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How Does Illinois Test Drivers for Marijuana Use?

Imagine that you are over at a friend's house, and you decide to partake in some marijuana after dinner. You feel fine an hour later and do not think you will have any problem driving. After getting into your car and beginning to drive home, you see the telltale flashing lights behind you. You are worried about facing a driving under the influence of drugs charge, but you are sure you did not smoke enough marijuana to be impaired. What happens now? How does the police officer who pulls you over prove that you are too impaired to be legally driving?

Illinois Recently Legalized Recreational Marijuana

Recently, Illinois legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which goes into effect in January 2020, authorizes the use of cannabis and possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis for anyone 21 years old or older. Illinois now joins other states that have legalized marijuana. Some are rejoicing that Illinois decriminalized marijuana. Others warn about the lack of an adequate test for driving while under the influence of drugs (DUIDrugs).

What Constitutes Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Illinois?

Tetrahydrocannabinol is the active marijuana ingredient. The new Illinois law states that a person is driving under the influence of marijuana if a test shows that someone has five or more nanograms of THC concentration in his or her blood draw or has 10 or more THC nanograms in other bodily fluids.

The process of measuring THC is not without its challenges. For a start, marijuana can migrate from someone's blood within 30 minutes and moves to a person's fatty tissues where the body stores it. Further, some studies have shown that the amount of THC is not closely related to how stoned someone feels. Another challenging aspect is that in some cases, a person is most impaired up to 90 minutes after consuming or smoking marijuana.

While police officers can use mouth swabs that detect whether someone has used marijuana, these swaps do not show the blood level of marijuana. If someone refuses to do the swab, the police would then need to obtain a search warrant, which is time-consuming.

DuPage County Sheriff James Medrick urged Illinois police departments to train experts in drug enforcement who have the skill and training to handle marijuana cases. Will technology catch up to the cannabis legalization laws that have been quickly happening across the country? Only time will tell.

If You Have Been Arrested for Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana, We can Help

A DUI in Illinois is no small matter. If you are convicted, you could lose your job and experience strained relationships with those you love. The skilled Cook County DUI defense attorneys at Glasgow and Olsson have a wealth of experience fighting DUI charges. To contact us, please fill out our online form for an initial consultation.

(image courtesy of Get Budding)

Can I Refuse a Blood, Breath, or Urine Test if I Have Been Pulled Over in Illinois?

We have all seen police arrests on popular television shows, but many people have never faced arrest personally. Have you ever thought about what you would do if you are pulled over by a police officer under suspicions that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana? What if you know you have not had any alcohol or marijuana? Can you refuse to allow the police to take a blood or urine sample? Can you refuse a breathalyzer test in Illinois? We will delve into these issues below.

Illinois’ Implied Consent Law

When you obtain an Illinois driver's license, you are agreeing that if you are pulled over while driving, you will consent to a chemical test. A chemical test is a test administered by an Illinois police officer who suspects you of being guilty of a DUI. The results of the chemical test can and often will be used against you by the prosecution. Illinois recently legalized recreational marijuana use, so the number of those pulled over on suspicion of driving while impaired may increase.

The Consequences of Refusal to Complete Field Sobriety Tests

On July 10, 2019, an Illinois driver caused a head-on collision after erratically driving a rental car. Thankfully there were no injuries. After the collision, the suspect tried to run away from the scene. He agreed to comply with the police and engage in field sobriety tests, but ended up refusing to finish them. The police cited the man with two moving vehicle violations and for refusing to take a chemical test. When the man received an Illinois driver's license, he gave implied consent to a chemical blood test if he was suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you refuse a chemical test in Illinois and you already have at least one DUI conviction, the state will suspend your driver's license. The duration of the license suspension depends on whether or not you are a first-time DUI offender. If you have had a DUI conviction in the previous five years, you will face a six to 12-month license suspension for a failure to test or refusal to test. If you have multiple DUI convictions within the past five years, the state could suspend your license for up to three years. This can happen regardless of the outcome in the criminal case and since this is a civil matter, you are NOT entitled to the representation of a public defender in a licensure suspension.

If You Refused a Chemical Blood Test in Illinois, We can Help You

The attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson know Illinois DUI law inside and out. Over the years, we have represented tens of thousands of cases involving DUI. The law is always changing, especially now that recreational marijuana is legal in Illinois. The attorneys of Glasgow & Olsson use our knowledge of the finer points of DUI legislation and enforcement to help you fight for the best outcome possible in your case.

The skilled Cook County refusing a blood or alcohol test attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson have a wealth of experience fighting DUI charges. To contact us, please fill out our online form for an initial consultation.

(image courtesy of Thomas Picauly)

Will Illinois Abolish Cash Bail?

It is an easy scenario to consider: A young man gets into a scuffle with another young man over a simple disagreement. A neighbor sees this fight and calls the police. The police then arrest the young man and charge him with assault and battery. He is now at the local jail and is eligible for release on bail, but he only has $500 to his name. Instead of being free to leave, he is stuck in jail until he stands trial because he does not have the cash available to post bail for himself.

While the cash bail system has been around for a long time, current Illinois policymakers are considering doing away with it altogether. Supporters of passing laws that would do away with cash bonds argue that doing so would make the Illinois criminal justice system more fair to people from all income brackets. After all, low-income Illinois residents who cannot afford to post bail suffer more than those who can afford to post bond.

Law enforcement officials and prosecutors are against the proposition. They argue that doing away with the requirement to post bail could put victims at a higher risk of another assault. For example, the bail bond requirement keeps some prisoners away from their domestic violence victims, which is a deterrent to more crime. From an economic perspective, local courts rely on the income from bail bonds to fund various services for victims of crimes.

The 2017 Bail Reform Act Made Some Reforms, But Perhaps Not Enough?

The Bail Reform Act of 2017 allowed courts to release those charged with low-level felonies or nonviolent misdemeanors without posting bail. Instead of requiring bail, judges can enforce curfews, impose other restrictions, or order those charged with wearing electronic monitors.

Those advocating against the necessity of posting bail argue that cash bail never fulfills the intended purpose. For example, Sharylyn Grace, Chicago Community Bond Fund director, believes that bail bonds should never be required. Though it is a longstanding practice, she argues that in practicality, requiring the posting of bail does not work. She explains that studies show that posting a bail bond does not increase the numbers of those charged appearing at the required court dates. Requiring bail bonds may also disproportionately impact communities of color and increase recidivism.

The Illinois Supreme Court Has Designated a Commission on Pretrial Practices

The non-profit advocacy group Human Rights Watch submitted a brief to the Supreme Court of Illinois. In this brief, they argued that based on the findings of their two significant reports, requiring cash bail causes more harm than good. The brief cites families selling cars, facing eviction from their homes and suffering mental and physical anguish. Prosecutors have argued that posting bail creates a deterrent for the accused not to commit any other crimes while on bail. They have also argued that bail creates a sort of neighborhood watch over the accused to help encourage the accused to remain on the straight and narrow during the pendency of the charges because the people who posted the bail have something to lose should the accused reoffend or violate their bail.

If You Have Been Charged With a Crime in Illinois, We are Here to Help

Have you been charged with a criminal offense in Illinois? Depending on the crime, you may have to pay cash bail. The skilled Cook County criminal defense law attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson will aggressively represent your best interests. To contact us, please fill out our online form for an initial consultation.

(image courtesy of Madison Kaminski)