LAKE COUNTY INTRODUCES ALCOHOL-SENSING ANKLE MONITORS

In order to deter repeat offenders, Lake County has introduced alcohol-sensing ankle monitors for DUI defendants. The monitors work by testing the defendant’s perspiration for alcohol every 30 minutes.

Under the new program known as SCRAM, repeat DUI offenders may be required to wear the ankle monitors as a condition of bond or as part of their sentence for up to 180 days. The monitors may also be required in offenses where alcohol played an underlying role such as domestic violence or assault.

SCRAM devices have already been used in Cook County. Under certain circumstances, an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a significantly better sentence if you agree to wear a monitor of this type.

If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its possible defense. Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? 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 Alcohol Sensing Monitors the Latest Tool against Repeat DUI Incidents in Lake County.

(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.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on LAKE COUNTY INTRODUCES ALCOHOL-SENSING ANKLE MONITORS

WHEN DOES A TRAFFIC STOP BECOME AN ARREST?

You were driving your car when police stopped you for a broken taillight. The officer started out friendly enough but then began to suspect you of some type of wrongdoing. Now the officer has asked you to get out of your car.

Has your stop become an arrest? The timing of this question can affect whether your attorney has grounds to petition the court to throw out the evidence against you.

When your stop became an arrest or seizure depends on whether you as a reasonable person would feel free to leave. Courts look at a variety of factors to determine when a seizure has occurred including: (1) the threatening presence of multiple officers, (2) the display of a weapon by an officer, (3) some physical touching of the person, and (4) the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance might be compelled. The court can also look at other types of coercive police behavior.

In People v Lee, the court found that the officer’s yelling “Hey, no talking!” to defendants was enough to find an arrest had occurred. The court said a reasonable person would not feel free to leave if he was not even allowed to talk to his friend. As a result, the stop was no longer consensual.

If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its possible defense. Perhaps the evidence against you seized before you were under arrest. Even if the police acted legally 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.)

Posted in DUI evidence | Tagged , | Comments Off on WHEN DOES A TRAFFIC STOP BECOME AN ARREST?

CAN YOU GET AN ILLINOIS DUI REDUCED TO A RECKLESS DRIVING?

You have just been arrested for your first DUI. You are mortified and afraid that you may be fired or might have a hard time finding a new job. Can you get your DUI reduced to a reckless driving? Is there any advantage in doing so?

Under limited circumstances with the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to get the charges reduced in exchange for pleading guilty. To do so, you will need to convince the state’s attorney that you deserve the break. The state may look at your driving or criminal background, your family or employment history, and the severity of the current offense. Was there an accident? If you took the breathalyzer, how far were you over the legal limit? Did you argue with the officers?

Generally, there is less social stigma attached to a conviction for reckless driving than there is for DUI. This may help you find or keep a job. Additionally, fines and other penalties may be lower for reckless driving. However, you will likely still need to attend alcohol treatment classes.

If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its possible defense. Did police have probable cause to stop you? Did they follow correct testing procedures? 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.

(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.)

Posted in DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE | Tagged , | Comments Off on CAN YOU GET AN ILLINOIS DUI REDUCED TO A RECKLESS DRIVING?

ILLINOIS DUI FIELD SOBRIETY TESTING: HOW WELL DID YOU FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS?

If you are stopped for an Illinois DUI, the officer will likely ask you to perform field sobriety tests. Refusing these tests increases the length of your driver’s license suspension but may improve your chances of winning at trial. If you take the tests, however, a lot may depend on to how well you follow instructions.

In Illinois, the officer often starts with the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) to test how your eyes follow a pencil. The HGN is not often used as evidence at trial. However, in People v Tatera, the state was allowed to use the HGN test to show how the defendant disobeyed the officer’s instructions by failing to keep his hands out of his pockets and at his side.

The HGN is usually followed by the walk-and-turn. In that test, you must count and walk nine steps in a straight line, heel to toe, turn using small steps, then count and walk nine paces back. Apart from keeping to a straight line, a court looks at how well you followed instructions. Did you only take nine steps? Did you use small steps when turning?

The next, and usually final test, is the one-leg stand. While counting to 30, you hold your leg six inches off the ground with your arms at your side. Did your arms stay at your side? Did you skip numbers when counting?

If you are really impaired, it’s probably better not to take the tests. However, if you already took the tests, all is not necessarily lost. An excellent performance might help win a not guilty verdict. But even if your performance was a disaster, an experienced DUI attorney can help. Did the police follow proper procedure? If not, the attorney may be able to petition the court to throw out any evidence that was wrongfully obtained. As a last resort, 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.

(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.)

Posted in breathalyzer/field sobriety test, DUI evidence, DUI testing | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on ILLINOIS DUI FIELD SOBRIETY TESTING: HOW WELL DID YOU FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS?

DID I CONSENT TO DUI TESTING?

Under the Illinois implied consent law, you are deemed to have consented to drug or alcohol testing if you are arrested for violating the Illinois Vehicle Code as evidenced by a Uniform Traffic Ticket. (You may still refuse testing, although there may be extra penalties.) A recent Illinois court has held, however, that you must be arrested before an officer can ask you to take the tests.

In People v Hayes, the defendant accidentally killed a small child when the child rode his bike in front of defendant’s car. An officer then took defendant to the hospital for drug testing. However, defendant was not arrested for DUI until two days later. The court held that the implied consent law did not apply because defendant was not under arrest at the time of the tests, and thus the results of the tests should be suppressed.

Even without an arrest, a blood or breath test may still be valid if you voluntarily consented to the tests. In the above case, however, the court did not find the defendant’s consent to be voluntary. A uniformed police officer had taken the defendant to the hospital for testing. The officer remained with him at all times, even in the restroom where defendant provided a urine sample. Defendant’s vehicle was towed from the scene. The court held that under these circumstances, a reasonable person would not feel free to leave the hospital or refuse the tests.

If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. If police did not follow proper procedures, an attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the evidence from your arrest. Even if the police acted legally and 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.

(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.)

Posted in breathalyzer/field sobriety test, DUI evidence, DUI testing | Tagged , | Comments Off on DID I CONSENT TO DUI TESTING?

MY MOUTH WAS BLEEDING. COULD THAT CHANGE MY BREATHALYZER RESULT?

The police stopped you for suspected DUI. While you agreed to take the breathalyzer, you were so nervous that you accidentally bit your tongue. You could even taste the blood in your mouth. The breathalyzer registered over the legal limit, but you knew you didn’t have that much to drink. Is the breath test reliable?

The answer is maybe not.

Before giving you a breathalyzer test, the officer must wait 20 minutes and must check the inside of your mouth for foreign substances before and after that period. Certain substances, such as blood, can lead to an artificially high result.

In People v Ernsting, the court held that the defendant’s breath test was unreliable because of blood in her mouth. The officer had neglected to check her mouth as required. As a result, the court suppressed the breathalyzer and granted the defendant’s petition to rescind the initial suspension of her driver’s license.

If you have been charged with DUI, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its possible defense. Did police follow correct testing procedures? If not, an attorney may be able to challenge the results of your breath or field sobriety tests. Even if the police acted properly and 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.

(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.)

Posted in DUI evidence, DUI testing | Tagged , | Comments Off on MY MOUTH WAS BLEEDING. COULD THAT CHANGE MY BREATHALYZER RESULT?

THE ACCIDENT WASN’T MY FAULT. CAN I STILL BE CONVICTED OF AGGRAVATED DUI?

You were driving home late one night after partying at a friends, when a car suddenly pulled out of an alley. You could not avoid collision and the other driver was severely injured. The state has now charged you with Aggravated DUI.

Can they convict you?

The answer depends on the facts of your case. The state, however, must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your driving was the proximate cause of the accident. (Proximate cause is a cause closely connected with a result and is established if a reasonable person could have forseen the harm as a likely result from his or her conduct). If the accident would have happened regardless of any impairment, you have a good chance of being found “not guilty.”

In People v Mumaugh, the defendant struck a young girl who was walking down the centerline of a highway on a dark night. The girl wore black clothes and had her back to defendant. The defendant was charged with Aggravated DUI as he had cannabis in his system at the time of the accident. The court reversed defendant’s conviction because the state had not proven that he was the proximate cause of the accident. There was no evidence to show defendant’s driving had been improper, or that he could have expected to see a pedestrian in the middle of a highway on a dark night.

If you have been charged with Aggravated DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its possible defense. Did the police follow proper procedures in taking evidence against you? Does the state have the evidence it needs to prove all the elements of your offense? Even if police acted properly 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.)

Posted in aggravated dui | Tagged , | Comments Off on THE ACCIDENT WASN’T MY FAULT. CAN I STILL BE CONVICTED OF AGGRAVATED DUI?

ROADSIDE DRUG TESTING MAY BE COMING TO A MUNICIPALITY NEAR YOU

As the opioid crisis continues to alarm, the village of Carol Stream became the first municipality in Illinois to experiment with roadside drug testing. The tests use a mouth swab to screen for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines and opiates such as heroin.

The new testing is portable and avoids a time-consuming trip to the hospital. Currently, the test may only be used to establish probable cause, much like a portable breathalyzer, and is not admissible at trial.

The new testing comes in response to the growing incidence of drug-related crashes. For the first time in 2015, the number of drug related crashes exceeded crashes involving alcohol. The new tests are currently being tried in Michigan, California, Colorado and Kansas. If roadside drug testing proves successful and accurate, it may become more prevalent in Illinois.

If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its possible defense. Testing for impaired driving must comply with certain criteria. Perhaps the breathalyzer device was not properly certified or you fall outside the guidelines recommended for field sobriety testing. Even if the police followed proper procedure and 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.

(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.)

Posted in DUI evidence, DUI testing | Tagged | Comments Off on ROADSIDE DRUG TESTING MAY BE COMING TO A MUNICIPALITY NEAR YOU

CAN POLICE USE A DOG TO SNIFF YOUR CAR?

If police stop you for a traffic violation, they don’t need a reason to change the reason they stopped you. For example, they can stop you for speeding but then bring in a narcotics dog to sniff your car. However, if the dog sniff unduly prolongs the stop, a court may, in limited circumstances, suppress the evidence from the search.

But how do you know if your stop was unduly prolonged? The answer can be very fact specific. Courts focus on the reasonableness of the delay.

Generally, the stop cannot be prolonged past the time it reasonably takes to complete the mission of writing the ticket for the initial violation. A stop that exceeds the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the fourth amendment.

In People v. Paddy, the officer had finished the written warning but returned to the driver to ask for proof of insurance. Because the car was registered in another state, Illinois law did not require such proof. Therefore, the court said, the officer’s unjustified return to the car unduly prolonged the stop.

If you have been charged with a traffic violation or related offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its possible defense. If your stop was unduly prolonged, an attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the evidence from your stop. In limited situations, this could result in the dismissal of your case.

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.)

Posted in DUI evidence, search of vehicle, traffic offenses | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on CAN POLICE USE A DOG TO SNIFF YOUR CAR?

CAN THE STATE USE THE RESULTS OF A FORCED BLOOD OR URINE TEST? IT DEPENDS ON WHO’S DOING THE FORCING

In most cases, the police cannot forcibly draw your blood or urine without a warrant. But what if it’s the doctor who’s forcing the tests as part of your treatment plan?

According to a recent Illinois appellate case, the state can use forcibly drawn tests, provided the hospital is not acting as an agent of the police. In People v Sykes, the defendant was knocked unconscious after driving her car into a wall. The hospital believed defendant was in an altered mental state, and that the doctor would need to know what drugs were in her system in order to provide treatment.

When the defendant refused to submit voluntarily to a urine test, the nurse asked for police help in restraining defendant so she could be catherized. The court held that the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures, only applies to state action and not to private parties. Since the police had not asked the hospital to perform the tests, and the hospital would have forcbily catherized defendant anyway, the tests were not a result of state action. Thus, they could be used in evidence.

If you have been charged with DUI, contact an experienced law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its possible defense. Perhaps the police lacked probable cause to stop you or perhaps any evidence against you was improperly seized. Even if the police acted properly and 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.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles,

Posted in DUI evidence, DUI testing | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on CAN THE STATE USE THE RESULTS OF A FORCED BLOOD OR URINE TEST? IT DEPENDS ON WHO’S DOING THE FORCING