Monday, September 4, 2017

Illinois Lawyers Answering Your Questions

Isn't it nice when someone has the answers? We do, and you can find answers to your questions on our main website all about Illinois DUI Law and lawyers and more.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Will Aggravated Speeding be the new DUI in Illinois?

Is Aggravated Speeding doomed to be the new Illinois DUI?

Many shake their heads in disbelief. It might seem bizarre, but in Illinois Aggravated Speeding is a crime.

What's more, while Illinois criminal penalties begin with Class C misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, Aggravated Speeding races right by that mark. At speeds as low as 26 MPH over the limit (so 81 miles per hour on the average Chicago area highway), motorists face a Class B misdemeanor offense. That's up to 180 days in jail and up to $1500 in fines plus court costs.  Then at 35 miles per hour over the limit or more, Class A misdemeanor penalties apply, for up to 364 days in jail and up to $2500 in fines plus costs.

Just like a DUI.

Supervision may be available, but only in a non-urban district (what that means is as clear as mud under the statute), but it's only available for the offense of Aggravated Speeding one time, lifetime.

Just like a DUI.

"But wait!", you say "it's just driving! No one even got hurt!" And you'd be right. This is an offense more about what could happen as a result of the defendant's behavior than it is about what did actually happen.

Just like DUI. 

Here's the question, and I'm curious as to your thoughts, so please comment below:
In the '80s and earlier, a DUI on your record was certainly not desirable. But it typically didn't cost your job or relationships (sometimes, but not always). It typically didn't have a social stigma. It typically was a glorified traffic violation that meant maybe you needed to dial back the drinking a bit and get your house in order. Sure, penalties existed and they were serious even then. But DUI since that time moving forward wears more like a scarlet letter of shame for some, with far ranging consequences that are sometimes totally unexpected. And, just like DUI, the penalties and consequences are serious enough that experienced trial counsel like the lawyers at Fagan, Fagan & Davis become a necessity, not a luxury.

So in ten, twenty or thirty years time, will motorists charged with Aggravated Speeding be similarly stigmatized and vilified for it?

Just like DUI?

You tell me, in the comments section.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Chicago DUI roadblocks are targeting low-income neighborhoods light on DUI? Find out why.

Chicago DUI roadblocks are targeting low-income Black and Latino neighborhoods, where the actual known incidence of DUI is low, compared to several more affluent neighborhoods. This isn't just more of my typical anti-roadblock screed. This is according to a Chicago Tribune report this weekend

The Trib notes there are significantly more Illinois traffic tickets being written than DUI citations. In an amazingly rare moment of journalistic sobriety regarding DUI (see what I did there?), the Trib notes that "data shows no clear indication that a high number of checkpoints equates to few alcohol-related crashes." Welcome to the party.

They get close to the reasons for the Chicago Police to place roadblocks where they do, but noting that this gives the police a chance to check for warrants is just the start.

Here's the truth . . .

Key in on the low-income neighborhood. They're not looking for DUI, really. They're looking for warrants, driving on a suspended license, driving without a valid license, possession of controlled substances (meaning heroin, cocaine, crack, methylphenidate, ecstasy, and more), gun possession by a felon - all things the police believe they're more likely to find easily in low-income neighborhoods. DUI is fine too, but it's not really the target. Ready for the ugly truth?

The poor people who won't be able to afford a private Illinois criminal defense attorney are the target.

Think on that.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Proposed Illinois DUI law to allow those with lifetime DUI revocation a permit fails

A common-sense effort for a solution to a real problem has eluded the Illinois legislature yet again, most likely because of fear.

Representative Elaine Neikritz proposed legislation that would have allowed a carefully Restricted Driving Permit for qualified motorists with lifetime revocations. Given the extensive data that demonstrates a lifetime revocation doesn't necessarily have a deterrent effect or prevent DUI, the proposal would have allowed such a permit after a 5-year waiting period with a BAIID device. This type of device would prevent the motorist from operating the vehicle with any significant amount of alcohol in their system, even if that alcohol was not enough to impair them.

The proposed legislation received only 52 votes, eight votes shy of the 60 votes that were needed for it to advance. Concerns had been expressed that providing a individuals with an opportunity to drive again after four DUI convictions was just too much of a safety risk to drivers.

Rep. Nekritz had countered those arguments by reminding her colleagues that compelling committee testimony from persons who need another opportunity to drive to and from their employment had provided a valid reason to approve the legislative proposal. “We need to offer these people hope,” she said. "I know that it's controversial. I know that it's difficult. But I think it's the right policy for the state of Illinois."

Rep. Nekrtiz did use a parliamentary procedure designed to preserve possible a vote in the future on the same legislation in the event that she is able to pick up additional support. However, the odds of picking up that support are long given that more than a majority of the chamber voted against the bill.

The proposal would also have allowed some possibility of restoration of driving privileges after 10 years.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Don't keep secrets from your Criminal or DUI defense lawyer. Espescially not about the good stuff.

I suppose nothing should really surprise me. But this week I had an hour-long conversation with a client about his Chicago DUI case. It was our first meeting, but it was obvious within a few minutes we were a great fit.

I was going to be his lawyer.

He was going to be my client.

No two ways about it, like I said, it was obvious - we hit it off right away. Part of that lengthy conversation involved learning about his past. I find that very often, DUI prosecutors (even the ones with icy cold hearts made of stone) actually care about who they are prosecuting. Even if they don't Judges may care who they are Judging, and at some point, they may actually have the opportunity to find out.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to me that despite asking about it earlier, I at last got my client to admit (ADMIT?) that he had been honorably discharged from the United States Navy not long ago, and had received a few medals and commendations along the way. Maybe it was just the way US servicemen are that they don't feel like it's any big deal.

It is. It matters. It may matter a lot. It reminded me of another similar story. Watch the video and find out why there's no place for humility when taking to your Illinois DUI lawyer, then, if you're facing criminal or DUI charges in Cook county, Lake county or DuPage county courts like Chicago, Skokie, Waukegan or Wheaton, pick up the phone and call us at 847-635-8200.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Think you have to prove you are not guilty? Not in this country

If you've been arrested for an Illinois criminal offense or DUI, whether a felony or misdemeanor, you probably feel like your back is against the wall. You probably are turning it over in your mind in the middle of the night, worried you're forgetting something crucial. Because you believe you now have to prove your innocence.

Not in Chicago. Not in Illinois. Not in the United States of America.

We have a Constitution. That document notes that you, the defendant, have certain rights. Among those is the presumption of innocence, and the right to make the prosecution prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In the bad old days, and indeed in many countries today, you would indeed be called upon to prove you are not guilty of a criminal offense.

Watch the video for an explanation, and then pick up the phone and call 847-635-8200 for a free consultation.  If you'd like, you can also review our many other helpful videos about Illinois Criminal Lawyers and DUI Defense in the Chicago area.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Give us your tired, your poor, your undocumented and we will license them!

Illegal aliens, or undocumented immigrants if you prefer, have long had a problem. Forget the debate for the moment about whether their very existence within a particular space on the map is a violation of the law - that's not what this blog is about. "They" (and for convenience, not for any other reason, that's how I'll be referring to illegal aliens or undocumented immigr. . . oh, you get it now, don't you) have been otherwise unable to comply with a great many laws.

And far more importantly to everyone else around them, holding them accountable to our laws has also been nigh unto impossible.

What do I mean?

Hold that thought a moment. For now, we must mention some very big news here in Illinois. Trust me, it all fits in. Illinois has just passed a law that goes into effect later in 2013 which will provide the opportunity for undocumented or illegal immigrants to obtain valid driving privileges in Illinois. This is going to have a significant effect, in some very interesting ways. Regarding Illinois DUI law, an arrest for DUI while unlicensed is a felony. Not because the driver did something particularly nefarious or had greater criminal intent (no one seems to care about intent when it comes to DUI, do they?) but simply because the driver, for whatever reason, does not have the State's imprimatur via a piece of plastic saying they can drive. Whether a person just never bothered to get a license (yes, we've seen that over here in our law office, recently in fact) or because they were legally unable to obtain a license, it is a crime to drive without a driver's license.

Now there are different reasons one might not be able to obtain a license. If your name is Dick Whitman, but you're posing as Don Draper, that might've worked in 1962, but nowadays, that's a tough sell. Maybe your license was taken away for a good reason by the State. Or, maybe there just was no way you could legally get one.

Rather than seeking out friends of a certain former Governor and Secretary of State of Illinois for help, you can now direct undocumented friends and family to an actual, honest to goodness legal way to get a license.

And it's good for all of us I say, no matter your political persuasion, that we'll have these "Temporary Visitor's Licenses".

Here's why:

  • A valid driver's license creates a vested interest in keeping that license valid. Think about this - aside from safety, what stops you from speeding? You want to keep that license, right? Yes you do, and so will "they".
  • Getting a valid driver's license is going to require familiarity with the rules of the road, just like every other licensed driver. 
  • Vision tests. That's right, you can be undocumented or illegal. Just not blind, okay?
  • Included in those rules of the road is a requirement that we all maintain valid liability insurance.
  • Valid liability insurance means if we get into an accident, those we get into an accident with are not left on the roadside with empty hands (I really wanted to get more colorful there, but my kids might read this blog, you know?).
  • A valid driver's license has an address and identifying information on it, and this kind will be electronically tied to facial recognition software to prevent fraud. Know what that means? Accountability - "they" can be sued and more importantly, served. And if necessary, more easily tracked down by police if laws are violated.
  • Insurance companies are going to be very happy about those premiums, aren't they?
  • Greater accountability can only lead to one of those things we all want in our society in general - more stability and greater responsibility.
  • These silly (yes, silly I say) enhancements of DUI offenses to felony status simply because someone finds themselves in an impossible situation ends.

Does it feel sort of like rewarding bad judgement or poor behavior or simply a sop to a sad story? Yes. It does a bit. That said, there's a lot to like about this one, espescially if we want a way to make "them" just as accountable to the law and to their neighbors as all the rest of "us".

And then "they" are actually in many important ways,  a great deal more "us", aren't they?

Yes, driving is a privilege. But a driver's license is a government document which creates a government record. It's an albatross around all our necks - a yoke we all willingly wear for the benefit of our community.

I welcome your comments.