ILLINOIS LAW REQUIRES POLICE TO ASK BEFORE GIVING A PORTABLE BREATHALYZER TEST

Recent Illinois case law has clarified that an officer must ask you to take the portable breathlayzer test (PBT) and give you enough time to refuse before giving the test, or your case could be dismissed.

If you are stopped for DUI, police may ask you to perform certain field tests. An officer may also ask you to take a PBT. The PBT is not admissible into evidence but can be used to determine whether there was probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving.

Before giving the test, the officer must ask you to take it. Illinois requires that you have a reasonable opportunity to refuse the test although the officer need not inform you of your right to refuse. As long as the officer requests the PBT without commanding submission and you are given an opportunity to refuse, the PBT is considered voluntary and complies with state law.

In People v Taylor, the officer essentially placed the PBT device in front of defendant’s mouth without asking the defendant to take the test or giving the defendant enough time to refuse. As a result, the court threw out the arrest stating that the test could not be used to provide probable cause.

If you are charged with DUI or similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. If the police acted improperly, the attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the arrest. Bear in mind that each case is very fact specific, and judges may disagree on whether you had enough time to refuse a PBT.

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: THE UNFINISHED CRIMINAL CASE

With ever-expanding access to information, police in one state can easily learn about any criminal charges you have open in another state. And that can lead to extradition.

Extradition means you could be arrested in your current state and brought back to face charges in the original state. Whether you will be extradited is up to the county prosecutor, and it is impossible to predict their decision in any given case.

Sometimes extradition is the result of unfinished business. Perhaps in your younger days you got into trouble with the law. You missed your court date, so the judge issued a warrant for your arrest. Or maybe you did go to court but failed to finish the terms of your sentence. For example, you may have been required to pay a fine or perform community service. In either case, the county where your original charges occurred may choose to extradite you once police learn your whereabouts, such as through a routine traffic stop.

If you are at risk of extradition to Illinois, 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 you through the court system to clear the underlying problem in your original case. 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 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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CHANGES TO ILLINOIS LAW ON MARIJUANA AND DUI

Changes to Illinois law tackle the problem of determining how much marijuana is too much for purposes of DUI. The new law took effect July 29, 2016.

The new law provides a limit for driving under the influence of marijuana much like the .08 standard for blood alcohol. Under the new law, you will be presumed to be impaired if you have a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of either 5 nanograms or more of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of other bodily substance within 2 hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle.

The new law also takes marijuana out of the “trace law.” Under the “trace law,” you can be convicted of DUI if you have any unlawful substance in your system, even if your driving is not impaired. The trace law makes it easy for prosecutors since they need not prove that a drug influenced your driving. The mere fact the drug is in your system is enough to convict you. Because marijuana can remain in your system for up to 30 days, the trace law led to extremely harsh penalties for actually unimpaired drivers. The trace law still applies to other drugs.

If you are charged with DUI or similar crime, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an experienced 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 criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

Source: Amendments to 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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MARIJUANA CAN STILL GET YOU IN TROUBLE

There is no doubt that laws regarding marijuana are liberalizing.

A new law effective July 29, 2016 takes marijuana out of the trace law–the law that convicts you for DUI if you cause a serious accident whether or not you were actually impaired. (See our post Changes to Illinois Law on Marijuana and DUI). On August 2, 2013, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act enabling patients with certain debilitating medical conditions to obtain marijuana from licensed dispensaries. In April, 2015, Cook County Prosecutor Anita Alvarez announced that her office would no longer prosecute misdemeanor marijuana offenses.

But illegal possession of marijuana can still get you in trouble in several ways.

For one thing, Cook County’s decision to ease up on marijuana did not mean an end to all marijuana-related arrests. While the State’s Attorney’s office may now offer treatment instead of jail, this new tolerance does not apply to offenders with a violent history or who are suspected of dealing.

Even as a legally registered user, you may not operate a motor vehicle while under the influence or otherwise act negligently, and you may not keep marijuana in your car unless it is sealed and inaccessible while driving. You may not smoke publicly or in a motor vehicle, school bus, school, correctional facility, or day care.

Registrered users may not possess cannabis in a school, school bus, day care, or correctional facility. They may not knowingly use marijuana in close proximity to a minor—which could prompt a visit or worse from the Department of Child and Family Services.

If you are charged with a cannabis or other offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. Perhaps you had marijuana in your car, but the police lacked the probable cause to stop you or show that you had the necessary possession and control of the car to prove the marijuana was yours. Perhaps you did not know you were too close to a minor while you were smoking.

If you have questions about your particular case or another related 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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WERE YOU DRIVING A MOTOR VEHICLE UNDER ILLINOIS DUI LAW?

To be convicted of DUI, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

But what exactly is a motor vehicle? Naturally, a car, a truck or a motorcycle springs to mind. But what about a moped or or an electric bicycle?

Under Illinois law, a motor vehicle includes: “Every vehicle which is self-propelled …except for vehicles moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchairs, low-speed electric bicycles, and low-speed gas bicycles.” (625 ILCS 5/1-146). A recent Illinois case reversed a DUI conviction where a defendant’s gas-powered bike did not meet that definition. See People v Grandadam.

Illinois law defines a low-speed gas vehicle as “a 2 or 3-wheeled device with fully operable pedals and a gasoline motor of less than one horsepower, whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 miles per hour. (625 ILCS 5/1-140.15). The maximum speed of defendant’s bike was 17 miles per hour when powered solely by the gas motor. (The bike could go faster if pedalled.)

If you are charged with DUI or similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney may review your case for your best possible defense. Did the police have probable cause to stop you? Can the State able to prove all the elements of your offense? Even if the police acted properly and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an experienced 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.


(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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DOG SNIFFS AND THE UNDULY PROLONGED TRAFFIC STOP

In 2005, the United States Supreme Court changed the law regarding police stops. Before Illinois v Caballes, police needed specific and articulable facts to change the nature of a stop. After 2005, an officer could change the nature of the stop as long as the stop was not unduly prolonged. In other words, an officer could have a narcotics dog sniff your car even if the officer had no reason to suspect you had drugs as long as the stop wasn’t unduly prolonged.

However, the law on what “unduly prolonged” may mean continues to evolve. In April, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court in Rodriguez v United States, held that an officer who gets his work done quickly cannot use the time saved to fish around for evidence of other wrong doing.

Following Rodriguez, an Illinois Appellate court has held that an officer unduly prolonged the stop when he interrupted writing traffic citations to conduct a canine sniff of the defendant’s car. People v Pulling. The state argued that the stop was not unduly prolonged because it took no longer than it would to write a couple traffic tickets. The court disagreed. If the officer “had completed the tickets prior to or after the free-air sniff, the stop still would have been prolonged by this unrelated investigation that was not supported by independent reasonable suspicion.” Further, the court stated that the defendant’s agreeing to the canine sniff did not make the prolonged stop legal.

If you are charged with DUI or another offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney may review your case for your best possible defense. If the police acted improperly, the attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the evidence from any search. Even if this is not possible 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.

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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“I DIDN’T KNOW I’D HIT ANYONE”: LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT IN ILLINOIS

Illinois law requires that any driver involved in a motor vehicle accident must stay at the scene, file a police report and/or call for assistance. The law further requires that you reasonably assist any injured person including carrying that person to medical help, if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.

But what if you didn’t know you’d hit a pedestrian or hurt anybody?

As with most crimes, the state must prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. A recent Illinois court held that the state must prove that you knew you’d been in an accident that caused injury to a person. In other words, because the statute requires you to help an injured person, you must first be aware that there was someone needing help. Under prior law, the state only had to prove that you had been in an accident. (See People v Meuris.)

In accidents involving injury or death, a failure to stop can lead to a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison. If you also fail to file a police report, you may be charged with a Class 2 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years. If the other party died, you are now subject to a Class 1 felony, punishable by 4 to 15 years. When the accident only involves property damage, you may still be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail plus a fine. Failing to give assistance is also a Class A misdemeanor.

If you are charged with Leaving the Scene, DUI or a related offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your situation for your best possible defense. As with most criminal charges, the state must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Can the state show you knew you’d been in an accident or hit a pedestrian?

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

See 625 ILCS 5/11-401 and 625 ILCS 5/11-403.

(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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2016 UPDATE ON COURTHOUSE CELL PHONE RULES

After the recent removal of cell phone lockers at the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse resulted in confusion, it seems like a good time to review the rules.

Cook County first implemented its courthouse cell phone ban in 2013. The ban is currently limited to the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse, 2600 N. California, Chicago. The ban was in response to security concerns that cell phones were improperly used to photograph witnesses, jurors and judges who would then be intimidated.

The ban prohibits cell phones, laptop computers, tablet computers, smartphones and all other devices capable of connecting to the internet or making audio or video recordings. Anyone violating this rule can be held in contempt of court, face a fine or jail time and have their device confiscated.

The Criminal Courthouse does provide a limited number of free storage lockers. But these lockers became difficult to oversee and were possibly used to store contraband, so the county removed them in early April. That lasted about one week and the lockers are now back. The county still recommends leaving your devices at home. The courthouse does provide public phones.

There are several exceptions to the ban. These include: jurors, attorneys and their employees, judges, persons with disabilities, news media, government employees, vendors, repair people and law enforcement. You may also bring your device if you are seeking an order of protection, you are participating in domestic violence counseling or if you are required to wear an electronic home monitoring device. If you fall into one of these categories, you must have proper identification and official business at the courthouse.

For more information in Cook County, see Cell phone and Electronic Communication Device Ban.

DuPage County also bans cell phones or communication devices in the courthouse. See Du Page County Security Information. Lake County allows you to bring in electronic devices, but they must be turned off. See Lake County Courthouse Security Brief.

If you have questions about this or another related 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 THEY STOP ME FOR THAT? IMPROPER LICENSE PLATE DISPLAY IN ILLINOIS

It’s not hard for a police officer to find a legal reason to stop your car. If it isn’t seat belts or crossing over the center line or an actual moving violation, an officer may stop you because your license plate isn’t proper displayed.

The Illinois Vehicle Code requires every registration plate to be securely and horizontally fastened not less than five inches from the ground so as to prevent the plate from swinging. Further, the plate must be maintained in a clearly legible condition, free from any materials that would obstruct its visibility. A registration plate on a motorcycle may be mounted vertically as long as it is otherwise clearly visible. Registration stickers must also be clearly visible at all times. 625 ILCS 5/3-413(b).

A prior law barred covering the license plate even with only clear plastic. A recent Illinois court decision upheld a defendant’s aggravated DUI conviction because the court held that the stop was legal under the prior law.

At least one court decision, however, has sided with the defendant under the current license display law. In People v Flores, an officer stopped a defendant because he believed the defendant’s license plate frame was illegal. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that Mr. Flores’s car dealer-type license plate frame did not violate the law. As a result, the court overturned the defendant’s conviction.

If you are charged with DUI or other offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney may review your case for your best possible defense. If the police acted improperly, the attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the evidence from any search. Even if this is not possible 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.

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 THE POLICE ASK FOR MY DRIVER’S LICENSE DURING A TRAFFIC STOP?

The answer is yes.

Recent U.S. and Illinois Supreme Court cases have held that a request for a driver’s license is reasonable regardless of the reason for the stop.

Before 2005, police could not change the nature of a traffic stop without articulating specific facts to support the change. For example, an officer could not stop you for running a red light and then bring in the canine unit to sniff your car for drugs without having a reasonable basis to believe you had drugs. After the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Illinois v Caballes, however, an officer can change the reason for the stop as long as the stop is not unduly prolonged. In other words, the officer cannot make you wait around for the dogs long after the officer has completed paperwork for the stop.

In People v Cummings, the question was whether the officer unduly prolonged a stop by asking for a driver’s license after the original reason for the stop had vanished. (In this case, the police were looking for a woman with an outstanding warrant and the driver turned out to be a man.) Following recent U.S. Supreme Court law, the Illinois Supreme Court held that such a request is permissible regardless of whether that request directly relates to the purpose for the stop. An interest in officer safety entitles the officer to know whom he is dealing with. The stop, however, must be lawfully made–the officer must still have probable cause to stop you.

If you are charged with DUI or another offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney may review your case for your best possible defense. If the police acted improperly, the attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the evidence from any search. Even if this is not possible 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.

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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