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Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyers

DUI defense - blood draw consent issues

I consented to a blood draw, is there any way to still defend against a DUI Charge?

I have represented thousands of clients who have been charged with a DUI in the Chicago area for over seventeen years as part of my criminal defense program. A DUI charge can have serious consequences such as jail time, fines, and the loss of your driver's license which is why it is important to understand your rights and how to defend against any evidence the prosecution may present.

If you are pulled over by the police for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the police will likely ask you to perform a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer test, or even take a blood test. These tests will be used as evidence against you if you are charged with a DUI, which is why I recommend that you refuse the tests in order to prevent evidence from being collected. If you do consent to a blood draw, one of my first steps as your attorney would be to determine if there is anyway to prove the results are unreliable.

To determine whether the results were reliable, you would look at whether the proper requirements and procedures were followed. The requirements include the police officer obtaining the defendant's consent and then requesting the hospital personnel to collect the blood. Only licensed physicians, registered nurses, trained phlebotomists, or certified paramedics may collect the sample, and a law enforcement officer must be present when the sample is drawn to authenticate it. The tubes of blood must be properly labeled and the kit sealed in front of the officer, who, along with the hospital personnel, should initial the tape that seals the box. Before analysis, a police forensic scientist will photograph the kit in its box and each of the vials.

For more information about defending against a DUI charge or for help defending against the loss of your license, contact our office to speak with John W. Callahan, an attorney experienced with criminal defense and license reinstatement.


- Posted by Illinois DUI lawyer John W Callahan

DUI Defense - defending against blood results and consent

The police obtained my blood test results without my consent as evidence in a DUI charge, is there any way to defend against the blood test?

I have been representing clients who have faced DUI charges, around the Schaumburg and Chicago areas, for over 17 years. People have often asked me how to defend against blood test results taken without your consent that will be used as evidence against you in a DUI charge.

If the police obtained your blood test results to be used against you for a DUI charge, it was likely on an emergency basis. Blood tests taken on an emergency basis, must have been taken in a hospital emergency room in the regular course of emergency medical treatment, not at the request of law enforcement authorities, in order to be admissible in DUI prosecutions under the business records exception of the hearsay rule. To defend against these blood test results, it is important to check the medical records for your injuries and diagnosis to determine what treatment was being rendered to you and to ascertain whether it qualifies as necessary emergency medical treatment.

If you raise the right motions in court, the judge will side with you and can prevent the blood alcohol level from being admitted into evidence against you under the right circumstances.

If you or someone you know needs help defending against a DUI charge, contact John W. Callahan for a free consultation.


- Posted by Schaumburg DUI lawyer John W Callahan

Does the prosecution have to turn over the police officer's dash cam video of the vehicle stop?

In the area of DUI defense, my firm has handled hundreds of DUI cases in over the past fourteen years in both Cook and DuPage County. When beginning to prepare a defense, it is important to acquire all material evidence that will or could be used against the defendant to prove his guilt.

One important piece of evidence in a DUI case is the police officer's dash cam video. One question people often have is whether the prosecution has to turn over the arresting officer's dash cam video of the vehicle stop.

In People v. Kladis, the Illinois Supreme Court allowed misdemeanor defendants to ask for police videos as part of discovery in DUI cases. The court also held that the trial court's decision to bar the arresting officer from testifying about events that would have been shown by the recording in question - which was destroyed after the defendant requested it - was reasonable.

Thus, it is important for you or your attorney to request the video and if the video is not presented, ask the court to sanction the prosecution for failure to disclose the video.

For information about defending against a DUI charge, contact the attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. for a free consultation.


- Posted by Schaumburg DUI lawyer John W Callahan

DUI defense - types of DUI charges

When someone is arrested for their first DUI, the charge is typically a Class A misdemeanor. Oftentimes, even if the person is arrested for their second DUI offense it will be a Class A misdemeanor, provided they are not still suspended for their first DUI. There are, however, certain circumstances where the facts of that first or second DUI will make it a felony offense, with a unique set of challenges.

We’ve discussed how the State’s Attorney may enhance your DUI to a Class 4 felony in situations where you either did not have a valid license, or did not have valid liability insurance on the vehicle. However, what if there was an accident?

If you are involved in an accident that results only in damage to the vehicles involved, or minor injuries, but the police responding to the accident determine that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the resulting charge will usually be a Class A misdemeanor. However, the law is going to recognize that certain situations require stiffer penalties, such as when the accident results in more serious injuries, or where there are children who are injured, or when the DUI driver held a position of trust.

If you are transporting a child under the age of 16, and that child is injured as a result of an accident that occurred while you were determined to be drunk, and the fact that you were under the influence was found to be a proximate cause of the accident and resulting injuries, you may be charged with a Class 4 felony. Not only do you face the typical Class 4 felony DUI sentencing parameters, you also face an additional 25 days of community service in a program benefitting kids and a minimum fine of $2,500.

If you are a school bus driver and determined to be under the influence at a time when you are driving a school bus with one or more passengers on board under the age of 18, you may be charged with a Class 4 felony.

If you are determined by the officer to be under the influence when you are involved in a crash resulting in an injury to another person, and that crash took place in a 20 mile per hour school zone (when that speed limitation was in effect) you may be charged with a Class 4 felony if your intoxication is determined to be the cause of the accident resulting in injury.

Finally, if you are involved in an accident resulting in great bodily harm at a time when you are determined to be under the influence of alcohol, and your intoxication is found to be the proximate cause of the accident resulting in that great bodily harm, you will likely be charged with a Class 4 felony. In that case, if you are sentenced to the Department of Corrections, you face a sentence range of 1-12 years.

If you are involved in an accident, and face DUI charges as a result of that accident, you need an experienced lawyer that will fight for your freedom. Contact the attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. for a free consultation.


- Posted by Illinois DUI lawyer John W Callahan

Location:Schaumburg

Drug charges - possession and delivery issues

Most felony drug-related offenses come in one of two forms: the person who is pulled over or arrested for something else when some “personal use” narcotics are found, and the person who has been dealing their drug of choice and has unknowingly been the subject of a prolonged period of surveillance.

The first scenario is typically much more straightforward. You are arrested and charged with drug possession. You hire the aggressive, knowledgeable attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. You have confidence that your rights are being protected and you are being advised on the best course of action for your particular case.

The second scenario is often a bit more confusing. When you have been the subject of a lengthy period of surveillance that culminates with your arrest, you are a person the police have spent their resources on. They are, in short, invested in you. As such, you are going to be given some interesting options upon your arrest. Most commonly, the detective is going to tell you that you can avoid charges altogether if you agree to “help them out.” They will tell you that you can go home, as long as you agree to provide them information about your narcotics source, or the names of others in the area that are also selling. You will be told that you need to bring them a certain number of names, or a certain number of cases, with requirements about the particular Class of offense they need. This scenario often leaves a person wondering, “Do I need an attorney?”

The answer is a resounding “YES.” While you may not have been charged (depending on the County where your offense took place), you still need an experienced, dedicated attorney to represent your interests with the police. Someone to make sure the parameters of your deal with the police are adhered to. Someone to make sure their response to you isn’t always, “just one more case, and your charges go away.”

Contact the attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. to make sure your rights are protected and to help you navigate your situation.


- Posted by Illinois drug defense lawyer John W Callahan

DUI defense - how many drinks have you had tonight?

Conservatively speaking, the attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. have represented hundreds of clients who have been charged with DUI. During their arrest, the officer will always ask the question, “How much have you had to drink tonight?” They may ask at the scene of the traffic stop, they may ask after the person is brought back to the station. But they will always ask. And when the question is asked, the predictable answer typically follows, “I’ve had two beers.” Almost every time. Why? Why is the answer always two beers?

When the officer asks you out of the car, chances are the decision to arrest you for DUI has already been made. They either smell alcohol coming from your breath, or will rely on the “typical indicia of intoxication:” bloodshot, glassy eyes, slurred speech. Usually, they will have already told you that they smell alcohol before they even ask about how much you’ve had to drink. You may think you’re doing yourself a favor by saying “two beers.” It’s enough to account for the odor, but not enough to be considered drunk. After all, who doesn’t go out and have a couple of beers? The problem is you are simply confirming what the officer has already detected and, if you go to trial, that response is now so cliché it will be considered laughable by both the Judge and the prosecutor. You’re best response, unless you KNOW you are not intoxicated, is to politely refuse. Politely refuse to answer any questions. Politely refuse to take the field sobriety tests. Politely refuse to take a breathalyzer. Politely refuse to provide anything that is going to be later used against you.

For more information about defending you against your DUI charge, contact the experienced attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. for a free consultation.


- Posted by Schaumburg DUI lawyer John W Callahan

DUI defense - to blow or not to blow

In the area of DUI defense I often meet with new clients who have just been arrested for DUI. As we review their case, one of the first questions I will always ask is “Did you blow?”

I ask that question because whether a person took a breath test or not often determines how strong the case may be against that person. If you take a breathalyzer test, and you fail, you are providing the prosecutor with a huge piece of evidence and make it that much harder to beat your DUI. Not impossible, but more difficult.

Sometimes, the decision is made to blow because the person is informed that the length of their statutory summary suspension will be shorter, even if they blow over .08, other times it can be chalked up to a simple lapse in judgment. But here’s another reason NOT to take a breathalyzer test: Depending on the result, it could really nail you in the pocketbook.

Most cases have mandatory fines and costs associated with them. DUI’s are no different. However, if you decided to blow, and you blew over .16, those costs are only going to go up. If you blew over .16 on your first offense, you are going to be hit with an additional minimum fine of $500 (as well as a mandatory 100 hours of public service) if you don't beat the case. Second offense? Mandatory minimum fine of $1,250 and two days in jail. If your offense is a felony, the additional mandatory fine could reach $5,000.

If you’re arrested for DUI and you want to try to beat it, you need an experienced, tough lawyer on your side. Contact the attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. for a free consultation.


- Posted by Schaumburg DUI lawyer John W Callahan

Location:Chicago

DUI defense - How could I get a DUI when I wasn’t even driving

In the field of DUI defense, on numerous occasions, I have had clients come to my office shocked to learn that they had been charged with DUI when they hadn’t even been driving a car. They wonder “How can I be charged with ‘driving’ under the influence of alcohol when I hadn’t moved my car?”

In Illinois, it is illegal for a person to drive or be “in actual physical control” of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. While everyone knows what it means to be “driving” a car, it can be more difficult to understand what it means to have “actual physical control” over a vehicle. Pulled over to the shoulder of the expressway because of engine trouble? Actual physical control. Start the car but waiting to drive because you know you’ve had too much? Actual physical control. Waiting in the car for your friend to show up because it’s cold outside? Actual physical control. Rest assured, if you are in the driver’s seat of a vehicle and the engine is running, you will be deemed to have “actual physical control” over that car. Even if the engine isn’t running, but you’re in the driver’s seat with the keys in your pocket, you may be considered to have “actual physical control” simply because you have immediate, direct access to the keys.

To successfully defend yourself against a DUI charge, you need an aggressive, knowledgeable attorney who can argue these issues in your favor. Contact the attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. for a free consultation with a lawyer experienced in DUI defense.


- Posted by Illinois dui lawyer John W Callahan

DUI DEFENSE - Can driving a vehicle for hire turn my misdemeanor DUI into a Class 4 felony?

In the area of DUI defense, my firm has handled hundreds of DUI cases in over the past fourteen years in both Cook and DuPage County. People often wonder why they are being charged with a felony when it is only their first or second DUI, but there are a number of ways a would-be misdemeanor can turn into a Class 4 felony.

Your first DUI offense is typically a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. However, the prosecutor can opt to charge you with an aggravated DUI if you committed a DUI while transporting one or more passengers in a vehicle for hire. An aggravated DUI resulting from committing a DUI while transporting one or more passengers for hire is a Class 4 Felony.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI charge, you need to go on offense to try to minimize damage to your license and try to prevent a felony hitting your record.

For information about defending against a DUI charge, contact the attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. for a free consultation.

- Posted by Illinois dui lawyer John W Callahan

DUI defense - What is the effect of my DUI on my ability to drive?

Oftentimes, the most difficult aspect of an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol is the effect that it has on one’s ability to drive. The inconvenience caused by the suspension of your driver’s license can outweigh the DUI arrest and sentence itself. Invariably, clients will have a number of questions about when they will be able to drive again.

When you are arrested for DUI, even if it is your first DUI, your license is going to be suspended if you cannot win your Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary suspension. The only real question is for how long. If it is your first offense and you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for twelve months. If you submit to a breath test but blow over .08, your license will be suspended for six months. While the shorter suspension may seem appealing, keep in mind that the shorter suspension is the carrot offered to get you to blow.

Problem is, you have just provided the prosecutor with an important piece of evidence that she is going to use to try to secure a conviction. If you are no longer considered a “first offender” your suspension for refusing to blow will last for three years! This “statutory summary suspension” will go into effect on the 46th day following your arrest. To fight your suspension, you need to file a Petition to Rescind your statutory summary suspension. This time-sensitive method of trying to get your license back requires immediate action by an experienced lawyer.

Contact the attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. to fight to get your license back and to defend you against your DUI charge.


- Posted by Illinois license reinstatement lawyer John W Callahan