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Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyers

What are the penalties for refusing to take a sobriety test on a DUI arrest?

Can I refuse to do the field sobriety tests if I am pulled over for a DUI? As a DUI lawyer in Chicago and Schaumburg I am often asked that question. The answer is yes, you can refuse to perform the standardized field sobriety tests out on the scene of a DUI arrest. You can also refuse to perform the portable breath test as well as the breathalyzer test at the station.

However, there are consequences to refusing to perform a sobriety test. Any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle shall be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test or tests of blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the content of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicants in the person's blood. Thus, a refusal to take a sobriety test will result in an automatic suspension of your license for one year. If you contact a DUI lawyer immediately, he may be able to prevent the suspension from ever going into effect.

Each subsequent refusal will also result in longer license suspensions. A second and third refusal offense will each result in a three year license suspension. Further, the prosecution can argue your refusal to submit to a sobriety test was because you knew you were intoxicated and guilty of a DUI.

Even though a refusal to perform a sobriety test ends with a one year license suspension, a conviction for a first DUI offense ends with a one year license suspension, possibly up to one year in jail, and a fine. Therefore, I recommend you refuse to take a sobriety test, which denies the prosecution evidence to use in court. For more questions on whether to take a sobriety test, call our office for more information.

- Posted by DUI lawyer John W. Callahan

Am I eligible for drug court in Cook County?

You have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, but want to take advantage of a diversion program like drug court. What should you do? As a criminal defense lawyer who has represented hundreds of clients who have been charged with drug crimes, many of them ask if they are eligible for drug court.

To be admitted into a drug court program, the prosecutor must be in agreement with the defendant and have approval of the court. A defendant will be excluded from a drug court program if the defendant has been convicted or charged with a crime of violence, if the defendant denies an addiction or use of drugs, if the defendant does not demonstrate a willingness to participate in a treatment program, or if the defendant has been previously completed or discharged from a drug court program. So, in order to get drug court you must admit and accept some responsibility.

The defendant will first be assessed to determine whether he is eligible for a drug court program. Then the defendant will be advised by the court that if the defendant fails to meet the conditions of the drug court program, their eligibility in the program can be revoked and the defendant can be sentenced or prosecution continued for the crime charged. If the defendant completes the drug court program, the court can dismiss the original charges against the defendant, successfully terminate the defendant's sentence, or discharge the defendant from any further proceedings against him from the original prosecution.

What this means is that, typically, the case is expungeable and can be removed from the defendant's record after successful completion of drug court.

For more information on the drug court program or other diversion programs, call our office at any time to speak with a drug charges defense lawyer.

- Posted by criminal drug defense lawyer John W. Callahan

I am being investigated for a hit and run accident in Chicago, what do I do?

As a criminal defense lawyer in Chicago, I have represented hundreds of clients charged with criminal offenses ranging from drug offenses to DUI to hit and run investigations. If you are being investigated for a hit and run accident or have been contacted by the police department for leaving the scene of an accident, you need to contact a lawyer immediately.

Many times, if you contact a lawyer he can discuss the matter with the police to prevent felony charges from ever occurring in your case. Recently I have helped someone eliminate felony charges and they were not even charged with a criminal misdemeanor offense despite being involved in a hit and run accident with property damage only. If someone was actually hurt in the accident, the police will treat the matter more seriously and will typically charge a person with a crime if they believe he or she was involved in the hit and run. You still need to have an effective defense lawyer involved before any contact with the police or insurance companies is made.

If you need help with a leaving the scene of an accident charge or have been involved with any matter that the police are investigating you for, feel free to contact criminal defense lawyer John W Callahan at anytime.

- Posted by criminal defense lawyer John W. Callahan

What do I do if I am being investigated for a crime?

As a criminal defense lawyer who has represented thousands of clients over the past 18 years, I am often asked by people the question… What do I do if I'm being investigated for a crime and the police want me to come in to the police station? Every situation is different. But I normally tell anybody who asks me if they should go in and talk to the police that they should meet me in my office to discuss the matter in private first. Almost every time, I counsel that person that they should retain a lawyer to put a buffer between themselves and the police and the prosecution.

People are worried that if they get a lawyer that the police will assume that they are guilty of the crime and that this can be used against them. This is incorrect. The police often times are enabled to negotiate with the defense lawyer which can prevent an arrest by resolving the situation before the person is charged with a crime.

If you have been contacted by the police who want to ask you questions about a potential criminal action from drug investigations to DUI investigations or if you have committed a crime and are worried that the police are investigating you, you should feel free to contact my office immediately to discuss this matter as we offer a free consultation.

- Posted by criminal defense lawyer John W. Callahan

I got arrested for a DUI in Schaumburg, should I have performed the breathalyzer?

As a Schaumburg DUI lawyer, I have represented hundreds of clients if not thousands of people charged with DUI over the past 18 years. There are many DUI arrests in Elk Grove Village, driving under the influence charges in Palatine, as well as DUI arrests in Schaumburg and these are typically over the weekend. What many of my clients ask when they come in to meet me after being charged with DUI is whether or not they should have performed the breathalyzer after the police officer arrested them.

I would say that after being charged with a DUI, nine times out of 10 it is better to refuse the breathalyzer test for one simple reason. If you submit to the breathalyzer test, you potentially give the prosecution evidence it needs to aid in convicting you of the DUI charge. I always tell my clients that they should remember that the prosecution needs to prove you guilty of the DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. If the police officer testifies that you were intoxicated and your attorney cross-examines the officer, often times there will not be evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that you were under the influence of alcohol. However, if you submit to a breathalyzer, that might give the state the evidence it needs to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the simple reason why, in Illinois, you should refuse the breathalyzer test when facing a DUI investigation.

This does not mean that we can't win or help you out if you submitted to a breathalyzer, this is only a preference. If you submitted to a breathalyzer test, you should contact an experienced DUI lawyer immediately to minimize damage and try to knock out the suspension and criminal charge of your DUI arrest.

Recently, the Northwest suburbs have been increasing their DUI enforcement in Palatine and Elk Grove Village. Schaumburg has always been a high DUI investigation town.

- Posted by Schaumburg DUI lawyer John W. Callahan

I have never been convicted of a drug related charge and was just arrested for possession, what can I expect?

As a criminal defense lawyer who has represented hundreds of clients who have been charged with drug crimes, many of them ask what is going to happen on the first court date. Typically on the first court date an attorney will file his appearance and try to eliminate or to get the charges dismissed at the preliminary hearing. If you're unable to have a lawyer at the first court date, the judge will give you time to obtain one. Many times with class four felonies, a lawyer is able to get the charges dismissed at the preliminary hearing and then the case is closed. Should the case move further along, there are many results that can be obtained from a not guilty to probation.

Following court proceedings, the general outline for a sentence for first time possession offenders is probation for an average of 24 months. During this probation, the court can regulate your conduct both regards to what you can do and with regards to what you must do. For example, the court can say that, as a condition of your probation, you cannot possess a firearm, or that you must complete a minimum number of community service hours. The range of probation conditions subject to the judge’s discretion differs based on your age and on what seems best to ensure the public welfare.

Consulting an attorney to discuss the best ways to present your case and either avoid a conviction or petition for a minimally restrictive probation is likely a good first step in your legal navigation process. Call (877) 355-6697 to speak with a defense attorney near you today.

- Posted by criminal drug defense lawyer John W. Callahan

If I get pulled over by a police officer that suspects I am intoxicated, what should I do?

When interacting with the police it is usually a good decision to keep common courtesy in mind and avoid being confrontational, no matter how frustrating getting pulled over may be. Beyond being base-line cooperative, you are under no affirmative duty to submit to drug and alcohol testing in Illinois. While this will more likely than not lead to an arrest and may impact your immediate driving privileges, when your case goes to trial the state will have less evidence to use against you.

I always tell people that a client who refuses the breathalyzer or refuses to submit to testing on a DUI charge stands a better chance to have a successful outcome of his or her DUI case. This is because the less evidence the State can use against you the better.

If you have been arrested in Chicago or anywhere in the northwest suburbs from Arlington Heights to Barrington to Schaumburg, Feel free to call me if you have any questions at all.

If you have further questions regarding your roadside rights, or would like to discuss retaining counsel to represent your best interests in a DUI case, call (877) 355-6697 to speak with a DUI defense attorney near you today.

- Posted by Barrington DUI lawyer John W. Callahan

Can I be charged with a DUI if I am legally allowed to consume Cannabis, Alcohol, Drugs, or an other Intoxicating Compound?

I have been representing clients charged with DUI in Illinois, around the Schaumburg and Chicago areas for over 17 years. You might think that you can only be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of alcohol, but that is untrue. You can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, a controlled substance, an intoxicating substance, or a methamphetamine. But what if you are taking one of these substances legally?

If a person is legally taking a substance, it must not be to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving. If the individual is impaired and incapable of driving safety, the fact that they have been legally entitled to use alcohol, cannabis, other drugs, or intoxicating compounds does not constitute a defense against any charge of a DUI.

For instance, if an individual is lawfully entitled to consume cannabis under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act and they are in possession of a valid registry card issued under that Act, they are may be found not guilty of a DUI unless they are impaired by the use of cannabis and incapable of driving safely.

The statute that convicts for any amount of cannabis in the blood is also still in effect, so if a blood test is taken and cannabis is found, the person can be found to be under the influence of drugs. In this respect, the medical marijuana law and the DUI law have not merged completely and a gap in common sense occurs in the law.

Should you have any questions about being charged with a DUI near Schaumburg or Chicago after legally consuming alcohol, cannabis, drugs, or an other intoxicating substance, please contact our office anytime.

- Posted by Schaumburg DUI lawyer John W. Callahan

Police Officer’s Role in a DUI Arrest and DUI charge

I have been helping drivers around the Chicago and Schaumburg areas fight DUI charges for the past 17 years. The consequences of a DUI conviction may have a big impact over your life. Defending a DUI charge is not easy; however, an experienced DUI defense lawyer will help you fight for your case and even succeed in maintaining your driving privileges.

If you are stopped by the police for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, you have the option of refusing to take the breathalyzer test. In some cases, I advise that my clients refuse to take the tests. If you do so, the prosecution will try to use the refusal against you at trial by introducing the police officer’s testimony and will try to use the fact that you refused the breathalyzer as consciousness of your guilt. The officer’s testimony and the events that led to the traffic stop are essential to your case. The police officer must follow certain procedures before and after the stop. The officer must give consistent statements regarding the facts that led him or her to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol.

An experienced DUI lawyer will analyze the facts and the records in your case, and determine whether the officer followed the legal procedures. The officer’s credibility at trial also plays a major role in your defense. If you did submit to the test, and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, it is important to determine whether the officer followed the standard legal procedure in administering the test (the machine was functioning properly, the time passed between the stop and the test etc.). Small details may have a big impact in your defense. It is important that you choose an experienced DUI lawyer if you want to maintain your driver’s license.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you need assistance in defending a DUI charge.

- Posted by DUI lawyer John W. Callahan

Penalty in Illinois for Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License

I have been representing drivers in Illinois, around the Chicago, Barrington, and Schaumburg areas, in license reinstatement cases for almost two decades. If the police stopped you for driving with a suspended or revoked license, you need to know the following potential penalties for this offense.

Driving while your driver’s license, permit, or privilege to operate a motor vehicle is suspended or revoked is a class A misdemeanor. A class A misdemeanor may trigger a sentence of imprisonment of up to one year, in addition to a possible fine of up to $2,500.00. This law does not apply if you have a judicial driving permit, a monitoring device permit, family financial responsibility driving permit, probationary license to drive, or a restrictive driving permit.

A second or subsequent violation of this law is a class 4 felony or higher if the violation was the most likely cause of an accident that resulted in personal injury or death to another. If you are charged with a driving while suspended or revoked charge whether it be a misdemeanor or a felony you need to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will help you defend your case. One possible defense is proving that driving with a suspended or revoked license was necessary as necessity can be used as an affirmative defense.

If the Secretary of State revoked or suspended your driver’s license because of a violation related to involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide, and the police stopped you while you were driving with a suspended or revoked license, you will need to undergo a professional evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine whether you have an addiction to alcohol, drugs or intoxicating compounds.

Please note that your driver’s license, permit, or privilege to obtain a driver’s license may be subject to multiple revocations, suspensions, or a combination of both. A subsequent revocation or suspension does not lessen or cancel a prior revocation or suspension. Please contact our office if you need help in defending your case for a violation of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

- Posted by Schaumburg DUI lawyer John W. Callahan