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DUI-1-200x300As one of the busiest and most experienced DUI attorney in Illinois, this may be one of the most common question I get whenever I speak to a client about their DUI case. The short answer to this question is no. But you should understand the consequences of refusing to submit to a breathalyzer, or chemical test, when you are placed under arrest for a DUI. Illinois is an implied consent state. This means that you give consent to a chemical test to determine the blood alcohol contact in your blood by merely driving a motor vehicle on a public highway or roadway in Illinois. So let’s discuss what happens if you are pulled over by a police officer and the police officer asks you to take a breathalyzer test, or provide a blood sample, to determine what the blood alcohol content (BAC) of your blood is and you refuse the request.

The Breathalyzer Test is the most common test used in Court to prove that your BAC was over the legal limit. In Illinois, if the BAC of your blood, was a .08 or above, you could be found guilty of a DUI. Another way of determining the BAC of your blood is a blood test. In Illinois, if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you were operating a motor vehicle on the roadway while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that police officer can request that you take a Breathalyzer or Blood test to determine what the BAC of your blood is. If you submit to a Breathalyzer Test, or a Blood Test, and the BAC was a .08 or above, in addition to facing a DUI criminal charge, the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend your license for 6 months because of the BAC reading of .08 or above. This is called the Statutory Summary Suspension. This is an automatic suspension of your license that happens once the arresting police officer notifies the Secretary of State of the Breathalyzer Test results or the Blood Test results. If you refuse to take a Breathalyzer Test or provide a blood sample, the Secretary of State will suspend your license for 1 year. The 6 month and 12 month Statutory Summary Suspensions will kick in 46 days after the date of your DUI arrest.

If your license is suspended due to a Statutory Summary Suspension, you may be allowed to have a Blood Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device (BAIID) installed on your vehicle which will allow you to drive during the 6 or 12 months of your Statutory Summary Suspension. However, in order to be eligible for a BAIID, you must not have had a DUI in the past five (5) years. In addition, a BAIID may be too expensive and too intrusive for some motorists. I recently represented a client who is an executive for a major corporation. He was concerned that if his employer found out about the DUI, he would lose his job. Since he would regularly go to lunch and dinner with his coworkers, he was concerned that they would find out about his DUI if he ever had to drive any of them to lunch or dinner. At the same time, he was required to drive his vehicle almost everyday as part of his job. For this client, the Statutory Summary Suspension was a major source of concern. I was able to solve this problem by getting the state to agree to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension as part of the ultimate resolution of his DUI case. However, if your license is suspended due to a Statutory Summary Suspension, the only way to legally operate a motor vehicle in Illinois is to have the BAIID installed in your vehicle. If you are caught driving without a BAIID during a Statutory Summary Suspension, you could be facing serious criminal consequences. Plus, if you are charged with driving you Statutory Summary Suspension without a BAIID, this could make it much more difficult for your lawyer to fight the underlined DUI case in Court.

DUIKane County Prosecutors and law enforcement officials have announced that Kane County will be conducting their 25th “No Refusal” DUI patrol over the St. Patrick’s Day Holiday.

The Kane County No Refusal DUI patrols started in 2008. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials will identify specific days of the year to send out patrols of police officers to pull over suspected intoxicated motorists and send a signal that drinking and driving will not be tolerated in Kane County. The specific days selected for the “No Refusal” DUI patrols are days which are associated with a high number of DUI arrests such as New Year’s Eve and the 4th of July. St Patrick’s Day historically results in some of the largest number of DUI arrests every year. Kane County officials will point to statistics which show that there has been a steady decline in the number of DUI arrests in Kane County since the “No Refusal” program started in 2008. What is not known is whether the drop in DUI arrests in Kane County is due to the “No Refusal” DUI patrols, or whether the drop in the number of DUI’s in Kane County has something to do with the increase in the use of ride-share programs like Uber and Lyft. Since the “No Refusal” patrols started in 2008, there have been over 150 arrests resulting from the “No Refusal” DUI patrols.

This year, Kane County Prosecutors and Police, have signaled that they will get tougher on punishing defendants arrested for a DUI during the upcoming “No Refusal” DUI patrols. In Illinois, if you submit to a breathalyzer test, and your blood alcohol level was .08 or above, your driver’s license in Illinois will be suspended for 6 months starting 46 days after your DUI arrest. If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, your driver’s license in Illinois will be suspended for 12 months starting 46 days after your DUI arrest. This is called the Statutory Summary Suspension. The Statutory Summary Suspension kicks in as soon as you are arrested for a DUI and the Illinois Secretary of State is notified by the Police that you refused to take a breathalyzer test or that you took a breathalyzer and your B.A.C. was a .08 or more. If you are pulled over during a “No Refusal” DUI patrol in Kane County and you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, the Police will obtain a warrant allowing the Police to take your blood, without your consent, and use the results of the blood test to prosecute you for a DUI in Kane County. During the “No Refusal” patrols, additional Prosecutors, Police, and Judges, will be on duty and on call to process the warrant requests and to issue the warrants that will allow them to take your blood. A phlebotomist will also be on duty during the “No Refusal” DUI patrols to draw your blood.

DUII’ve been handling DUI cases throughout Illinois for over 27 years. I have probably handled thousands of DUIs in my 27 years of being a criminal defense attorney. Looking back at all of the years and all of the cases that I have handled, I can tell you that most people charged with a DUI do not realize that they are probably looking at a mandatory suspension of their license in Illinois. For many people, this mandatory suspension of their license will have the greatest impact on their lives. It will affect their ability to get to and from work, and may even cause them to lose their job. This mandatory suspension, is called the Statutory Summary Suspension. Let’s talk about what the Statutory Summary Suspension is, at what it means for your DUI case.

Illinois has an implied consent law. This means that by virtue of the fact that you are operating a motor vehicle on a public highway in the State of Illinois, you are deemed to have consented to having your breath, blood, or urine, tested whenever a police officer has a reasonable grounds to believe that you may be Under the Influence of Alcohol. Illinois law provides that you are deemed to have consented to such testing by driving on a public roadway in Illinois. If you have an out-of-state license, Illinois cannot suspend your out-of-state license, but they can suspend your driving privileges in Illinois. If a police officer requests that you take a breath, blood, or urine test, and you refuse, your Illinois drivers license will be suspended for 1-year if you are a first offender. If you take a breathalyzer test, and your blood alcohol level was .08 or above, your license will be suspended for 6-months if you are a first offender. This is what is known as the Statutory Summary Suspension. The Statutory Summary Suspension will start 46 days after your DUI arrest. If you are an out of state resident, your right to drive in Illinois will be suspended for 6-months, or 1-year, depending on whether you took a breathalyzer test or whether you refused.

The Statutory Summary Suspension penalty in a DUI case is separate and distinct from the DUI charges. The Statutory Summary Suspension process is a civil case that is between you and the Illinois Secretary of State. The actual DUI charges are criminal in nature and are between you and the People of the State of Illinois. The Statutory Summary Suspension process only involves your drivers license or your driving privileges in the State of Illinois. The DUI charges are criminal in nature and can result in criminal penalties and monetary fines and court costs.

DUII frequently receive phone calls from clients who are facing their second DUI. Many times, they do not understand how serious their case is and what they are facing. If you have been arrested and are charged with a DUI, and it’s your second DUI, you need to understand how serious this case could be and what the long-term implications to you could be. Not only could it cost you lots of money, but you could be labeled a convicted criminal for the rest of your life, end up in jail, sentenced to Probation, and lose your license for a very long time. Let me explain to you what makes a second DUI so serious.

A second DUI is a class A Misdemeanor which carries a possible jail sentence of up to one year in jail. A DUI will be considered a second DUI in Illinois as long as this is your second DUI ever. Unlike many other states, Illinois does not have a cut-off for how long ago your first DUI was for it to be considered your second DUI. Many states do not consider a DUI if it’s more than 10 years old. Illinois has no such limitation on how old your first DUI has to be in order for them to consider this is your second DUI. Most people that I talk to do not understand that it does not matter that their first DUI was 20 or 25 years ago. As long as they had a prior DUI, Illinois will consider your new DUI to be a second DUI.

You cannot receive Court Supervision for a second DUI. Court Supervision is a sentence that is not considered a criminal conviction on your criminal record. Court Supervision is simply not available for a second DUI. This means that a second DUI will result in a criminal conviction. Since you will be convicted of a Class A Misdemeanor, you will now have a criminal conviction on your criminal record that will appear on a routine background search. This may affect your ability to keep your job, get a job, obtain financial aid to go to school, or obtain and receive certain government benefits.

cannabis-buds-in-hand-300x287In recent years, laws regarding the Possession and Use of Marijuana have been changing throughout the country. This is true in the State of Illinois. In 1931, The Illinois Legislature made the recreational use of marijuana illegal. This legislation was part of a national trend which made the use of marijuana illegal nationally. In recent years, a new national trend has swept throughout the country which is having the opposite effect on the use of Marijuana. This trend clearly appears to be more accepting of the medical and recreational use of Marijuana. This national trend has swept into Illinois as well. In 2016, the Illinois Legislature decriminalized the possession of small amounts of Marijuana in Illinois. If you are caught with 10 grams or less of Marijuana, you will no longer be placed under arrest and subject to criminal prosecution and criminal penalties. In 2016 the State of Illinois made the possession of 10 grams or less of Marijuana a Municipal Ordinance Violation which only carries a civil penalty. The City of Chicago decriminalized the possession of small amounts of Marijuana in 2012.

In 2013, the Illinois Legislature enacted the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. This Act legalized the use of Marijuana for medical purposes under certain tight regulations. When the Medical Marijuana Act was enacted in 2013, it was considered one of the most restrictive and prohibitive Medical Marijuana programs in the United States. Recently, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law numerous changes to the Medical Marijuana program which have loosened many of the restrictions and made it possible for more people to be able to use Medical Marijuana legally in the State of Illinois.

The recent changes to the Medical Marijuana program in Illinois allows doctors to prescribe Medical Marijuana in place of opioids, for a short period of time, for patients in need of relief from pain. This change to the Medical Marijuana program is an attempt to stop the opioid epidemic from spreading. Another change to the Medical Marijuana program in Illinois removes the requirement that an applicant has to submit to a background search which required that a sample of their fingerprints be submitted with the application. This will have the effect of speeding up the process for being approved to use Medical Marijuana in Illinois. Prior to the recent changes to the Medical Marijuana program, it could take three to four months for an application to be approved. This will also make it possible for patients with a criminal record to be able to legally obtain and use Medical Marijuana. With the recent changes, once your application is accepted and payment is received, you can legally purchase Medical Marijuana at a state approved Medical Marijuana Dispensary by simply showing them your receipt from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the agency that is charged with administering the Medical Marijuana program in Illinois.

DUIIt’s that time of the year again. The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists has released its annual study that keeps track of DUI arrests throughout Illinois. Once again, Rockford and Elgin top the list of towns in Illinois reporting the most DUI arrests in 2017. In 2017, Rockford reported 490 DUI arrests compared to 459 in 2016. The 2017 figures represent a 6.8% increase over the 2016 DUI arrest figures. Elgin came in second with a total of 418 DUI arrests in 2017. Elgin had 365 DUI arrest in 2016, a 14.5% increase over 2017.

Every year, Schaumburg based Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists sends out surveys to roughly 700 police departments throughout the State of Illinois. Most of the police agencies respond to the surveys and the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists releases the figures for DUI arrests throughout all of the cities and towns in Illinois and gives us a picture of which towns are more aggressive when it comes to DUI arrests.

The lengthy list of DUI arrests compiled by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists has the DUI arrest figures for virtually every town and village in the State of Illinois. I want to include the figures for local towns and villages that may be of interest to my readers. Chicago is not on this list because Chicago has far and away the most arrests and is included on a seperate list published by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists. The first number in the list below is what place the town or village is in and the second number is the total number of DUI arrests in 2017:

Illinois-DUIMost drivers will never have to decide whether to take a breathalyzer test or not. But if you are driving a vehicle in Illinois, you should be aware of what could happen to you and to your license if you are ever pulled over by a police officer and asked to take a breathalyzer test.

If a police officer pulls you over and suspects that you may be under the influence of alcohol, that police officer has a right to take you down to the police station and ask that you take a breathalyzer test. If you are ever faced with a situation like this, you have to make a quick decision between two choices. Should you take a breathalyzer test or should you refuse to take a breathalyzer test? If you have not had any alcohol to drink, then the choice seems pretty clear. Taking a breathalyzer test would prove that you have no alcohol in your system. But if you have been drinking and are unsure about whether you should take a breathalyzer test, you need to be aware of what the consequences could be of refusing to take a breathalyzer test.

When a police officer asks you to take a breathalyzer test, the officer will hand you a document entitled, “Warning to Motorist” which will inform you that if you submit to a breathalyzer test and the test indicates that your blood alcohol level was .08 or above, your driver’s license will be suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State for 6 months. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, your driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months by the Illinois Secretary of State. These driver’s license suspensions will take effect on the 46th day after your arrest.

DUI-1-300x200I recently met with a client who was arrested and charged with a DUI after he had pulled over his car to take a nap because he was afraid that he had too much to drink. You do not have to actually be driving your car to be charged with a DUI. You could be charged with a DUI as long as you had actual physical control of a vehicle on the public roadway. So as long as you were in a vehicle and you had the keys near you, the law will consider you to have been in actual physical control of the vehicle.

In the case I was recently consulted for, the client had been at a bar with some co-workers after work. He had been drinking when he decided to go home. His car was parked down the street from the bar. When the client entered his vehicle he immediately realized that he was in no condition to drive and fell asleep in the front passenger seat of his vehicle. The vehicle was not running but the car keys were in his pocket. An off-duty police officer saw him sleeping in his vehicle and started tapping on his windshield to make sure that he was okay. After the off-duty officer was unable to get a response from the client, he called the local police to report that someone may be unresponsive inside of a parked vehicle. The police officer arrived and was able to wake up the client. When the officer made contact with the client he noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath and the client appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. The police officer had the client exit the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests. The police officer arrested the client for suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol and took him down to the station. At the station, the officer requested that the client take a breathalyzer test and the client refused. In spite of there being no breathalyzer test, the client was charged with a DUI and given a court date.

In Illinois, if you take a breathalyzer test and your blood alcohol level is .08 or above, you will be facing a mandatory 6 month suspension of your driver’s license if this was your first DUI. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you will be facing a mandatory 12 month suspension of your driver’s license. The suspension of your driver’s license will go into effect 46 days after the date of your DUI arrest. The same law that provides for the suspension of your driver’s license for a DUI also provides a mechanism by which you can challenge the suspension in court. In order to challenge a suspension of your driver’s license for a DUI, you must file a Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension before the same court that is hearing your DUI case.

DUI-300x226Police get frustrated when they pull over a motorist for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and the driver refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test when the officer requests that they take such a test. The reason behind their frustration is because, in many cases, if they do not have a breathalyzer test result, it becomes harder for the state to prove in Court that the driver was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

The Illinois Legislature has clearly given motorists the right to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test. The Legislature has imposed a severe penalty for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test when requested to do so by a police officer. If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test you will be looking at a mandatory 12 month suspension of your driver’s license. The suspension will kick-in 46 days after you are arrested for a DUI unless you are able to persuade a court otherwise.

For several years, police and prosecutors have been trying to get around a motorist’s refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test. For the past several years, Kane County has established “no-refusal” weekends. “No-refusal” weekends were centered around certain events like New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July weekends. Kane County authorities would set-up roadblocks to close off certain roads and stop every vehicle. If the police suspected that the driver of a certain vehicle was Driving Under the Influence, they would request that the driver submit to a breathalyzer test and if they refused, the police would obtain a warrant from a judge who was on the scene to force a blood draw from the driver. If the driver refused to comply with the judge’s order, the driver could be arrested and charged with Contempt of Court.

DUI-300x200Being pulled over by a police officer is a stressful experience. This is especially true if you know that you have been drinking alcohol. Your mind starts racing and you want to make sure that you don’t give the police officer any reason to suspect that you are under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, many motorists don’t really think before they open their mouth. They don’t realize that the police are not there to help them. The police have a job to do and their job begins the moment they notice your vehicle. You need to understand what the police officer is doing and how your conduct and your statements can be used against you in court.

First of all, a police officer cannot pull over your vehicle for no reason. In a typical DUI, a police officer will notice a driver committing a traffic violation. This could be speeding, failure to stop at a red light or a stop sign, or improper lane usage. Once the police officer pulls over your car, the police officer begins making observations that will provide them with the legal justification to pull you out of the car and ask that you submit to a field sobriety test. In order for a police officer to ask that you exit your car to perform a field sobriety test, the police officer must have probable cause to think that you may be under the influence of alcohol. A mere hunch is not enough. The police officer must have specific articulable facts to justify their suspicions.

The police officer will begin making observations as soon as they suspect that alcohol may be involved. If a police officer asks you to exit your vehicle, you should follow the officer’s request. It is not up to you to decide whether the police officer has probable cause to suspect that you may be under the influence of alcohol. The issue of whether the police officer had the legal right to ask that you exit your vehicle is a decision that will be reviewed later on in Court in front of a judge.