Chemical Blood Alcohol Content Tests

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If you have ever been pulled over on suspicion o f driving under the influence (DUI) then you may have had experience with a breathalyzer. Technically, the term “breathalyzer” is a brand name for a specific type of breath alcohol test, but the word is also used to refer to generic devices for estimating blood alcohol content (BAC). There is quite a bit of confusion about breath tests and the legal consequences of failing a breath test. Some people say you can refuse a breath test while others say you cannot. Read on to learn about Illinois DUI law and what to expect if you are ever asked to breathe into a breathalyzer.

Can I Refuse a Breath Alcohol Test?

The answer to whether or not a person can refuse a breath alcohol test and whether one should refuse a breath test are different. Technically, if a police officer pulls over a suspected drunk driver and tells him or her to submit to a chemical BAC test , the driver can say no. The police are not going to forcibly make the driver take the test.

However, refusing a breathalyzer upon arrest for suspicion of drunk driving brings administrative consequences including driver’s license suspension. If a police officer asks you to take a breath test and you refuse, your driver’s license will be suspended via a “statutory summary suspension.” If the motorist does not already have a DUI conviction on his or her record or statutory summary suspension within the last five years, the driver’s license suspension lasts for one year. If the driver has been convicted of drunk driving previously or had a statutory summary suspension within the past five years, the driver’s license suspension for refusing a breath test lasts three years. In both scenarios though, an attorney can contest these suspensions in court. In addition to license penalties, evidence of the chemical BAC test refusal can also be used against the defendant during his or her criminal DUI case. Prosecutors can argue that the defendant only refused the test because he or she was guilty of driving under the influence.

Can I Cheat a Breathalyzer?

Some individuals may wonder if there is a way to cheat a breath test. It is important to remember that chemical blood alcohol tests have been used by law enforcement for decades, and that the technology behind the devices is quite effective. Chewing gum and using breath mints or mouthwash does not mask breath alcohol content or lower BAC readings. Tricks like these or sucking on pennies are simply urban legends. The only way to be completely certain you will not go to jail for driving under the influence is to avoid drinking and driving entirely.

Contact a Joliet, Illinois DUI Lawyer

If you have further questions about refusing a BAC test or are now facing DUI charges, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. Schedule your cost-free, completely confidential initial consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba by calling 815-740-4025 today.

Proposed Illinois Bill Aims to Tighten Gun Laws in Wake of Recent Shooting

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One of the most well-known mass shootings in the United States happened at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in 1999. Two teenage boys managed to kill 13 people and injure more than 20 others before they shot themselves. Since then, there have been dozens upon dozens of mass shootings, killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands of others. One of the most recent mass shootings happened in Aurora, IL on February 15 of this year and has now sparked gun law reform in Illinois.

Man Starts Shooting Workplace Because of Termination

A mass shooting took place in Aurora, IL at the Henry Pratt Co. after an employee discovered he was being fired from his job. The man was determined to be Gary Martin, 45, who killed five people and injured several more at his place of employment. Martin was being terminated for breaking a company rule. Martin had illegally purchased a .40-caliber handgun, even though he had been convicted of a felony in a different state and used that gun to commit the shooting. Records show that he successfully obtained an Illinois firearm owner’s identification card (FOID) in 2014, even though he was ineligible to receive one.

Bill Aims to Strengthen Gun Laws

A proposed amendment to Senate Bill 44 would require Illinois State Police to report the name and all identifying information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, in addition to taking all firearms and ammunition from those who have had their FOID cards revoked. The bill comes in response to the Aurora, IL shooting, which may not have occurred if Martin had not been able to obtain a FOID card.

Illinois State Police to Take Extra Precautions

Illinois State Police have already announced that they will be taking steps to help improve the enforcement of existing gun laws in the state. Police reported that changes have been made in order to give police better access to the names of people whose FOID cards have been revoked, in addition to a list of firearms that were purchased by people whose FOID cards were later revoked.

Get in Touch With a Will County Gun Crimes Defense Attorney

While there are ways you can trick the system with gun ownership, it is not in your best interest to do so. Even just purchasing a gun illegally can result in negative consequences. If you have been charged with any type of gun crime or violation, you should consider hiring at skilled Joliet gun crimes defense lawyer . At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we can help you understand your charges and build a solid defense. Call our office today at 815-740-4025 to set up a free consultation

Can Illinois Police Still Seize Assets Used in Crimes?

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Both the state of Illinois and the U.S. Supreme Court have taken action recently to protect citizens from the unreasonable seizure of personal property allegedly used in the commission of or obtained with the profits of criminal activities such as drug possession and sales . The Illinois law took effect July 1, 2018, while the U.S. Supreme Court ruling was handed down on February 20, 2019.

These reforms are a welcome response to widespread concerns that law enforcement agencies have abused the power given to them by civil asset forfeiture laws at both the state and federal levels. These laws permit a law enforcement agency to seize private property involved in a crime even though the owner of the property has not yet been convicted or even charged with a crime. In some cases, the property owner was not even aware that their car or home was in any way associated with the commission of a crime.

In many cases, the assets seized by police are excessive relative to the severity of the crime. Is it fair, for example, for the police to seize a $40,000 car used to transport and sell $400 worth of drugs when the maximum fine for this crime is $10,000? In Illinois alone, asset seizures have reportedly exceeded $30 million per year.

SCOTUS Rules that the Eighth Amendment Prohibition of Excessive Fines Does Apply to State Governments

A 2019 Supreme Court ruling addressed one simple question: Does the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution apply only to the federal government or also to the states? The Eighth Amendment, in part, reads: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

The court ruled that this prohibition of excessive fines does apply to the states. The majority opinion stated in part: "The protection against excessive fines guards against abuses of government’s punitive or criminal law-enforcement authority." This ruling is expected to cause every state to reexamine their civil asset forfeiture procedures and to significantly decrease forfeitures in the future.

Illinois Makes Asset Seizure and Forfeiture (Fair) and Transparent

Illinois has more than a dozen different laws that allow the police to seize personal assets allegedly involved in crimes, including:

• The Illinois Drug Asset Forfeiture Procedure Act (725 ILCS 150) defines the process by which the police may seize drug-crime assets; and

• Article 36 of the Illinois criminal code (720 ILCS 5/36-1) allows the police to seize any vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft that is used with the knowledge and consent of the owner in the commission of crimes ranging from DUI to theft to unlawful use of guns or other weapons.

A new law, the Seizure and Forfeiture Reporting Act, took effect in Illinois on July 1, 2018. Its key provisions include:

• Forfeitures are now subject to an Eighth Amendment “disproportionate penalties analysis” to ensure that the forfeiture does not constitute an excessive fine;

• Unlawful possession of less than two doses of a controlled substance is no longer sufficient cause for any asset forfeiture;

• In marijuana cases, cash of less than $500 will not be subject to forfeiture. In all other drug cases, cash of less than $100 will not be subject to forfeiture;

• The government now bears the burden of proving the property owner’s criminal guilt; previously, the property owner was forced to prove their own innocence to get their seized property back;

• The government must now show not just “probable cause” but “by the preponderance of the evidence” that the seized property was actually associated with a crime; and

• The Illinois State Police must now collect and publish data on statewide asset seizures by location, date, property description, and value. This reporting was to begin January 1, 2019, but their website now says reporting will begin in 2020.


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