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IL defense lawyerIf you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), the prosecuting attorney may offer you a plea deal. A plea deal involves pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for lighter penalties. For example, you may be able to plead guilty to reckless driving and avoid a drunk driving conviction. A conviction for DUI carries penalties that you may be able to avoid by pleading guilty to a lesser criminal offense, however, it is ultimately up to the prosecutor’s discretion to offer a plea deal or plea bargain. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help you understand all of your legal options and choose the course of action that is most likely to reduce the penalties you face.

Things to Think About Before Taking a Plea Deal

If you have been accused of drinking and driving, you may be tempted to accept the prosecutor’s plea deal to resolve your case as quickly as possible and get on with your life. However, it is important to remember that:

  • Your auto insurance company may raise your premiums. If you accept a plea bargain for a DUI, there is still a good chance your insurance company may increase your car insurance payments. Having a reckless driving conviction on your record can cause your payments to increase significantly.
  • If you failed a breathalyzer, your license will still be suspended even if you avoid conviction. Illinois imposes automatic administrative penalties when a driver fails a chemical blood alcohol test such as a breathalyzer. So, you may lose your license even if you avoid conviction for DUI. Losing your driving privileges can make it nearly impossible to get to work and fulfill other important responsibilities. You may have to depend on your family members and friends to drive you places until your license suspension ends.
  • You may still have a conviction on your record. Even if a prosecutor allows you to plead down to a lesser charge, a criminal conviction may still show up on background checks. This can make it more difficult to get a job or secure housing in the future.

Contact an Arlington Heights, IL DUI Attorney

If you are facing a DUI charge, consider speaking to a Rolling Meadows, IL DUI lawyer for legal guidance. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law has extensive experience handling DUI cases and may review your case and advise you on the best way to proceed. To schedule a free consultation, call 847-253-3400.

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IL DUI lawyerGetting pulled over by a police officer while you are driving can be a stressful ordeal. However, even if you believe the police officer made a mistake by making a traffic stop, it is important to remain calm and not lose your temper. If you do not keep your composure, the situation could end up escalating and instead of a potential traffic violation, you could be facing criminal charges.

Things to Avoid Saying to an Officer During a Traffic Stop

During the traffic stop, the officer will ask you for your license and registration in order to confirm your identity and conduct a background check to make sure there are no outstanding warrants or other issues. Some stops may resolve quickly, while in other situations, it may feel as if the officer is extending the stop unreasonably. No matter what the situation is, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Rude comments - Once the officer has conducted the background check, he or she may also ask you questions, such as where you are driving to or from. You are under no obligation to answer those questions, however, how you choose to answer can make a difference. Although it is not against the law to make a rude comment to a police officer, doing so could cause the officer to become more inclined to find some reason to place you under arrest. Police cannot arrest you simply for making an insulting comment, but they can claim your behavior was uncooperative or created probable cause to search your vehicle.
  • Confessions - Under no circumstances should you confess to a crime when a police officer pulls you over. For example, if a cop stops your vehicle because he or she is suspicious that you were driving under the influence of alcohol, you should not admit to anything. Even if you are guilty of the crime the officer is accusing you of, you should not give any kind of statement to the police until you have spoken with a criminal defense attorney.
  • Breathalyzer tests - If a police officer pulls you over because he or she believes you were driving drunk, you will be asked to take a breathalyzer test to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). There are a few factors to keep in mind before deciding to submit to that test. Illinois has an implied consent law. When you were issued a driver’s license, your acceptance meant you were consenting to submit to a breathalyzer test if requested to do so by law enforcement. While there is no law that says you must take the test, refusing to do so means an automatic summary suspension of your license, even if you are ultimately found not guilty of DUI in criminal court. A first offense is a loss of license for one year. Second and subsequent refusals are for five years. There is no right or wrong answer on whether a driver should submit to a breathalyzer test and ultimately depends on the circumstances of the traffic stop, whether the driver has been drinking, and whether the driver has any prior DUI convictions.

Contact an Arlington Heights, IL Criminal Lawyer

If you were recently pulled over and arrested by a police officer, you should speak to a Rolling Meadows, IL criminal attorney. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law will assess your case and inform you of your legal options. Call 847-253-3400 today to schedule a free consultation.

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IL defense lawyerCountries around the world vary when it comes to the legal drinking age. In some countries, such as Germany, the legal drinking age is 16. In other countries -- around 61 percent of countries around the globe -- have a legal drinking age of 18 or 19 years old. The legal drinking age for anyone in any of the 50 states is 21. If a minor is caught drinking before they are 21, they face possible criminal charges, a driver’s license suspension or revocation, and expensive fines. In Illinois, an adult who furnishes alcohol to a minor or allows minors to drink on their property can also face criminal charges.

Illinois’ “Social Host” Law

Despite years of bringing attention to the dangers of underage drinking and advocating against it, plenty of teens still consume alcohol across the country. The majority of alcohol consumption by minors is done at home in social settings. However, parents are not permitted to allow minors to drink. This “social host” law was put into effect in 2013 and prohibits parents from knowingly allowing their child or other minors to consume alcohol, even in a private residence. Parents who break this law face a Class A misdemeanor charge, which is the most serious of misdemeanors. For a Class A misdemeanor, you face up to one year in jail, a minimum fine of $500, and the possibility of up to $2,500 in fines.

If the parent knowingly allows minors to consume alcohol on their property and anyone suffers a great bodily injury or death, the parent can be charged with a Class 4 felony. This means that you could face between one and three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

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IL defense lawyerEach year, the FBI collects important data on hate crimes that occur around the country in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Last week, the FBI released the 2019 hate crime statistics, the most recent hate crime data available for the U.S. According to that data, there were 65 hate crimes that were reported to have taken place in the state of Illinois in 2019. In recent years, lawmakers and law enforcement agencies across the country have put more money and resources into the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes, which has led to a big push to protect people of certain classes across the country. As a result, law enforcement and prosecutors often punish offenders to the fullest extent of the law. However, the consequences for committing a hate crime in Illinois can be serious.

What Is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime occurs when a person commits some type of crime against another person because of that person’s actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or physical or mental disability. Typically, hate crimes are violent in nature, but they can also consist of crimes against the victim’s property. Examples of hate crime in Illinois can include:

  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Intimidation
  • Cyberstalking
  • Trespassing
  • Damage to property
  • Disorderly conduct

What Are the Consequences of a Hate Crime Conviction?

The consequences of a hate crime conviction in Illinois depend on the circumstances surrounding the case. In most cases, a first offense is charged as a Class 4 felony, while a second or subsequent offense is charged as a Class 2 felony. Under certain circumstances, such as if the crime was committed in a school or church, a first offense can be charged as a Class 3 felony. All felony charges in Illinois carry the possibility of up to $25,000 in fines and years of prison time. If you are found guilty of a hate crime, the judge has the option to either order restitution paid to the victim or impose a fine based on the severity of the crime.

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Arlington Heights traffic violations lawyerIf you receive a traffic ticket while driving in the state of Illinois, the police officer who issued the ticket will tell you if you are required to appear in court to settle the ticket. If you are not required to appear in court, you will have three options:

  1. Plead guilty, pay the fine, and receive a conviction on your record.
  2. Plead guilty, pay the fine, attend traffic safety school, and forego a conviction.
  3. Plead not guilty and request a trial.

If you request a trial, or if the officer informed you that you must attend a court date, you are legally required to do so. If you forget about your court date, or if you simply decide not to show up, you could face more severe consequences.

Consequences for Fine-Only Violations

If you receive a fine-only violation, and you ignored the ticket, or if you requested a court date and then did not attend that court date, both the judge and the court will not appreciate this waste of their time. The judge will almost always enter what is called an ex parte conviction (meaning the judge will sentence you guilty, even though you were absent) and require you to pay the fine.

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