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DUI & Traffic Cases

Experienced Chicago DUI Attorney; Driving Under the Influence Lawyer

If you have been charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, you need an attorney with the experience and skill to aggressively fight your charges to avoid the serious consequences that can result. As a former Cook County prosecutor, John McNamara is well known by the judges and prosecutors in the area and has a reputation as a tough and relentless defense attorney. Since 1995, he has been litigating cases in the courtroom on a daily basis.  From that experience, he has gained a knowledge of the law and familiarity with all of the issues surrounding DUI cases. The results of blood , urine, or breath testing can all be challenged in court to beat a DUI charge. Field sobriety tests, such as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test, the One Leg Stand Test and the Walk and Turn Test can also be challenged in court to help get your driving privileges restored.

Statutory Summary Suspension; Petition to Rescind

Along with the charge of DUI, comes the Statutory Summary Suspension. The length of the suspension often depends on whether a driver submitted to or refused the breath test. Hiring the right attorney, soon after the arrest, can help you get your driving privileges restored at a hearing on a Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension. To rescind is to take away the suspension. John McNamara’s experience and ability in handling these Petitions to Rescind often leads to these suspensions being lifted.

A person will be charged with DUI (625 ILCS 5/11?501) if he/she drives or is in actual physical control of any vehicle while:

  1. the blood alcohol content (BAC) of their blood or breath is 0.08 or more;
  2. under the influence of alcohol;
  3. under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of driving safely;
  4. under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving;
  5. under the combined influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving; or
  6. here is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person’s breath, blood, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis, a controlled substance, an intoxicating compound, or methamphetamine.

A DUI offense in Illinois is usually charged as a misdemeanor, however aggravating factors may enhance the charge to a felony offense. John McNamara has successfully defended clients charged with all types of misdemeanor and felony DUI charges. He works closely with his clients to formulate the best strategy to fight the charges and restore driving privileges.

Standard Field Sobriety Tests; The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test; The Walk and Turn Test; One Leg Stand Test

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test

Nystagmus means a jerking of the eyes. A test used by police at the roadside or police station is the horizontal gaze nystagmus which occurs when the eyes gaze to the side. If a person is intoxicated, he cannot follow a slowly moving object smoothly with his eyes. The officer will instruct a person to move his eyes as far to the side as possible and then the officer looks for nystagmus as a sign of impairment. Typically, the more intoxicated a person is, the less he has to move his eyes to the side in order for the jerking to occur. The officer must follow specific guidelines with regard to how to give instructions and how to administer the test. If the officer does not follow these guidelines, the results of the test can be discredited.

The Walk and Turn Test

This test is essentially a balancing test in which an officer instructs a driver to walk heel-to-toe in a straight line before pivoting and returning back in the same fashion. The officer looks to see whether a person: keeps his balance while listening to instructions; starts before instructions are finished; stops while walking to steady himself; does not touch heel-to-toe; steps off the line; uses arms to balance; loses balance while turning; takes the correct number of steps; and, whether the person can do the test.  The location where the test is performed is very important because the test should be given on level ground, on a hard, dry surface. A person’s weight and any injuries he or she may have affect the test. The type of shoe a person is wearing is also important. The way an officer instructs and administers the test are particularly important and the results of the test can be attacked if the officer failed to follow the guidelines.

One Leg Stand Test

In this balancing test, the officer will ask a driver to raise one leg about six inches off of the ground and hold that position while counting out loud from 1001 to 1030. The officer will look to see whether a person: sways while balancing; uses arms for balance; hops; puts his foot down; and, whether the person can do the test.  The area where the test is performed and the physical characteristics of the driver affect the results of the test.  If the officer fails to properly instruct or properly administer the test, the results of the test can be successfully challenged.

Driving on a Suspended License; Driving on Revoked License; 625 ILCS 5/6-303

The charges of driving on a suspended or revoked license can have serious consequences in Illinois, including jail time. John McNamara represents clients charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license throughout Illinois, including Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, and Kane Counties.  The offense is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail and a $2,500.00 fine.  However, under certain circumstances, a driver can be charged with Aggravated 6-303, which is a felony.

John McNamara works with his clients to clear suspensions from licenses, which can often result in charges being dropped.  Clearing the reasons behind a suspension or revocation also helps to lessen any negative impact that could result. In other situations, an aggressive attorney can beat a driving on a suspended license case at a hearing on Motion to Quash Arrest or trial. Other times, these cases are disposed of through negotiation, where having an attorney with tact and experience can result in a favorable outcome.

Reckless Homicide

John McNamara has successfully represented clients charged with Reckless Homicide. A person commits the felony offense of Reckless Homicide if by their reckless acts they kill an individual and the cause of death consists of the driving of a motor vehicle. Also, a person commits the crime of Reckless Homicide if they unintentionally kill an individual while driving a vehicle and use an incline in a roadway, such as a railroad crossing, bridge approach, or hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne.

Although these acts typically involve unintentional acts, the penalties are among the most severe in Illinois. These types of cases carry mandatory sentences which can be quite harsh. When facing such charges, you need an attorney skilled in the many complex issues involved, including expert witnesses, accident reconstruction and toxicology. John McNamara has the experience to defend you against these serious charges and achieving the best possible results.