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McHenry County criminal defense attorneyWhen a person is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), one of the biggest fears they are likely to have is the possibility of spending time in jail, whether between the arrest and the trial or as part of the sentence resulting from a criminal conviction. While it is possible for a DUI arrest to lead to jail time, recent changes in Illinois laws and the increased use of electronic monitoring devices have significantly reduced the likelihood that DUI offenders will have to spend time in jail

Misdemeanor DUI Arrest: Usually No Jail, No Bail

Historically, those who were arrested on misdemeanor DUI charges in Illinois were generally processed and immediately released on their own recognizance without having to pay bail. This includes most first-time and second-time DUI arrestees charged with misdemeanor offenses.

The Illinois Bail Reform Act of 2017 created a presumption that “any conditions of release imposed shall be non-monetary in nature” for nonviolent, low-level crimes such as driving under the influence. In December of 2020, the Illinois legislature passed the Illinois Pretrial Fairness Act, which promises to eliminate cash bail for all criminal suspects. The bill is awaiting the signature of Governor J.B. Pritzker in order to become law, but he is expected to sign the measure in the coming weeks. In place of cash bail, the court may set conditions of release such as electronic home monitoring, curfews, drug counseling, stay-away orders, and in-person reporting.

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McHenry County DUI defense lawyerMost people know that you can lose your driver’s license if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) in Illinois. However, many people do not realize that there might be a way to get the suspension of your driver’s license rescinded, but doing so generally requires the help of a qualified attorney.

You Have the Right to a Court Hearing Regarding Your Suspension

If you fail or refuse chemical testing following a DUI arrest, the state of Illinois imposes an automatic suspension of your driver’s license—known as a “statutory summary suspension.” For most people, this suspension lasts six months if you failed testing or 12 months if you refused testing. The law in Illinois, however, gives you the right to a court hearing to challenge the suspension. At this hearing, your lawyer can question police officers and present arguments as to why your license should not have been suspended.

If you hope to have your automatic suspension rescinded, you will need to prove one of the following:

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McHenry County juvenile theft defense lawyerJuvenile crime has decreased over the past couple of years, but certain crimes still tend to be popular with teenagers. According to the FBI, there were more than 62,000 juveniles arrested for suspicion of committing theft or larceny in 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available. In the United States, a juvenile is considered to be anyone who is under the age of 18, though the state of Illinois will prosecute those who are 17 or older for serious crimes. Although juveniles are typically not tried in the same court as adults, they may face similar charges and penalties that can become very serious rather quickly.

What is Retail Theft?

Illinois law not only defines the offense of general theft, which occurs when someone unlawfully takes possession or control of property that belongs to someone else, but also the specific offense of retail theft. Retail theft occurs when a person takes possession of, carries away, or transfers any merchandise from a retail establishment with the purpose of depriving the merchant of the benefit or full or partial retail value of the merchandise.

Retail theft is a Class A misdemeanor as long as the retail value of the merchandise that was stolen was no greater than $300. Penalties for a Class A misdemeanor include up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, and/or up to two years of probation. If the retail value of the merchandise exceeds $300, then the charge is increased to a Class 4 felony. Penalties for Class 4 felonies include one to three years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, and/or up to 30 months of probation.

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McHenry County first-time DUI attorneyEven if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is not at or beyond the legal limit of 0.08, you can be stopped by law enforcement if alcohol is suspected to be impacting your ability to drive. If this is your first time being pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI), it can be a frightening experience, but you are entitled to have an experienced attorney on your side to help guide you through the process. There are important things that you should be aware of if you have been charged with an Illinois DUI.

Administrative Penalties for Illinois DUI

Many people think that upon conviction for a DUI, they will immediately be jailed, lose their driver’s license, and essentially be labeled for life. In reality, a first-time DUI may result in administrative penalties and some criminal charges, but it is far more likely to be seen as a mistake, albeit a serious one, rather than an indication of any kind of long-term pattern of behavior. This is especially true if no one is injured or killed and no property damage occurs. State prosecutors are much more likely to work out a bargain with a first-time offender to give them a chance to not re-offend.

Administrative penalties are handed down by an administrative law judge or governmental agency, rather than through a criminal court. One example is a statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license for refusing a chemical test when law enforcement has probable cause to believe you are under the influence, which is a violation of Illinois’s implied consent law. A statutory summary suspension is issued by the Office of the Secretary of State instead of a criminal court judge.

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Crystal Lake IL DUI defense attorneyGood citizens are everywhere, and they are called that because they are generally “good.” Their behaviors mean no harm but only to help the community or someone in need. Some are inclined to notify law enforcement when they witness what they believe to be a crime, and anonymous tips from these individuals pour into police stations regularly. A significant portion of these tips is from drivers or passengers on the roadway reporting someone who appears to be driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs.

What Do the Police Do With This Information?

If a tipster calls 911 to report an emergency, such as a drunk driver on the road, the operator will immediately begin to attempt to get as much information out of the informant as possible. The 911 center keeps a record of the call and can call the number back to obtain more information. This information alone is enough for police to stop a vehicle or driver matching the tipster’s description so that the officer can ask questions and gather more information.

Can an Officer Make an Arrest?

According to the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an officer must have probable cause before making an arrest. One source of probable cause is an officer or an informant witnessing the suspicious behavior firsthand. Anonymous tips alone are not always sufficient to establish probable cause, as it can be difficult to determine the credibility of the source. For example, an anonymous informant may have a personal vendetta against the suspect, motivating them to make a false accusation.

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