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search, Kane County criminal law attorneyMany drivers have had the sickening feeling of seeing flashing lights in their rearview mirror and knowing that they were being pulled over. There is much confusion surrounding what police officers are and are not allowed to do. This confusion has not been lessened by the recent events regarding the shooting of unarmed citizens by police officers and the following media frenzy. The right to be free from unreasonable governmental searches is guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, and it is important for you to understand your rights as a driver.

Probable Cause

The short answer to the question "Can the police search my car during a traffic stop?" is that it depends. Generally, a police officer needs a warrant in order to search someone’s property, but cars are different. A police officer cannot legally search someone’s car as a normal part of a traffic stop for a minor infraction such as speeding or a broken taillight. However, an officer can search a car if he or she has probable cause to do so.

Probable cause can include when illegal substances are in "plain view." Plain view means that an officer can search your vehicle if he or she sees an illegal substance (such as drugs) through the windows of the car. The officer may also be able to search the car if he or she smells drugs, including marijuana smoke. If an officer has reason to arrest a driver, he or she has the right to search the car after the arrest. This is called "search incident to arrest." Police officers may also search a driver’s car if they have reason to suspect that the driver has been involved in a crime. This could include seeing blood in the car or on the driver, or other evidence of a likely crime.

"Exigent circumstances," also allow an officer to search a vehicle. Exigent circumstances are "circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry (or other relevant prompt action) was necessary to prevent physical harm to the officers or other persons, the destruction of relevant evidence, the escape of the suspect, or some other consequence improperly frustrating legitimate law enforcement efforts."

Contact a Kane County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges any evidence obtained in an illegal search may be inadmissible in court. That is why it is important for you to seek quality legal assistance. Contact an Elgin criminal defense attorney for a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://openjurist.org/728/f2d/1195/united-states-v-mcconney

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-rights-do-you-have-when-pulled-over-2013-11

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traffic violation, Elgin criminal defense attorneyIt is virtually impossible for most people to imagine what an average day in the life of a law enforcement officer is really like. There is, of course, an increased level of danger compared to many other occupations, since even the most routine traffic stops can quickly turn violent or even deadly. Sometimes, however, a traffic stop is almost too outrageous to really comprehend. Such was the case earlier this year when police in Roselle pulled over a woman who was driving with a tree stuck in the front of her car.

"It Was a Big Tree"

In late January, a woman was pulled over by Roselle police on Roselle Road near Irving Park Road. According to the report filed by the police department, the woman was "stopped for driving with a large tree embedded in the front grille." The responding officers took photos of the situation which were later posted to the Roselle Police Department’s Facebook page just a few days ago. The photos show what appears to be about a 15-foot tree rising vertically from the hood of the woman’s 2004 Lincoln.

The woman allegedly told the officers that she hit the tree somewhere in her hometown of Schaumburg, but could not remember exactly where. Police reports indicate the woman subsequently failed sobriety testing and was arrested for driving under the influence. She is scheduled to appear in court in DuPage County next month.

Potential Penalties

Even if the woman had not been arrested for DUI, she could have still potentially been cited for reckless driving. Reckless driving in Illinois is defined as operating "any vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." Without causing serious injury, reckless driving is a Class A misdemeanor, the conviction of which carries penalties of up to one year in prison and fines of up to $2,500.

A conviction on DUI charges can be even more serious, despite also being classified as a Class A misdemeanor. The potential for prison time and fines would be the same as a conviction of reckless driving, with the addition of a mandatory one-year revocation of driving privileges. Aggravating factors, including the presence of child passengers or causing an accident, can result in substantially increased penalties.

Cited for a Traffic Violation?

If you have received a citation for a serious traffic violation or are facing charges of DUI, contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney. We will review your case, help you explore your available options, and work with you in finding the best route for protecting your future. Call The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today at 847-488-0889 to schedule your free initial consultation.

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/ct-roselle-car-with-tree-wedged-in-grill-0308-20160307-story.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-503

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

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Posted on in Traffic violations

traffic stop, Illinois law, Kane County criminal defense attorneyA federal judge in nearby Iowa recently upheld a traffic stop even though the defendant was only traveling 1 mile per hour (mph) over the speed limit and was apparently set up by police officers. The decision is not binding authority for criminal law cases in Kane County, but prosecutors may use it to persuade judges to uphold borderline stops or seizures when the defendant files a motion to suppress evidence.

Facts

In United States v. Fuehrer, Dubuque County Sheriff’s deputies had been spying on the defendant for quite some time; they suspected him of being a drug dealer. When they learned the man would be traveling on Highway 151, they set up a radar speed trap. A deputy claimed that his radar recorded the GMC Jimmie travelling at 66 mph in a 65 mph zone. Once the vehicle was pulled over, a drug-sniffing dog was on the scene a mere two minutes later, and officers seized a substantial quantity of methamphetamines.

In his motion to suppress, the defense lawyer claimed that "common knowledge. . .tell[s] us that there is a standard deviation on radar devices that is at least plus or minus 1 mph," and so "the deputy who stopped the defendant. . .could not say with any certainty that he had probable cause to believe that the defendant was violating any traffic laws." The prosecutor also admitted that officers wanted to ensnare the defendant.

Decision

Under existing U.S. Supreme Court precedent, any subjective motive is not relevant. So, according to the judge, the fact that the stop was a "setup" does not invalidate the evidence. Furthermore, the judge pointed out that the standard of proof is lower for a traffic stop than for a conviction. The officer only has to have reasonable suspicion for a stop, and that element was present.

Application

While arguing a motion to suppress, the defense attorney may have made a critical error by not obtaining the specifications for the radar gun. If there was evidence in the record that 1 mph was within the margin of error, the judge may have ruled that there was no reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop.

If you are facing criminal charges, it’s important to partner with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Elgin that pays close attention to detail. Call Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889.

Source: http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2015/us-onemph.pdf

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

aggravated speeding, traffic offenses, Kane County Defense LawyerConsider a very plausible situation: you are driving back from a long road trip and you are very anxious to get home. Traffic has been rather congested for much of the trip, so your car’s cruise control has not been of much use. Finally, the road opens up in front of you and you accelerate without paying too much attention to the speedometer. Without warning, the flashing strobes of a police cruiser are behind you indicating that you need to pull over. The officer approaches your window and informs you that were traveling at 85 mph in a 55 mph zone. Just that quickly, your life could change, as such a violation may result in criminal prosecution for aggravated speeding.

Very few drivers consider speeding to be that big of a deal. Of course, you probably realize that a speeding ticket can lead to fines, points on your driver’s license, and possibly an increase in your insurance premiums. Beyond that, though, it can certainly feel like more of a nuisance than anything else.

While exceeding the speed limit by five or ten miles per hour, in most cases, is probably a cause for major concern, aggravated speeding is an entirely different situation. Illinois law provides that drivers who exceed a posted speed limit by 26 mph or more may be prosecuted in a criminal court proceeding. That is much more serious than points on your license or an insurance rate hike.

Drivers who are found to be exceeding the speed by limit by 26 mph or more but less than 35 mph may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. Maximum penalties could include up to six months in prison, two years of probation, and $1,500 in fines. Those who exceed a posted speed limit by 35 mph or more may be subject to Class A misdemeanor charges, punishable by up to one year in jail, two years of probation, and fines of $2,500.

As with any criminal charge, a conviction will remain on your record permanently. This could potentially impact future employment, educational, and personal opportunities. Fortunately, you may have options, especially if you have never been charged with a crime before and a qualified lawyer can help.

If you are facing charges for aggravated speeding, or any other traffic violations, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Elgin, Illinois. At the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we are committed to working with you in protecting your future and minimizing the negative impact of criminal charges. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free confidential consultation today at put our knowledgeable team on your side.

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DUI, testing procedures, Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been stopped on suspicion of DUI in Illinois, you may be asked to submit to blood alcohol content (BAC) testing. Refusing to comply with test is legally your right, but your driver&s license will be automatically suspended for one year, and for three years if you have refused chemical testing in the past. Similarly, if the test results show a BAC level of 0.08 or higher, a 6-12 month suspension of your driving privileges will be imposed for a first offense.

Once your license has been suspended by means of a statutory summary suspension, the resulting limitations will be lifted upon the conclusion of the stated time period. You will also be required to pay a reinstatement fee of $250. The reinstatement fee for a subsequent suspension increases to $500, which must be paid before the suspension will be terminated.

Driving relief programs have been instituted in Illinois that may permit you to drive legally despite your suspension. The most common program requires the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which prevents use of the vehicle by an intoxicated driver. These programs are designed to allow drivers under suspension to continue working, attending school, and providing for their families.

Beyond a suspension, certain situations may cause the Office of the Secretary of State to seek full revocation of your driver&s license. Such action is generally based on information received by the Secretary of State from state&s attorneys and law enforcement agencies. The most extreme cases may result in a revocation without an administrative hearing, if deemed appropriate and based on sufficient evidence. A revocation of a driver’s license can be administered by the Secretary of State in conjunction with information from state attorneys at the county level.

You may challenge a statutory summary suspension or revocation by requesting that an judicial hearing within 90 days of the date of notice. Under law, such hearings may only consider whether:

  • You were arrested for driving under the influence;
  • There was reasonable suspicion of DUI;
  • You refused to submit to chemical testing;
  • After being advised of the automatic suspension, you submitted to a test showing illegal levels of alcohol or drugs; and
  • You were involved in a crash which caused injury or death.

The suspension or revocation of driving privileges can create serious challenges for you personally and for your family. An experienced DUI attorney in Elgin can help take the necessary steps in fighting such actions. We will review your case, assist you in understanding your options, and work with you in protecting your future. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.

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