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Overview of the Illinois Drug Court Program

If you were arrested for certain types of drug crimes, it is important to become familiar with the drug court program established under the Illinois Drug Court Treatment Act. This program is intended as an alternative to jail time for people who are charged with drug offenses, but who also suffer from addiction. The theory behind drug court is that accused individuals are less likely to become repeat criminal offenders when they are provided with treatment options instead of going to prison. There are statistics to support the advantages of the drug court program, as Cook County reports that recidivism rates decrease by 84% during the three years post-completion.

However, Illinois drug court is not for everyone. There are eligibility issues, and you may find the strict rules oppressive or inconvenient. You should discuss your circumstances with an Illinois drug crimes defense lawyer, and read on for some important information.

Overview of the Drug Court Program

The point of the Illinois statute is to treat the underlying substance abuse and related conditions that cause many criminal defendants to commit drug crimes. If you comply with all court orders, undergo substance abuse assessments, and complete treatment requirements, you can avoid criminal sanctions for a drug offense. Even better, you may be able to overcome alcohol or drug addiction.

Eligibility Requirements

As of the effective date in 2002, the Illinois law required courts in each judicial circuit throughout the state to establish a drug court program. Therefore, the exact eligibility requirements vary among Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, and surrounding counties. However, there are some general qualifications that may apply:

  • You must admit to drug use or addiction;
  • You need to show that you are willing to participate and are dedicated to completing the drug court program;
  • You cannot have a violent crime conviction on your record within the past 10 years; and,
  • You cannot have participated in the drug court program in the past.

However, there are some exceptions. You must first get the prosecuting attorney to agree to drug court if you are charged with certain felonies or if you did participate in the drug court in the past.

Terms and Conditions of the Drug Court Program

Though the details and duration depend on the court where you are facing charges, the drug court process may include:

  • Diagnosis and assessment of your drug addiction;
  • Regular meetings with a probation officer or treatment counselor;
  • Court appearances;
  • Group and individual therapy sessions;
  • Educational programs;
  • Relapse prevention treatment;
  • Psychiatric evaluations;
  • Family orientation, counseling, and education; and,
  • Many other requirements.

Discuss Your Options with an Illinois Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

If you have questions about whether Illinois drug court is right for you, please contact Glasgow & Olsson to set up a case consultation. You can reach our firm by calling 847-577-8700 or visiting us online. The program is not suitable for all individuals arrested for drug crimes, so you should understand the pros and cons before making a decision. You may also want to hear about other legal options when facing drug charges.

(image courtesy of Rawpixel)

Illinois DUIs: Before, During and After the Stop

One of the most common tips for avoiding a DUI is usually the least helpful, as well: When you see police lights flashing, it is already too late to go back in time and decide not to get behind the wheel. At this point, your best strategy to fight an Illinois drunk driving case is damage control. Fortunately, there are some recommendations that can help you through your encounter with police before, during, and after the stop. Considering the serious penalties associates with being convicted under Illinois’ DUI statute, you want to do all you can to protect your rights as early on as possible.

Before the Stop

To avoid raising suspicion by police, do not attract attention to yourself or your vehicle. Some recommendations include:

  • If you choose to drink on a night out DO NOT DRIVE: This may seem obvious, but since we do not live in a zero-tolerance state, it is absolutely legal to drink and drive. What IS illegal is to be under the influence of alcohol. Driving after drinking any amount of alcohol gives the police reason to question if you are under the influence. Choose a designated driver.
  • Avoid Traffic Violations and Erratic Maneuvers: Do not give police a reason to pull you over in the first place. Drive the speed limit, come to a complete stop at signs, use your turn signals, and comply with all traffic laws. Also, do not drive erratically or in such a way that police want to further investigate your condition.
  • Be Prepared with Documents: As soon as you are safely pulled over, get out your driver’s license, registration, and insurance information. Put these items on the dashboard in plain view for the officer. Fumbling around for these documents may give police probable cause to arrest you for DUI.

During a DUI Detention

Your actions and behaviors during the encounter with police are critical, but you do have rights. Some tips include:

  • Do Not Make Admissions Regarding Drinking: If an officer asks whether you have been drinking, politely decline to answer and state that your attorney told you to remain silent during any interaction with the police. Do not to provide information that might incriminate you. Do the same if police ask where you have been. Telling them you were having wine with dinner or drinking beer at a bar after work could give officers grounds to investigate further.
  • Understand Your Rights Regarding Chemical Tests: There are two tests to assess your blood alcohol content (BAC). Before you are placed under arrest, you can refuse a preliminary blood alcohol test (PBT) at the scene when police use a portable breathalyzer. However, once you are arrested, you may choose to take a chemical test under Illinois’ implied consent laws. There are potential differing CIVIL penalties for taking vs not taking the test, but there will not be any enhanced criminal penalties for your choice.

After Your Release

When you are free to go, there are additional tips that give you an advantage in fighting DUI charges:

  • Officially Request a Hearing: If you want to contest the suspension of your driver’s license, you must do so within 90 days after receiving official written notice. The paperwork you are given upon your release will tell you how and where to file a request for a hearing. If you fail to do so, your suspension automatically goes into effect.
  • Retain an Experienced Illinois DUI Defense Attorney: You are entitled to defend yourself against drunk driving charges, both in the criminal case and the administrative proceedings involving your driving privileges. A knowledgeable attorney can help by identifying weaknesses in the allegations against you, and by presenting evidence that favors your side of the case.

Reach Out to a Skilled Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer for Legal Help

For more information on the advantages of hiring an attorney to defend you in a drunk driving case, please contact Glasgow & Olsson to schedule a consultation. You can reach our office by calling 847-577-8700 or going online to request an appointment.

(image courtesy of Alvaro Reyes)

How an Illinois DUI Conviction can Affect Your Career

If you are charged with drunk driving in Illinois, there are both criminal and administrative implications that affect your life right away. When you are arrested, police will confiscate your driver’s license and your driving privileges may be suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office Department of Driver Services. There are also criminal penalties because Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is against the law. Even if this is a first-time offense, you face probation, fines, or jail time.

Though these sanctions are considerable, there are additional consequences for your job. A drunk driving conviction can affect your career in ways that you do not expect. It is important to consult with a skilled Illinois DUI defense lawyer who can work to get the best possible outcome in your case. You should also review some of the ways a drunk driving conviction can impact your current employment and future opportunities.

Required Notice to Your Employer

Illinois regulates many driving-related occupations by requiring you to obtain a special driver’s license. In some situations, you must report a DUI conviction to your employer in order to keep your credentials in good standing. For example, if you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or operate a vehicle for work, you must report a drunk driving arrest – even before you are convicted. Plus, your employer may have rules that require you to report a DUI, especially in sales or other jobs where you operate a company-owned car. Your employer has grounds to fire you if you can not perform job-related functions.

Other Professional Licenses

Illinois also regulates many other occupations that have nothing to do with driving. You must comply with these rules to keep your license, which may mean reporting a DUI to the appropriate state agency. The exact requirements depend upon your credentials. Generally, if it is inappropriate for you to work in a certain industry after being convicted of a crime, your license may be suspended or revoked. Physicians, nurses, airline, railroad and public transportation employees, public safety such as police and fire, and those in other occupations could be censured, sanctioned, or have a professional license to work in their given field suspended or revoked.

Practical Considerations for Your Job

Aside from licensing issues, not being able to legally drive has other consequences for your daily life. You may not be able to drive to and from work, work-related functions, or meetings with clients. Though there are multiple public transportation options in Chicago and surrounding counties, your inconvenience and costs incurred may be extreme. If you are required to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) in your vehicle, you will have obvious, clunky equipment attached to your car’s steering column. If you entertain or transport clients, the BAIID can affect customer relationships and business opportunities.

Fight Drunk Driving Charges with the Help of an Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

There are harsh consequences for drunk driving in Illinois beyond the administrative and criminal penalties. Your career could be at stake, so you need experienced counsel to help protect your employment interests. For more information, please contact Glasgow & Olsson. You can schedule a consultation with one of our DUI defense attorneys by calling 847-577-8700 or completing a consultation request form.

(image courtesy of Charles Deluvio)