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Illinois DUI defense lawyersBlood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is a measurement of the alcohol in your body’s system. Register high enough, and you could be looking at a DUI charge. The following information can help you learn more about the BAC limits for different drivers, how your BAC at the time of arrest may impact your case, and what a criminal defense attorney can do for you.

General BAC Limits in Illinois

Most Illinois drivers will fall under the general BAC limit of 0.08 percent. However, a driver may still be charged with a DUI if they show signs of impairment with a BAC of 0.05 or higher. Such signs could include anything from slurred speech, failure to pass a sobriety test, or swerving within one’s lane. However, these issues may not necessarily be connected to intoxication.

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerIllinois state law broadly defines theft. Unfortunately, because of the unspecific regulations, many citizens are left with answerless questions. In short, the definition of theft is taking ownership of anything that does not belong to you. The description applies to anything from stealing a car to failing to sign out of a rental home on time. When it comes to theft charges, questions are natural. Here are a few of the more frequently voiced concerns. Remember: to find answers specific to the details of your case; you should contact an attorney directly. The answers here are generalized and may not apply to your situation.

How Are the Varying Degrees of Theft Differentiated?

Theft breaks down into several levels dependent on the dollar amount of the item or items taken. In Illinois, the breakdown is as follows:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois traffic lawyerNo two truck driving jobs are alike. For some, you work with one company delivering goods to homes within the same city. On the other side of the spectrum, some truckers deliver goods thousands of miles away to other states and countries. Although recent technological innovations make navigating the roads easier, truckers must still abide by federal and state traffic laws. What happens when these truckers get a citation for a traffic violation in Illinois if this is not their home state?

How Do Truck Drivers Handle Speeding Tickets?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), one of the five most ticketed truck driving behaviors is speeding between six and ten miles per hour over the speed limit. Commercial drivers have the opportunity to pay the citation or to plead “not guilty” and potentially go to court. If you would like to maintain your career and continue earning money, take it to court to fight the citation. Trucking companies use a Safety Measurement System (SMS) to implement and record safety regulations. Most violations are ranked and assigned severity points based on the amount over the speed limit. A driver becomes less employable as this number rises. The table is as follows:

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Illinois traffic violation attorney, Illinois defense lawyerCommercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders go through a difficult process to obtain their licensure. Once achieved, drivers are held to a higher standard within the community, both on and off the clock. Whether in their company vehicle or their personal vehicle, their attention to their driving must be impeccable for risk of losing their license, jeopardizing both their employment and their future. What are some of the top mistakes made by CDL holder’s that can result in traffic violations and put their licensure in danger?

Attempting a Difficult Parking Spot to Avoid the Extra Walk

Did you know that most trucking accidents occur at truck stops? Some of these do involve truckers trying to pull into a closer and tougher parking spot than utilizing the ample space available a few feet away. Large trucks are not known for having a small turning radius, and because of this, you should allow yourself the proper room for maneuverability to avoid a collision. While one accident may not lose your licensure, several just might. Remember that truck and trailer tandem on different tracks and the repair of someone else’s vehicle may be close to $15,000.00, dependent on the amount of damage.

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Posted on in DUI

Illinios DUI lawyer, Illinois defense attorneySummer is a time to live footloose and fancy-free. The days are longer, and the schedules are slower enabling a significant portion of the population to sit back, kick their feet up, and have a cold alcoholic beverage. If you add on to the relaxation the fun holiday parties that occur throughout the season and extended vacations, you have yourself the perfect setting to create lasting memories for years to come. No one wants this happy time of year tainted with the memory of a DUI. It is best practice to avoid a DUI whenever possible.

Tip #1: Know Your State Laws

Illinois harshly punishes those convicted of DUI. DUI is driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substance. State law makes it illegal to drive while impaired by medication or a controlled substance, or:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerFor most Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders, the license is not just something they earn “for fun.” Although they may also find the position enjoyable, and many do, CDL holders go to great lengths to obtain their licensing, and it becomes a part of their finances as well as their way of living. The validity of their license directly impacts their ability to obtain and maintain employment. Drivers are held to a higher standard, and many traffic violations that may result in a lighter punishment under other circumstances can disqualify a CDL holder, such as leaving the scene of an accident, for example. A license disqualification interrupts the earning capacity of the driver, leaving many seeking other forms of gainful employment.

Why Do People Leave The Scene?

It is never a good idea to abandon the site of an accident, for any number of reasons. First off, regardless of driver’s license class, it is against the law, potentially resulting in jail time, hefty penalties, and loss of licensure. However, you must also consider the impact of the other driver and their medical condition, your insurance rate hikes, and you open yourself up for a personal injury lawsuit. A general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to stay where you are. However, many do choose to flee, citing the following reasons:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerIn Illinois, a conviction of driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a misdemeanor. This fact is not saying that Illinois does not take DUI seriously, as there are approximately 35,000 people arrested annually for DUI-related charges. A misdemeanor conviction is also not getting away easy, as the state estimates that the total cost of a first-time DUI totals approximately $16,000.00 after the loss of licensure resulting in loss of income, insurance rate increase, fines, and other court costs. However, not all cases are created equal, and occasionally, clients are surprised to discover their charges are more severe than anticipated, that they face felony DUI charges instead. How does that happen and what does that mean for the future, if convicted?

First-Time DUI?

Even if this is your first experience with a DUI, it is possible to be facing felony charges. The prosecution must prove that the driver had a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or was impaired to have any leverage in court. These factors alone may result in the initial misdemeanor charge. However, if your situation involves another more severe factor, your case may jump to aggravated DUI, which is a felony charge. Factors that can make the difference include:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerSummer is here: the days are long, the nights are short, and the temperature is perfect for relaxation. This time of year, time seems to slow down, enabling society just to enjoy the ride of life. However, this slowdown leads to a particular element of restlessness, leading individuals to find their means to fill the time, often leads to loitering, peace disturbances, and other minor crimes. Unfortunately, many of these behaviors are rolled together into a single criminal charge of disorderly conduct. There are several classifications of disorderly conduct, including infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. The legal definition of the charge is vague, encompassing many actions that many do not realize are in direct violation of the law.

Infractions and Misdemeanors

Disorderly conduct is an all encompassing charge for a broad range of behavior. The simple form of the definition states that laws are broken when personal behavior alarms or disturbs another person or provokes a break in the peace. This description leaves many citizens unaware that their choices may cause legal trouble. You do not have to cause harm or destroy property, only behaving in a manner that may annoy someone else falls under this catch-all charge. Examples of behaviors that may result in a lower level infraction or misdemeanor include:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerSometimes you have no other choice but to pick up your children after drinking. Consider this scenario: you and your spouse are out to enjoy an anniversary celebration meant to last all night. You went the extra measure to hire a babysitter for the evening. Perhaps you even left emergency contact information for local friends or family in the area in case of an emergency. After midnight, you get a dreaded phone call that one of your child is throwing up and has a fever and none of the emergency contacts are answering their phones. Luckily, you have only had a few alcoholic beverages, and you feel confident in your driving abilities enough to go to get them. However, on the return trip home with a car full of the smells of a sick child, you get pulled over by an officer having a bad night. The mixture of the odors in the car lead the police to believe you may be intoxicated and to top off the night, you fail the sobriety test, leading to a DUI. What happens next?

A Rise in Prevalence

There is growing trend of incidents involving DUI and minor-aged passengers. Alarmed by the increasing number of incidents, state lawmakers in many states created laws specifically surrounding drinking and driving with children present. In Illinois, the threshold for being a minor in this incident is 16. If convicted, the following penalties may apply in addition to standard DUI penalties, provided the child is unharmed:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerThere are many hardworking Americans who own trucks as their daily drivers. Some use it for off-road adventures, others for the feel of having something larger, and another portion uses it for work and project related towing. However, especially in a few of the newer trucks, you may need CDL licensure to operate your vehicle and avoid a traffic violation, regardless of the purpose of use. While each state regulates many of their requirements, federal regulations are in place for many interstate highways and close to the border.

Does Your Truck Require a CDL?

Most major vehicle manufacturers now produce a one-ton dually for those requiring the durability and ability to pull a house, if necessary. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 requires many drivers of these vehicles to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License, even if it is not being utilized for commercial purposes. The guidelines for those requiring a CDL include:

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Posted on in DUI

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerThe breathalyzer as we know it today was born in 1954 by a man named Robert Borkenstein and has undergone little alteration since it’s introduction. An estimated 86% of the adult population of the United States claims they have consumed alcoholic beverages at least one time in their life, many of which went on to drive home. Breathalyzers use technology to detect the amount of alcohol on the breath of these drivers, which results in DUI allegations. This form of sobriety test has many pitfalls, and for this reason, researchers, inventors, and scientists all over the world scramble to create the next alcohol detection device.

The Current Device

The current tool is a guideline and no means is it perfected to 100% accuracy. Everyday items such as mouthwash and cough syrup are known to register a false positive in some machines. By breathing into the device, the device is estimating the amount of alcohol on your breath.

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerCameras accompany many red lights all throughout Chicago and the surrounding area. These cameras are not there simply as a deterrent for breaking traffic laws, they take a picture of the license plate of the vehicle. If the motion-activated camera detects a vehicle operating illegally, it takes a quick snapshot. The photograph is reviewed, and a citation is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. To avoid taking time out of a busy schedule to go to court, many individuals just pay the fine via mail and get on with their lives. However, as with any traffic violation, there may be a defensive strategy for you.

How the Camera Works

Each camera is equipped with a radar detector which senses oncoming vehicles. Once the attached light turns red, the camera takes a photo as well as a video of the back end of the car. A central agency is supposed to review the image for clarity and then pass it along to City’s Department of Revenue for processing. Throughout Chicago, there are cameras for:

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Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorneyWhat happens behind closed doors stays there, unless that behavior infringes upon the rights of another individual to be free from harm. Once accusations of domestic abuse between two people begin, these matters become the business of the state, local police officers, and your attorney. Unfortunately, many of these allegations stem from other agendas of the alleged victim. In many domestic abuse cases, the accusations are unfounded or a self-serving attempt to discredit a spouse in a child custody case. Each case varies from one to the next and utilizing the knowledge and experience of an attorney is advisable as one misstep in this delicate situation can drastically alter your future.

Possible Defenses

It is never advisable to go into a domestic violence case without having the proper legal backup. If you attempt and fail in court, not only is your reputation at stake, but there is the possibility of years of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines, up to $25,000.00 in some cases, not to mention the potential for losing any custodial rights to your children. However, there are a few common defenses that have proven successful in previous court cases given the right circumstances. These are:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shoplifting_20170428-021830_1.jpgShoplifting is one of those crimes in which anyone may have a proclivity. From a juvenile doing it to impress their friends to a single parent trying to provide for their family or even an elderly adult who mistakenly forgot the item at the bottom of the cart, shoplifting charges are not bound by age, race, or gender. Mainstream media has somewhat glorified the act by making it the subject of many Hollywood movies and song played on the radio, perhaps leading to an increase in shoplifting cases. However, the state of Illinois still believes stealing is not a victimless crime and anyone convicted of such allegations face harsh penalties. Fortunately, other alternatives are possible to conviction, given agreeable circumstances and utilizing the assistance of a proven attorney.

Traditional Consequences

Penalties accompanying shoplifting convictions depend primarily on the retail value of the item or items taken. The retail value is the cost at which the store sells the item, traditionally the full price regardless of a current sale or discount. If the item or items when added together amount to less than $300.00, the charge is a Class A misdemeanor, whereas over the $300.00 threshold is a Class 4 felony. If the offense occurred as a group effort, the total between all included parties determines the severity of the charges. Specifically, even if your portion of the theft amounted to the cost of a pack of gum, the charges also include the cost of the items taken by your alleged accomplices. Maximum penalties include:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois DUI lawyerNo person can work 24-hour days, seven days each week, every week of the year. CDL holders are no different. Although they work seemingly tirelessly to keep our nation’s economy running smoothly, delivering truckload after truckload of our daily necessities, truck drivers have home lives as well. Also, just like a large portion of the world population, occasionally on their time off, they would like to sit down to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. However, if a CDL holder is off-duty and gets pulled over in their personal vehicle, the results vary from other DUI charges.

Commercial Vehicle vs. Non-Commercial Vehicle

If a driver is not working, perhaps with a day or two off, truck drivers often drive their personal vehicle. Does it make a difference if you were caught driving while using your work vehicle versus using other transportation? The company whose vehicle is in operation during the finding of a DUI may have harsher punishments for the accused, however, to the state of Illinois, it makes no difference. A CDL is a type of licensure used for highly trained individuals, and to maintain the prestigious license, those holding them have a higher standard to uphold in all aspects of driving. Conviction of a "major" driving offense such as drunk driving potentially automatically disqualifies a CDL, which then, in turn, removes commercial driving privileges.

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Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois defense lawyerIllinois notoriously has some of the harshest DUI laws and penalties in the country. If convicted of driving under the influence, your license is automatically taken away through the use of statutory summary suspension. The suspension period varies dependent of how the initial stop progressed. If this is the first DUI on record, there may be programs to assist the outcome. Despite dismal odds, there are defensive options available, given the right circumstances.

What Is a Statutory Summary Suspension?

Unlike a revocation which denies driving privileges indefinitely, a suspension denies this allowance for a predetermined length of time. A statutory summary suspension specifically pertains to DUI. If a chemical test results in a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher of alcohol, other drugs, or intoxicating compounds, your driving privileges are suspended for six months to a year. After the allotted amount of time passes, your license is eligible for reinstatement after the payment of a $250.00 fee if this is the first offense. All reinstatement fees after the first offense are $500.00. If you opt to refuse the chemical testing, Illinois has an automatic suspension of 12 to 36 months.

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Illinois felony lawyer, Illinois defense attorneyWhen a crime is severe enough to constitute a felony conviction, it means that the penalty is punishable by at least one year in prison. Alternatively, a misdemeanor is less than one year in prison. Felonies break down into several different classes, ranging from one to four, Class X, and first-degree murder depending on the severity of the accused crime. Previously, punishments came based solely on the crime at hand and did not take into consideration other factors, including a previously spotless record. The Unified Code of Corrections changed at the end of 2016 with the passing of SB 3164, effectively altering the prison terms of those convicted of Class 3 or 4 felony.

The Punishments

During the sentencing of a crime, the presiding judge takes into account all parts to a story. With each criminal classification, there are parameters set in place that limits the authority of the judge ensuring that no penalty is too lenient or too harsh. The parameters for Class 3 and 4 felonies are as follows:

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Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorneyA background check is a compilation of various records within the past of a single individual or an organization, including criminal, financial, and commercial records. Employers utilize government agencies and private companies to dig up as much information about a potential employee during a pre-employment process. Companies implementing the extra precautionary measures reduce the risk of hiring a potentially dangerous individual to work in schools, hospitals, courthouses, and financial institutions where safety and security are paramount. These records show not only convictions but also arrests that did not result in a conviction, severely hindering even an innocent individual from finding gainful employment. As of 2017, new measures are in place to assist those interested in the expungement of their record.

Explaining Expungement

Even if someone was arrested but was found innocent or otherwise not convicted of the accusations, the arrest remains on the record for all interested parties to find. Illinois law grants that those who find themselves in such a position may file a petition with the court to have their records expunged. Qualifying arrests, felonies, and convictions have the right to request that the court destroys the records or seal them, so they are unable to be seen. Examples of crimes that may qualify for expungement include:

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Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyerStingRay devices are used prevalently throughout the state of Illinois by local and state police departments. These powerful devices, also known as “cell site simulators” or “IMSI catchers” mimic a standard cell phone tower. They are useful in tracking devices by sending out signals to a cellular device requiring it to give up its current location. However, with this technology comes the rise of privacy concerns as the device also transmits data back about many bystanders. The problem motivated Illinois legislators to alter laws to protect the rights of Illinois citizens.

Why Are They Used?

The StingRay is only about the size of a suitcase but can intercept, collect, access, transfer, or forward the data received or stored by hundreds or thousands of cell phones within any given neighborhood. Although they are not used throughout the entire United States, the cities and states that have them have been able to assist those in need. For instance, in October the technology helped in locating a 6-year-old girl in Arizona. When the device is in active mode, a compatible device is forced to disconnect from the actual service tower cell site and connect with the simulator, forcing all devices in the area to identify their location with the use of radio waves.

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Illinois DUI lawyer, Illinois defense attorneyReceiving a conviction of driving under the influence creates potentially irreparable impacts on an individual's driving record and reputation. From additional points on a driving record to your name visible on the local police blotter or news station, the side effects alone are a reason to avoid a DUI. In Illinois and around the country, police use portable breath tests, also known as breathalyzers, to create probable cause for the charge. Hundreds of unsuspecting motorists blindly agree to the procedure without question. However, when your future is in jeopardy, knowing your rights and when they are being infringed can prevent a problem before it begins.

Usage of Portable Breath Tests

Impaired drivers put themselves and others at risk for an accident. Understandably, police and lawmakers want to keep citizens safe, however, in many cases, their interests overshadow the rights of many of our clients. Many field officers inappropriately assess frightened drivers when no probable cause existed initially, giving them further reason to make an arrest if the result returns as positive. It is important to understand that the number on the breathalyzer does not mean a guaranteed conviction. PBTs do not measure alcohol directly. What they measure is methyl group compounds, which can indicate drinking alcohol in a rough estimation. However, a breathalyzer can register as alcohol with the presence of:

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