Jack's blog

As the Holiday Season Approaches - Don't Drink and Drive

joliet dui lawyer

In Chicago, the warm summer months have given way to cooler fall weather. This can mean only one thing: soon it will be the holiday season. While children prepare their Halloween costumes and treat bags, many adults are preparing for holiday parties and work get-togethers. A good percentage of these holiday events will involve alcohol.

It is no wonder that alcohol-related car accidents occur more frequently during the holidays. Research shows that approximately 300 people die in car accidents involving alcohol in the week between Christmas and New Year’s every year. Drunk driving not only puts your life and the lives of the other motorists on the road in danger, it also puts you at risk of receiving a DUI (driving under the influence). Being charged with a DUI can mean losing driving privileges or even spending time in jail.

Do Not Assume You Can Tell When You Are Too Intoxicated to Drive

Most people know that the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent. However, many people do not realize what 0.08 percent BAC feels like. They may incorrectly assume that they are not legally impaired if they do not feel drunk. The reality is that it is nearly impossible to gauge how intoxicated a person is just by how they feel or act. Some people who are legally impaired may only show subtle signs of drunkenness while other individuals begin slurring their words or stumbling after only a few drinks. Many factors can influence a person’s BAC including

• Gender;

• Age;

• Weight and body type;

• Rate of alcohol consumption;

• Medications – especially those which cause drowsiness;

• How strong or weak the drinks were;

• Metabolism;

• Hydration;

• Emotional state;

• Stomach contents; and

• Alcohol tolerance.

Even if you have gotten away with it before, never assume that you are safe to drive after drinking. The best way to avoid a DUI and the possibility of causing a car accident is to never drink and drive.

Impaired Driving is Against the Law

Another misconception about DUIs is that a motorist can only be charged with a DUI if he or she had a BAC of over 0.08 percent. However, in Illinois, you can still be charged with a DUI even if your blood alcohol content is under the legal limit, if you are “impaired”. You will need a skilled attorney to contest any DUI arrest in court.
Have You Been Charged with a DUI?

Contact the knowledgeable Joliet Illinois criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba by calling (815) 740-4025. Schedule your free initial consultation today.

Guilt Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

joliet not guilty lawyer

In the American criminal justice system , a suspect is presumed to innocent until the government proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect has committed a crime. Obviously, the most debatable part of that is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” What types of doubts are reasonable? And, reasonable doubt by whom? If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, it is important to understand this crucial element of criminal law.

What Does Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Mean?

Depending on where you look, you might find dozens of variations on the definition of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” For example, West’s Encyclopedia of American Law says that “beyond a reasonable doubt” means that the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from the presented facts is that the defendant committed the crime. Other sources define the standard as proof “to a moral certainty.”

It is also important to remember whose doubt matters in a given case—a consideration that depends on the type of trial. In a jury trial, it is the members of the jury who must be convinced of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A jury verdict in Illinois must be unanimous so all 12 jurors must agree. Even if the judge has reasonable doubts in a jury trial, only the doubt of the jurors matters. In a bench trial, the judge must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.

Intentional Lack of Explanation

“Beyond a reasonable doubt” is not the same as “beyond all possible doubt.” A juror or judge may have some lingering doubts that are unreasonable and illogical, yet still return a guilty verdict. It is, however, sometimes difficult for jurors to decide what types of doubts are reasonable and what types are unreasonable. To that end, they will not usually get much direction from the court.

Judges, as well as prosecutors and defense lawyers, in Illinois are advised against trying to define reasonable doubt for juries. In fact, some verdicts have been overturned explicitly because the judge or one of the attorneys tried to explain what constitutes reasonable doubt. Therefore, jurors must usually decide for themselves what reasonable doubt means to them.

Building Your Best Defense

When you have been charged with a crime that you did not commit, you need an advocate who can show the jury that there is enough reasonable doubt to return a not-guilty verdict. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and your available options. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

Speeding Tickets in Illinois

joliet speeding ticket lawyer

When you get a speeding ticket , do you know what your options are?

For petty offenses like speeding 10 to 20 mph over the limit, the most commonly chosen option is to check “Plead guilty and apply for court supervision” on the back of the ticket. You mail the ticket to the circuit court along with your fine and complete a driver safety course. As long as you keep a clean driving record until the end of the supervision period (usually three to four months), the violation will not appear on your driving record.

However, there are a few situations in which you may want to get an attorney and fight the ticket:

Three Convictions for Moving Violations in the Past 12 Months

If you have just gotten your fourth speeding ticket (or any other type of moving violation) within 12 months, there are several good reasons to try to fight it:

• Three moving violation convictions within 12 months will cause the Secretary of State to suspend your driver’s license for at least two to three months, and it is a hassle to get your license reinstated following a suspension.

• Your auto insurance rates will likely increase significantly, and your insurance company may even drop you.

• Having this many convictions, along with a license suspension, on your driving record could limit your employment opportunities.

Just to be clear, when you get court supervision for a ticket, that does not count as a conviction, as long as you complete the supervision without committing another traffic violation. You can get two supervisions within a 12-month period.

Aggravated Speeding

If you were clocked going 26 mph or more in excess of the speed limit, this is considered aggravated speeding. According to Illinois law ( 625 ILCS 5/11-601.5 ), driving at least 26 mph but less than 35 mph over the speed limit is a Class B misdemeanor. Driving 35 mph or more in excess of the speed limit is a Class A misdemeanor. In other words, aggravated speeding is not just a petty traffic offense; it is treated as an actual crime.

For misdemeanor offenses, you will have to appear in court. You could be sentenced to up to six months in prison and a fine up to $1,500 for Class B and up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500 for Class A.

While Illinois law allows (since 2016) court supervision for aggravated speeding tickets, that decision is up to the judge. Depending on the county where you got the ticket, the state’s attorney may oppose a sentence of court supervision and push for a conviction.

The penalties for aggravated speeding are severe enough to warrant the help of an attorney, who will negotiate for the best possible outcome for you. If there is anything questionable about the speed at which you were clocked, an attorney may be able to get the ticket reduced from aggravated speeding to non-aggravated.

An Aggressive Will County Traffic Violations Attorney Can Help

If you are in danger of losing your driver’s license due to an aggravated speeding violation or too many convictions in one year, do not go into court unaided. Talk to an experienced Joliet speeding ticket defense lawyer to learn about ways to mitigate the effects on your life. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a no-cost review of your case.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Jack's blog