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dui checkpointIllinois is one of nine states receiving federal funding to participate in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "No Refusal" initiative. The initiative centers around police setting up so-called No Refusal checkpoints, which are named as such because the police there have access to a streamlined procedure for acquiring search warrants. This allows them to perform blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests over a driver's objection. However, some states have refused to implement these DUI checkpoints, citing concerns that they may be violating their citizen's Fourth Amendment rights, which protect them from unreasonable searches and seizures. What No Refusal Checkpoints Are

When a person refuses to consent to a BAC test, the police have the option of seeking a warrant from a judge to get the person's blood tested to determine the individual’s alcohol level. No refusal checkpoints are named that way because of a specialized procedure that the police have available to them to order blood tests for drivers who refuse to take a Breathalyzer test. The judges, who are ordinarily on call, are made aware that they will be participating in a No Refusal weekend so that they can prepare to provide police with speedy access to warrants.

Additionally, during the operation of these checkpoints, many police stations will have a nurse on staff so that the blood test can be performed at the station rather than requiring the police to bring the person to a hospital. However, this new initiative is not without its controversy. In fact, 21 other states have the ability to access this program because they allow their police to get warrants via a phone call, but many are refusing to participate, citing concerns about the program's constitutionality because of how easily it provides police access to warrants.

Fourth Amendment Concerns

The constitutional concern that many people express arises out of the Fourth Amendment. This portion of the Constitution protects citizens from "unreasonable searches and seizures." In practice, this means that police usually need to acquire a warrant before they search a person or their belongings, and the use of a BAC tests counts as a search.

Some people are concerned that this No Refusal initiative undermines the protections of the Fourth Amendment because the court's issuing of search warrants should be a careful decision that weighs the need to prevent crime against the individual's right to privacy. This issue is also complicated by the fact that Illinois is an implied consent jurisdiction, which means that there are certain penalties that go along with refusing a BAC test, such as a license suspension.

If you have recently been charged with a DUI or some other criminal offense, contact an experienced Elgin criminal attorney. The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola can help protect your rights and your interests in court.
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civil forfeitureMany people assume that financial penalties for crimes, like fines, cannot take effect until after a person has been convicted of a crime, but that is not necessarily the case. This is because of a new technique police departments are using known as civil forfeiture, which allows police to seize assets, such as cash, that they believe were used for a criminal purpose. Civil forfeiture is not technically a punishment for a crime, and police may seize assets under it without even having to press criminal charges.

This seizure process was developed in the 1980s as a method of combating drug cartels by depriving them of funds and assets, without having to go through a formal criminal process. However, following 9/11 and the increased police authority that came with it, civil forfeitures have been on the rise. In fact, according to a Washington Post report relayed by the Chicago Tribune, police have seized over $2.5 billion in cash since September 11th , 2001, often during traffic stops. With civil forfeitures becoming a more common issue, it is important for people to understand how to protect themselves and how to challenge a forfeiture should one occur.

Preventing Civil Forfeiture

Police report that one of the major triggers for a civil forfeiture is a person's carrying more cash than seems reasonable for a law-abiding citizen. Police are trained to look for indicators of criminal activity during traffic stops, such as nervousness, the use of car air fresheners, trash in the car, or the use of radar detectors. These can trigger a police request to search the vehicle, or the police may attempt to find probable cause to search the vehicle without consent. If such a search turns up an amount of money that the police officer considers unreasonably large, and consequently an indicator of illicit activity, they may seize the funds.

Challenging a Forfeiture

People who have had their assets wrongly seized by civil forfeiture do have an option to recover it. They can bring an action challenging the seizure. These actions often involve either attempting to prove that the cash was not being used for an illicit purpose or attempting to show that the person was an "innocent owner," someone who had no knowledge of the criminal use of the assets. Unfortunately, this formal process is not the best option for everyone. At their longest, these hearings can last over a year, which may make informal negotiations with the state a swifter and easier option.

If you have recently lost assets to civil forfeiture or have had criminal charges leveled against you, seek help from a dedicated Kane County criminal defense attorney. Our firm stands ready to ensure that you and your rights are fully represented in a court of law.
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probation violation in Illinois, Kane County criminal defense lawyerWhen a defendant is charged with a probation violation, it means he or she has failed to meet some requirement or condition of a criminal sentence already imposed upon them. The state can bring a Petition to Revoke Probation in order to have the offender’s probation officially revoked by the court and have the offender incarcerated as a result of the violation. These charges are especially serious since they inherently involve the commission of an earlier crime for which the defendant was either found guilty or pleaded guilty and sentenced.

What to Expect Upon Violation of Probation

If the prosecutor files a Petition to Revoke Probation, the offender has a right to deny the charges and have a hearing, at which the court will hear evidence tending to prove a violation occurred. A violation can result from any number of acts, including commission of a new crime, failure to report to a probation officer, and testing positive for drugs or alcohol when they have been expressly prohibited. The offender is entitled to be represented by legal counsel at the hearing on the state’s motion, in addition to having legal representation at the sentencing phase if the court finds they are, in fact, in violation of the terms and conditions of their probation or supervisory portion of their sentence.

The consequences for violating probation vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the offender’s prior criminal history, the severity of the violation, any prior history of violations while serving the current sentence, and other relevant circumstances that may have been at play surrounding the violation. A sentence imposed as a result of a probation violation could include incarceration, an extended period of supervision, and imposition of fines, among other potential consequences.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know is facing a probation violation, it is best to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can listen to the facts of your case and advise you of your rights and expectations in light of your particular circumstances. A knowledgeable defense attorney will not only be able to advise clients about their legal rights in connection with a probation violation, but can also let them know with more specificity what consequences they may be facing as a result of their violation in light of their personal and criminal history.

Kane County criminal attorney Brian J. Mirandola has experience representing clients who are charged with probation violations. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola is located in Elgin, Illinois.

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