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Hal Garfinkel is retained as the defendant's lawyer in the Chicago high profile murder case of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Read more...

Posted by on in DUI

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerThe offense of driving under the influence is typically a state charge, meaning a person will be tried in state court and if convicted, possibly have to serve time in state prison. There are times when these offenses are charged and tried at the federal level. The penalties associated with a conviction of any federal offense are typically much harsher than sentences in state court. It is for this reason that it is particularly important that anyone facing federal DUI charges speaks to a federal criminal defense lawyer that can help.

What Is a Federal DUI Charge?

According to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, a federal DUI offense occurs when a motorist drives a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters of blood. The federal statute also dictates that if the offense occurs within a state that has more restrictive laws, state law will supersede federal law.

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Posted by on in DUI

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer,Whether you have been pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence and feel you have been falsely accused or have in fact been operating under the influence, facing any potential criminal charges for DUI can be downright overwhelming.

Often, one of the biggest sources of anxiety when facing these allegations stems from being unsure of how to proceed when pulled over, how to protect your rights, or from simply being unfamiliar with what to expect should you be convicted. While all DUI penalties equate to serious consequence, there are a number of factors that may impact the severity of your penalties.

Circumstantial Factors

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer,Although Illinois authorities are cracking down on DUIs throughout the state, new survey data shows that some cities in Illinois may be tougher than others when it comes to drunk driving. A survey released annually by a citizen group known as the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists shows which communities in Illinois had the highest number of DUI arrests each year. The findings for 2015 were recently released as well as a top ten list of cities in Illinois with the most DUI arrests last year. What city came in first and where does your city land on the list?

High DUI Arrest Rates

According to the survey’s findings, the top honors for arrests made in 2015 for DUIs went to two cities - Carol Stream and Rockford. Both communities totaled 464 DUI arrests last year. Decatur, the city in first place in 2014, came in second this past year with a total of 405 arrests. Springfield followed in third with 385 arrests, and Naperville, a community that has a tradition of landing in the top ten each year, finished 2015 in fourth place with 369 arrests.

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Posted by on in DUI
Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County defense lawyerDrugged driving is a growing problem. With the recent legalization of marijuana in a few states, and widespread acceptance in many others, law enforcement officials across the  country report an alarming increase in the number of drivers caught driving while high. Marijuana is not the only culprit, either. Authorities nationwide are being trained to identify when a driver is under the influence of any illegal narcotic or prescription drug that could cause impairment, and for good reason. According to recent studies, 20 percent of weekend, nighttime drivers are under the influence of some type of drug. The police use a number of tactics, including impairment tests and blood work, to determine if a driver is guilty of drugged driving. What is it like getting pulled over and being suspected of driving while on drugs? In response to the growing problem, police departments across the country are training their officers to recognize and handle drugged drivers. Many officers are receiving specialty training to become DREs, which stands for drug recognition expert. The training is extensive, and includes over 100 hours of education. The officers are taught to identify signs that may indicate the driver is intoxicated due to a drug. Signs include unusual pupil activity, such as twitching, dilating or pulsing, strange tongue coloration, flecks of powder in or around the nostrils, and high pulse rate, to name just a few. Different drugs have different telltale signs. An officer may be able to identify which type of drug the driver is using at the scene, but further tests are often necessary once the driver is brought into custody. A Typical Drugged Driving Stop An officer notices a vehicle being operated erratically, and pulls the driver over. If impairment is suspected, the driver is given a field sobriety test. This is the standard roadside impairment test. The driver may be asked to walk in a straight line, or stand on one leg. If the driver fails, they are arrested for driving while intoxicated. If a breathalyzer test is administered and the results show no alcohol, the officer will begin testing for illegal or prescription drugs that may be impairing the driver. Typically, the officer will either have a drug testing kit with them, or call for back up to bring one. This kit includes a thermometer, a blood pressure meter, a stethoscope, and a “pupilometer,” a tool that helps officers determine if a suspect’s pupils indicate drug use. Through this testing, an officer should be able to identify which substance the driver has ingested, be it an illegal drug or prescription medication that has impairing effects. From there, further testing, including urine testing and blood work is available if necessary. In Illinois, refusal to take these tests can lead to further consequences for the driver. Authorities say these tests help them arrest dangerous drivers, and also help rule out drivers who are not impaired at all, but may seem like they are under the influence. Drugged Driving Consequences The state of Illinois handles cases of drugged driving very seriously, and consequences are severe. Even a first time offender could face license suspension, lofty fines, and other penalties. Second and third time offenders should expect even higher fines, loss of licenses for extended periods of time, and potential imprisonment. Any trace of an illegal drug found in a driver's system could be reason to press charges, even if the user ingested the drug hours or days before driving. Marijuana, for example, can be detected in the body for up to a month after ingesting, and a driver could potentially face drugged driving charges even if they ingested the drug long before driving.

If you are facing charges related to driving while under the influence, be it due to drugs or alcohol, you need the help of a qualified Chicago area criminal defense attorney. Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel and his team has successfully defended numerous clients facing DUI charges, and we are here to help you today. Call 312-270-0999 to schedule your free consultation with us today to review your legal options.

  Sources:

http://norml.org/legal/item/illinois-drugged-driving

http://www.courant.com/community/manchester/hc-ct-drugged-driving-0912-20150911-story.html

Posted by on in DUI
Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County drunk driving lawyerJust how effective are ignition interlock devices? The tiny devices that prevent intoxicated drivers from starting or operating a vehicle have grown in popularity across the country as an effective method to prevent drunk driving. Since the first legislation on ignition interlock devices was put in place in 1999, every state in the country now utilizes the devices to help combat DUIs. Twenty-five states, including Illinois, have laws in place that require the devices be used after any DUI conviction, and drunk driving advocates are calling for other states to follow suit. Do the devices really keep American roadways safer? According to a report released recently by the widely known drunk driving awareness group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), ignition interlock devices have thwarted 1.77 million drunk driving attempts nationwide since their first use. The report, the first of its kind, used data provided by the 11 major companies that manufacture ignition interlock devices. The devices are installed in an offender’s vehicle and prevent the car from starting unless the driver blows into the device to prove their sobriety. The devices may also require drivers to stop mid-drive and blow again, ensuring that they cannot start drinking on the road or have another person start their vehicle for them. According to MADD, the states that use the devices the most frequently have seen the most drastic decreases in DUIs and DUI related fatalities. Arizona, for example, has seen drunk driving deaths decrease by 50 percent since they first began using the tools to stop drunk driving. Many other states have seen 30 to 40 percent decreases. The report includes any attempt to start a vehicle by a driver whose blood alcohol content was .08, the legal limit, or higher. Since the state of Illinois began utilizing the devices, 96,456 drunk driving attempts have been prevented. In Washington, 103,913 attempts have been stopped. In Colorado, 92,503 attempts have been thwarted. That is only including drivers who have been at the legal limit of intoxication or higher, and MADD says that the figures for those who blow a .025 or higher are much larger. Upwards of 12 million buzzed drivers have been stopped thanks to the devices. Now, drunk driving advocates are calling for every state across the country to require the devices be installed in every DUI case. While every state does currently use the device in some way, some states only use them in cases involving repeat offenders, or with drivers who have a qualifying blood alcohol content. In Maryland, for example, the devices are only required in cases where the driver's blood alcohol content is .15 or higher, almost twice the legal limit. Other states let judges decide whether to use the devices or not on a case by case basis. Drunk driving advocates say that for the devices to be truly effective, they need to be required after every DUI case. In a statement released by MADD, the organization says no other preventative measures are as effective as ignition interlock devices, and that no other option physically prevents drivers from operating their vehicles while intoxicated like an ignition interlock device can. “That is why MADD believe every option for treatment and rehabilitation should include an ignition-interlock requirement to allow the offenders to safely travel without putting others or themselves at risk.” Opponents to the devices say they are too expensive to utilize in every case, but advocates say drunk drivers simply cannot be trusted to not repeat themselves. In fact, around a third of individuals arrested for or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders, and studies show that the average drunk driver has driven intoxicated 80 times prior to being caught. DUI Charges Could Mean Severe Consequences Most law enforcement agencies across the country hold a “no-tolerance” policy towards drunk drivers, and drunk driving penalties have become harsher. If you are facing DUI charges, you need the help of a qualified Chicago criminal defense attorney. You need an attorney with a track record of success. Call 312-270-0999 today to schedule your free consultation with the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney. Attorney Garfinkel, a former prosecutor, has successfully defended many clients from DUI related charges. Do not leave your future in the hands of the Illinois legal system. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.   Sources:

https://www.cars.com/articles/how-many-drunken-drivers-have-ignition-interlocks-stopped-1420683820456/

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/02/11/car-locking-systems-stopped-more-than-million-drunk-drivers-madd-report-says.html

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