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McHenry County criminal defense lawyerPolice interactions can make many people incredibly nervous – even if they have done nothing wrong. This may be a result of the many instances of police brutality that can be seen on the news or for more personal reasons. However, interacting with the police does not have to be a stressful ordeal. If you are ever stopped by police, it is important that you treat the officers with respect while simultaneously protecting your own rights. You should know how to safely interact with police and what to do if you have been arrested and accused of a crime.  

Do Not Give Police Officers a Reason to Be on the Defensive  

Police officers risk their lives every day in the course of their duties. Many officers have had co-workers or friends who have been injured or even killed while performing routine responsibilities such as traffic stops. One way you can make your police interaction less stressful for all parties involved is by following certain procedures designed to keep you and the officer safe. If you are pulled over by police, make sure you do the following: 

  • Keep your hands where officers can see them and do not make sudden or unexpected movements.

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McHenry County, Crystal Lake, Crystal Lake IL, criminal defense, attorney, lawyer, Driving under the influence is a criminal offense and is treated seriously under Illinois law because of the danger it poses to yourself, your passengers, and other users of the road. First-time DUI offenses are no exception, though penalties are typically less severe in recognition that the behavior may indicate a one-time lapse in judgment rather than the start of a pattern of endangerment. If you have not been convicted of a DUI before, you may be concerned about the penalties you could face if it does happen to you.

Consequences for First-Time DUI Offenders

If a law enforcement officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance, they may pull you over and ask you to submit to a field sobriety or blood alcohol content (BAC) test. If you refuse a chemical test, or if the results indicate impairment above the legal limit, you can be arrested and may face consequences including:

  • Court Supervision: First-time offenders may be sentenced to supervision instead of being convicted, which allows you to avoid some of the penalties for DUI and for the charges to be dismissed if you comply with the terms of the supervision order.
  • Fines and Court Costs: If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you can face the consequences of a Class A misdemeanor, including a fine of up to $2,500. You will also likely be responsible for paying for court costs associated with your trial.
  • Jail Time: Class A misdemeanors can carry a sentence of up to one year in county jail, which may be reduced due to good behavior.
  • Suspended or Revoked License: Your driver’s license can be suspended after a DUI arrest or court supervision order, and it will be revoked for at least a year in the case of a DUI conviction. First-time offenders will often be required to install a BAC ignition interlock device in their vehicle during a suspension. You may apply for reinstatement of your license at the end of the suspension or revocation period.
  • Court-Ordered Programs: For a first-time DUI offense, you may be required to participate in a drug or alcohol treatment program or a DUI education program as part of your sentence.
  • Increased Penalties for Exacerbating Factors: Even if you are a first-time offender, you can face higher penalties and sometimes felony charges if your BAC is 0.16 or higher, if you have a child passenger in your vehicle at the time of arrest, if you are driving under the influence in a school zone, or if your impaired driving causes an injury or fatality.

Contact a McHenry County DUI Defense Lawyer Today

Many first-time DUI offenders can avoid being charged with the full extent of the possible penalties with the help of an experienced defense lawyer. At Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, we can help you obtain supervision or negotiate for a fair sentence. For a free consultation with a Crystal Lake DUI defense attorney, call 815-338-3838.

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What Are Your Rights When You Have Been Arrested?With people around the world protesting police mistreatment of people of color, this is a good time to educate yourself about your rights if a police officer arrests you. By understanding your rights, you can avoid saying or doing something that could be used against you in a criminal case. There are rules that all officers in the U.S. must follow during an arrest to ensure that the arrestee’s constitutional rights are not being violated. Unfortunately, some police officers violate the rules, which can result in unlawful arrests or harm to the arrestee. Proving police misconduct during your arrest could lead to the charges against you being reduced or dismissed.

Miranda Warning

Leading up to and after your arrest, a police officer may ask you questions in hopes that you will provide information that can be evidence in a criminal case. It is in your best interest to not provide the officer with any information other than identifying yourself. After your arrest, the officer is required to read the Miranda warning to you before they ask more questions. The Miranda warning informs you that:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • Statements you make to the police can be used as evidence against you
  • You have the right to request an attorney before speaking to the police
  • An attorney will be assigned to you if you cannot afford one

If no one reads your Miranda warning, any statements that you make in response to police questions after your arrest will be inadmissible as evidence in court.

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How Illinois Residents Can Be Charged With Resisting ArrestThere are some laws in Illinois that are meant to punish people who interfere with a police officer who is performing their job. One such criminal charge is resisting arrest, which is when a person knowingly obstructs an officer’s efforts to detain them. Resisting arrest is often an additional charge, on top of the charge for which the person was arrested. A conviction in Illinois will result in a minimum of 48 hours in jail and 100 hours of community service. It is possible to contest a resisting arrest charge, but the law’s broadness makes it difficult.

What Counts as Resistance?

The law does not specify the actions that meet the definition of resistance or obstruction. This allows police officers to interpret various behaviors as “resisting arrest,” such as:

  • Fleeing from an officer
  • Not responding to the officer’s orders
  • Struggling when the officer is putting handcuffs onto the suspect

The fact that the police officer is often the aggressor during arrests makes avoiding a resisting arrest charge more difficult for the arrestee. When a police officer suddenly grabs or tackles you, your natural reaction is to protect yourself. You may believe that you have the right to resist the arrest if you have done nothing wrong and the police officer has no reason to arrest you. Unfortunately, you can be convicted for resisting arrest when the arrest was unlawful as long as you knew that you were under arrest.

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What Are a Juvenile’s Rights After Being Arrested in Illinois?When a juvenile in Illinois is accused of committing a crime, they often face a different justice system than adults. The Illinois Juvenile Justice System calls juveniles “delinquent minors” instead of criminals. The juvenile court places greater importance on rehabilitating the juvenile than punishing them. It is easier to expunge a juvenile’s arrest and criminal records than it is for adults. Knowing all of this, your child is better off in a juvenile court than an adult criminal court if they are arrested. How does Illinois determine whether a case belongs in juvenile court? What are a juvenile’s rights during the arrest? These are important things to know if your child has been charged with a crime.

Juvenile Court Requirements

The age of the defendant and the nature of the criminal charge will decide whether a person is tried as a juvenile or an adult. In Illinois, a defendant is tried as a juvenile if:

  • They are 17 or younger and were charged with a misdemeanor
  • They are 16 or younger and were charged with a felony

Illinois will use the age the defendant was when they allegedly committed the offense, not their age at the time of the trial. Once a case has been heard in juvenile court, the court can continue jurisdiction over the case until the defendant is 21.

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