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The Law office of Louis M. Pissios has successfully handled many complex and high-profile cases in Illinois including everything from Driving Under the Influence Cases to Drug Cases to Murder Cases, and everything in between. We are in Lake County, Illinois and handle every case with the diligence necessary to get you the best results possible.
Our attorneys provide unparalleled legal representation to those who are facing serious criminal charges. We have extensive experience in all areas of Criminal Law. Our Firm has a reputation for providing top-notch, high quality representation.
We recognize that every person, and every criminal prosecution, is unique. We tailor our practice to the individual needs of each and every client. Our ethics, skill and knowledge will help you obtain the best possible results.
The lawyer you choose to represent you can affect the results of your case. Our legal defense team includes experienced private investigators, paralegals and translators. . We provide high quality, creative and thorough legal representation to each and every one of our clients. We are only as good as the results we obtain for our clients. Our greatest compliment comes from the fact that many of our former clients and other attorneys refer clients to us for representation.
You should not compromise your choice of an attorney. This may be one of the most important decisions that you ever make.
Here are the top 13 criminal law cases from the Illinois court system for March 2016. The first 4 are from the Illinois Supreme Court. Number 4 was a victory for the defense at the lower level and the Illinois Supreme Court had something to say about that.
- People v. Burns
The “no-nights visits” rule is affirmed, can’t bring the sniffer dog to your front step for a little sniff action.
- People v. Bradford
Prosecution no longer allowed to overcharge an ordinary retail theft to a burglary.
- People v. Clark
Aggravated vehicular hijacking and armed robbery without a firearm are not lesser-included offenses of aggravated vehicular hijacking and armed robbery with a firearm.
- People v. Timmsen
Apparently, the police can stop you for trying to legally avoid a roadblock.
- People v. Abram
Officers approach defendant who was sitting in his car he then, to say the least, ensues in outright flight.
- People v. Smith
This trial judge was overruled; there is nothing unconstitutional about requesting citizen’s to roll up their sleeves.
- People v. Thompson
Some of the State’s remarks relied on questionable advocacy, but did not rise to the level of clear and obvious error.
- People v. Meuris
In a leaving the scene of an accident prosecution the State must not only prove that Defendant knew he was involved in an accident but also that another person was involved.
- People v. Weinke
Reviewing court says ASA exaggerated the severity of victim’s condition and misled the court as to the source and timing of her information in order to pressure the court into granting a quickie deposition.
- People v. Tayborn
Trial counsel was ineffective for not challenging defendant’s confession given without Miranda warnings.
- People v. Little
Cigarette break is not a sufficient amount of time to remove the taint of the original Miranda violation.
- People v. Gray
These drug officers were themselves charged with distributing narcotics and Defendant was not told about the investigation before he plead guilty to his own drug charges.
- People v. Fulton
In a charge of armed habitual criminal the same conviction can be used as one of the predicate offenses as well the predicate to the UUW Felony conviction that may be being used.
This is what the Illinois court system was up to in February of 2016. Here are the 9 best and worst cases. The last one is the one the prosecution doesn’t want you to know about.
- People v. Boston
Sloppy grand jury work by State’s Attorney does not prejudice defendant. Go to case.
- People v. Ligon
Many objects can qualify as dangerous weapons for purposes of aggravated vehicular hijacking, but not as to armed violence. In other other words, list of bludgeons is greater for AVH and smaller for armed violence. Go to case.
- People v. Zayed
Smell of cannabis does not give this officer a free pass to search this passenger because the officer crossed the line by whipping out the defendant’s penis and essentially conducting an unreasonable strip search. Go to case.
- People v. Jarvis
The visual examination of defendant’s buttocks might have exposed defendant’s anus. Nonetheless, any search for the “person” authorizes a strip search. Go to case.
- People v. Little
This DWLR conviction stands because the police officer didn’t need proof of every element of the crime he was investigating. The stop with limited information was good. Go to case.
- People v. Buschauer
The trial court’s finding was against the manifest weight of the evidence in that a reasonable person in would have felt free to leave at any point during the interrogation. Trial court just can’t ignore the factors that weigh against coercion. Go to case.
- People v. Harrison
This force blood draw was not suppressed because it was done before the McNeely decision and binding precedent was in place. Good faith exception applies. Go to case.
- People v. Moore
Lost photo arrays were not done in bad faith, so no due process violation occurred. The proper remedy for this discovery violation was to grant Civil Jury Instruction 5.01. Go to case.
- People v. Nibbe
Second degree murder conviction is vacated outright because a blow with a bare hand is not ordinarily contemplated to cause death. Go to case.
- People v. Pmulamasaka
This rape is overturned, in large part, because the State committed and the trial judge allowed gross prosecutorial misconduct. Among the list of error committed by the prosecution two stand out. He repeatedly argued the victim was mentally handicapped when there was no such evidence, and he sat in the witness box during closing argument. Go to case.
Since 1988, firm founder and criminal defense lawyer Louis M. Pissios has been a dynamic and leading advocate for the preservation and protection of constitutional rights—before, during, and following an arrest—as well as the defense of formal criminal charges.
The pursuit of a successful defense strategy, coupled with one-on-one client interaction, has been the hallmark of our practice throughout the past forty years. Our firm is the choice for people seeking cutting edge criminal defense representation that is both personalized and high quality. Guided by the philosophy that the situation of every person facing criminal charges is unique, we tailor our defense strategies to the facts and circumstances of each case, as they apply to the law, in order to attain the best possible results for our clients. A creative and intensive approach to criminal charges can make a big difference in your case’s results, as does the lawyer you choose to represent you.
He would be more than happy to discuss your situation at a meeting in our offices, advise you of the costs involved, and provide you with valuable and practical advice on how best to address the accusations. From DUI charges or violent offenses to crimes related to theft or traffic, or even expunging your criminal record, there is no case too large or too small. In your free consultation, you will learn that our attorneys are not judgmental; instead, we have the utmost respect for your privacy and dignity. All contacts and conversations are strictly confidential, and we accept phone calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We care about our clients and understand the anguish and stress that a person charged with a crime experiences. Being charged with a crime is a nightmare, not just for the individual charged, but for his or her family as well. We will guide you through the legal process, answer your questions, and provide you with the highest quality representation. We welcome you to compare our reputation, experience, and results with that of any criminal defense lawyer. Our professionalism and skill help us to obtain the best results and satisfaction for our clients.
We provide representation to individuals facing criminal charges in Lake County, and McHenry County. Please call us at (847) 263-0001 or email him directly at [email protected] Our lawyers will answer your questions and take time to ensure that you feel comfortable in fully understanding your rights, your options, and the consequences of your decisions.
Illinois law requires you to take a breath, blood, or urine test if you are arrested for a DUI. Illinois’s “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC). You do not have the right to speak to an attorney before you are tested, and the test must be given as soon as possible from the time when you were last driving. Although the arresting officer gets to choose which test you take, you have the option to get additional tests afterward taken by a medical professional of your choice.
You could be arrested for a DUI even if you were not driving. If you have actual, physical control of the vehicle while under the influence, then that can be enough for an officer to arrest you. Whether you have actual, physical control of a vehicle depends on where you are sitting, if you have the key, and if you have the ability to start and move the vehicle. In one case, an Illinois court decided that a person had actual, physical control of his car even though he had not driven it to the place where a police officer found him asleep. This person was lying across the front seat of his car with his head on the passenger side. He had the motor running to keep the heater on. Although this person did not intend to move the car, the combination of his position in it, the running motor, and evidence of his intoxication was enough for the court to uphold his DUI conviction. (This case is City of Naperville v. Watson, 677 NE 2d 955(1997).)
Additionally, Illinois law says that you consent to taking a preliminary breath test, even if you have not been arrested. This works like a field sobriety test. The officer will use the results to establish probable cause that you were driving under the influence. You do not have to take this preliminary test. Refusing it, however, probably won’t work in your favor if the officer has some other reason to think you had been drinking. Based on that other reason, the officer could still arrest you and then you will be required to take a test under the law described above.
You can read Illinois’s implied consent law in Illinois Statute 625-5/11-501.1.
SALT LAKE CITY — During her 10 years as a Utah state trooper, Lisa Steed built a reputation as an officer with a knack for nabbing drunken motorists in a state with a long tradition of teetotaling and some of the nation’s strictest liquor laws.
Steed used the uncanny talent — as one supervisor once described it — to garner hundreds of arrests, setting records, earning praise as a rising star and becoming the first woman to become trooper of the year.
Today, however, Steed is out of work, fired from the Utah Highway Patrol, and she — and her former superiors — are facing a lawsuit in which some of those she arrested allege she filed bogus DUI reports.
“If we don’t stand up to Lisa Steed or law enforcement, they just pull people over for whatever reason they want,” said attorney Michael Studebaker.
Steed declined to comment, but her attorney Greg Skordas said she denies the allegations. She is trying to get her job back.
The people snared by Steed say the arrests disrupted their lives and were costly to resolve.
Michael Choate, a now-retired aircraft logistics specialist at Hill Air Force Base, said he nearly lost his security clearance and job.
Steed stopped him because he was wearing a Halloween costume and booked him even though three breathalyzers tests showed no alcohol in his system. Choate said he spent $3,800 and had to take four days off of work to get his DUI charged dismissed.
The 49-page lawsuit includes two defendants, but Studebaker said dozens of others are lined up and willing to tell their stories. He said they are requesting the lawsuit be broadened into a class action lawsuit.
Every one of her DUI stops back to at least 2006 should be under suspicion, he said, adding that could be as many as 1,500 people.
The lawsuit, filed in December, also accuses the Utah Highway Patrol of ignoring Steed’s patterns of higher-than-normal DUI bookings and waited too long to take her off patrol. The agency declined to comment.
Steed joined the agency in 2002, and during her first five years, she earned a reputation as a hard-worker whose efficiency led to high arrest totals. By the time she ascended to trooper of the year in 2007, she was held up as one of the agency’s top stars.
In 2009, Steed became a member of the DUI squad. Her 400 DUI arrests that year were thought to be a state record, and more than double the number made by any other highway trooper. She earned special recognition at the state Capitol.
“With her training and experience, it’s second nature for her to find these people who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” her DUI squad boss at the time, Lt. Steve Winward, told the Deseret News.
During a ride-along with the newspaper, Steed said it was simply a “numbers game,” noting that one in every 10 drivers stopped for a violation is driving impaired. “It’s a lot of hard work, but you make a ton of stops, and you’re going to run into them,” she said.
Steed’s career, however, turned. In 2012, while on the stand in a DUI court case, Steed acknowledged purposely leaving her microphone in her patrol car so that superiors wouldn’t know she was violating agency policy.
By April 2012, her credibility had come into question so much that a prosecutor said he would no longer prosecute DUIs if Steed’s testimony was the only evidence.
In October, the Salt Lake Tribune obtained a memo written in May 2010 in which Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Rob Nixon flagged Steed’s “pattern” of questionable DUI arrests. He wrote that the bulk of Steed’s arrestees had no signs of “impairing drugs” in their systems.
The memo said she based most of her arrests on signs of impairment such as dilated pupils and leg and body tremors.
Steed was taken off road patrol in April 2012 and fired in November. She was accused of violating department policies, falsifying police reports and using questionable practices when making DUI arrests.
The lawsuit is based on two defendants: Thomas Romero and Julie Tapia.
Romero was stopped after Steed said he was swerving, according to the lawsuit. After Romero said he wasn’t drinking, Steed gave him a roadside sobriety test anyway. She booked him for DUI even though his blood alcohol content was 0.00. Charges were dismissed.
Tapia went to pick up her ex-husband, who had been drinking. Steed approached Tapia as she got out of her car at her house, saying Tapia had been speeding, the lawsuit said. Steed said she could smell alcohol, and Tapia told her it was coming from her ex-husband.
Tapia was arrested for a DUI; her ex-husband for public intoxication. Tapia’s blood test showed no alcohol. Charges were dropped.
Choate, who hopes to join the lawsuit, said the entire agency should be held responsible for the damage Steed caused to him and others. “They let her get away with it for a long time,” he said.
If you’ve had no alcohol to drink, and you get pulled over by a police officer, you have nothing to fear, right? They can only arrest you if your blood alcohol level is above the state-mandated threshold. And they can only test you if they have your consent or if they have probable cause to do so. If only that were the way things were. Sure, there are laws that are supposed to restrain the government, but these days, those laws are irrelevant. Law enforcement has less to do with enforcing law and more to do with raising revenue and meeting monthly arrest and ticket quotas.
So, even if you had nothing to drink, the officer can still claim that you were “failing to maintain lanes” and use that as probable cause to “suspect” you of DUI, falsely claim on the police report he smelled alcohol on your breath and arrest you on DUI charges.
Even if you’re completely innocent, anything you say will be used against you. They will find a way to twist your words to make it sound like you’re a criminal. This is why so many claim that it’s best just not to say a word to the police. The problem is if you don’t say anything to them, they might arrest you for “obstructing a law enforcement officer.” It seems the best thing to do is to just accept that we live in a tyranny and comply whenever possible so as to stay out of jail. If you choose to “exercise your rights,” expect to wind up in jail. That’s just the culture in which we live.
However, every now and then police officers bark up the wrong tree. And in those cases, as in the recent case of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Scott Kunstmann, they even end up in jail themselves for doing what was described above—falsifying arrest records and lying during deposition. A local Florida news station reported on one such incident involving Kunstmann and a 71-year-old driver named Culbertson:
“Culbertson was allegedly weaving, so Kunstmann asked a series of questions to determine if a field sobriety test was warranted, and asked another trooper for assistance. Culbertson admitted to having one beer three hours prior. In the police report, Kunstmann indicated he smelled alcohol on Culbertson’s breath, but in the dash cam video, the two officers are heard on tape agreeing that they couldn’t smell alcohol. Kunstmann arrested Culbertson anyway, but didn’t realize at the time he was a former criminology professor, who would later contact an attorney.”
Thanks to his background and connections, Culbertson was able to secure an attorney and get the arresting officer arrested and thrown in jail himself. That wasn’t the first time Kunstmann had lied on his police report to justify an arrest. In another case, he had performed a field sobriety test on a woman who he then arrested for DUI. In his police report, he claimed that she was “belligerent and cussing” during the test. But when you watch the dash cam video, you find that not only was the woman perfectly compliant, she was completely sober, but he arrested her anyway.
So how many others have been falsely arrested for DUI who didn’t have the experience and connections that Culbertson had? No judge is going to question the police report. In a courtroom, it’s considered Gospel. Which is why officers feel at liberty to lie and embellish their reports. If you try to make your case that the police officer lied, the judge and the prosecutor will just claim that you’re mad because you got arrested. Even if you have an attorney, your best hope is often just to stay out of jail or pay a lower fine. Don’t bother trying to fight the cop; he’s immune. Kunstmann’s case is a rare glimpse of justice
Illinois DUI Case List Expert Witnesses People v. Jones, 2015 IL App (1st) 121016 (04/22/2015) (“foundational element” used to strike a state firearms expert witness) People v. Safford, 392 Ill. App. 3d 212, 221 (2009) (court said that the admission of an expert’s testimony requires an adequate reliability foundation) People v. McKown, 236 Ill.2d 278 (2010) (HGN foundations case but see King below) People v. Floyd, 2014 IL App (2d) 120507 (March 2014) (retrograde extrapolation based on a single breath test is more speculation than science) Soto v. Gaytan, 313 Ill. App. 3d 137 (2000) (another case that talks about a foundational element) People v. Negron, 2012 IL App (1st) 101194 (2012) (another case that allows a fingerprint expert to testify but discusses Safford’s foundations test) Discovery Sanctions People v. Tsiamas, 2015 IL App (2d) 140859 (December 2015) (State can’t ignore discovery notice) People v. Moravec, 2015 IL App (1st) 133869 (November 2015) (DUI sanctions UPHELD) People v. Kladis, 2011 IL 110920 (DUI evidence suppressed after video is destroyed) People v. Aronson, 408 Ill.App.3d 946 (2011) (failure to make a copy is a sanctionable) People v. Strobel, 2014 IL App (1st) 130300 (June 2014) (no discovery violation occurred here so it was error to impose a discovery sanction) People v. Olsen, 2015 IL App (2d) 140267 (June 2015) (error for the trial judge to suppress evidence due to a purported discovery violation) People v. Moises, 2015 IL App (3d) 140577 (August 2015) (trial court’s decision to grant a discovery sanction is reversed because there was no discovery violation when officer did not record the FST) Probable Cause Navarette v. California, 134 S.Ct. 1683 (2014) (anonymous 911 call justifies traffic stop) People v. Anderson, 2013 IL App (2d) 121346 (October 2014) People v. Butorac, 2013 IL App (2d) 110953 (December 2014) (officers may board a boat to enforce registration requirements) People v. Cummings, 2014 IL 115769 (March 2014) People v. GonzalezCarrera, 2014 IL App (2d) 130968 (September 2014) People v. Timmsen, 2014 IL App (3d) 120481 (July 2014) (it’s ok to avoid a traffic roadblock so long as you don’t break any other traffic laws) People v. Santovi, 2014 IL App 2014 IL App (3d) 130075 (May 2014) (no pc to arrest defendant before cop yells at the women and orders her to open the bathroom door or he’ll kick it down) People v. Taiwo, 2015 IL App (3d) 140105 (April 2015) (proper to stop a car for a lane infraction when the cop had a hunch the car was connected to an accident he was investigating) Rescissions & Suspended DLs People v. Elliott, 2014 IL 115308 (January 2014) (recession only acts prospectively and has no retroactive effect, thus rescinding a suspension will not undue convictions based on that suspension) People v. Smith, 2013 IL App (2d) 121164 (November 2013) (DWLS can’t be revoked) People v. Clayton, 2014 IL App (4th) 130340 (March 2014) (even if notice was tampered with by the cop defendant had actual notice of his pending suspension) People v. Gaede, 2014 IL App (4th) 130346 (November 2014) (defendant withdrew his consent and implied consent statute found constitutional) People v. Morales, 2015 IL App (1st) 131207 (January 2015) (suspension reinstated defendant received proper notice from the police on the day of his arrest and had more than ample opportunity to challenge the suspension in court) People v. McLeer, 2015 IL App (2d) 140526 (February 2015) (officer amends the report after it was issued, suspension stands because SOS had enough information that the notice was given) People v. Gutierrez, 2015 IL App (3d) 140194 (July 2015) (A PBT test is not a statement, thus, the officer’s DL suspension is proper) Blood & BAC People v. Wuckert, 2015 IL App (2d) 150058 (December 2015) (625 ILCS 5/111501.4 trumps hospital policy that the results should not be used for legal purposes) People v. Armer, 2014 IL App (5th) 130342 (October 2014) (warrantless blood draw suppressed when not done with consent nor under exigent circumstances) People v. Harris, 2015 IL App (4th) 140696 (May 2015) (consensual blood draws ok) People v. Weidner, 2014 IL App (5th) 130022 (March 2014) (no error to wipe defendant’s arm with an alcohol wipe before hospital took his blood) People v. Hutchinson, 2013 IL App (1st) 1023332 (November 2013) (no error in admitting report of lab results as a business record) People v. Harris, 2014 IL App (2d) 120990 (May 2014) (state had problems showing the breathalyzer was certified) People v. Eagletail, 2014 IL App (1st) 130252 (December 2014) (logbook and printout admissible even though printout was made years after the breath test) People v. Chiaravalle, 2014 IL App (4th) 140445 (December 2014) (officer made a continuous observation even though he may have had his back to the defendant from time to time) People v. Thomas, 2014 IL App (2d) 130660 (May 2014) (speedy trial violated when police waited to issue BAC citation they already knew what the hospital blood BAC was) People v. Torruella, 2015 IL App (2d) 141001 (August 2015) (no error here when the trial judge accepted calibration records of the breathalyzer as a business record and no error when the court disregarded the defense expert’s testimony) People v. Smith, 2015 IL App (1st) 122306 (August 2015) (state failed to establish that the machine was properly certified within the 62 day window required by the regulations) Evidence People v. Blakey, 2015 IL App (3d) 130719 (November 2015) (prior inconsistent statement in this DUI huffing case was admitted in error) People v. Phillips, 2015 IL App (1st) 131147 (October 2015) (defendant blew under .08 and attacked that the officer’s opinion he was intoxicated) People v. Way, 2015 IL App (5th) 130096 (September 2015) (proximate cause defense, error to deny the defendant a chance to defend her aggravated DUI by arguing that the cannabis in her system did not contribute to the accident) People v. King, 2014 IL App (2d) 130461 (November 2014) (officer can testify to how defendant acted during instructions of HGN even though the results themselves not admitted) People v. O’Donnell, 2015 IL App (4th) 130358 (March 2015) (officer committed error when she testified it was her belief that Defendant was lying to her at the scene of the one car accident and that he was showing deception People v. Kathan, 2014 IL App (2d) 121335 (August 2014) (a drug driving case with an admission, bad driving and impairment leads to guilt) People v. Morris, 2014 IL App (1st) 130512 (July 2014) (actual physical control established when defendant passed out in front seat of parked car, the ignition off, the driver’s side door open, and keys in his right hand) Sentence People v. Lake, 2015 IL App (3d) 140031 (April 2015) (9 year sentence for aggravated DUI Death conviction upheld; it was not excessive; defendant was racing a horse) People v. Rennie, 2014 IL App (3d) 130014 (May 2014) (16 year olds 6 year sentence for aggravated DUI upheld she had weed in her system when motorcyclist died in an accident) People v. Stutzman, 2015 IL App (4th) 130889 (August 2015) (defendant inappropriately plead guilty to reckless homicide and aggravated DUI in violation of one act one crime principles) People v. Mischke, 2014 IL App (2d) 130318 (December 2014) (enhancement to a Class 2 felony occurs whenever a defendant has two prior convictions for any form of DUI, not just aggravated DUIs)