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Driving Privileges Following a DUI Offense

Joliet DUI License SuspensionDriving under the influence of alcohol or any drug can mean severe consequences, especially when it results in bodily injury and fatality. Even the least tragic DUI offenses can still cause irrevocable damage, however. When a driver is pulled over and found to be operating under the influence, their driving record as well as their driving privileges can be affected instantly, triggering consequences that can follow them for months and even years.

New Laws Concerning Driving Privileges After a DUI

Operating a vehicle under the influence has long had the ability to impact a person’s freedom to drive, but new state laws that began in January of 2016 have changed the legal groundwork for penalties for DUI offenders. If you are found guilty of a DUI, you can expect your driving privileges to be affected in the following ways:

• If you are a first-time DUI offender, you are eligible to apply for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit during the first 30 days of your statutory summary suspension. Previously, you were required to serve at least 30 days of “hard time” suspension;
• If you have two or more DUI convictions, you are required to obtain a restricted driving permit and have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in your vehicle. You may only drive a car with this device for a period of five years;
• If you resided in another state and had your license revoked or suspended but have lived in Illinois for at least 10 years now, you may seek a hearing to request the issuance of a driver’s license; and
• If your license has been permanently revoked for life due to multiple convictions, you may apply for a Restricted Driving Permit after a five-year revocation period. You must also be completely drug- and alcohol-free for at least three years in order to apply and are only permitted to operate vehicles that have a BAIID installed.

State restrictions regarding the restoration of your driving privileges following a DUI are strictly enforced to discourage high-risk driving behaviors. As a standard, if you fail chemical testing as a first offense, your driving privileges are automatically suspended for 6 months. If you refuse to submit to chemical testing entirely, your privileges are automatically suspended for one year. Second or subsequent offenses within a five-year period guarantee automatic suspension for a minimum of one year (for failure of chemical testing) or three years (for refusing to submit to chemical testing).

Get the Help You Need

If you have been involved with a DUI incident and are concerned about your driving privileges, speak with an experienced Joliet DUI defense attorney to better understand your rights and options. Contact the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today for a free consultation by calling 815-740-4025

Cook County Study Suggests Judges Are Ignoring Bail Guidelines

Assault Battery Joliet IllinoisWhen a person is arrested on suspicion of a crime, there is likely to be a significant amount of time between the arrest and eventual trial. During that period, the court has three options: the defendant can remain in jail until trial; the defendant can be released on his or her own recognizance after promising to appear when requested; or a bail amount can be set as a financial incentive for the defendant to be released and still appear at trial. Determining an appropriate bail amount can be complex, as one might expect, but the law in Illinois and in individual counties provides guidelines for doing so. A recently obtained study, however, suggests that judges in at least one local county have been playing by their own rules when setting bail for criminal defendants.

Serious Discrepancies

The Chicago Sun-Times¬ obtained a review conducted earlier this year by the Cook County sheriff’s office. The study looked at cases from 30 daily court sessions between February and March in Central Bond Court at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California. The review included more than 1,500 cases and showed that the bail decisions made by the judges in these cases deviated from the guidelines at a rate of approximate 85 percent. Even amidst the complicated variables and circumstantial considerations, the sheriff’s department described the bail decisions as “inconsistent.” The review also indicated that the amount and conditions of bail were largely dependent upon which judge presided on a particular day.
County officials and judges dispute the sheriff’s department review, claiming that its numbers are not representative of the bigger picture. A court spokesman said that 1,500 cases were too small of a sample size to draw accurate conclusions. He went on to say that judges are following the prescribed guidelines, but that, in some cases, sound judgment appropriately overrides written recommendations and required risk assessments.

Making Reasonable Bail Decisions

According to Illinois law, the court must take into account three dozen different factors when setting bail, including the nature of the crime, status of the victim, and the defendant’s financial situation. Ultimately, the law prescribes that when bail is appropriate, the amount should be:

• Sufficient to assure compliance with the bail order;
• Not oppressive; and
• Reflective of the financial ability of the defendant.

Studies around the country have suggested that lower-income individuals are disproportionately affected by bail practices, requiring many such defendants to sit in jail while their cases are pending. By comparison, those accused of similar crimes but who have more financial resources are able to go about their lives more easily in the interim.

If you have been arrested for a crime and will soon be facing a bail hearing, you need an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney at your side. We will fight to ensure that the amount of your bail is reasonable and commensurate with the offense for which you have been charged. For more information or to set up a free consultation, call 815-740-4025 today.

Supreme Court Ruling Raises Serious Questions on Unlawful Police Stops

Joliet Unlawful Police StopUnited States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a scathing dissent this week in a case involving unlawful police stops and how courts may use evidence found in certain situations. Hers was a minority opinion as the high court ruled that evidence obtained during an otherwise illegal stop may be used if the individual already had an outstanding warrant, despite there being no way for the officer on the scene to know that such was the case.

Utah v. Strieff

The case in question stemmed from a police stop of a man outside a house in South Salt Lake City, Utah. According to court records, police officials had received an anonymous tip about drug activity taking place at the residence. The man was stopped after leaving the house, despite the lack of reasonable suspicion that he was engaging in criminal actions. Police asked the man for identification, which he provided. Upon checking his ID, police found an outstanding arrest warrant for a traffic violation. The man was subsequently arrested, and a search found methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia.

During his prosecution, the man claimed that the evidence should be inadmissible since it was derived from an illegal stop. The trial court and appellate court both disagreed, but the Utah Supreme Court ordered the evidence to be suppressed. Thus, the case made its way to the United States Supreme Court.

“Intervening Circumstance”

In its ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court barely commented on the legality of the original stop. Instead, in a 5-3 decision, the Court determined that the existence of an outstanding warrant was an intervening circumstance between the stop and the eventual search incident to arrest. In addition, the Court found that, even if the stop was technically unlawful, it was not a flagrant violation of the man’s rights, in light of the reasonable investigation of reported drug activity at the house.

Major Concerns
As one of the three dissenting justices, Justice Sotomayor penned a harsh criticism of the Court’s decision. She wrote that the ruling opens the door to serious problems, since “an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer’s violation of your fourth amendment rights.” Sotomayor pointed out that the Court, in her opinion, has given police the free reign to stop whoever they want and for whatever reason, as long as there is a justification that can be found after the fact. “Unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives,” she concluded.

Seek Legal Help

If you have been stopped by police and arrested for an outstanding warrant, you need assistance. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney and ensure your rights are fully protected. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

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