Recent Case Dispositions

When your life, career and family are on the line. Results matter.

Here are just a few of our recent results:

People v. SK

SK was arrested for DUI after allegedly crashing his vehicle into a parked car. SK was given standard field sobriety tests and failed. SK was taken to the station and blew over the legal limit. Gruszeczki & Smith Law filed a Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension because the police failed to properly warn SK that his driver’s license would be suspended.  The State rescinded the summary suspension and SK’s driving privileges were reinstated.

People v. GP

GP was the subject of a long term investigation where he allegedly sold illegal narcotics to undercover police officers. Gruszeczki & Smith law vigorously cross-examined the police officer. The judge found there was no probable cause and dismissed 2 counts of Delivery of a Controlled Substance against GP.
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In Illinois Driving Under the Influence (DUI-625 ILCS 5/11-501) Does Not Always Mean Driving

In Illinois a person is driving under the influence of alcohol when a person is in actual physical control of any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (See 625 ILCS 5/11-501). It is important for Illinois motorists to note that the Illinois DUI Statute does not mentioned the word ‘driving’. Driving Under the Influence may be the generic all-encompassing term that is used to describe the offense outlined above, but nowhere in the statute does is it mandated that an Illinois motorist actually drive a car. Instead, Illinois uses the phrase “in actual physical control of any vehicle”.

The next logical questions becomes, “What is actual physical control” for the purposes of the Illinois DUI statute?

Illinois case law is abundantly clear that a person does not need to actually drive a car to be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. Courts are to consider several different factors when assessing actual physical control such as whether a person is in the vehicle’s driver’s seat, who has possession of the ignition key, and whether the motorist has the physical capability of starting engine and moving vehicle. Illinois courts have repeatedly held that a person does not even need to be in the driver’s seat to be found to have actual physical control of a vehicle. In fact, a person can be asleep in the car and still be found to be in actual physical control of the vehicle.
There are many varying fact patterns that have led courts to find that a motorist was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle for purposes of DUI.

Those fact patterns include:
• Motorist found asleep at steering wheel of vehicle with ignition keys in his hand, even though the car door was open was in actual physical control of car.
• A Motorist found asleep in driver’s seat with no intention to drive with his seatbelt on and the key in the ignition with the ignition switched to the accessory position is in actual physical control of car.
• Motorist was in actual physical control of car, even though he was asleep in a sleeping bag in the backseat of the car, with key in the ignition, when he was the sole occupant of the car and the doors were locked. The court found the driver to have actual physical control because the driver had physical capability of starting the engine and moving the car almost instantly.
• Motorist found sitting in the driver’s seat asleep with the key in the ignition turned to the on position was in actual physical control of his car.
• Motorist who was discovered asleep behind steering wheel of his car with the motor running even though car was parked in parking lot was found to be in actual physical control of car.
Illinois Courts have ruled that a determination of actual physical control of vehicle for purposes of driving under influence of alcohol offense is to be determined on case-by-case basis. This means that each set of facts is unique and Illinois Courts will look at all of the facts of each and every arrest to make a determination as to whether a motorist is in actual physical control of a vehicle for the purposes of DUI. It is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney in order to adequately defend a DUI allegation where a motorist was not driving the car or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.

DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED OR REVOKED DRIVER’S LICENSE IN ILLINOIS

If you have been arrested or received a ticket for driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license in Illinois, you are facing, at a minimum, misdemeanor criminal charges. See 625 ILCS 5/6-303 . While any charge for driving on a suspended or revoked license is serious, it is important to determine why the motorist’s driver’s license has been suspended or revoked to determine how serious. If the license was suspended or revoked for DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or drugs), the penalties are much more severe. Read more »

TASC Probation and your Criminal Record

TASC Probation is a type of probation that is specifically tailored to people with an addiction to drugs or alcohol who have been charged with or convicted of a crime. One of the purposes of TASC Probation is to treat the addiction which may have led the person to commit a criminal offense in the first place.  While TASC Probation may be a suitable sentence for some people, not everyone qualifies for TASC Probation. Some of the disqualifications include: Read more »

Aggravated Speeding (625 ILCS 5/11-601.5) and Your Criminal Record

Now, more than ever before, Illinois drivers need to be wary of how fast they drive on the roadways. At certain speeds a traffic ticket is no longer a petty offense, but instead becomes a more serious misdemeanor. A driver who is traveling between 26 and 35 mph over the speed limit may face charges for a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $1,500 for each offense. A driver who is traveling 35 mph or more over the posted speed limit may face charges for a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $2,500 for each offense.

Currently, there are some situations where aggravated speeding is an offense that is not eligible for supervision whether it is charged as a Class A or Class B misdemeanor.
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Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License and Mandatory Jail Time

Illinois drivers who are currently driving a car while their driver’s license is suspended or revoked need to be mindful that in many circumstances they could be facing a mandatory jail sentence if they are arrested and convicted. Illinois law mandates that drivers who are convicted of a third violation of 625 ILCS 5/6-303 are facing 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service unless the suspension or revocation is based on a DUI, accident involving death or personal injury, or a Statutory Summary Suspension. Read more »

What is Aggravated Speeding?

Aggravated speeding is driving 26 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit. It is a very serious moving violation. Aggravated Speeding is a misdemeanor offense. Aggravated Speeding can either be a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class B Misdemeanor. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501. Read more »

What is First Offender Probation in Illinois?

First Offender Probation is a type of probation that may result in the dismissal of the criminal charge if the term of probation is completed satisfactorily.  Once a case has been dismissed upon completion of probation it is possible to expunge the case from a person’s criminal record.  See 720 ILCS 550/10. Read more »

Is Domestic Battery a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

Domestic Battery may be charged as a Misdemeanor or a Felony depending on the facts and circumstances of each individual case and the background of the accused.  There are many circumstances that may result in a Felony Domestic Battery charge.  Some of those circumstances are:

  1. If the accused has a prior conviction for violating an order of protection;
  2. If the accused has a prior conviction for murder, attempt murder, aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery, stalking, criminal sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated arson, aggravated discharge of a firearm and other crimes (see 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(b) for a full list);
  3. If the accused has two or more convictions for domestic battery.

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Understanding the Chicago (Cook County) Bond Court Process

My loved one has been arrested in Chicago.  How do I know where their bond hearing will be?

When a loved one has been arrested in Chicago it can be a very confusing and stressful time.  It is important that you know what to expect and how to locate your loved one in order to be there for the bond hearing and to hire an experienced attorney to appear on behalf of your loved one.

The location of the bond hearing depends on where the accused was arrested, what they were arrested for, and even the day of the week that they were arrested.  The Cook County Circuit Court provides useful information on their website for locating your loved one hereRead more »