CAN MY PAST ILLINOIS DUI HURT ME EVEN IF IT HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO?

When you were very young, you got caught driving while intoxicated and pled guilty to DUI.  That was more than 20 years ago.  Now you have been arrested for a second DUI.

Does the first one still count?

The answer is yes.  The DUI law does not limit the amount of time the state can look back in order to enhance your punishment for a second-time DUI or upgrade you to an Aggravated DUI for a third or later offense.

Is there anything you can do?  First contact an experienced DUI attorney.  The attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  While you can’t undo the earlier DUI, you may be able to fight the current one.  Did the police have probable cause to stop you?  Can the state prove you guilty of all the elements of the DUI beyond a reasonable doubt?  Can the state prove you were driving?  The state has to prove you were the driver as well as that you had control of the car.  How was your driving? Did you handle yourself well during the police stop? Did you perform well on any field sobriety tests?  If not, can your performance be explained by something besides alcohol or drugs? Is the breathalyzer, if any, below or not very much over the legal limit?  Even if the police followed procedures 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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DUI WITHOUT A LICENSE

Driving without a license is a bad idea.  Driving without a license while intoxicated is even worse.  Your DUI can then be upgraded to an aggravated offense and a Class 4 felony if you did not possess a driver’s license or any type of driving permit and you drove while intoxicated.

You can also be convicted of aggravated DUI if you had a license, but that license was suspended or revoked due to a reckless homicide or alcohol-related offense. Besides having a Class 4 felony DUI, you can also be convicted of driving on a suspended license and sentenced to a mandatory 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service.

If you are charged with aggravated DUI, the state must still prove you guilty of all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  If you were driving without a license, the state must prove (1) you had actual physical control of a vehicle, (2) while impaired and (3) you didn’t have a valid license or permit.  If you are charged with DUI while license suspended or revoked, the state must prove (1) you had actual physical control of a vehicle, (2) while impaired and (3) the that your license was suspended or revoked at the time you were stopped.  For driving on a suspended license, the state’s job is pretty simple:  the state need only prove (1) you were driving and (2) your license was suspended or revoked.

Even if arrested for DUI without a license, there may still be hope. An experienced attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  Did the officer have probable cause to stop you?  If the officer arrived at the scene of an accident, can the state prove you were driving rather than a third party?  Does the video from the arrest show you were impaired or did you drive safely and handle yourself well with officers?  Even if 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.

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 YOU REFUSE TO GIVE A BLOOD OR URINE SAMPLE WHEN THERE IS A VALID SEARCH WARRANT?

According to a recent Illinois Appellate Court decision, the answer is no. Further, you could end up with additional criminal charges.

In People v. Hutt, an officer obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s blood and urine after arresting him for DUI.  The defendant refused to give the samples.  The state then charged the defendant with obstruction of justice.  Under one definition of that offense, you obstruct justice when you knowingly destroy, alter, conceal or disguise physical evidence, plant false evidence or furnish false information with intent to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any person.  See 720 ILCS 5/31-4(a)(1).

The Court held that defendant’s conduct constituted obstructing justice. First, the court found that the blood and urine samples met the definition of physical evidence. Second, defendant’s actions “concealed” evidence. The court reasoned that a defendant can obstruct the legal process by failing to act as well as by taking obstructive actions.

If you are charged with obstruction of justice, DUI or a similar criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately.  An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense.  As with most criminal defenses, the state must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  Did you knowingly conceal or disguise physical evidence?  Perhaps you were not aware of the search warrant.  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.

(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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DOES SPEEDING PROVE I WAS DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE?

The answer is not necessarily.

If you were pulled over for DUI based on speeding, then the police likely have the probable cause they need to stop you, and you would not be able to fight the stop itself.  But the good news is that speeding doesn’t necessarily equal impaired driving.

To convict you of DUI, the state must prove that 1) you drove and 2) your driving was impaired by drugs or alcohol.   If you otherwise drove safely, performed well on field sobriety tests and spoke clearly and intelligently to police, you may be able to win a not guilty verdict on your DUI.

If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately.   The attorney can request copies of the state’s evidence including any body cam or squad car videos of your stop and testing.  An attorney can review the state’s evidence to see if you have a chance of winning at trial.  If the evidence is clear that you’ve had a few too many, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may still 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 I CLEAR MY OLD ILLINOIS ARREST WARRANT WHEN I LIVE OUT OF STATE?

Many years ago you were young and reckless.  You got arrested in Illinois.  You wanted to pretend your case didn’t exist, so you skipped out on your court date and eventually moved out of state.  Older and wiser, you worry that a routine traffic stop will send you back to Illinois in handcuffs.

Now, you are ready to deal with your past, clear the warrant and deal with the underlying case.  Can you put it behind you?

The answer is very likely yes.  An attorney can bring your open warrant before your original court to ask a judge to vacate or set it aside.  You would likely have to appear in person for a hearing on this procedure, but upi may even be able to make later court appearances on zoom.

Once the warrant is set aside, you now have to settle the underlying offense,.   An attorney can help negotiate a plea agreement or take your case to trial.  If you have been gone a long time, the evidence against you may have grown cold.  Therefore, it may be more difficult for the state to try your case. In rare cases, if the offense is very old and relatively minor, the judge might even be willing to dismiss it.

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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WHAT IS FLEEING OR ATTEMPT TO ELUDE POLICE IN ILLINOIS?

When the officer behind you turned on his signal lights, you knew you were in trouble.  So you decided to ignore the signal and try to get away.  The officer caught you anyway, and now you have a fleeing and eluding charge on top of other offenses.

What is fleeing and eluding?  What can you do?

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-204,  you commit fleeing and eluding if an officer has signaled you to stop, you willfully fail to obey, increase you speed, extinguish your lights or otherwise flee or attempt to elude the officer.  The officer must be in uniform, and if the officer is driving a vehicle, the vehicle must flash its lights when they are used with a horn or siren.

Fleeing and eluding is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable up to one year in jail.  The Secretary of State must also suspend your driver’s license for up to six months for a first offense and up to one year for a second.    Third or higher offenses are a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison.

If you are charged with fleeing and eluding or similar offense, contact an experienced criminal or traffic law attorney immediately.  An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  As with most crimes, the state must prove you guilty of all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  Was the officer in uniform?  Did the officer display the proper signals?  Was your failure to obey willful or was there a legitimate reason you failed to stop?  Did you really try to get away or were you looking for a safe place to pull over?  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 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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WHAT IS AGGRAVATED LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, you have a legal duty to remain at the scene of an accident, provide information and render aid.  Failing that, you have a duty to report it.

Leaving the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury is a Class 4 felony.  If your accident resulted in personal injury and you failed to report it within half hour of either the accident or your discharge from a hospital, your offense becomes a Class 2 felony. Your offense is a Class 1 felony if it resulted in death.

You may also be subject to testing for alcohol or drugs in which case you may also be charged with DUI.

If you are charged with aggravated leaving the scene, contact an experienced criminal or traffic law attorney immediately.  An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  As with most criminal offenses, the state must prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  An attorney can probe for weaknesses in the state’s case.  Can the state prove you were the driver rather than someone else in the car? Did you know that an accident had occurred?  Was it physically impossible for you to report the accident within the time limits?  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 bargain 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.

Reference:      625 ILCS 5/11-401

(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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DO POLICE NEED A BLOOD TEST TO PROVE I DROVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA IN ILLINOIS?

The answer is not necessarily.  Although blood testing for marijuana is available, it is unlikely your blood would be tested if you did not end up in the hospital due to an accident.

However, there are other ways that the state can seek to prove you were under the influence of cannabis.  Police have specialized field sobriety tests for marijuana that are separate from the field tests for alcohol.  For example, the Romberg test examines if you can maintain your balance with your eyes closed.  Another example is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test which tests whether your eyes bounce up and down when following an object from side to side. This later test is often used for alcohol DUI.

If you are charged with a cannabis-related DUI or similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately.  An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  Was the officer certified as a drug expert?  Are there other reasons that you might have performed poorly on the test?  Was any cannabis recovered from you or the car?  Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming and nearly impossible to challenge, 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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OBSTRUCTING A PEACE OFFICER IN ILLINOIS

In criminal or traffic law, the outcome of your case often comes down to how your particular judge sees all the facts in your particular situation.  One example of this can be found in People v. Hall, which involved obstructing a peace officer.

In that case, an officer had received notice of a possible domestic disturbance or kidnapping.  The officer stopped defendant and asked for his identification, which the defendant refused. Officers then questioned a woman in defendant’s car. Defendant swore at police, yelling for them to get away from his car.

To convict under 720 ILCS 5/31-1(a), the State was required to prove that (1) defendant knowingly obstructed a peace officer, (2) the officer was performing an authorized act, and (2) defendant knew the officer was a peace officer. The law’s focus is on the tendency of a defendant’s conduct to create an obstacle that hinders the officer in performing authorized duties.

The State argued that defendant’s actions in failing to obey the officers’ lawful commands went beyond being merely argumentative. Defendant ignored multiple orders to stop his walking towards the vehicle where the possible kidnap victim was located. Thus, the state claimed that these events hindered the officers’ investigation into whether defendant was the person involved in the possible kidnapping.

The trial court found the evidence compelling enough to convict the defendant. However, the appellate court disagreed. While defendant was uncooperative and argumentative, such conduct did not necessarily violate the law. Further, the appellate court did not find that defendant’s refusal to provide identification had hindered the officer’s investigation. Thus, his conviction was reversed.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney who is familiar with your courthouse may be able to present your facts in the light most likely to persuade your particular judge.

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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WHAT IS RECKLESS DRIVING IN ILLINOIS?

A charge of reckless driving can be a kind of catch-all offense for police. It can cover everything from excessive speeding to swerving around corners to weaving in and out of traffic. Although less serious than a DUI, it can still have significant consequences.

In Illinois, the most common definition of reckless driving is someone who uses or drives a vehicle “with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”  (See 625 ILCS 5/11-503.)  A secondary definition is using an incline such as a railroad crossing or hill to make your car  airborne.

Reckless driving in Illinois is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If your driving injures a child or a school crossing guard, however, you can be charged with a Class 4 Felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in jail.

If your driving causes great bodily harm or permanent disability to someone, you can be charged with Aggravated Reckless Driving, also a Class 4 Felony. If great bodily harm occurs to a child or school crossing guard, then the Aggravated Reckless can be enhanced to a Class 3 Felony, punishable by 2 to 5 years in jail.

If you are charged with reckless driving or a similar offense, contact an experienced traffic law attorney immediately. An attorney can help determine the most effective strategy for your defense. As with most crimes, the State must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  Was your driving really willful and wanton, or were you swerving to avoid an accident? Did anyone witness your driving, or did the officer arrive after  an accident?  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.

(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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