CAN I BE CONVICTED FOR DUI BASED ON MY FLASK?

You were stopped for failing to signal a turn.  When you opened the window, the officer spotted a flask on your passenger seat, smelled alcohol and asked you to take field sobriety tests, which you refused.  Can you be convicted because of the flask?

The answer depends on many factors.  If the flask was empty, you may have a defendable case as long as there is little other evidence of DUI.  But how empty is empty enough?  If the flask is completely dry, you may not have a problem provided your driving and demeanor were steady.  But what if the flask had a little alcohol at the bottom?  A not guilty verdict may depend on how your particular judge sees the whole picture.

If you have been charged with DUI or related offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your situation for your best possible defense.  How strong is the evidence against you?  Does the entire case depend on the flask?  If there is some alcohol remaining, can the state prove your driving was impaired?  Did you pass any field sobriety tests? Did the police have probable cause to stop you in the first place? If not, an attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress any evidence from the stop.

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 CAN I BE CONVICTED FOR DUI BASED ON MY FLASK?

CAN I GET A PERMIT TO DRIVE IF I HAVE A DUI IN ILLINOIS?

The answer is generally yes, if it is your first DUI or a second DUI that occurs more than five years after the first.

In the past, a driver could petition the court for a special driving permit that allowed you to drive to particular locations at particular times.  Today, drivers can ask for a Breath Activated Interlock Ignition Device (BAIID).  This operates like a breathalyzer which enables you to start your car.  A BAIID enables you to drive anywhere at any time provided you are sober.  However, only the Secretary of State can issue these devices and they do entail monthly fees and considerable discipline.  For example, the device reports any failures to the Secretary of State and even use facial recognition technology to prevent others from blowing into the BAIID for you.

While most drivers do not enjoy the device, they are so glad to have the freedom to drive that they quickly become used to having one.

If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney may be able to petition the court to overturn the suspension of your driver’s license in which case a BAIID might not be necessary.  If you do not qualify for a BAIID, an attorney can help you petition for a hardship permit, although these are extremely hard to obtain.  An attorney may also review your case for its best possible defense.

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 suspensions | Comments Off on CAN I GET A PERMIT TO DRIVE IF I HAVE A DUI IN ILLINOIS?

CAN POLICE ARREST ME WITHOUT A WARRANT FOR EVIDENCE FOUND IN MY CAR?

On your way home from a friend’s, an officer stopped you for speeding.  While issuing your ticket, the officer noticed a baggie of pills on the passenger side floor.  Because of the pills, you were ordered out of the car and eventually arrested for possession of narcotics.

Can they do that? Depending on the circumstances, the answer is yes.

An officer may seize property in plain view if: (1) the officer is lawfully located in the place where he or she observed the object; (2) the object is in plain view; and (3) the object’s incriminating nature is immediately apparent. “Immediately apparent” means there is sufficient evidence to justify the reasonable belief that the defendant has committed or is committing a crime.  While a mere hunch is insufficient, an officer may draw inferences based on his or her own experience in deciding whether probable cause exists. The officer need not know for certain that the item is contraband or evidence of a crime.

If instead your pills had been in a labelled prescription bottle, the bottle’s incriminating nature would likely not be immediately apparent.  In People v. Molnar, the court found that an unlabelled bottle containing Xanax along with a baggie was sufficiently incriminating as the Xanax was not in its original container.

If you have been charged with a DUI, traffic or criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. The legality of a police search can be a highly fact-specific question.  An attorney who is familiar with your judge can best try to argue your situation in its most favorable light.  You may even be able to suppress the evidence from your stop.

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 search of vehicle | Tagged | Comments Off on CAN POLICE ARREST ME WITHOUT A WARRANT FOR EVIDENCE FOUND IN MY CAR?

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T “JUST GET IT OVER WITH” WHEN YOU ARE CHARGED WITH AN ILLINOIS DUI

Being charged with DUI is nobody’s idea of a good time.  It can be scary, stressful, expensive and a full of hassle.  The temptation to enter a guilty plea and “just get it over with” is overwhelming.  But it’s a temptation you are wise to resist for a number of reasons.

For one, you may have a fightable case.  An experienced attorney should review your case for all of your options. By experienced attorney, we mean one who has taken cases to trial rather than entering a “one size fits all” guilty plea. Avoid attorneys who also “just want to get it over with.”

An attorney should review all the evidence in your case before deciding whether a guilty plea is in your best interests.  Did the police have probable cause to stop you?  Did they follow correct procedures in administering any field sobriety tests or breathalyzer?  Did you perform well on those tests?  Do you seem cool and collected on the squad car video?  Did your driving show any signs of impairment?

“Well,” you say, “I just want to keep driving and go on with my life.”  Understandable. But recognize that the hassle factor does not end with a guilty plea.  You will have to take and pay for alcohol counseling classes and a victim impact panel.  You may also be fined up to $2,500.  In addition, you will pay monthly reporting fees for the term of your sentence.  And a DUI is not eligible for expungement or sealing, so it will stay on your police record.

Furthermore, although you swear you will never again get in a car after drinking, that is exactly what many of my clients do.  The penalties for a second DUI are stiffer than a first.  For one thing, you may lose your license for a longer time.  And while a first time DUI is eligible for supervision—which is technically not a conviction–supervision is not an option for any future DUI.

In some cases, an attorney may advise that your best option is a guilty plea.    Perhaps you were weaving all over the road, falling down on the walk-and-turn test or talking as though you just woke up from a coma.  If so, your attorney may help convince the state why you deserve a more favorable plea agreement than you would get otherwise.

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 | Comments Off on WHY YOU SHOULDN’T “JUST GET IT OVER WITH” WHEN YOU ARE CHARGED WITH AN ILLINOIS DUI

DO I NEED TO COME TO COURT FOR AN ILLINOIS TRAFFIC TICKET?

 

Zoom has made court appearances for your traffic ticket easier than ever. Even if you are out of state, you can join court on your phone or laptop, although it remains to be seen if zoom court will continue after the state has fully reopened.

But what if you still can’t make it to court, even via Zoom?  For most traffic tickets depending on the type of offense, an attorney can appear on your behalf.   An attorney may be able to get the ticket dismissed, or at least, enter a plea agreement on your behalf.   You will need to give the attorney written authorization to proceed in your absence.  (Note that these procedures apply to Cook County and may differ in your particular jurisdiction.)

If one of your tickets is for not having proof of insurance, and you had insurance or got late compliance insurance, you can provide the proof to your attorney along with the authorization.

If you have a DUI or particularly high speeding ticket, you will still need to appear yourself. For a high speeding ticket, an attorney can present mitigation in hopes of working out a more favorable outcome than you could on your own.

While you may be tempted to simply pay your ticket by mail and avoid the hassle of going to court, this is not a good idea.  A ticket resolved by mail is often generally reported as a “conditional discharge” or conviction, which can increase your car insurance premiums.  (This does not apply to red light or speed camera tickets, which are issued against the car and not the driver.)

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.)

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on DO I NEED TO COME TO COURT FOR AN ILLINOIS TRAFFIC TICKET?

CAN YOU CHALLENGE THE BLOOD ALCOHOL TEST RESULTS FROM YOUR DUI?

After an accident, you were taken to a hospital and your blood was tested. The results gave you a blood alcohol result that was way over the legal limit.

Can you challenge the testing? The answer depends on who did the test and why.

If the police did not follow proper procedures in collecting evidence, including blood tests from a hospital, an attorney can file a motion to suppress that evidence. To do so, you must first show that the evidence was obtained through an illegal search or seizure violating your Fourth Amendment rights. The state then has an opportunity to respond.

Similarly, to suppress evidence from a blood draw, you must show: 1) that a search occurred in the form of a blood draw, and 2) that the draw violated the fourth amendment.

The Fourth Amendment does not apply to searches by private individuals. However, a private actor may implicate the Fourth Amendment when that person acts as an agent of the state in light of all the circumstances. This is where it gets complicated because participation by the police, in and of itself, does not automatically mean that the hospital acted as an agent of the state. How much participation is too much? Your attorney will need to argue the facts of your case to show that police crossed the line.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois DUI 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).

Reference:  People v. Mueller, 2021 IL App (2d) 190868

 

Posted in DUI evidence, DUI testing | Tagged , , | Comments Off on CAN YOU CHALLENGE THE BLOOD ALCOHOL TEST RESULTS FROM YOUR DUI?

CAN POLICE SEARCH MY HOSPITAL ROOM WITHOUT A WARRANT?

The answer is generally no.

The Fourth Amendment protects you from warrantless searches in places where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy unless the search falls under an exception to the warrant requirement, such as when an item is in plain view.

But when do you have a “reasonable expectation of privacy?” The answer may depends on the facts of your specific case. Some factors a court considers are: (1) ownership of the property searched; (2) whether you were legitimately present in the area searched; (3) whether you had a possessory interest in the area or property seized; (4) prior use of the area searched or property seized; (5) the ability to control or exclude others from the property; (6) whether you had a subjective expectation of privacy; (7) the nature of the premises where the search occurred; and (8) the intimate or personal nature of the activities that usually take place in that space.

Be aware that different judges may weigh these factors very differently. Therefore, an attorney who has experience with your particular judge may be able to present your situation to that judge in its most appealing light.

In People v. Pearson, police searched the defendant’s hospital room after he had been shot. A nurse took defendant’s clothing from his room and gave it to the police at their request and without defendant’s consent. The court held that defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the hospital room: “The concern for patients’ personal bodily privacy and vulnerability…gave rise to the laws protecting the privacy and confidentiality of medical treatment …. Those same laws were in effect at the time of the events here, supporting a similar conclusion that [defendant]’s expectation of privacy was one that “society is prepared to consider reasonable.”

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Did the officer have a legitimate basis for the search? If not, an attorney can petition the court in hopes of suppressing the evidence from the search.

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 CAN POLICE SEARCH MY HOSPITAL ROOM WITHOUT A WARRANT?

CAN I BE STOPPED FOR PARKING IN A LOT LATE AT NIGHT?

You like driving late at night.  It’s quiet, and it lets you think.  One night, you pulled over to eat in a store’s parking lot.  The store had been closed for several hours, and the area was deserted.  An officer spotted you and came over to investigate.  He smelled alcohol and pretty soon you were out of your car and under arrest. Can they do that?

The answer depends on the facts of your situation.

An officer can see if you need help as part of his or her community caretaking function.  Were you sleeping in the car or did you have a heart attack?  If the officer sees something suspicious, the officer may then question and arrest you. But if the officer stopped you only because you were in the parking lot late at night, then any resulting search or arrest is probably illegal.

To justify a stop, the officer must have observed unusual conduct which lead to a reasonable, articulable suspicion that you have committed or are about to commit a crime.  The officer’s suspicion must be more than a hunch and cannot be justified after the fact.

For example, in People v. Gallagher, the defendant was in a gas station parking lot around 12:45 a.m.  The officer became suspicious due to the gas station’s having been previously burglarized, the lateness of the hour and the two individuals sitting inside the car in a darkened area. The court held that this evidence merely amounted to a hunch and that the lateness of the hour, without more, did not rise to a reasonable articulable suspicion.

If you have been charged with a criminal or traffic offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. Did the officer have probable cause both to stop you and to search your car?  If not, an attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress any evidence resulting from the stop or search.

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 probable cause | Tagged | Comments Off on CAN I BE STOPPED FOR PARKING IN A LOT LATE AT NIGHT?

CAN POLICE CHANGE THE REASON THEY STOP ME?

An officer can stop you for one reason then investigate you for another as long as the stop is not unduly prolonged. Whether a stop was unduly prolonged, and thus illegal, is a very fact-intensive question, which different judges may see very differently.

A traffic stop is unduly prolonged if it takes longer than the time reasonably required to complete the officer’s mission. The mission consists of the stop’s purpose and related safety concerns. Authority for the stop ends when tasks tied to the traffic violation are, or reasonably should have been, completed.  These tasks include checking your driver’s license, criminal history, vehicle registration, proof of insurance and whether you have any outstanding warrants.

The court looks at the duration of the stop but also whether the officer acted diligently in fulfilling the purpose of the stop. Even a relatively quick stop can be unduly prolonged if the officer completed his or her mission.  An officer cannot use any time saved to investigate other issues.

In People v. Sanchez, the court upheld a seven-minute traffic stop where the officer diligently conducted the necessary inquiries and obtained the information necessary to write the warning ticket and was not simply stalling to wait for the narcotics dog.

If you have been charged with a traffic or criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. Did the officer have probable cause to stop you in the first place?  How long did the stop last, and what was the officer doing during that time?  If the stop was unduly prolonged, an attorney can petition the court to try to suppress any evidence resulting from the stop or search, which in limited cases could result in dismissing your charges.

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 probable cause, search of vehicle | Tagged , , | Comments Off on CAN POLICE CHANGE THE REASON THEY STOP ME?

CAN POLICE SEARCH MY CAR BASED ON MARIJUANA WHEN POT IS LEGAL IN ILLINOIS?

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, the answer is yes, especially if combined with other factors.

In People v. Hill, an officer stopped the defendant, then searched his car based on the strong odor of cannabis and a cannabis bud spotted in the backseat.  Defendant argued that because marijuana had been decriminalized, those reasons could not serve as the basis of a search.  The court disagreed.

The court said that a person does not have a legitimate interest in contraband. While small amounts of marijuana had been decriminalized, cannabis was still contraband, even though it might not be evidence of a crime in every situation.  The court said that cannabis was like alcohol, which is lawful in some situations but not in others. Further, the officer did not rely solely on the odor of marijuana as a basis for his search.  The bud in the back seat along with the defendant’s delay in stopping his car provided sufficient probable cause.

If you have been charged with a DUI, criminal or traffic offense, contact an experienced law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  Did the officer have the probable cause needed to stop you?  Was the search of your car legal?  If not, an attorney can petition the court to try to suppress the evidence.

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 probable cause, search of vehicle | Tagged , , | Comments Off on CAN POLICE SEARCH MY CAR BASED ON MARIJUANA WHEN POT IS LEGAL IN ILLINOIS?