February 19, 2018

7 DUI Defense Strategies You Need To Know

When it comes to DUI charges, there is a number of different legal defense strategies that could help you in avoiding the harsh legal consequences. Of course, these strategies and tactics largely vary from case to case and in order to make the most from your situation, you will need to get in touch with a qualified Chicago DUI attorney who develops effective defense strategies for each individual case.

With that said, there are certain key factors and points that the prosecutors will use in order to prove that you were in fact driving under the influence of alcohol. And these may include frantic driving, speeding, the odor of alcohol from your mouth and the vehicle, failed field sobriety tests as well as, of course, Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) and Breathalyzer test results as the best indication of the fact that you were intoxicated when you were pulled over by the law enforcement authorities.

Most people consider that DUI cases have plenty of science backing them up, but in truth, it is all a guessing game and it is pretty much impossible to say for certain that a person was in fact driving under the influence of alcohol. Qualified as well as genuinely experienced legal representatives are going to be able to use all those aspects to your favor and will find the proper way to attack the prosecution and its case in order to help you avoid the most serious sentence. And here are some of the points that could be used by the legal representative in order to destroy the prosecution’s case for good:

  1. Sure enough, we have all seen it numerous time on television as well as in different movies – the police officers reading to the arrested individuals their Miranda rights – the right to remain silent, the right for the attorney and so on. However, not everyone realize just how important these rights actually are. And in case that the law enforcement officers arrested you, did not read you your Miranda rights and continued to interrogate you afterwards, everything that you said will not be viable in court – now that much is absolutely certain.
  2. The main reason why the law enforcement arrested you for DUI may be the fact that he or she smelled the odor of alcohol coming from your mouth. However, the officer will really look a bit funny when he or she will find out that ethanol itself has no odor. It is all about the mixtures in the drinks that are making the alcoholic beverages taste and smell the way we are used to. And if you are still not convinced, you may always buy a couple of non-alcoholic beers and just smell the substance – they do smell and taste like actual beer. Hence, even if there is the smell of alcohol coming from the person, it does not necessarily mean that his or her BAC is surpassing the legal limitations – it just indicates that he or she drank some alcohol before.
  3. The law enforcement officer cannot just pull you over without any rhyme or reason. In order to do that, he or she is going to need probably cause. Perhaps you were speeding, neglecting the traffic lights, maybe your windshield or tail lights were damaged – these are all reasons enough to pull you over, but the officer cannot just stop you for a routine check without any cause. In fact, you have the right for the special hearing that will allow your legal representative to actually cross-examine the law enforcement officer that pulled you over in order to figure out if there was probably cause. If there was not, any gathered evidence, including the BAC test results, will be excluded from the picture. At certain cases this is even reason enough to dismiss the case to begin with. Of course, in most of the cases, the judge will side with the prosecution, but it is still a great chance to question the arresting officer and maybe minimize the sentence.
  4. At times, the law enforcement officers mistake the actions of the drivers for being under the influence of alcohol. In truth, the reason why they were driving in such a manner is because they were on the phone, eating, reading – these are things that are also unacceptable, but nevertheless, the driver was sober and there is no doubt in that.
  5. Furthermore, obvious signs of exhaustion are quite similar to the signs of drunk driving. After all, a tired driver is just as slow in his speech, just as inattentive, his eyes are just as red and he will barely be able to pass the different field sobriety tests that do require plenty of attention as well as coordination. Of course, getting behind the wheel while being exhausted is also a very bad idea and nevertheless, you were sober and it is a fact.
  6. Field sobriety tests are also very much subjective and even if the law enforcement officer who arrested you is claiming that you were performing quite poorly, it does not necessarily imply that you were drunk. After all, all the people are different and some of the tests can easily be failed even by the sober drivers, so the results of those test are subjective and cannot be used as evidence that is definitively pointing out your intoxication.
  7. Even the blood tests may not be as accurate, since you do not know where the sample was stored, was it not contaminated to begin with and just how reliable it may be. An independent examination may allow you to get definitive results and you will therefore need to request one once you were arrested after the BAC test results arrived. Blood samples are just as easily contaminated and there is plenty of room for human factor, so make sure that you take that into consideration when you are arrested as well.

If you need an advice to follow for your DUI case, please call our law office directly or email us using contact form.

January 29, 2018

DUI Probation And The Consequences Of Violation

Driving under the influence of alcohol or any kind of illegal substances in Chicago is never a good idea. You are not only risking your own life – you are also putting other lives in danger. Other drivers, your passengers, the pedestrians – they may all be victims of your ignorance or negligence. And, of course, the legal consequences for driving under the influence are genuinely harsh and severe. This is completely understandable, seeing how the number of DUI accidents is constantly growing.

With that said, if it was your first DUI offense and you have no previous criminal records to begin with and no one got hurt in the process and nothing was damaged, odds are, you can get off with probation. While this is fine and you will not need to go to county jail, there are still plenty of terms and conditions that you will need to follow closely.

Chicago DUI probation usually involves suspension of driving privileges for a certain period of time. Of course, depending on the circumstances, there is also a chance that you will be allowed to drive to work, but you will still be limited in your movements. Furthermore, you have to pay expensive fines. In addition, do not forget that even if you do not lose your license, the cost of your insurance will rise and you will be required to install an ignition interlock device inside the vehicle. This is how the police want you to prove that you are sober while getting behind the wheel. Finally, do not forget that you will probably need to perform community service, attend alcohol or drug awareness classes, and will be required to submit yourself to random drug tests.

Of course, should you violate any of the above-mentioned terms and conditions of the probation, you will not only be susceptible to the initial sentence – there is also a huge chance that you will suffer from elevated legal penalties and may even end up behind bars, in state prison even. Furthermore, there is a big possibility that you will lose your license for good.

DUI probation violation is a serious offense and if you want to minimize the penalties and make the most from your situation in court, it would be highly advisable to get in touch with an experienced Chicago drunk driving lawyer as soon as possible who will dismiss or lessen the charges.

November 20, 2017

Being Drunk in Public And Legal Consequences

Not so long ago, the police were called to a carnival, because a man punched through a window. When the law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, they saw that the man was clearly drunk. His injuries were properly treated and he was then arrested for being intoxicated in public. He was released from custody later that day, once the police ensured that he no longer posed any threat to the public.

Drinking and being intoxicated in public may turn out to be a pretty serious crime. Hence, it is very important to know when it is a crime and, if so, to get in touch with a qualified, genuinely experienced Chicago DUI defense attorney.

The very first requirement is for you to be actually in public in order for it to be considered a public space. And, of course, over the years, courts have managed to come up with a definition of public spaces. This is a place that is freely opened to the public for participation, usage, and entertainment. If you were able to enter that space freely, it is probably a public area and drinking there is prohibited. Here are a few examples of areas that are considered to be public by the law – streets, parks, sidewalks, beaches, bars and restaurants, shopping malls and amusement parks, hotel hallways and lobbies, apartment building hallways, and so on. You will therefore need to be aware that drinking there is illegal.

Furthermore, do not forget that if you are not in your own place, it can also be considered public, even if you are alone. If the place was meant to be used by other people, it does not matter if you are alone or not – the place is considered a public spot as well. Subsequently, it is no wonder that you could be arrested even if you are lying on a sidewalk, as there are plenty of legal reasons to arrest you for that: you were drunk, you were in public, and you were interfering with other people, which are all great reasons to issue a warrant for your arrest.

Once you are arrested for being drunk in public, you are probably going to be taken into custody and to the police station. There they will wait until you will sober up and once that happens, they will release you from custody and will schedule a court date for you to appear. Hence, at this point, it is pretty important for you to get in touch with a qualified legal representative to get the most out of your legal defense strategy.

Though drinking in public is a misdemeanor, it does not necessarily imply mild legal consequences. After all, you may well be required to pay expensive fines and could even be facing some time in county jail. In addition, if you were drunk in public three times in one year, you will face a mandatory jail sentence of 90 days minimum. Still, the court does have the discretion to substitute the sentence with some other kind of option.

One way or the other, though, you will probably want to fight public drinking charges, and this is one of the many reasons why it is crucial to find a good Chicago DUI lawyer to help you. After all, there are a number of legal defense strategies that could help you out. First of all, there could be a lack of willful intoxication and do not forget about the space itself – it could really be private and not a public space. Finally, there is a chance that the police brought you to a public space on their own. There are plenty of different ways to fight this, but you need the right legal representative to do so.

John Wright, ESQ
Law Offices of Chicago DUI Experts

October 11, 2017

Chicago DUI Stops And Probable Causes

In pretty much every single DUI case, the arresting officer should have a probable cause to pull a person over. After all, they cannot go stopping everyone they want to – it is against the law. There should be a reason why the law enforcement officer decided to stop the given vehicle. Perhaps the driver was acting abnormally or against the law. Their driving may have been suspicious or a report may have been issued to pull their  car over to begin with. Furthermore, there should be witnesses to how the driver was operating his or her vehicle. If it turns out that the police officer had no probable cause to pull the driver over, the case will be dismissed, since the officer was not acting in line with protocol.

With that said, if you or your loved ones were pulled over and consequently charged with a DUI, it would be highly advisable to get a copy of the police report so you can determine if the officer had a reason to stop you. It is difficult to believe, but too many cases went to court just because the defendants had no qualified lawyer, who would notice there was no probable cause in the first place. Furthermore, it does not even matter if you were actually driving under the influence – the case will still be dismissed because of all the legal regulations. Hence, plenty of people realize that and experienced attorneys help them figure out if the officer was following the rules.

The funny thing about those DUI stops is the fact that the law enforcement officers are rarely pulling people over just because they have reason to believe that the drivers are impaired. On the contrary – many people, who were eventually charged with a DUI were actually stopped because of some other problem that is unrelated to driving under the influence.

  • It may be car related issue – a tail light out, a flat tire, expired tag on the back, head light out, and so on.
  • The driver broke the law when running a red light, did not stop at a stop sign, speeding and so on.
  • It could take place at a traffic stop point as well.

A law enforcement officer cannot pull you over just because he or she thinks you are drunk. Well, here is a good example – the law enforcement officers sees a man leaving a bar late at night. This is reason enough for them to believe that he is intoxicated. However, at that point, they have nothing to stop him for unless the driver does something strange or illegal. If that driver managed to get home without disobeying any of the road rules and laws, there is absolutely nothing that the police can do about it.

Most DUI arrests happen when people are pulled over for something else. And it could be nothing serious – people were actually pulled over because one of their tail lights was out and the police officer simply wanted to inform them so they can attend to it. However, once a person is pulled over, the officer may suspect that he or she is also operating the vehicle while impaired.

In order to arrest you, the officer will need to make sure that you are actually acting suspiciously. For instance, the officer could smell alcohol on your breath, your eyes may give you away, your movements and even your speech may be off. In addition, driving under the influence does not only imply alcohol. If your behavior is suspicious, the officer may also believe that you are under the influence of drugs and will request a warrant for a blood test ASAP.

While you can politely refuse to submit yourself to the breathalyzer or BAC test, the refusal may turn out badly for you – you will be immediately arrested and you will eventually be required to submit yourself to the blood test during the booking. Furthermore, refusal does not give you any points in court.

One way or the other, if you or your loved ones were arrested for DUI, it is best to hire a qualified, experienced legal representative to help you out in your time of need. He or she will be able to review the probable cause and any evidence against you to build up a perfect legal defense strategy.

The Chicago DUI Experts

September 25, 2017

First Time DUI Offense In Chicago

Every single one of us has made at least one error of judgment and decided that it is fine to drive after drinking only a couple of beers. Regardless of whether you think you are preserving the ability to act effectively on the road or perhaps because you were sure that there would be no police on the roads at night, it is a very bad decision and all too many drivers pay for it. And, of course, the law enforcement authorities are not all that forgiving when it comes to DUI offenders – you may well lose your license and even be sentenced to county jail or state prison. Hence, if you or your loved ones were charged with DUI, it is crucial, imperative even, to make sure that you don’t waste any time and get in touch with a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

With that said, if this a first-time offense or perhaps you never committed a DUI in the past, you may expect legal penalties that range from mild to sever. This all depends on a number of factors about the accident. First of all, the court will take into consideration whether or not you have any previous DUI records. Furthermore, the court will also take into consideration your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) levels to see if you were indeed driving while intoxicated. The reason for being pulled over by the law enforcement authorities is also one of the factors that will definitely be taken into consideration by the court. The officer will elaborate on whether you were cooperating and behaving yourself. Whether or not there was a minor in the vehicle with you is also a very important detail that will interest the court. And, of course, the court will need to learn if you have injured anyone or perhaps damaged some property during the accident.

In most cases, first-time DUI offenders will be charged with a misdemeanor. However, this does not necessarily imply that the legal penalties will be less harsh. In fact, you may well be facing time in county jail as well as expensive fines. Nevertheless, if you have an experienced legal representative by your side, odds are, they will be able to minimize the sentence or to replace time in jail with alcohol or drug awareness classes. In fact, if you complete those classes with success, there is a high chance that your case will be dismissed.

If you have committed a consequent DUI offense in Chicago, you should not ignore the possible consequences. You will be charged with a felony and the legal penalties for it will be absolutely correlated. This means that you can face stricter driving limitations, even more expensive fines, and time in state prison, especially if someone was hurt during the accident or if you have damaged property.

Despite the fact that the prosecution will be able to make the most from the results of breathalyzer test that you took after being pulled over, it does not necessarily imply that there are no legal defenses that could counter that. After all, the arresting officers and the prosecutors will need to follow strict legal rules and regularities. This means that if at least one of those rules is neglected, your case will be closed and you will not need to worry about any further legal consequences. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to find the best lawyer possible that will have the skills and the expertise to prove that your legal rights were  neglected by the authorities.

It does not matter if it is your first DUI offense or if you committed one before, the best thing to do is to get in touch with a great legal representative as quickly as possible. Only then will you be able to make the most from your defense and to make sure avoid the harshest legal consequences.

John Wright, ESQ
Law Offices of Chicago DUI Experts

August 31, 2017

Chicago Sheriff Intends To Increase The Time Inmates Spend In Jail

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Chicago Sheriff swore an oath recently. He replaced the old sheriff and there are rumors now that the time inmates spend in jail will increase in a drastically.

Right now, because of jail overcrowding, the vast majority of inmates are not serving their full sentence. In fact, when it comes to DUI inmates, they are required to serve the minimum of 96 hours in jail, but are actually released right after they are booked. Furthermore, most of the inmates are serving only about 10% of their time in jail, but this tendency could now change.

Rumors are claiming that the new sheriff is pretty serious about changing the rules and intends to make sure that inmates will serve a minimum of 90% of their sentence if the sentence implies more than 30 days in jail. This implies that people should be very cautious, especially when considering taking a plea bargain. At times, the plea bargain may involve a jail sentence of 30 days and more, so if you are planning on being released in a couple of days, this may no longer be the case.

The rumors also claim that there will be a viable alternative to the jail sentence— electronic home monitoring. If you or your loved ones were charged with a crime such as drunk driving, do not be too hasty and do not plead guilty right away. It could even make things worse and that is the last thing you want.

It is very important, crucial even, to make sure you have a qualified, genuinely experienced legal representative by your side. Only a good lawyer will ensure that your sentence is minimized and that you won’t do all of that jail time in full.

DUI is a pretty serious offense – you can easily be sentenced to jail even for a misdemeanor DUI and this is one more reason why you should first consult a lawyer before making any decisions and trying to manage things on your own. So, go ahead, discover all the possibilities, and learn much more about the possible defense strategies and you will be able to make the most from your legal representation. After all, both you and your loved ones surely deserve it! Serving full time is not an option and a Chicago DUI attorney will make sure you get the most from your legal adviser!

John Wright, ESQ
Law Offices of Chicago DUI Experts[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

August 11, 2017

Child Endangerment And DUI

Driving under the influence on your own is bad enough. However, if you are driving with some passengers and these passengers are your own children – well, this is all kinds of messed up and you are clearly endangering the lives of your kids with your irrational actions. A recent situation of a drunken father who was driving with his three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son and crashed his car into two other vehicles proves that point very clearly. The girl was not restrained properly in her seat and she suffered facial injuries. The little boy was taken to the hospital as well.

This is not only a driving under the influence case – it is also child endangerment pursuant to Penal Code section 273. If little children are injured or hurt, the case is viewed as a felony, so the driver will face up to six years in prison. However, if it is viewed as a misdemeanor, the maximum sentence would equal a year in county jail.

There is also a special enhancement for DUI penalties if the driver was driving under the influence with minors under 14 years old. If this is the first offense, 48 hours will be added to the jail sentence, if it is the second offense, 10 days will be added to the jail sentence, and if it is the third offense, expect 30 days of jail sentence in addition to the standard penalties. This enhancement, however, does not apply if the driver was already charged with child endangerment as well.

Finally, if you were arrested for driving under the influence and with children in your vehicle, there is a pretty big chance that you will get a visit from child protection services and you will be expected to complete a special 52-week parenting class. This class will also be appointed to you in court of you were already prosecuted for child endangerment.

On way or the other, you need to understand that it really is a pretty challenging situation and one where you will need help from industry experts. We are, of course, talking about getting in touch with a qualified DUI attorney who will have the skills and the expertise to help you. Should you add child endangerment to the process, that will put you in a fairly disturbing situation, and you need to do something about it. A good DUI lawyer will have what it takes to provide you with all the guidance, information and facts you will need to really make the best of your situation.

John Wright, ESQ
Law Offices of Chicago DUI Experts

January 31, 2017

Criminal Record – How It Affects Your Employment And Could It Be Expunged?

Having criminal records could prove to be detrimental for any future career – after all, seeing how we have all sorts of online databases, it was only a question of time until a database of people with criminal records would appear. And now any potential employer, any licensed agency even, will be able to browse through your criminal records by simply entering your name and your data of birth into the system.

Despite the fact that a law was issued stating that any public sector companies were banned from asking people about their previous criminal records in their job applications, it does not necessarily imply that the private sector companies should obey this legislation as well. While there are some “ban the box” regulations, which are meant to really prohibit the business from asking about criminal records, it does not always work and cannot be applied to all the cases.

Sure enough, having criminal records will not look great and will turn into an obstacle for anyone, who is searching for decent employment opportunities. Well, the only viable option is turning to expungement. In case that a person was convicted of probation or perhaps was earlier discharged, there is a way for him or her to have those criminal records expunged. This basically means that your “guilty” plea will be replaced with the “not guilty” one.

In case that you have managed to determine that your case is eligible for expungement, there is a whole lot of paperwork ahead of you. Furthermore, you will be required to appear in court. Therefore, in case that you are hoping to get the best results possible, you will need to make sure that you have a qualified as well as genuinely experienced legal representative alongside you. In case that your criminal records (regardless of whether it was a felony or a misdemeanor) will be successfully expunged, no potential employers will have any questions about them and will not even be allowed to ask something on that matter.

Of course, there are certain conditions for the expungement. First of all, the person must have completed the probation successfully or perhaps the probation was dismissed to begin with. The person must not be serving any sentence, must not be serving probation and must not be charge with any current crimes. Furthermore, in case that person was convicted for a felony and is now in prison, serving his or her sentence, he or she will not be eligible for the expungement. People who were convicted for committing sexual crimes, are not eligible for expungement as well.

More information about criminal record and defense options can be found here: www.chicagoduilawyernow.com/

 

January 11, 2017

Protecting Yourself From Illegal Search And Seizure

It is a well-known fact that most people have sturdy belief in the modern justice system and think that it cannot let them down. Unfortunately, experience clearly demonstrates different. Should we consider the justice department and particularly its law enforcement division, certain problems and issues are going to arise in no time at all. Needless to say, the Chicago police is working hard in order to keep the crime rates at a minimum. Nevertheless, their determination and their eagerness to apprehend potential criminals at times goes too far. Hence, innocent people and law abiding citizens are often turning into actual victims of the police actions. Chances are, you have heard about cases when the law enforcement officers simply intrude in other people’s residences, their offices, without having any permission or even a warrant. In some cases, people who were simply walking down the street are being stopped and interrogated by the law enforcement officers on the spot, without any obvious reasons whatsoever. Some police officers go as far as pulling over completely random vehicles and performing searches inside, without even asking permission from the vehicle owners. The police is using its authority to turn people’s houses and their offices upside down without permission and such actions must not be allowed to take place. Hence, it is very important for you to remember that we have the Fourth Amendment and the Constitution that protects our rights against such outrageous behavior.

In case that you or perhaps your loved ones were unlawfully victimized by the law enforcement officers, who used their authority in order to search your house, your office, your car or to stop you on the street, interrogate and search you, it is very important to make sure that you get in touch with a qualified as well as genuinely experienced Chicago criminal lawyer at the earliest opportunity. Only a skillful attorney will have what it takes to really make sure that the Fourth Amendment is functioning properly and is therefore protecting you against any such actions of the law enforcement officers. This basically means that the attorney will have what it takes to prove that the police officer was abusing his or her power when he or she intruded into your house, your office, stopped you on the street or performed a random search of your vehicle due to the suspicion of DUI.

In fact, the Fourth Amendment may act as an all-powerful instrument in case when the law enforcement authorities are abusing their power. Still, in order for you to use that very tool properly, you will need help from a qualified as well as genuinely experienced legal representative. A good attorney will have what it takes in order to make sure that the court will drop all charges, even if you made some confessions, since the law enforcement officers were not acting in line with the legal boundaries and without any warrants. Hence, in case that you have reasons to believe that the law enforcement officers had no right to intrude in your life and had no permission to do that, it is best to consult your lawyer first in order to make sure that you are going to come up with the ideal defense strategy that would be based on the Fourth Amendment. Whether you are guilty or not, the police must not be allowed to abuse its power in any form. Hence, it is important for you to use your constitutional rights properly in order to defend yourself from such behavior and you will need to work with a Chicago criminal defense lawyer for the best outcome possible.

December 13, 2016

DUI Investigation: Exploring Every Step

If you were pulled over by the law enforcement authorities and the police officer has reasons to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol, the very first thing that you may be worried about would be how to answer the officer’s question “Were you drinking today?”.

With that said, it is very important to understand that the law enforcement officer cannot force you to answer any questions, including the above-mentioned one. You have every right to remain silent and you should politely notice that you are not going to answer any of the questions until your Chicago DUI attorney will be able to consult you. Furthermore, if you are certain that your BAC is below the .08% limit, you can always say that you had one beer and this explains the smell of alcohol in the car.

FST – Field Sobriety Tests are the following step for anyone who is suspected to be driving under the influence of alcohol. Despite the fact that you cannot consult your lawyer prior to submitting yourself to these tests, you do have the right to politely refuse to begin with. Now these tests, although quite straightforward, are also very subjective. The officer may want you to touch your nose with your finger, walk a straight line or recite the alphabet backwards. The officer may think that the results are inconclusive, so the FST may be used to arrest you. Hence, refusing to submit to these tests may prove to be wise. Do not forget that the results may also be used in court in order to convict you. Still, even if you refused and the officer still has reasons to believe that you are drunk, he will not let you go that easily.

The next step would consist of PAS – Preliminary Alcohol Screening. This is basically a breathalyzer test that is mean to determine if you were indeed driving under the influence of alcohol. Now, of course, before you were arrested, you have the right to refuse to submit yourself to the test. Nevertheless, in case you are certain that your BAC is genuinely elevated, you can take the test and then challenge the results of the screening later on.

Finally, in case you were already arrested, you will be required to submit yourself to the chemical testing in line with the “Implied Consent Law”.

You will have the choice between the breathalyzer test and the blood test. Although breathalyzers are most commonly used, the results are not necessarily accurate. Hence, in case you are certain that your BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) is below the .08% threshold, it will make sense to benefit from the blood tests. After all, the blood samples taken from you will be specifically preserved and your legal representative will be able to test it again in the future. Should you refuse to submit yourself to any of the tests, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended for a year and this will add up to your following sentence.

One way or the other, in case you or your loved ones were charged with Chicago DUI and you would like to challenge the charges in order to avoid the harsh legal penalties, it will be important, crucial even, to make sure that you get in touch with a qualified as well as genuinely experienced DUI attorney in Chicago at the earliest opportunity.

Only a qualified Chicago DUI lawyer will have what it takes to challenge the charges and to make sure that you get a minimal sentence or that the case will be closed to begin with. Call our office at (888) 828-2305 or fill out contact form to request case review.

John Wright, ESQ
Law Offices of Chicago DUI Experts