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Aurora, IL drug lawyer

Throughout the U.S., the number of states with either legalized medical or recreational marijuana, or both, is on the rise. With that comes an increase in incidents of driving while under the influence of cannabis and more focus from law enforcement on busting impaired drivers. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs, it is critical you enlist the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. 

Drugged Driving in Illinois 

Here in the state of Illinois, medical marijuana is legal for approved applicants under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, signed in 2013. Since the induction of the program, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has approved over 42,000 applicants for legal consumption of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Driving under the influence of marijuana though can come with significant criminal punishment, whether you are a legal medical marijuana cardholder or not.

If a police officer has reasonable cause to believe you may be under the influence of marijuana, they are permitted to submit you to chemical testing. If you refuse the chemical test, you will face an automatic 12-month license suspension. Failing a chemical test results in a six-month license suspension. A chemical test that finds 5 nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of whole blood results in a failed test, or 10 nanograms of THC found in another bodily substance. 

Even if a person has a medical marijuana card, they will face the consequences of a DUI charge, in the same manner as a drunk driver. According to Illinois state law, a first-time DUI conviction constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, with up to one year in jail, a year of revoked driving privileges, and fines up to $2,500. Subsequent DUI convictions result in longer license revocation periods and significant jail time. 

Anyone without a medical marijuana card who is pulled over for DUI and has marijuana in their vehicle can also face a drug possession charge, the severity of which depends on the amount seized by police. 

Contact an Elgin, IL Drug DUI Lawyer 

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, Attorney Brian J. Mirandola is prepared to fight on your behalf in the pursuit of the best possible legal outcome. Attorney Mirandola will aim to help you retain your driving privileges and keep a conviction off your record. To schedule a free initial consultation with a skilled Kane County criminal defense attorney, call us at 847-488-0889. 

Sources:

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/traffic_safety/DUI/home.html

https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2018/05/31/drugged-driving-deaths-spike-with-spread-of-legal-marijuana-opioid-abuse

https://www.iwu.edu/counseling/Illinois_Drug_Laws.htm

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breathalyzer, Kane County DUI defense attorneyWhen a police officer has a reason to suspect that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer may ask to submit to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. These tests are usually conducted during a traffic stop. The stop may have been initiated based on a minor traffic violation or erratic driving, but if something during the stop triggers the officer’s suspicion, the request for a BAC will usually follow.

The most common type of BAC test—and the easiest to conduct—is a breath test. BAC breath tests are usually known simply as "breathalyzer" because of a particular brand of testing machine that has become synonymous with the test. You probably know that if you blow a 0.08 or higher on your breathalyzer, you are considered to be statutorily intoxicated and can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). But, do you have to take the test when you are asked to do so?

Preliminary Testing

There are several points during the course of a stop and potential arrest when the officer could ask you to take a breathalyzer. The first is a preliminary test. Preliminary testing is a way for the police to develop a full understanding of the situation and to establish probable cause—if there is any—for an arrest. The officer will usually ask about preliminary breathalyzer while you are still sitting behind the wheel.

You have every right to refuse a preliminary breathalyzer with no direct consequences. Keep in mind that if you say no, the officer may look a little harder for other signs that you are intoxicated, such as trouble focusing and slurred speech. There are many ways for the officer to establish probable cause, and the breathalyzer is only one of them.

When You Are Arrested

If the preliminary investigation gives the officer enough probable cause to arrest you on suspicion of DUI, you will be asked to submit to a breathalyzer again—or a blood or a urine test, alternatively. This time, the test will be conducted at the police station. Refusing to take the test at this point will result in the suspension of your driving privileges for one year. The suspension is three years if you were arrested and refused previously.

It is important to keep in mind that failing a BAC test after your arrest will result in a six-month license suspension for a first offense and one year for a subsequent offense. A failed test also gives prosecutors quantitative evidence that you were intoxicated. This means that there is a potential upside to refusing the test. Without the evidence of a failed test, it may be harder for prosecutors to prove that you were under the influence, though your refusal can be used against you.

Let Us Help

If you have additional questions about the DUI laws in Illinois, contact an experienced Kane County DUI defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501.1

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

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Posted on in DUI

DUI, Elgin DUI defense attorneyThe state of Illinois takes drinking and driving very seriously. Car accidents involving intoxicated drivers caused 10,265 deaths in 2015 and thousands more injuries. Over a million people were charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) during the same year. If you are caught drinking and driving in Illinois, the penalties can be severe and life-altering. It is important that every driver be educated about DUI laws.

When Can Someone Be Arrested for DUI?

If a police officer suspects a driver is intoxicated, the officer will pull the car over. Next, if the officer still has concerns about the driver’s sobriety he will ask them to take a field sobriety test or chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) test. The BAC test is usually done via a breathalyzer device. If the test shows a result of 0.80 percent BAC or higher, the driver will be arrested for driving under the influence and his or her driver’s license will automatically be suspended for six months. A driver who is under age 21 is not legally permitted to drive with any amount of alcohol in their body. If you are under age 21, you can be charged with driving under the influence even if you do not blow over 0.08 percent BAC on a breathalyzer.

A driver can be arrested for DUI even without a failed BAC test. If the officer’s observation of the driver and field sobriety tests show signs of intoxication, the driver may still be arrested. The automatic suspension of driving privileges does not apply without a failed or refused test.

Can I Refuse a BAC Test?

Motorists do have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test, but doing so results in an automatic driver’s license suspension of one year. Some individuals who refuse to take a test do so because they hope the prosecution will be unable to find other evidence that they were driving under the influence. This can happen, but it is very important to note that a person can still be charged with DUI even if they do not consent to chemical testing.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI?

If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you will face severe criminal penalties. For a first time DUI offender, the penalties include up to one year’s imprisonment, driver’s license suspension of up to a year, and $2500 in fines. An additional $1,000 fine and 25 days of community service are included in the penalties if you drove with a person under age 16 in the car while intoxicated. If you are convicted of a second DUI in Illinois, you will receive a minimum 5-year suspension of your driver’s license and a mandatory 5 days in jail or 240 days of community service. Additionally, you can be imprisoned for a year and fined $2500. A third DUI conviction results in a minimum 10-year loss of driving privileges and up to seven years in jail.

Who Can I Call for Help?

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you need a DUI lawyer who can help keep you out of jail. To speak with an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, call 847-488-0889 today.

Source:

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

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Posted on in DUI

hard time, Illinois license reinstatement attorneyPrior to 2016, if you failed or refused a roadside test for blood-alcohol content (BAC) in Illinois, your driving privileges would be automatically suspended for a period of time. The exact length of the suspension was based on your past history and whether you failed the test or refused to take—refusals resulted in longer suspensions. Such suspensions were—and still are—handed down by the Secretary of State’s office and are separate from the process of filing and prosecuting a driver for driving under the influence (DUI).

In recent years, modern technology has led to the introduction of driving relief programs that incorporate the use ignition interlock devices to ensure that a driver is sober when getting behind the wheel. These programs also allowed more drivers to get back on the road legally, despite their ongoing suspension of full driving privileges. The law, however, required a suspended driver to serve at least 30 days of "hard time" for a first offense with no ability to drive whatsoever. Repeat offenders were subject to even longer periods of full suspension.

Evolving Attitudes

The hard time provision in the law has long been criticized as counterproductive. For most people, automobile transportation is a necessity of daily living, and those serving a hard time suspension still need to get to work and provide for their families. Many had no other option but to drive illegally, without the coverage of insurance, to maintain their livelihood. There was also the issue of certain prosecutors striking deals with defendants, allowing drivers to skip the suspension in exchange for large fines, which means that the suspensions were not even being applied equitably throughout the state.

Finally, anti-DUI experts and interest groups, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), addressed the issue. MADD sent a letter to the Illinois legislature pointing out that, in light of the availability of ignition interlock devices, mandatory suspensions were found to be more dangerous than allowing drivers to get back on the road in a supervised manner. Late last year, Illinois lawmakers took action and removed the hard time provisions effective January 1, 2016, allowing drivers to apply for relief programs immediately.

Expected Impacts

With the elimination of hard time suspensions, state officials expect to find fewer drivers on the road illegally with a suspended license. They are also hopeful that the number of questionable plea deals with prosecutors will be reduced. Proponents also suggest that by including treatment requirements as part of the eligibility criteria for the relief programs, repeat offenses will also be less likely.

If you are facing a DUI-related license suspension or your license has been revoked due to a conviction, contact an experienced Elgin license reinstatement attorney today. Attorney Brian J. Mirandola has helped many clients get back on the road quickly and he is ready to help you do the same. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/administrative_hearings/2016legislation.pdf

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-dui-license-law-met-20151225-story.html

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