Madelyn Daley
Attorney at Law

US Local 618-509-9724

Belleville Criminal Defense Blog

Are DUI checkpoints legal?

Sobriety checkpoints, also called DUI checkpoints, are conducted by law enforcement officials to ensure that drivers are not operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or other substances. During a DUI checkpoint operation police officers may set up a station on a particular road and stop drivers based on a periodic count. For example, the officers may stop every fifth car that passes through the checkpoint to assess if the drivers are conducting themselves safely.

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that such checkpoints are legal and not in violation of the Fourth Amendment. This is based particularly on data that shows that DUI checkpoints reduce DUI accidents and protect the public from such crashes. However, despite the Supreme Court's decision regarding these stops, some states have determined that they will not allow them to happen within their borders.

Illinois recognizes several defenses to drug charges

The laws of Illinois criminalize the possession, distribution and manufacturing of controlled substances. Depending upon the type of drug that a person is accused of possessing and the quantity of the drug under their alleged control, the punishment for their alleged crime can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and decades in prison, if the person is convicted. However, a person facing drug crimes in the state can avail themselves to certain defenses that can reduce or even eliminate their pending criminal charges.

First, a person's lack of knowledge can serve as a defense to a drug crime. As with other crimes, individuals facing drug charges generally must intend to commit the crimes they face and, as such, if a person does not know that they possess or have under their control an illegal substance, then they may be able to avoid the penalties of their charge.

Don't let a shoplifting charge bring you down

Retail theft is a significant issue in Illinois and nationwide. As such is the case, state lawmakers have defined what makes up a shoplifting offense and have determined punishments that they feel are acceptable if the court convicts you on a retail theft charge.

How does the state of Illinois define retail theft? What are the potential punishments? Is there any way to fight this type of charge?

Stricter sentences can necessitate a strong criminal defense

After Illinois residents are charged with a crime they are given an opportunity to try their case in a criminal court. If they are successful in presenting their criminal defense strategy and persuading the court that they are not guilty of the crimes alleged against them, then they may be released from their charges. If, however, they are not able to provide a criminal defense or explanation for their charges, they may be found guilty of the allegations and sentenced to a punishment for their alleged criminal acts.

Some Illinois legislators want to make the sentencing punishments even harsher for individuals charged with and convicted of certain weapons crimes. Particularly, members of the Illinois House of Representatives recently voted to increase sentences for individuals convicted of illegally possessing firearms. The proposal would also reduce sentencing for some state drug crimes and look to use non-incarceration methods of rehabilitation for first-time criminal offenders.

Finding a criminal defense strategy to fight your DUI charges

Any action that the Illinois or federal laws deem criminal can result in a blemish on a person's record if they are convicted on the related charges. While crimes such as murder, rape and assault may carry with them more significant penalties, crimes related to driving while under the influence of alcohol may also be punished in serious ways.

A DUI conviction can result in the loss of a driver's license. It may require a convicted Illinois resident to pay significant fines and court costs, and to attend educational and rehabilitative meetings. It may, in some cases, result in imprisonment and a loss of certain individual rights.

Would a plea deal make sense in my criminal defense strategy?

In an ideal world, every Illinois resident who faces DUI or drug charges would be able to prove their innocence and avoid the harsh penalties that can accompany convictions on such charges. However, in some circumstances the facts and evidence that prosecutors are able to collect on a case may make defeating criminal charges next to impossible. For some criminal defendants, considering a plea deal can be a reasonable part of a criminal defense strategy.

A plea deal is a negotiation that may reduce a defendant's charges or sentencing requirements in exchange for their guilty plea. Although a prosecutor, defendant and the defendant's defense attorney can work out a deal that they believe is just, the court hearing the defendant's criminal case is not compelled to accept the deal if it does not appear warranted. Generally, there are three requirements that plea deals must meet in order to be sound.

Possession of prescription drugs can form basis of drug crimes

Illinois residents can suffer from illnesses and injuries that require them to see their doctors and get treatment that will alleviate their symptoms while they heal. Although in some cases a person's treatment plan may include physical therapy and rest, in others it may require the person to receive a prescription drug. Prescription medications and drugs are substances that are not generally permitted to be held by individuals without legitimate medical causes.

Prescription drugs can be given to patients from their doctors to help them heal. However, the same drugs that doctors prescribe to some can also become illegal substances in the hands of others. Without a prescription for a controlled substance a person found to be in possession of medications, such as morphine, methamphetamine or Percocet, could be charged with a serious drug crime.

Want to keep your CDL? Watch your BAC

After taking time to attend classes and go through training to receive your CDL, you would more than likely do whatever necessary to keep it. After all, that license provides your livelihood whether you drive a truck, a bus or another commercial vehicle that requires this specialized license.

Even so, everyone makes mistakes. Perhaps you have a beer or two with dinner before getting behind the wheel. Then, you get pulled over. The officer asks if you had anything to drink, and you tell the truth not thinking that it will matter. The next thing you know, you find yourself under arrest for driving under the influence while driving a commercial vehicle.

Driver refuses field sobriety tests prior to DUI arrest

Law enforcement officials in an Illinois town recently made a DUI arrest despite the driver's refusal to submit to field sobriety testing. According to the arresting officers, police responded to a report of a person sleeping in their vehicle. The vehicle was located near an embankment and allegedly was not placed in park. The driver allegedly attempted to move his vehicle when officers woke him and then allegedly crashed his vehicle into a police cruiser.

The driver submitted to the officers' commands to exit his vehicle and thereupon was evaluated visually by the arresting officers. He did not provide a breathalyzer sample nor did he perform any of the field sobriety tests, such as the single leg stand or straight line walk, but officers still arrested him for DUI due to his allegedly bloodshot eyes and apparent smell of alcohol.

How might an affirmative defense help me face my DUI charge?

Belleville residents who have faced DUI charges and who have had to work to defend themselves against the very serious consequences that can attach to convictions understand the importance of crafting solid defense strategies before they appear in court. While innocence and mistake can seem like the most relevant explanations for why a person should not be charged with DUI crimes, there are several affirmative defenses that may actually give individuals a way to explain their actions without exposing them to undue liability.

An affirmative defense is a defense in which the suspect does not deny that they engaged in the allegedly criminal behavior, but rather explains that engaging in the behavior may have been a better option than not. For example, the affirmative defense of necessity may be used by a DUI defendant if not driving would have resulted in greater harm than actually getting behind the wheel.

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