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Boating Under the Influence

Web Admin - Friday, July 10, 2015

Illinois boating DUI lawyerAs summer hits full-swing, boating becomes increasingly popular. Very often, drinking alcohol coincides with a day on the water. While this usually leads to creating a great time, it can also lead to very serious consequences. Boaters should be aware that operating a boat is treated similarly to driving a vehicle when it comes to drinking. As a result, boating under the influence (BUI) can lead to significant penalties.

What is BUI?

Under Illinois law, individuals must not control a boat or other watercraft in the state of Illinois while:

  1. 1. They have a blood or breath alcohol content of .08 or higher;
  2. 2. They have been drinking and are currently inebriated; or
  3. 3. They are intoxicated by any other drug that makes them incapable of operating the boat.
Unfortunately, many people often do not recognize that consuming alcohol or drugs and operating a boat can be equally as dangerous as driving a vehicle. Operation Dry Water, a study initiated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, found that, in 2014, alcohol was the leading factor in 21 percent of recreational boating deaths.

Penalties for BUI

Most BUI offenses are considered Class A misdemeanors. However, it may be charged as a Class 4 felony if:

  • 1. The individual has a previous conviction for BUI;
  • 2. The offense leads to an injury where someone other than the driver sustains serious bodily harm or disability or disfigurement; or
  • 3. The offense took place during a period in which the driver’s privilege to operate a watercraft is revoked or suspended due to a BUI-related offense.

If the individual is found guilty of causing great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement, the penalty is a mandatory prison sentence of one year, but not more than 12 years. BUI is considered a Class 2 felony if the violation results in the death of someone. A guilty conviction carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years, with a maximum of 14 years.

Boating is often a family activity. As a result, operators should be aware that BUI with a child under 16 on board results in a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and a mandatory minimum of five days of community service in a program that benefits children.

Finally, it is important to note that operating a boat while on the open waters of Illinois is considered consent to a chemical test or tests of blood, breath, or urine in order to determine whether the operator is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

BUI is a serious offense with potentially significant consequences. If you have been charged with this offense, you should speak to an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. We can help you protect your rights. Our firm represents individuals throughout the northwest suburbs, including communities such as Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, Palatine, and Des Plaines.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association. 

Clearing a Criminal Record in Illinois

Web Admin - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

criminal records in Illinois, Arlington Heights criminal defense attorneyPeople who think about the consequences of being caught committing a crime often focus on the penalties that the government imposes after convicting someone, things like prison sentences or fines. Yet, another major consequence is the criminal record that can follow a person through life. Records of arrests, supervisions, or convictions can make it difficult to get a job, a business license, or even an apartment. Fortunately, Illinois law provides a variety of ways for people to clear their criminal records, including expungement, sealing, and other options. However, each of these methods have different effects and different people qualify for them.

Expungements

The most effective method of clearing a person's criminal record is by expunging it. However, it is also the hardest process for which a person can qualify. A person's criminal record is stored in multiple places, such as in the courthouse and at the arresting authority. An expungement instructs these places to physically destroy the copies of the person's criminal record, and to forward clean records to the FBI. This will prevent any background checks from showing the offenses. There are however some limited exceptions to this destruction. For instance, if a person receives supervision for criminal sexual assault, then law enforcement agencies can still access that record for five years after the expungement.

In order to qualify for an expungement, a person must meet several criteria. First, the person can never have been convicted of a criminal offense, the violation of a municipal ordinance, or a serious traffic offense. This means that expungements can only be used to clear things like arrests and supervisions from a record, not convictions. Additionally, depending on the way the case ends, the petitioner may need to wait before filing an expungement. For example, if a person's case is “stricken off with leave to reinstate,” meaning that the prosecution dropped the case but has the option to bring it again, then they must wait three to four months before filing.

Sealing

Sealing a criminal record is a less drastic option for cleaning someone's history. Sealing is different from expungement in that law enforcement agencies can still see the criminal record. However, sealing still hides the record from most employers. Sealing is also easier to qualify for.

Unlike expungement, people can have their records sealed if they were convicted of a crime. However, not all convictions qualify for sealing. A person may only have their record sealed if they were convicted of a misdemeanor. Additionally, there is a waiting period of four years after the conviction before the record may be sealed.

People who do not qualify for sealing may also have other options, such as executive clemency or Certificates of Good Conduct. If you have questions about any of these options, contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney today. Our office serves clients in many different northwest suburbs, such as Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, and Barrington. Call Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, at 847-934-6000 today.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

The Status of Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, January 15, 2015

medical marijuana in Illinois, Arlington Heights drug defense lawyerOne of the most controversial issues currently facing politics is the legalization of marijuana. Some states have gone so far as to completely legalize it, allowing recreational use of the drug. Other states, along with the federal government, have left it totally illegal. Illinois has chosen the middle ground of allowing the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions. Illinois' medical marijuana law was signed in 2013, and it creates a framework for how to regulate the use of marijuana. However, there have recently been delays in the implementation of that framework, meaning that even though medical marijuana is technically legal, it is still inaccessible to Illinois residents.

General Rules

The Illinois medical marijuana law sets up both a legal framework for patients who possess marijuana, as well as for growers and distributors. Patients may apply for a medical marijuana card if they have one of almost 40 qualifying illnesses, including Parkinson's, cancer, and glaucoma. In order to get a medical marijuana card, people must also be residents of Illinois who are over the age of 18 and who do not have a criminal record.

As far as a growth and distribution framework, the law allows for 22 businesses to receive licenses to actually grow marijuana. One of these businesses will be located in each state police district. The law also authorizes a set of 60 licenses for distributors who will purchase the marijuana from the growers and sell it throughout the state. Additionally, the law creates a new 16 member board for the addition of new qualifying illnesses to the list of diseases that would allow someone to receive medical marijuana.

Recent Delays

Despite the fact that the law went into effect at the beginning of 2014, it has been plagued with implementation delays. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, state agencies spent almost a full year just developing the regulations to manage this program. So far, only 650 patients have been given their medical marijuana cards, and the numbers on the business side are even less encouraging.

Many people were hoping that Governor Quinn would award the licenses for the growers and distributors before he left office. However, that did not happen. That means that it will be up to Governor Rauner to make the decision about future licensing. Governor Quinn did make some appointments to the board that will decide about adding new illnesses before he left office, but he also left some spaces open for Governor Rauner to make more appointments.

Illinois's medical marijuana law creates a complex legal framework, and running afoul if it can result in criminal drug charges. If you have recently been charged with a drug crime, contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney. Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC represents the accused in towns across the northwest suburbs, including in Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, and Arlington Heights.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Palatine Punching Death Leads to Murder Charge

Web Admin - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

palatine criminal defense lawyerA recent death in Palatine, Illinois highlights the ease with which a person can find themselves charged with first degree murder. The incident in question relates to the punching death of a 26-year-old man on July 18th. According to police, another man confronted the victim out in front of a local bar. The assailant allegedly threw a single punch and knocked the victim to the ground. Upon falling, the victim struck his head on the sidewalk, and he was rushed to Lutheran General Hospital. The state initially charged the assailant with aggravated battery, but when the victim died, the charges were upgraded to first degree murder.

Understanding First Degree Murder

When people hear the charge of first degree murder they often focus on concepts like wantonness or premeditation, but in reality the requirements for first degree murder are much simpler. The Illinois criminal code states that a person commits first degree murder when they perform an act that causes a person’s death and they either intend to cause the person’s death or great bodily harm, or they know that their actions will cause the person’s death or great bodily harm, or they know that there is a high probability that their act will cause death or great bodily harm to another person. In this case, even the single punch thrown by the assailant could rise to the level of intent to cause great bodily harm.

However, simply having the intent to do great bodily harm does not necessarily, on its own, tell the full story. This is because the law also contains mitigating factors, circumstances that make the crime less serious because of their existence.

Possible Defenses

The law in Illinois codifies two specific circumstances that can reduce a first degree murder charge down to second degree murder. First, the charge can be reduced if the assailant, at the time of the killing, is “acting under a sudden and intense provocation” that was caused by the victim. Importantly, the provocation in such instances must be quite serious, and merely being insulted would not rise to the level of a mitigating factor. Instead, things like watching someone attack a loved one or being involved in a barroom brawl are often cited as possible scenarios that may count as provocation.

The other scenario that can result in a reduction to second degree murder is when a person commits first degree murder, but does so believing that they have a legal justification for doing so. For instance, if the person believes that they are acting in self-defense when they kill someone, but that belief is not reasonable, they still may have their first degree murder charge reduced to second degree murder.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a criminal offense, seek the help of an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney today. Our firm can analyze your case, and help ensure that you and your interests are fairly represented in court. We represent clients in towns across the northwest suburbs including in Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, and Palatine.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Protecting Your Rights During a DUI Stop

Web Admin - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

palatine illinois dui lawyerThe Fourth of July is fast approaching, and like many major holidays it is one of the busiest days of the year for police conducting DUI traffic stops. This heavy police presence makes sense since the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analyzed federal crash report data and discovered that the Fourth of July is often the deadliest traffic day of the year. In fact, the report reveals a nearly 40 percent increase in traffic deaths during the Fourth of July over the daily average. Given the seriousness with which police view this holiday, it is important for people to be aware of their rights during a DUI stop. People have two main rights that are pertinent to traffic stops: the right to remain silent and the right not to consent to a search.

The Right to Remain Silent

A person’s right to remain silent allows them to refuse to answer police questions during a traffic stop. This means that when the officer asks if the driver has been drinking or where the driver is coming from, the driver is not under any obligation to answer. However, invoking this right involves practical issues. Refusing to cooperate with the officer is technically allowed, but may make the traffic stop more difficult. Consequently, a driver’s being polite and courteous is key, when exercising these rights.

This right extends to refusing field sobriety tests as well. Police will often request that people perform some sort of physical challenge or coordination test to determine if they are sober. While refusing these tests will likely result in a longer traffic stop, it makes it more difficult for the state to pursue a DUI conviction.

Importantly, the right to remain silent is not the same as the right to lie. While the driver does not need to answer the officer’s questions, the information they do choose to provide must be truthful. Further, the right to remain silent also has an exception. The law requires drivers to produce their driver’s license, a copy of their registration, and proof of insurance upon an officer’s request.

The Right Not to Consent to a Search

In addition to the right to remain silent, drivers also have the right to refuse to give the officer permission to search their vehicle. This is not the same as a right not to have the vehicle searched. The officer may still search the car if they have probable cause to suspect something illegal, but evidence from unconsented searches is harder for the state to use at trial.

This right not to consent to a search also affects whether a person must submit to a Breathalyzer test. People do have the right to refuse such a test, however, Illinois has an “implied consent” law, which means such a refusal could result in a driver’s license suspension. Still, that may be preferable to a DUI conviction.

If you were stopped for a DUI this holiday, seek counsel from an Illinois criminal defense attorney. Our skilled team of lawyers defends clients in many northwest suburban towns like Rolling Meadows, Palatine, and Schaumburg.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.


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