If you have questions, we have answers! We aim to provide individuals with the knowledge they need to act accordingly when it comes to police questioning, searches, traffic stops and more. Below are answers to some of the most common questions we’re asked.
If the police want to ask me questions, do I have to talk?
No. You may decline to answer police questioning and exercise your right to remain silent. If investigators such as police officers or prosecutors ask you to speak with them, it is crucial to your defense that you make no statements without your lawyer. Investigators are trained to use whatever statements, however well-intentioned, against you in court.
Further, investigators may lie in order to get you to make a statement. Do not be disrespectful, but always politely insist upon your lawyer’s presence prior to any questioning.
Does my charge carry the possibility of jail time?
It may, depending on a variety of factors. Some charges do not carry the possibility, while others do. As far as charges that do carry this possibility, the evidence the police claim to have against you is likely to be the strongest indicator as to whether a prosecutor will seek jail time. Also, the prosecutor may use any prior law enforcement contacts against you.
If you have a clear or minimal history, this can work to your benefit. Though, for instance, a class A Misdemeanor carries with it the possibility of $2,500 in fines and 364 days in jail, it is rare for the maximum to be imposed. Felony sentencing is substantially more complicated and such cases should be handled very carefully.
What can a lawyer do for my DUI?
If you are cited for DUI, you likely have two cases running at the same time.
The first is a civil case, where the State seeks to suspend your driving privileges. On the 46th day following your arrest, your driving privileges are suspended. For most motorists, this is actually the most important part of the case to contest to keep you driving.
The second is a criminal case where the State may seek fines and jail time. Subpoenas, motions for discovery, and evidentiary motions often must be filed to ensure that you do not risk more severe punishment, as well as to determine whether the State has a case it can prove in court.
Do I have to walk the line and watch the flashlight?
No. Field sobriety testing is often used following an arrest for DUI. This testing is done in order to provide additional evidence the prosecutor may use against you in court. At the point when an officer requests this testing, it is likely they already made the decision to arrest you for DUI anyway. You do not want to provide additional evidence that the State would use to convict you.
Should I have blown? If I did not blow, should I have?
The answer is, there are ways to take advantage of a blow or your decision not to. In Illinois, the implied consent law provides for penalties for your refusal, but also penalties for blowing in excess of the legal limit of 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content (BAC). There are many requirements for police and prosecutors to be able to use a blow even if you provide one, and there may be ways to show you did not refuse even when the officer says you did.
Do I have to consent to a search?
You do not have to consent to a search and you may require the police to secure a warrant. Sometimes, police do not require a warrant. It may not be up to you if the police officer sees something in plain view, is acting in hot pursuit or can establish one of several other exceptions to the warrant requirement. Consent is the easiest way for the police to avoid the requirement they have a warrant to conduct a search, and you do not have to give your permission to be searched.
If you have questions not answered here, contact us right away to get answers. Call or text Brendan at 815-714-9508, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.