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How to Protect Yourself From a Marijuana-Related DUI

The Illinois Senate passed a law that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana after January 1, 2020. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act authorizes the "use of cannabis" for "persons 21 years of age or older and should be taxed like alcohol." Now anyone over the age of 21 and a citizen of Illinois can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis legally. Non-residents may only legally possess up to 15 grams. Residents may lawfully possess one ounce of a marijuana flower at home. However, the legalization of Marijuana does not mean that driving while high will not get you arrested and prosecuted in the Illinois Courts.

The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police took an active part in negotiating the bill, but that does not mean that the police will turn a blind eye to mariujuana use across the board. While recreational and medicinal marijuana use will be legal in the state of Illinois, it will not be legal everywhere, all of the time. For example, while the use of cannabis in the privacy of your own home will be perfectly legal under the new law, you would be advised not to take it out into public spaces, or to work or school. The Illinois Police Department will be particularly vigilant in pursuing those who drive while under the influence of cannabis (DUIC).

What Constitutes a DUIC?

Even in the other states that have had legal marijuana use for years, there is not a widely accepted way to test for marijuana impairment of drivers. No widely accepted breath analyzer exists.

There are a few key differences between driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of marijuana. We have over 100 years of research into driving impairment and alcohol consumption. The scientific community generally agrees that in regards to driving while under the influence, nearly everyone is under the influence of alcohol when their blood alcohol content is at or above .08%.

While Illinois sets the standard for being under the influence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, at 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms of any other bodily substance, there is no consensus on how driving under the influence of marijuana should be measured absent those medical tests. There is no breathalyzer or field test to accurately determine the level of marijuana impairment of a driver.

Protect Yourself From DUIC

Innocent people will be arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis (DUIC) in Illinois after the new law goes into effect in 2020. In fact, the likelihood of innocent arrests is more significant than with traditional DUI-alcohol arrests because cannabis is different significantly from alcohol. The idea of DUI Cannabis is a relatively new concept. Until technology catches up with the law and law enforcement can accurately test drivers in the field for THC levels, the best way to avoid a DUIC is to stay off the roads after partaking in marijuana in any form.

If you have been arrested and charged for DUI Cannabis, you need a skilled Glasgow & Olsson criminal defense attorney to represent you in this new area of criminal law. Contact a Schaumburg driving while under the influence of cannabis defense attorney to learn more.

(image courtesy of Ivan Chen)

New Illinois Law Legalizes Recreational Marijuana Use

The Perry County Police Department arrested a man for possession of marijuana in May of 2019, two weeks before legalizing marijuana possession throughout the state. The man who was arrested had less than 10 grams of marijuana in his possession when he was arrested.

A new Illinois law that goes into effect January 1, 2020, decriminalizes possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana for Illinois Citizens and possession of 15 grams of less for non-citizens of Illinois. Under the new law, this man would not have been charged for marijuana possession. Prosecutors will likely dismiss his charges under the new law. Advocates of the law argue that personal possession of marijuana is not a crime, and soon many of those who have been convicted of possession of the substance may see their records wiped clean.

How Will Illinois Go About Expunging Marijuana Convictions?

The new law prohibits prosecutors from assisting in determining who will and will not be eligible for expungement of their drug possession convictions. Who will decide which drug convictions will be expunged from people’s records? Will everyone with certain drug charges receive a pardon?

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx says that she plans on expunging misdemeanor marijuana convictions. While the specific process for expunging the records remains to be seen, some lawmakers argue that the governor could simply issue individual or blanket pardons.

Who May be Eligible for Expungement of Conviction?

The Journal Star estimates that approximately 800,000 Illinois residents could have their convictions expunged. The following charges are eligible to be expunged per the new law:

  • Possession of cannabis in the amount of 10 grams or less;
  • Misdemeanor possession of up to 30 grams;
  • Class 4 felony possession of up to 500 grams or over one pound of marijuana;
  • Convictions for selling up to 30 grams of marijuana and
  • Felony convictions for growing up to 20 plants illegally.

Importantly, if someone had a class 4 felony violation or misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge and different criminal charges, then he or she does not qualify for expungement.

Can I Use Marijuana Legally?

Recreational marijuana will be legal for citizens over the age of 21 in Illinois as of January 1, 2020, but that will not stop the police from arresting citizens for driving under the influence of cannabis or for ingesting the substance in areas where it remains prohibited. Use of marijuana at home is just fine under the new law, but Illinois residents may run into trouble if they choose to partake in public spaces, in their cars, or at work or school.

Cannabis is different than alcohol in that we do not have a scientifically verified breathalyzer test that police officers can use to determine a blood cannabis level. We have 100 years of scientific research into alcohol consumption and driving, but there is no scientific consensus as to when someone is driving under the influence of cannabis. It will be interesting to track the state’s efforts to regulate and enforce DUIC laws, and how technology will evolve to assist them in that goal.

If you have been arrested and charged with a marijuana-related offense, you need a skilled Glasgow & Olsson criminal defense attorney to represent you in this new area of criminal law. Contact a Schaumburg cannabis defense attorney to learn more.

(image courtesy of Dimitri Bang)

What is the Difference Between a Criminal and Civil Order of Protection?

Your marriage has been rocky lately. You seem to fight about every little thing, and last night the fight seemed to reach a new level of intensity. You and your partner both said and did things you now regret, but in the harsh light of morning, you discover that your partner has filed an order of protection against you. What happens now?

You may be worried about your future. You may be embarrassed and not know how to respond. Perhaps you are concerned about not being able to see your children if an order of protection is placed that prohibits you from seeing your partner. There are many things to know and questions that need to be answered regarding the Illinois order of protection process, and an experienced attorney in Chicago can help.

What is an Order of Protection?

An Order of Protection is a court order that bars one person from having contact with another person. Typically, orders of protection prevent someone from going to a specific location and forbid him or her from talking to the other person. The order of protection is only a piece of paper and cannot guarantee security. However, it does allow the police to arrest someone who violates the order of protection.

Criminal vs. Civil Orders of Protection

The main difference between a civil order of protection and criminal order of protection is that the criminal order of protection is filed along with criminal charges against another person. If someone seeks to file criminal charges against another person, he or she can obtain a criminal order of protection at the same time.

Many times people who file for domestic violence, assault, or another offense will also file for a criminal order of protection against the person they are accusing. On the other hand, someone can file a civil order of protection against an alleged aggressor. If someone is not filing criminal charges against the alleged aggressor, he or she can still file a civil order of protection.

Consequences of Violating an Order of Protection

Violating an Illinois order of protection is most often a Class A misdemeanor offense, although it can be a felony under certain circumstances and you can be sentenced to several years in the prisons of the Illinois Department of Corrections for violating the order. If found guilty of the misdemeanor, you may be punished with up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The court may also sentence you to counsel, community service, and probation. If you are a first time offender, you may qualify for supervision. If supervision applies, the court will have your record expunged at the end of the process.

Have You Been Charged With Violating an Order of Protection? We can Help

When an alleged victim makes domestic violence or other violence claim, the court files an immediate petition for a temporary order of protection. A hearing will be held to determine whether the order of protection should become permanent. We can step in and represent you at this hearing. We will address the domestic violence allegations and fight the restrictions outlined in the order of protection.

If you already have an order of protection in place against you, we can help you minimize the effects it can have on your life. At Glasgow & Olsson, our experienced attorneys can help you address all issues relating to your order of protection. Contact a Schaumburg civil order of protection attorney to learn more.

(image courtesy of David von Diemar)