Today, I met with 2 new clients to talk about representing them for their criminal cases at the Rolling Meadows Courthouse. Both cases have different facts, and both clients responded differently when they were confronted by the police. I want to talk about these 2 cases because they illustrate how what clients do when they interact with the police, can often be the difference between winning and losing a criminal case, going to jail, or walking away from criminal charges without a conviction.
The first client I met today is charged with a DUI. I represented the client’s wife for a DUI in Rolling Meadows about 3 years ago. When I met with the client’s wife, the current client was with her and heard everything I said to her. I told his wife what she should do if she is ever stopped again for a DUI charge. The client was paying attention to what I told his wife because he followed my suggestions almost perfectly. After the client was stopped by the police officer, the officer asked him if he had been drinking. The client refused to answer the question. The officer asked the client where he was coming from and where he was going, and he refused to answer the officer’s question. When the officer asked the client to exit the car, he complied, but when the officer asked him to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) on the side of the road, the client refused. When the officer asked the client to blow into a Portable Breath Device (PBD), the client refused. When the client was asked to submit to a Breathalyzer Test at the police station, he refused. The client told me that he knew he was legally intoxicated so he remembered what I told his wife and followed my advice.
The other client I met today is charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon (UUW by a Felon). This client was a front seat passenger in his friends vehicle. The driver was pulled over for a minor traffic violation. The officer claimed that he smelled burnt cannabis and asked the driver and the passenger to exit the vehicle. The officers found a loaded firearm in the backseat area of the vehicle. When the police asked my client and the driver who the gun belonged to, my client admitted that the gun was his. He told me that he admitted to the gun being his to protect his friend. The problem with the admission is that my client is a convicted felon. Because he has a prior felony conviction, he is being charged with UUW by a Felon which carries a mandatory prison sentence. Probation is not an option for a charge of UUW by a Felon.