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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Drivers' Rights and the DUI Stop

Posted on in Arrest

illinois dui stopAfter a driver is pulled over and before he is officially arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), an Illinois police officer conducts an investigation. During this investigative period, the officer tries to determine whether her probable cause is strong enough to justify arresting the driver for a DUI.

An Illinois police officer will typically conduct one of two investigative tests after pulling over a driver for suspicion of a DUI. An officer may conduct a field sobriety test a portable breath test, also known as the “Breathalyzer test.” During the field sobriety test, the officer asks the accused to perform a variety of actions that illustrate the accused’s level of mental and motor control.  Requested actions may include following the officer’s fingers with one’s eyes in a horizontal motion, walking the line and being asked to turn abruptly, or standing on one leg.

During a Breathalyzer test, a machine measures the accused’s blood alcohol content. The legal blood alcohol limit in Illinois is .08 percent. According to Illinois law, drivers have a right to refuse one or both of these tests. However, a decision to refuse such a test might not be the best option in all circumstances.


how to pick an attorneyIf you have ever searched for an Illinois criminal defense attorney online, whether for a simple traffic violation or a more serious charge, you know there are a lot of lawyers out there who claim they are able to do the job. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you also may already be aware that selecting a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can have a significant effect on your case’s outcome. Many of the lawyers you find will have professional-looking websites and helpful office staff and will otherwise seem competent to handle your case; but how can you really know you are in good hands? Helpful Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

  • Have you ever handled a case like mine before?  How much of your case load is dedicated to helping people in circumstances similar to mine?
  • What range of outcomes can you expect in a case like mine? (i.e. what is the best and worst case scenario?)
  • Can you explain what I can expect from each phase of the criminal justice process (such as during arraignment, pretrial and trial phases)? How long does it usually take to obtain a final verdict?
  • What is your office’s policy about keeping contact with clients?  When do you call clients and how frequently should I expect to meet with you?
  • How should I best reach out to your office if I need to contact you?
  • Do you have a good relationship with the criminal prosecutor’s office that is prosecuting my case? How often do you negotiate deals with this particular town’s prosecutor’s office?
  • How much do you charge and how do you calculate your fees?  When are payments for legal services due?
  • Which attorney from the firm will be representing me in court and what is his or her experience and background in relation to matters like mine?

Preparation for Your Criminal Defense Meeting Getting the most out of your experience with a new criminal defense attorney can be a two-way street. Many clients are pleased to know they can play a role in maximizing the efficiency of their meeting with a criminal defense attorney. One of the best ways to do this is to come prepared for the meeting ahead of time, with appropriate documents in hand, such as:

  • Any charging documents you received at the police station;
  • Any documents you received from the court that state your charges and the date of your next court appearance(s);
  • A police report (if you can obtain one);
  • Any paperwork the police gave you if your property or car was searched or if your personal items were retained by law enforcement officers;
  • Copies of any documents you signed while in custody; and
  • Photo identification, personal contact information, and emergency contact information.
  • If you possess additional information or documents that you believe can help in your defense, it may be helpful to bring these as well.

Contact Us Today At Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C., we understand that criminal defendants, especially first-time offenders, can feel overwhelmed and extremely anxious about the criminal process. We try our hardest to evaluate cases thoroughly and honestly and promptly keep our clients informed of all relevant case developments. If you would like to schedule a meeting with one of our criminal defense attorneys, call our DuPage criminal defense lawyers at 630-472-9700 to schedule a meeting.

illinois criminal defense lawyerDuring the week of May 19th, National Public Radio ran a series on its investigation into the practice of jailing individuals for unpaid debts to the criminal justice system.  Calling it the resurgence of “modern day debtor’s prisons” in America, NPR correspondents highlighted the effects these practices have on low income individuals who were fined for minor crimes.

They told a story of a 19-year-old father in Ionia County, Michigan who was fined 155 dollars for catching a fish that was out-of-season.  He was unable to pay the debt or borrow money to pay the entire debt, which had escalated to over 200 dollars by the time of the hearing.  Citing the need to have respect for the law even for minor violations, the presiding judge sentenced the man to jail time.  The story also covers an account of a 23-year-old mother of two who served an 11-day jail sentence for failing to make payments on a fine for driving without a license that escalated to 1,400 dollars.  In another segment, NPR correspondents summarized how serving jail time can destroy a defendant’s ability to keep a current job or get hired at a different job again in the future.

These stories illustrate to Illinois residents that failing to pay for fines and fees even when you are unable to do so is a serious matter that may result in jail time and the adverse social and employment related consequences that come with it.  Under Illinois law, you may be held in contempt of court and jailed for failing to pay court-ordered fines for criminal offenses.


crime in warm weatherAs warmer weather finally begins to reach the state of Illinois, residents call to mind thoughts of upcoming barbecues, festivals, parties and camping trips. Speaking from a defense attorney’s perspective though, warmer weather also brings about something else: a rise in violent crime.

Recent studies suggest that the rise in temperature in seasonal climates like Illinois accompanies a rise in violent crimes such as murder, rapes, assaults, and thefts. One study even goes so far as to suggest the temperature increase due to warming would trigger violent crimes to rise by one to three percent over the next century, with social costs estimated to run as high as $115 billion.

Increase in violent crime rates in warmer weather may occur for a variety of reasons. First, summer gatherings beget more opportunities for socializing, which in turn leads to a rise in social confrontations and tension. Second, given that a large percentage of violent crimes are perpetuated by juveniles, the onset of summer break may be another factor that contributes to the rise in crime. Third, police officers, like most other Illinois residents, simply enjoy the nice weather. Officers are more likely to work overtime, be more attentive while working, and accept assignments patrolling high crime areas, often by foot.


Three Things to Avoid During Arrest

Posted on in Arrest

Being arrested can be quite overwhelming. You cannot control the circumstances surrounding your arrest, but you have the power to be smart about what you say and how you act. Equally important is your body language and tone of voice. Make the most of the situation by being cooperative and polite.

 Being cooperative does not mean offering damaging statements; simply comply with reasonable requests. For example, if the officer states that you are under arrest and requests for you to put your hands behind your back for handcuffing, do so calmly and quickly. Remember, dashboard cameras can be a silent witness to your arrest, in addition to witnesses in the form of onlookers and police officers at the scene.

1. Never admit guilt.

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