WHY DO I HAVE TWO DUI TICKETS?

It was bad enough you were arrested for DUI. But now that you are looking at your tickets, you realize you have two tickets for DUI.

Are you in twice as much trouble? What does it mean?

Under Illinois DUI law (625 ILCS 5/11-501), there are seven different types of DUI. An officer can charge you with a combination of driving while over the legal limit of .08 (the 501A-1 ticket) AND driving while under the influence (the 501A-2 ticket).

The state can prove driving over the legal limit through a breathalyzer, or less commonly, a blood test. On the other hand, you can be found guilty of driving while under the influence without scientific testing.

The good news is that even if you have been charged with two counts of DUI, you will not serve two separate sentences. If convicted, the same sentence will cover either or both counts together.

If you are charged with any type of DUI offense, you are best advised to contact an experienced DUI attorney early on to preserve any defense that you may have. As with most criminal charges, the state must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Was the breathalyzer recently certified according to law? Does the police video show that your driving was steady, and you did well on field sobriety tests? Did the police have probable cause to stop you in the first place?

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 WHY DO I HAVE TWO DUI TICKETS?

CAN THEY SUSPEND MY LICENSE BECAUSE OF A DUI DURING THE QUARANTINE?

The answer is yes.

While many offices of the Secretary of State are closed for business, the DUI unit in Springfield is still at work. Fighting a suspension during the quarantine has become more difficult as court dates are postponed. However, the situation is not hopeless.

If you are charged with DUI, your license will generally be suspended for at least six months, starting on the 46th day after your arrest. It is important to act quickly. Your lawyer may still be able petition the court to block that suspension. If successful, you could still save your driving privileges along with substantial fees and inconvenience.

If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Did the police have probable cause to stop you? Did they issue the appropriate warnings at the appropriate time? Can the state prove you were driving? How well did you do on any field sobriety tests? 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.

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 THEY SUSPEND MY LICENSE BECAUSE OF A DUI DURING THE QUARANTINE?

HIGH SPEED CRASHES MEAN BIG TROUBLE

The roads were clear so you zoomed ahead. But your high speed made it difficult to brake when the car in front of you stopped suddenly, and so you crashed. The police came to the scene, and you are now facing criminal charges.

What can happen to you? What can you do?

If you were involved in a high speed accident, you may be looking at serious consequences. Even if there were no witnesses, you can be charged with misdemeanor speeding (625 ILCS 5/11-605.1) based on accident reconstruction evidence. If you were speeding in a school or construction zone, you can be charged with a special speed limit offense (625 ILCS 5/11-605). If someone was seriously injured or killed, you may well be looking at reckless homicide charges (720 ILCS 5/9-3). If you left the scene of the accident, you can be charged with that (625 ILCS 5/11-401).

Depending on the offense, you can be hit with anything from a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by 6 months in jail to a Class 1 Felony, punishable by 4 to 7 years in prison.

If you are charged with any of the above offenses, contact an experienced defense attorney immediately. Do not try to talk your way out of your situation. More often than not, your attempt at a reasonable explanation will instead help the state to convict you.

An experienced attorney can review your situation in order to present your defense in its most favorable light. Is there video of the accident? Did the police witness anything personally? Were you actually at fault? Are the conclusions made by the state’s accident reconstruction expert reasonable? Is it worth hiring your own? Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt?

Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, your situation may not be hopeless. 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 blogs:

2014 Update to Illinois Speeding Law

Update to Illinois Speeding Law: The Crackdown Continues

“I Didn’t Know I Hit Anyone”: Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Illinois

Reckless Homicide 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.)

Posted in moving violations, speeding, traffic offenses | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on HIGH SPEED CRASHES MEAN BIG TROUBLE

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY DUI CASE WHILE COURT IS CLOSED?

Courts throughout Illinois are closed due to the COVID-19 quarantine. Any guess about when they will open is merely a guess at this point.

If you already have a case in court, rest assured that it will be dealt with in time. If anything, many defendants will benefit from the delay. For one thing, older cases tend to weaken in time. The arresting officer may not recall the details of the event clearly. Witnesses may not be available to come to court at a later date or may have moved on to other matters.

Many court watchers believe that the quarantine could motivate prosecutors to offer more lenient terms for plea bargains, if only to lessen the growing backlog of cases. If so, this will be done strictly on a case to case basis.

If you have been arrested during the quarantine, do not hesitate to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can still handle certain matters during the quarantine such as reviewing the conditions of your bond for work reasons or by serving a subpoena for evidence before potentially beneficial evidence is lost or destroyed. The court is still holding bond hearings, preliminary hearings and arraignments—all early procedures in a felony matter.

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 Uncategorized | Comments Off on WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY DUI CASE WHILE COURT IS CLOSED?

CAN I BE STOPPED BY POLICE FOR TINTED CAR WINDOWS?

You binge-watched your favorite season of CSI, downing the last of your favorite craft beer. Making a run to the store, the police stopped you. They said your new car’s tinted windows were too dark. The smell of alcohol then led to your DUI arrest.

Can the officer stop you because of the tinted windows? The answer is, under certain circumstances, yes.

In Illinois, you may have tinted car windows, but there are restrictions. Violating those restrictions may give police probable cause for the stop.

Under 625 ILCS 5/12-503(a-5), no window treatment or tinting may be applied to the windows immediately adjacent to each side of the driver seat except:

  1. Where none of the windows behind the driver’s seat allow less than 30% light transmittance, you may use a non-reflective tinted film that allows at least 50% light transmittance, with a 5% variance observed by any law enforcement official metering the light transmittance.
  2. Where the windows behind the driver’s seat allow less than 35% light, the tinted film must allow at least 35% light transmittance with a 5% variance.

  3. Where the manufacturer originally installed a non-reflective smoked or tinted glass on the windows behind the driver’s seat, you may use a non-reflective tint that allows at least 50% light transmittance, with a 5% variance.

A recent Illinois case examined whether an officer must use a meter to measure the light transmittance. In People v. Dunmire, the officer did not use a meter but testified that he could not see anything through the defendant’s windows. The court upheld the stop stating that an officer need not be able to describe what windows within the above percentages look like, as long as the officer can describe (1) the general differences between legally and illegally tinted windows and (2) the facts that made the particular window appear illegally tinted under the particular circumstances in which it was viewed.

Prior to 2010, Illinois law did not permit any tint on the front driver’s or passenger’s
side windows.

If you have been charged with a DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Were your windows within the legal limits? If so, an attorney may be able to bring a motion to suppress the evidence from the police stop.

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.)

Posted in probable cause | Tagged | Comments Off on CAN I BE STOPPED BY POLICE FOR TINTED CAR WINDOWS?

CAN POLICE SEARCH MY CAR WITHOUT A WARRANT?

The answer is they can if the search falls under the “automobile exception” to the warrant requirement.

Because a driver could easily take off with the evidence before police have time to get a warrant, police are allowed to search your car as long as probable cause exists to believe that your car contains evidence of criminal activity. The search may include any interior compartment of the vehicle that might reasonably contain the contraband.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Did the police have the necessary probable cause or did they search outside the limits of the suspected contraband? If so, an attorney may be able to bring a motion to suppress the results of any unlawful search.

Note that determining whether a police search violated the law is very fact specific, and different judges can weigh those facts very differently. An attorney who is familiar with the courthouse may be better able to present your particular situation.

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: People v. Davis

(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 | Comments Off on CAN POLICE SEARCH MY CAR WITHOUT A WARRANT?

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE STATE LOSES THE VIDEO OF MY ARREST?

During an arrest for DUI, the officer or the squad car may be filming you. In some cases, this video can help your case by showing you did not appear impaired.

But what happens if that video disappears? Can the charges against you be dismissed? The answer is it depends.

If the evidence was materially exculpatory—in other words, important to proving you were not guilty, the court may sanction the state for failing to produce such evidence. This could include forbidding the officers from testifying as to matters that might have been shown on the video. However, if the evidence was merely potentially useful, you must show the state acted in bad faith in order to prove a violation of your due process rights.

But the inquiry does not end there. The state may also be sanctioned if you can show that it violated a discovery court rule or a court order issued under such a rule. In one Illinois case, the court granted the defendant’s motion to overturn the automatic suspension of her driver’s license when a video was not viewable because of technical difficulties (People v. Aronson).

However, a recent Illinois decision held that the state would not be sanctioned if a video never existed. In People v. Althoff, the squad car video from a DUI stop seemed to be missing. The defendant petitioned the court to dismiss his case or at least prevent testimony about matters that would have been shown on the video. The defendant admitted, however, that the state had not acted in bad faith. The court did not find a violation since there was no evidence that the video ever existed or that it would show much of value to defendant’s case. Therefore, the state had not violated either due process or a discovery rule.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Can any evidence against you be excluded? If so, an attorney may be able to petition the judge to keep that evidence out at trial. In limited cases, this could result in your case being dismissed.

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 WHAT HAPPENS IF THE STATE LOSES THE VIDEO OF MY ARREST?

DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF CANNABIS—THE NEW ILLINIOIS LAW

With the legalization of marijuana in Illinois, now is a good time for a reminder that you can still be charged with DUI if you drive while impaired.

Under Illinois law, you may not drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle if within two hours 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 other bodily substance. (See 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(7)).

Of course, the problem is knowing how much is too much.

Police departments across Illinois are still seeking the best way to test if you have reached that limit. For example, Carol Stream Police are investigating mobile detection machines that use mouth swabs. (See With no standard way to test drivers for THC, suburban cops test an option). Decatur police are going to try blood tests. (See Decatur police will use blood tests to check drivers for pot use.)

In the absence of a standardized device such as the breathalyzer, police usually rely on specialized drug impairment training.

If you are charged with DUI based on marijuana or other drug, contact an experienced DUI attorney. An attorney can first try to contest the police stop. Furthermore, the state must prove you guilty of all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Can the state prove you were impaired? 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.

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 Uncategorized | Comments Off on DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF CANNABIS—THE NEW ILLINIOIS LAW

CAN I BE ARRESTED FOR DUI FOR SLEEPING IN MY CAR?

One night, you went out with colleagues after work. The drinking ran a bit late, and it had been an especially stressful day. As you drove home, you could barely keep your eyes open, so you pulled over and fell asleep in your car. Suddenly, an officer knocked on your window, startling you awake. The officer asked you to get out of the car, and before long you were charged with DUI.

Is the arrest legal? What can you do?

Before an officer stops you, he or she must have a reasonable suspicion of wrong doing. In People v. Shelton, officers responded to an anonymous 911 report that a driver was asleep in the intersection. The court found the stop was justified. An officer is not required to watch your car to personally observe suspicious driving. Furthermore, sleeping in an intersection causes a hazard and suggests the decreased vigilance and impaired judgment associated with drunk driving.

But if you took the trouble to legally park rather than blocking the road? The officer may still have valid grounds to approach you. Under the police community caretaking function, an officer can check to see if you need help. Once the officer smells the alcohol and notices the “bloodshot eyes” and “slurred speech,” you are on your way to the police station.

While you may have trouble fighting the stop itself, your case is not necessarily a lost cause. The state must still prove all the elements of the offense—that you were in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while impaired—beyond a reasonable doubt. In Illinois, sitting in a car with the keys anywhere within reach is enough to establish actual physical control. However, the state may still have difficulty proving you were impaired if, for example, the police video shows you did well on field sobriety tests, you had no trouble exiting the car and you spoke clearly to police.

If you have been charged with DUI or similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Can the state prove your keys were in the car or that you were impaired? Even if 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 probable cause | Tagged | Comments Off on CAN I BE ARRESTED FOR DUI FOR SLEEPING IN MY CAR?

WHEN CAN A COURT DISMISS MY DUI CASE?

DUI cases do not routinely get thrown out of court short of a plea agreement or trial. But the court can dismiss your case if it meets certain criteria.

A court may dismiss a case on any of the following bases:

  1. Your case did not go to trial within the time limits of the speedy trial act.
  2. Prosecution is barred by double jeopardy.
  3. You received immunity from prosecution.
  4. You were indicted by a grand jury that was not properly selected or certified, resulting in substantial injustice to you.
  5. The court does not have jurisdiction or the county is an improper place of trial.
  6. The charge against you does not state an offense. For example, the indictment omits an element of the offense charged.
  7. The indictment against you is based on testimony from an incompetent witness, for example, the witness is mentally ill.
  8. You are incorrectly named resulting in substantial injustice to you.
  9. Bail was not set or you were not indicted by a grand jury within certain time limits.

Apart from the above statutory grounds, the court may dismiss a case where there is a clear denial of due process which prejudices you. (See People v. Atchison and People v. Lopez.) Be aware, however, that whether a judge thinks your case meets the legal grounds for dismissal can be very fact specific and opinions can differ widely between judges. Therefore, an attorney who knows the courthouse may be better able to present your case in its most favorable light before your particular judge.

If you have been charged with a DUI or traffic offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. If your case meets one of the above criteria, an attorney may be able bring a motion before the court seeking dismissal.

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 725 ILCS 5/114-1.

(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 WHEN CAN A COURT DISMISS MY DUI CASE?