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What to Expect at a DUI Checkpoint During the Holidays

Tis’ the season for multiple sobriety checkpoints throughout Illinois. The consumption of alcohol and drugs tends to increase during the holiday season. The objective of the DUI checkpoints is to deter drunk driving in the interest of public safety. So what exactly happens at a DUI checkpoint, and what should a person do if they get charged with drunk driving at a checkpoint?

Field Sobriety Tests at a DUI Checkpoint

If you drive through a checkpoint, you may be signaled to stop by law enforcement. An officer will ask you to lower your window and turn off the car. They will want to see your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. During this exchange, the officer will be looking for signs of intoxication, such as alcohol odor, slurred speech, and difficulty focusing. They want to make sure the driver can safely operate a motor vehicle.

When an officer suspects you are driving under the influence, you may be asked to step out of the car and conduct a field sobriety test using these top three methods:

• Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus — You will be asked to follow an object from side to side with your eyes. Jerky eye movements or an inability to focus could be a sign of driving under the influence.

• Walk-and-Turn — You will have to place your heel to toe and take nine steps forward, turning on one foot, and repeating the steps. This balance test also shows whether or not you can follow directions.

• Stand on One Leg — You may be asked to stand on one foot about six inches off the ground and count aloud. Using your arms for balance, swaying, or putting your foot down will lead to a failed test.

It is important to know that you do have the option to refuse DUI testing, including any and all breath tests. Choosing to refuse testing, however, almost always leads to a DUI arrest but puts you in a position to contest the legality of arrest in court.

Are Checkpoints Legal?

Sobriety checkpoints are legal in Illinois, allowing law enforcement to randomly stop drivers and look for signs of intoxication. They are set up at various intersections in areas known for drunk driving, usually at night, on weekends, and on holidays. Checkpoints must be publicized in advance, and officers must be unbiased when they pull over the vehicles. For example, they may decide to pull over only blue vehicles or every fifth car. The field sobriety test may also include a roadside breathalyzer test.

Contact a Will County DUI Lawyer

If you are facing DUI charges after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. You need to be proactive and contact an experienced Will County DUI attorney to review your case. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.

Are You Charged With Fleeing and Eluding Police?

We have all seen high-speed chases on television with police in hot pursuit. Failing to pull over when a peace officer directs you to do so can be considered fleeing and eluding police. You can be arrested and slapped with serious charges. But what if you were listening to a song on the radio and had no idea police were behind you - or worse, what if you saw the bright lights, panicked, and hit the gas - what then? You may need an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side to fight serious criminal charges.

Did You Willfully Evade Police?

If a police officer in Illinois tells you to do something verbally or uses a sign instructing you to stop your vehicle, you must comply. The officer can signal by hand, voice commands, flashing red and blue lights, or sirens.

Under the law, there must be no doubt that it is the police pulling you over, as it must display illuminated oscillating, rotating, or flashing red and blue lights. Anyone who willfully fails or refuses to obey the officer’s direction by speeding up could be charged with attempting to elude the officer.

Potential Defense Strategies

Just because you are charged with this offense does not mean you are guilty. A prosecutor still needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally disobeyed the police officer’s effort to stop your vehicle, and that you willfully fled or eluded the officer. If you did not see them in your rearview mirror, the charges could be dropped because you did not intentionally try to evade police. These are other possible defenses if you have been charged with this crime:

• Lack of Intent – You did not know a police officer was pursuing you

• Necessity – You had an emergency and were unable to pull over

• Threats – You were forced to evade police due to threats, such as if someone was forcing you to continue driving

• Mistaken Identity – You were not the driver even though it was your car

Consequences of Fleeing and Eluding Police

• Fleeing or attempting to elude the police is a criminal offense under Illinois law. You can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, face up to one year in jail, and a $2,500 fine in addition to other court costs.

• If convicted, your driver’s license could be suspended for six months. A second offense could result in a one-year suspension. If this is the third time or more that you have committed this offense, it is considered a Class 4 felony and you could be facing one to three years behind bars in addition to a $25,000 fine.

• If you injure someone or cause property damage at the time of the offense, you could be convicted of aggravated fleeing and eluding, which would result in a revocation of your driver’s license.

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Fleeing or eluding police can have serious consequences. At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we will try to help you challenge the charges against you. Our Will County criminal defense lawyer will review your case and ensure you understand the options that you have at your disposal. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.

I Have Been Charged with DUI Hit-and-Run but Do Not Remember

You may be waking up and seeing the world a bit more clearly but your legal problems are just getting started. You have been charged with a DUI and a hit and run. This combination of criminal charges is very serious in the eyes of the law. But what if you do not even remember the accident?

Required Information Exchange

Assuming that this is your real-life scenario, you are facing consequences for two separate crimes. It is illegal for a driver to flee the scene of an accident whether it is your fault or another driver is to blame. If there are injuries, you must remain at the scene and share information with the police and the other drivers. Leaving the scene of an accident could leave you facing felony charges and possible license revocation. Penalties depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the amount of damage.

Hit-and-run drivers often flee the scene of an accident because they do not want to get caught. Perhaps they were texting and driving or they were high on drugs at the time of impact. These drivers evade confrontation because they believe it is the best way to avoid punishment.

But your circumstances are different and you are entitled to a defense. Perhaps someone else was driving your car, and you were in the car but not behind the wheel at the time of the hit-and-run. For all one knows, you were drunk and did not realize there was an accident.
Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. In a hit-and-run case, the burden of proof is on the prosecution and they need to prove that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Our defense strategies challenge that burden of proof as we work to protect our client’s rights.

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney

The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. can help you if you left the scene of an accident and are facing DUI charges. Our Will County criminal defense lawyer is skilled in these matters and will work tirelessly to reduce your legal consequences. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.

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