CAN POLICE ARREST YOU FOR DUI OUTSIDE CITY LIMITS?

The Illinois criminal code generally limits arrests outside a police officer’s jurisdiction except under certain circumstances. The Illinois municipal code, however, permits an officer to make an arrest in an adjoining municipality as long as it is within the same county.

Under the criminal code, an officer may arrest you in another jurisdiction (1) if the officer is investigating criminal activity that occurred in the officer’s primary jurisdiction and the temporary questioning or arrest relates to that investigation; (2) the officer becomes personally aware of the immediate commission of a felony or misdemeanor; or (3) the officer is asked by other law enforcement officials for help. (See 725 ILCS 5/107-4.)

A recent Illinois appellate case, People v Bond, allowed a Blue Island police officer to arrest a defendant for DUI on the Chicago side of a Blue Island street. The defendant was asleep in his illegally parked car which jutted into traffic. The Blue Island officer crossed into Chicago to investigate the parking offense and arrested the defendant upon finding evidence of DUI. While it was unusual for an officer to cross into an adjoining jurisdiction for a petty offense, the court found that the officer had the authority under the municipal code to arrest the defendant. (65 ILCS 5/7-4-7 and 65 ILCS 5/7-4-8.)

If you are arrested for DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See our related post: Outside the City Limits: Hot Pursuit in Illinois.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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