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Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyers

What is the penalty in Illinois for aggravated DUI?

I have been representing clients charged with DUI in Illinois, around the Schaumburg and Chicago areas for over 17 years. A person driving under the influence of alcohol will be charged with aggravated DUI, if one of the several aggravating factors is present. http://www.chicagocriminallaw.com/blog/
Generally, a person convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicating compounds is guilty of a class 4 felony. The sentence of imprisonment for a class 4 felony is between one and three years. In addition, the court may also impose a fine of up to $25,000. The sentence varies depending on the aggravating factors. In case of aggravated driving under the influence without a driver license, the court will be more lenient if the driver was driving with a suspended or revoked license. If the driver was never eligible to drive or never had a driver’s license, the court will most likely impose a more harsh sentence (unless the driver successfully defends his or her case). Similarly, the court will be more lenient if the driver knew or should have known that he or she was driving without liability insurance. On the other hand, the sentence will be harsher if the person driving under the influence caused an accident that resulted in bodily harm to another. For example, if the accident caused great bodily harm to another person and the driver is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, the minimum sentence is one year (up to 12 years). If the driver was transporting a child under the age of 16 and the child suffered bodily harm, the Illinois law imposes a mandatory fine of $2,500 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children in addition to any other criminal sanction.
The penalties for aggravated DUI are among the harshest in the United States. If you are charged with an aggravated DUI, I highly recommend hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney who can help you understand your rights and design a plan to defend you case. Please contact our office if you need help in defending a felony charge for aggravated DUI.


- Posted by DUI lawyer John W. Callahan

Aggravated DUI in Illinois

I have been representing clients charged with DUI in Illinois, around the Schaumburg and Chicago areas for over 17 years. In the State of Illinois, an aggravated DUI is a felony. Aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicating compounds occurs in any of the following situations:
• In case of a third or subsequent DUI.
• Driving under the influence a school bus with at least one passenger on board.
• The driver was involved in a car accident that resulted in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement of another person, and the DUI was the most likely cause of the accident.
• The person driving under the influence previously committed a crime relating to reckless homicide while driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicating compounds.
• The driver was involved in an accident while driving under the influence in a school zone when a speed limit of 20miles/hour was in effect (no minimum speed requirement) if the accident resulted in bodily harm (other than great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement) and the DUI most likely caused the accident.
• Driving under influence that resulted in death when the DUI was the proximate cause of death.
• Driving under influence during a period in which the defendant’s driving privileges are suspended or revoked for driving under influence or for reckless homicide.
• Driving under influence without a valid driver’s license.
• Driving under influence while the driver knew or should have known that the car was not covered by liability insurance.
• The driver who was driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or intoxicating compound was transporting a child under the age of 16, and the DUI was the cause of an accident which resulted in bodily harm (not great bodily harm) to the child.
• Driving under the influence while transporting a child under 16 years and the driver had a prior DUI conviction.
• Driving under the influence while transporting one or more passengers in a vehicle for hire.
If any of the aggravating factors are present, the driver will be charged with aggravated DUI and risks a possible conviction for a felony crime. Depending on the facts of the case, the driver may argue the following: that the DUI was not the proximate cause of the accident, that he could not have known that the vehicle was uninsured; that the police violated his constitutional rights. Please do not hesitate to our office if you have been arrested and/or charged with an aggravated DUI.


- Posted by DUI lawyer John W. Callahan

What is the penalty in Illinois for ecstasy possession?

As a criminal defense lawyer in the State of Illinois, I have represented hundreds of people charged with possession of drugs in the Chicago area.
Ecstasy is the informal name for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (also known as MDMA). Ecstasy is a stimulant drug that causes hallucinations. It is found in the form of tablets/pills and it is a very popular party drug.

Possession of ecstasy is illegal in the State of Illinois. If you or your child have been arrested for ecstasy possession I recommend you to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney because the penalties for this crime are harsh. Possession of ecstasy is a felony and the penalty depends on the number of tablets possessed at the time of the arrest. Possession of up to 15 tablets of ecstasy is a class 4 felony and it is punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison in addition to a fine of up to $25,000. Possession of more than 15 tablets is a class 1 felony which carries a more serious punishment than a class 4 felony. The sentence is between 4 and 15 years for possession of 15 to 200 tablets; between 6 to 30 years for possession of 200 to 600 tablets; between 8 to 40 years for possession 600 to 1,500 tablets; and between 10 to 50 years for possession of more than 1,500 tablets. The penalty for a class 1 felony may also include a fine of up to $200,000.

It is important to contact an experienced felony drug lawyer to give your son or daughter the best chance to eliminate or prevent a felony conviction from destroying their record.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office to obtain more information about your rights and to discuss a plan for your defense. Depending on the facts of your case, you may contest the legality of the search and/or arrest and whether the possession was illegal.

- Posted by felony drug charge lawyer John W. Callahan

What is the penalty in Illinois for cocaine possession?

As a criminal defense lawyer in the State of Illinois, I have represented hundreds of people charged with possession of drugs in the Chicago area.
Possession of any amount of cocaine greater than 15 grams is a class 1 felony. A class 1 felony triggers a sentence of four to fifteen years in prison.

The sentence depends on the amount of cocaine possessed at the time of the arrest. The sentence is no less than 4 years and up to 15 years for possession of 15 grams or more but less than 100 grams. The sentence is between 6 and 30 years with respect to possession of 100 grams or more but less than 400 grams. If the amount of cocaine is between 400 grams and 900 grams, the sentence is between 8 and 40 years. For 900 grams and up, the sentence is not less than 10 years but not more than 50 years. If the amount in possession is less than 15 grams, the charge will be a class 4 felony, which is punishable by one to three years in prison. Most of these charges are probation eligible if they are first time offenses. In addition to the above sentences, the penalties for cocaine possession may also include a fine up to $200,000.

The charges for possession of cocaine should be treated as a very serious matter because they can trigger a felony conviction. If this is your first incidence the chances of success are higher. In any case, I highly recommend hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer from the beginning of the process to help minimize the damage. Please contact our office if you need an experienced felony drug lawyer to help you navigate the court process.

- Posted by Chicago felony lawyer John W. Callahan

Medical Marijuana Impact on DUI

I have been representing clients charged with DUI in Illinois, around the Schaumburg and Chicago areas for over 17 years. Recent developments in the Illinois legislation regarding the lawful consumption of cannabis/marijuana may affect drivers charged with DUI.

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program is a four year pilot program which went into effect on January 1, 2014. Under this law, patients may legally use marijuana for certain medical conditions after obtaining registry identification cards. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program may directly affect some drivers charged with DUI.

Under the Illinois Vehicle Code, any amount of cannabis in a driver’s breath, blood, or urine resulting from unlawful use or consumption may trigger a DUI charge. If the driver is a patient licensed under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Act and has a valid registry card, he or she is exempted from the above provision. The driver in possession of a valid registry identification card and less than 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis is presumed innocent. If the driver is functioning poorly or incompetently, he or she may still be charged with DUI.

The law does not specify what level of consumption determines impairment. This means that drivers cannot smoke any amount of marijuana and still drive without being charged with DUI. The impairment of the driver who consumed marijuana and has a valid registry card is a contested issue. An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to help drivers with state registry cards contest the charges.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you need help in contesting the above type of DUI charge.


- Posted by Schaumburg DUI lawyer John W. Callahan

Third DUI charge? What does it mean?

As a DUI lawyer who has handled thousands of cases in Illinois, I highly recommend hiring an experienced DUI lawyer to fight a third DUI charge. The reason for my recommendation is that a third or subsequent DUI is an aggravated DUI under Illinois law.

An aggravated DUI is a Class 2 felony. A felony is the most serious type of criminal offense. A felony conviction can lead to incarceration and will adversely affect the opportunities for employment for many years. Most DUI offenses are misdemeanors (a less serious criminal offense); however, a DUI will be elevated to a felony level if it is a third DUI offense. The law requires a mandatory minimum of 90 days of imprisonment and a mandatory minimum fine of $2,500 if the driver has an alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more at the time of the third DUI offense. The fine can be up to $25,000 in addition to 25 days of community service, if the driver was transporting a person under the age of 16 at the time of the third violation. As I discussed in another blog entry, in most instances I recommend drivers stopped by police not to submit to a breathalyzer test. If you already submitted to the breathalyzer test, there are other ways to contest the charges (i.e. contesting the accuracy of the police report and / or the breathalyzer itself).

Please contact my office if you need help in fighting a third DUI charge.


- Posted by DUI lawyer John W. Callahan

Can I be charged with a DUI for driving after huffing an intoxicating compound?

I have been representing clients charged with DUI in Illinois, around the Schaumburg and Chicago areas for over 17 years. Driving under the influence of alcohol is not the only way you can be charged with a DUI in Illinois. Driving under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds that render the driver incapable of driving safely is illegal in the State of Illinois.

The intoxicating compound, liquid or chemical can be ingested, inhaled, breathed, or drank. The following intoxicating compounds are prohibited in Illinois: toluol, hexane, trichloroethylene, acetone, toluene, ethyl acetate, methyl ethyl ketone, trichloroethane, isopropanol, methyl isobutyl ketone, methyl cellosolve acetate, cyclohexanone, the alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, or scopolamine, or any other substance for the purpose of inducing a condition of intoxication, disorientation, depression, overexcitement, paralysis or irrational behavior, or in any manner changing, distorting or disturbing the auditory, visual or mental processes.

Inhaling any other substance not listed above can trigger a DUI charge if the driver is incapable of driving safely. Inhaling or huffing gas from dusting or cleaning products or glue is a common practice and can trigger a DUI charge.
The main issue if you are charged with a DUI after huffing an intoxicant is whether you were incapable of driving safely a vehicle. Should you have any questions about being charged with DUI for driving after huffing, please contact our office anytime.


- Posted by Schaumburg DUI lawyer John W. Callahan

I am being investigated by the police, should I go talk with them?

As a criminal defense lawyer who has represented thousands of clients in the past two decades, I am asked all the time by people whether or not they should talk to the police in an investigation.

The answer is normally no. A talented criminal defense lawyer can put a buffer between the police and you during an investigation. This doesn't mean that you will not be charged or the lawyer can prevent criminal charges from being filed against you. What it does mean is that you will not make matters worse. The way I describe it to my clients is that if you talk to the police about an ongoing investigation, even indicating that you spoke with the person or were at a certain location, this can lead to you putting yourself at the scene of a crime or an admission that you had contact with a person. This can be enough to allow the police to charge you with a crime.

From investigations involving the sale of drugs, to investigations of white-collar crime or theft or even sex offense investigations, we have been able to prevent charges from coming down against our clients in many cases. In the cases where our clients were charged with crimes, the charges are normally harder for the prosecution to prove because of our buffer.

If you are being investigated for a crime by the police anywhere around the Chicagoland area, contact criminal defense lawyer John W Callahan at anytime to discuss your case.


- Posted by criminal defense lawyer John W. Callahan

What happens if I have been arrested for possessing heroin?

I have represented hundreds if not thousands of clients charged with felony possession of drugs. Very often, I have represented clients who have been charged with possessing heroin. This often happens on the west side of Chicago near Oak Park and the case is then brought to Cook County branch Court at Grand and Central. Many of these heroin charges involved 0.1 g of heroin possession. This is when a person typically purchases heroin on the street and is caught shortly thereafter. These are still felony charges and they must be treated seriously to avoid obtaining a felony conviction.

Recently, I represented a person charged at Grand and Central where he was charged with .4 g of heroin possession. We took the case to a preliminary hearing on this drug charge and after cross examining the police officer, all of the charges against my client were dismissed that day. Obviously, this does not happen in every case but I have used my experience in cross-examination to try to obtain the best results for possession of a controlled substance charges including heroin and other controlled substances.

If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance or your son or daughter has been charged with a felony for possessing heroin, feel free to contact my office to discuss the case.


- Posted by drug charge lawyer John W. Callahan

Are the laws the same in every state regarding DUI?

Are the laws the exact same in every state regarding DUI arrests? As a DUI lawyer who is handled hundreds if not thousands of DUI cases in Chicago, Schaumburg, Barrington and Arlington Heights, I have been asked that question numerous times. The simple answer is no. Illinois handles it's driving under the influence of alcohol charges differently than many states. In certain states, if the person who is charged with DUI refuses to take a breath sample at the scene but is found guilty later by the court, he may face a minimum jail sentence even on the first DUI offense. This is not the case in Illinois.

The successful DUI defense in Illinois requires knowledge of the facts of what happened at the scene in combination with knowledge of the law to attack the states case and minimize damage to the client was charged with DUI.

If you are from another state but have been charged with a DUI in Illinois, you must contact a lawyer who concentrates in driving under the influence of alcohol defense in Illinois so that he can clearly let you know how to best represent you in court.


- Posted by DUI lawyer John W. Callahan