CAN POLICE SEE THE RESULTS OF MY HOSPITAL BLOOD TEST?

You got into an accident after drinking at a party. You were taken to the hospital where your blood was drawn. The blood test clearly shows you were well over the legal limit. Can the police get those test results or are you protected by patient-physician confidentiality?

In general, Illinois law prohibits your doctor from disclosing any information
acquired while attending you in a professional capacity that is necessary for the doctor to treat you. However, there are certain exceptions.

Physician-patient confidentiality does not apply to blood tests performed while you are receiving medical treatment in an emergency room and can be used under certain circumstances to prosecute you for DUI or reckless homicide. The results of blood, other bodily substance or urine tests performed to determine the alcohol or drug content in your system when receiving medical treatment in the emergency room for injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident must be disclosed to police upon request.

According to a recent Illinois case, your blood test results may be admitted in a civil proceeding—the petition to overturn your driver’s license suspension—in order to prove the police officer had reasonable grounds to arrest you. See People v. Quigley

If you have been charged with DUI, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can help determine the best way of handling the evidence against you. 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.

See 735 ILCS 5/8-802.

(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 SEE THE RESULTS OF MY HOSPITAL BLOOD TEST?

DOES ADMITTING I WAS DRUNK CONVICT ME OF DUI?

When the officer pulled you over, you were very compliant. Perhaps a little too compliant. You readily told the officer you’d had too much to drink.

Is your DUI defense over before it begins?

While statements like “I am drunk” certainly do not make a DUI defense lawyer’s job easy, such admissions, by themselves, are not necessarily enough to convict you.

To prove DUI, the state must show the commission of a crime, known as the corpus delicti, and the identity of the person committing it. Under the corpus delicti rule, your confession alone cannot convict you without corroborating evidence. Such evidence is not required to show that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt but need only tend to show the commission of a crime.

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 best possible defense. For most DUIs, your attorney can review the squad car video of your arrest. If your behavior seemed under control, you did well on field sobriety tests and/or you drove safely, an experienced attorney may overcome any incriminating statements that you might have made.

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. Sanchez.

(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 DOES ADMITTING I WAS DRUNK CONVICT ME OF DUI?

MY DUI WAS IN CHICAGO, BUT MY CASE IS IN SKOKIE

You live in Chicago, a Chicago officer stopped your car in Chicago, so you fully expected your court would be in Chicago. But to your surprise, your case is assigned to the Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie at 5600 Old Orchard Road.

Why is that? What does it mean for you?

Due to Cook County cost-saving measures, two branch courthouses in Chicago are now closed. As a result, some felony DUIs are now being sent to Skokie. The good news is there are many fine judges in Skokie who will give your case a fair hearing.

In Skokie, your preliminary hearing will likely be heard in Room 105. At that hearing, the court determines whether the state has enough probable cause to proceed on your case. If so, your case will be transferred to another Skokie courtroom. If not, your case could be dismissed.

As in most cases, it helps to have an attorney who is familiar with and respected by the judges and the state’s attorneys at the court where your case is being handled. Knowledge of the courthouse can be important in determining the best strategy for your case.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Did the police have probable cause to stop you? Can the state prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were too impaired to drive? 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.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on MY DUI WAS IN CHICAGO, BUT MY CASE IS IN SKOKIE

CAN THEY MAKE ME TAKE A BREATHALYZER IN COURT?

You stayed up late drinking the night before court. You thought you would sober up in time, but that didn’t happened. Can the court force you to take a breathalyzer?

The answer is absolutely. In Illinois, you are required to appear at each and every court date for your DUI. If the judge believes you showed up for court under the influence of alcohol, you can be legally ordered to take a breathalyzer on the spot.

Any test would be conducted outside the courtroom. If you fail, however, the judge could revoke your bond. Although you would not lose your right to trial on the original DUI, the judge may be less inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt when interpreting your behavior on any video or other evidence the state may present against you.

When coming to court, it always make sense to be as well-groomed as possible in order to make your best impression on the court. Shorts, ripped up jeans, low cut blouses, t-shirts with provocative slogans should all be avoided. Dress as you would for a job interview rather than a trip to the grocery store.

If you have been charged with DUI, contact an attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Was police questioning proper? 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 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 | Tagged , , | Comments Off on CAN THEY MAKE ME TAKE A BREATHALYZER IN COURT?

WILL MY DUI BE DISMISSED IF THE OFFICER FAILS TO APPEAR IN COURT?

You are at your first court date for a DUI. You glance nervously about the room and are surprised not to see your arresting officer. Will your case be dismissed if the officer fails to appear?

In Illinois, the answer is almost always no.

When you are charged with a minor traffic ticket, a judge could dismiss your ticket if the officer is not present in court. The reason is because the original court date for a minor offense is considered to be the date set for trial.

A DUI, however, is a Class A misdemeanor. As a result, your first court date is not for trial. Instead, your attorney will file their appearance before the court and ask to see the evidence against you. Barring extraordinary circumstances, it is highly unlikely that the officer’s failure to appear at that first court date will end in dismissal.

While your case won’t be dismissed, the officer’s absence may yet benefit you. It may help you win a hearing to overturn the suspension of your driver’s license, especially if your attorney has timely filed the paperwork necessary to contest the suspension. Therefore, it is essential to contact an attorney as soon after your arrest as possible in order to preserve this possibility.

If you have been charged with DUI or similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. Was police questioning proper? 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 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 DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, suspensions | Tagged | Comments Off on WILL MY DUI BE DISMISSED IF THE OFFICER FAILS TO APPEAR IN COURT?

WHAT IS IMPROPER LANE USAGE UNDER ILLINOIS LAW?

You may enjoy hearing the song “The Long and Winding Road,” but you don’t exactly like driving on one. Because you had trouble staying in your lane, an officer pulled you over for Improper Lane Usage. Having smelled alcohol on your breath, you are now charged with DUI.

What exactly is Improper Lane Usage? Did it give the officer probable cause to stop you?

Whenever a road is divided into two or more clearly marked traffic lanes, you must drive entirely within one lane as nearly as practicable. Further, you may not move from your lane until you have first ascertained that you can do so safely. (See 625 ILCS 5/11-709(a)). If you have no obvious reason for straying outside your lane, an officer may stop you without considering the issue of practicability.

The law does not define whether a “lane” includes the dividing line. But a recent Illinois court found that an officer lacked probable cause to stop a driver whose tires touched, but did not cross, either the yellow center or white fog lines. Therefore, a car does not change lanes until it crosses the line. In any case, the court said, the road’s twists and turns provided an obvious reason for why the driver touched the lines. (See People v. Mueller).

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 best possible defense. Did the officer have probable cause to stop you? If not, an attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the evidence from your arrest, which in limited cases could result in dismissing the charges against you.

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 WHAT IS IMPROPER LANE USAGE UNDER ILLINOIS LAW?

CAN YOUR SHOES CONVICT YOU OF DUI?

Wearing the wrong shoes can affect the way you walk, give you back pain and damage your performance on field sobriety tests!

If you are stopped for DUI in Illinois, an officer will likely ask you to perform two standard tests: 1) the walk and turn, and 2) the one-leg stand. For the walk and turn, you must take nine steps along an often imaginary line, turn using small steps, then walk nine steps back again. For the one-leg stand, you must hold your leg about six inches off the floor while counting to 30.

Either test can be skewed by your shoes. Shoes that are too tight, too loose or too high could throw off your balance and thus your performance. Your testing can also be affected by knee injuries or foot problems. An experienced judge may recognize the limitations you suffered due to your footwear.

If you have been charged with DUI or a similar crime, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. If your driving, general appearance and breathalyzer are otherwise satisfactory, an attorney may be able to discredit the results of your field sobriety tests in order to win a not guilty verdict.

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 CAN YOUR SHOES CONVICT YOU OF DUI?

CAN YOU BE STOPPED BY POLICE BASED ON A TIP?

            You were driving home one night when you were surprised to see police sirens behind you.  You weren’t doing anything wrong, so why were they stopping you?  Turns out someone phoned in a tip that you were weaving out of a parking lot.

            Can police stop you based on that phone call? 

            The answer is yes, provided the tip has sufficient indications of reliability. To determine reliability, a court looks at the totality of the circumstances including the tipster’s veracity, reliability and basis of knowledge. If the tip is reliable, the court then decides whether there was a reasonable suspicion of an ongoing crime.

             A court may consider the following:  Was the tipster anonymous or identified?  A call to a police emergency line is not considered anonymous, and calls regarding drunk driving require less corroboration. Was there enough information to be sure that your car was the one identified by the tipster? How much time elapsed between the time of the tip and when police located your car? Was the tip based on contemporaneous eyewitness observations? Was the tip sufficiently detailed to reasonably infer that the tipster actually saw an ongoing motor vehicle offense?

        In People v. Lopez, the court rejected a police stop based on an anonymous tip about “a DUI driver heading outbound on Pulaski from 43rd Street.” Because the tipster did not report seeing any specific instances of violations or misconduct, the tip was neither reliable nor did it create a reasonable suspicion of an ongoing crime.

            If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. Under certain circumstances, an attorney can petition the court to challenge the reliability of the tip and in turn, the basis for 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.        

See also:  People v Meo.

<p><i>(BesidesSkokie, 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.)</i>

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on CAN YOU BE STOPPED BY POLICE BASED ON A TIP?

WHAT IS PROBABLE CAUSE FOR DRUNK DRIVING IN ILLINOIS?

Before a police officer can arrest you for DUI, he or she must have probable cause.

But what does that really mean?

According to People v. Williams, probable cause exists when “the totality of the facts known to the officer at the time of the arrest are sufficient to lead a reasonably cautious person to believe that the arrestee has committed a crime.”

Probable cause can be established when the officer observes that you smelled of alcohol, slurred your speech or had red glassy eyes. However, the officer’s opinion by itself may not be enough. Generally, the officer must corroborate his or her opinion with other observations such as your speeding, weaving, erratic driving, driving on the wrong side of the road or being stuck in a ditch or in the mud.

While you may have an innocent explanation for why you drove off the shoulder of the expressway, the police officer may still act on his or her well-founded conclusions about your impairment. Probable cause is based on all the facts, the court reasoned, and a reasonably prudent person would be aware of a defendant’s incentive to make up an innocent explanation in order to avoid arrest and prosecution.

If you have been charged with a DUI or 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? Even if the police acted lawfully 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 probable cause | Comments Off on WHAT IS PROBABLE CAUSE FOR DRUNK DRIVING IN ILLINOIS?

WHAT IS DRUNK DRIVING IN ILLINOIS?

We all know that drunk driving is something you shouldn’t do. But legally speaking, what exactly is it? How does a court decide when you crossed the line and became too drunk to drive?

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2), a person should not drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. If you have a blood alcohol content of .08 or above, you are presumed to be impaired, although you may be able to challenge that presumption if your driving and performance on field sobriety tests are otherwise stellar.

According to Illinois case law: “A person is under the influence of alcohol when he or she is less able, either mentally or physically, or both, to exercise clear judgment, and with steady hands and nerves operate an automobile with safety to himself and to the public…. A conviction of DUI does not require proof that the defendant was completely incapacitated by alcohol. The prosecution need prove only that the defendant was impaired by alcohol to the extent that it rendered him incapable of driving safely.” See People v. Williams.

Still wondering what that really means? To a large extent, it all depends on the specific facts of your case—as well as your judge. Some cases are clear cut. You were weaving and you drove off the shoulder. Others are less so. You missed a stop sign. Does that mean you were impaired? Some judges might say yes, others no.

While never able to guarantee success, an experienced DUI attorney who is familiar with the courthouse can present your case in its best possible light before your particular judge. Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney 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, DUI evidence | Tagged , | Comments Off on WHAT IS DRUNK DRIVING IN ILLINOIS?