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Illinois Criminal Defense Blog

What you should do immediately after a car accident

Illinois car crashes happen all too often. If you become involved in one, there are several things you should – and should not – do immediately afterward. The most important thing you should do is stay where you are until law enforcement officers arrive and give you permission to leave. Leaving too soon could put you at risk for officers charging you with leaving the scene and/or hit-and-run, both of which are crimes in Illinois.

The first thing you should do is determine if anyone is injured. If so, call 911 on your cellphone, give your location and request the operator to send immediate medical and law enforcement assistance. Do not attempt to move any injured or unconscious person unless a hazard exists such as a fire, a downed power line or rising flood water. Moving an injured person can worsen injuries, especially if the injuries are to the neck or back.

Criminal defense may hinge on events prior to arrest

No Illinois motorist wants to think about getting pulled over on the way home from work or after a night out with friends. Many people stop off to have a beer during their travels and that can surely complicate matters if a police officer detects the smell of alcohol on a person's breath. If he or she uses a breath test device to confirm a suspicion, the person driving may wind up needing a strong criminal defense.  

The events leading up to a drunk driving arrest may be critical to avoiding conviction. For instance, following an arrest, investigators often question a defendant. By law, no interrogation may take place if an individual is in police custody and under interrogation unless and until the accused has been informed of his or her Miranda Rights.  

Debate over marijuana legalization in Illinois marches on

As more states vote to legalize marijuana, many other states feel pressured to address the issue – including Illinois. Though the state legalized medical marijuana back in 2015 (until 2020) and decriminalized marijuana possession under 10 grams in 2016, general recreational use remains illegal under both state and federal law.

That could change in the coming months, however.

Can police search my property without a warrant?

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens’ rights to unreasonable search and seizure of private property. In most cases, this means police must have a warrant signed by a judge to search you personally or your property, like your car or your home.

However, certain exceptions exist under the Fourth Amendment. This issue came to a head last week in a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled such exceptions do not apply to private homes.

3 ways to get your driving privileges back

Last week, we covered the differences between having your driver's license suspended or revoked. Modern America is built on getting around by car, so not having a license can quickly impact your ability to do basic chores, like grocery shopping, picking up your kids from their activities or getting to work.

Here's the good news: Illinois offers a few ways to regain your ability to drive. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be eligible to get your driving privileges back sooner than you might have thought. Here's how.

The difference between license suspension and revocation

In normal, everyday conversation, the words "suspension" and "revocation" often mean the same thing. At the very least, they are similes, or words that have slightly different meanings but can be substituted for each other.

Not so in the legal world. Having your driver's license suspended differs significantly from having it revoked. That said, in either case, the outcome is the same: You won't be driving anywhere soon.

Are DUI checkpoints legal in Illinois?

Memorial Day has come and gone, kicking off the summer holidays. Increased DUI enforcement has become fairly routine during major holidays, and for good reason. One study indicates that Memorial Day is the deadliest holiday weekend to travel.

This often leads to increased DUI patrols and sobriety checkpoints. Despite their popularity, however, some still question the legality of DUI checkpoints.

Should you refuse a breath test?

When it comes to DUI charges, some sources (usually found on internet forums) may tell you that refusing a breath test is a good strategy to thwart the prosecution’s case against you. After all, without the hard evidence of your blood alcohol concentration, how can they charge you with drunk driving?

The truth is that it’s not that simple. You can refuse to take a breath test, but prosecutors can use other evidence besides your BAC to build their case against you. Additionally, Illinois has unique laws when it comes to breath testing. So, before taking the advice of a random internet user, it’s best to understand exactly how Illinois DUI laws work.

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