Recent blog posts

Can I Get a DUI in Illinois While Operating a Train?

Posted on Friday, 05 April 2019 in DUI

DuPage County dui lawyer trainsNO! There are a few pieces to this puzzle to determine whether or not someone can be charged with drunk driving while operating a train. The first piece can be found in ILCS under the DUI statute 625 ILCS 5/11-501. However, there is not an explicit mention of this unique scenario in the DUI statute. Some guidance can be found in the Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions. Pattern Jury Instructions are quite a big deal for criminal law practitioners, appellate practitioners, and the judiciary at large. Jury Instructions are a short and sweet reading of what the law IS. During a judge only or bench trials, judges are cognizant of what a jury would be hearing in the jury instructions at the end of the case.

The main Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction on DUIs notes that: A person commits the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol when he or she drives (drove) or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Still not enough on what is a vehicle, we have to dig deeper.

Luckily, some guidance can be found in Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction 23.43A, where a vehicle is defined. Here, this situation is a bit more clear: “Every device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway or requiring a certificate of title under Section 3-101(d) of this Code, except devices moved by human power, devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks, and snowmobiles as defined in the Snowmobile Registration and Safety Act.” (Emphasis added).


Your friendly local train conductor would not be able to get a DUI in Illinois while operating a train because trains are explicitly excluded from the definition of “vehicle.” Regardless of this result, the author of this blog post does not suggest or condone going to the locomotive of a train and cracking open a cold one with the conductor!

Contact a Wheaton DUI defense attorney today by calling our office at 630-665-8780 to schedule a free case evaluation.

Can I Get a First Time DUI Expunged or Sealed in Illinois?

Posted on Wednesday, 03 April 2019 in DUI

Wheaton DUI expungement attorneyDespite recent revisions to the Illinois Expungement and Sealing laws, there are limited circumstances in which someone can expunge or seal a first time DUI

First, to “expunge” a first time DUI means you must actually go and do something after the case is done. That “something” is filing a petition to expunge with the clerk of the circuit court and give notice to law enforcement agencies. The court record will simply not disappear on its own, even if you win at a bench trial or a jury trial. After a waiting period, if no one objects, a judge may issue an expungement order to destroy the court file along with any other arrest records. The term "may" is used because expungements are always discretionary by the judge and are not mandatory.

Second, to “seal” means to hide court records from any private party apart from law enforcement and the courts. Successfully “sealing” a court record means the court record cannot be accessed by a private party without a court order. Sealing a court record would arguably help someone with those dreaded background checks for employment.

One interesting provision in the Illinois Expungement and Sealing laws is that IF someone is under 25 when the DUI occurs and is able to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charge to reckless driving with court supervision, the person is eligible to apply for expungement once they turn 26 years old. A competent and experienced DuPage County DUI defense attorney will explore this possibility with any client who is under 25 years old. This is HUGE! If someone has major career aspirations and makes a one time mistake under the age of 25, this special provision in the expungement statute is quite appealing!

If you plead guilty to a first time DUI charge, it is impossible to get the court record expunged. However, it may be possible to get the court record sealed. More often than not, however, the only way to ensure a first time DUI is eligible for expungement/sealing is to take the case to trial and win and/or convince the prosecutors to dismiss the DUI itself based on the weakness of their case.

Not all hope is lost! It is entirely possible to make it through a first time DUI with zero jail time, zero criminal conviction, and with the case being dismissed as a result of good behavior! Contact Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C. to discuss expungement/sealing and ultimate dismissal of a first time DUI charge!

Wheaton multiple DUI defense lawyerCertain things in life are permanent, like an amputated limb, a tattoo, or Pete “Charlie Hustle” Rose’s lifetime ban from Major League Baseball. Pete Rose’s “Prince Valiant” style hairstyle may also fit into this category!

Far more importantly, a legal example of that permanence is the look back period for a DUI charge in terms of criminal law. In the state of Illinois, it matters not that you received a charge of DUI in 1979 and then in 2019; the DUI arrest in 2019 still “counts” as DUI arrest number two, no matter how long ago the first charge accrued. Even though you probably were young and foolish back then and may have even owned a cool pony car, it still “counts”. Forever. Really. 

The good news is that on the civil side of a DUI arrest, referring specifically to a summary statutory suspension of an accused DUI driver’s driving privileges, the lookback period is NOT forever, it is only five years. More specifically:

The simple answer is YES, five years have to have passed from a prior DUI to be eligible in Illinois for driving relief during a period of summary suspension through the BAIID/MDDP (interlock device) program. Stated more precisely...

A driver seeking a BAIID/MDDP (interlock device) must not have received a previous summary suspension in the past five years, been convicted of DUI or assigned court supervision for DUI in Illinois, or been convicted of DUI in another state within five years. 



Wheaton cannabis DUI defense attorneyThe penalties for a cannabis DUI in Illinois are very similar to the possible penalties for an alcohol-based DUI. However, cannabis DUI does not carry a mandatory community service aspect, as many alcohol-based DUIs do.

For a first offense cannabis DUI, if you plea guilty to or are found guilty at a trial of having either 5ng of delta 9 THC in your blood or 10 nanograms of delta 9 THC in any other bodily substance, you can expect:

  • The dismissal of your case without a conviction based upon good behavior, or;
  • A range of other possible penalties, with the maximum of up to 364 days in county jail,
  • Counseling as spelled out in a drug/alcohol evaluation,
  • A one night class at the courthouse called a victim impact panel,
  • $2,500 maximum fine + court costs,
  • Cannot receive any new criminal or traffic offenses during the duration of your sentence.

For a second offense cannabis DUI, if you plea guilty or are found guilty at a trial of having either 5 nanograms of delta 9 THC in your blood or 10 nanograms of delta 9 THC in any other bodily substance, you can expect:

  • A range of possible penalties, with the maximum of up to 364 days in county jail and a mandatory minimum of either five days in county jail or 240 hours of community service,
  • Counseling as spelled out in a drug/alcohol evaluation,
  • A one night class at the courthouse called a victim impact panel,
  • $2,500 maximum fine + court costs,
  • Cannot receive any new criminal or traffic offenses during the duration of your sentence,
  • Minimum driver’s license revocation for one year, maximum of forever!

A good DUI attorney can help reduce some if not all of these possible penalties! Cannabis DUI arrests are increasing in Illinois for a wide variety of reasons. If you are accused of a Cannabis DUI, contact an experienced DuPage County DUI attorney TODAY!

Wheaton cannabis dui defense lawyerWhile cannabis, for small amounts, has been decriminalized in the state of Illinois, you still can be found guilty of a DUI if you have a certain amount in your urine or blood. This is regardless of your level of impairment.

First, it is important to note that only a few years ago, if you were caught with ANY amount of cannabis in your urine or other bodily fluids – no matter how long ago you may have smoked (or ingested)—you would be guilty of a DUI.

Then on July 29, 2016, Illinois changed. Cannabis became decriminalized. And because a small amount of cannabis is no longer a criminal offense, the DUI statute needed to be updated to reflect the current law.

Now you can have some – although not much – in your urine or bodily fluids. According to the statute, you can now have 10 nanograms or more of THC in urine or other bodily substances. Cannabis is typically tested and found in your urine. It is also tested, albeit rarely, in other bodily substances such as saliva and sweat. The reason for this is lab analysts are able to better detect cannabis in urine much easier than in blood.

But even if you make the mistake of voluntarily giving the police your urine or saliva, there is still hope. This can be challenged. A good DUI defense attorney will know how to challenge your arrest and your consent. Many times people are under duress and may not have legally consented. Speak to a competent DUI attorney at Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C. about how to challenge the alleged cannabis found in your urine before it is too late.

And even if there is a valid consent, you can request an independent test if the defendant believes the results to be inaccurate. A trained DUI lawyer will know how challenge the results.

Contact Illinois DUI attorneys at Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C. now at 630-665-8780. It is critical to start immediately if you are going to challenge the results of cannabis in your urine or other bodily fluids.

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