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Samuel II
Samuel II, Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27011
Experience:  Handle criminal matters in both state and federal courts.
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I am a 20 year old college student who received a ticket from

Customer Question

I am a 20 year old college student who received a ticket from the Illinois State Police for minor consumption of alcohol in January. I have a lawyer who has been working on the case for the past few months but still have a variety of questions that I would like to be answered from other professionals if possible. First of all the incident took place within the city limits. I was a passenger in a vehicle when a state policeman stopped the vehicle on what I believed they call a random check of all vehicles (there were multiple parties taking place so it is likely they were checking for intoxicated drivers in the area). The driver had not been drinking but the policeman asked if I had and I told him that I had. I had to take a Breathalyzer and blew a .075. I understand that there are bound to be consequences considering that I am not of age and had alcohol in my system, however we are being told that there is a difference in consequences one will receive depending on if the officer is a state policeman or city police. Friends I have were givenXXXXXsupervision, 90 day loss of license, and around a 300 dollar fine when they received a minor consumption of alcohol ticket and I am being offered a year of court supervision, 90 day loss of license, and will have to pay around 600 dollars. My biggest question is why such a difference?? As much information as I can be given regarding the subject would be greatly appreciated. I would like to know as much as I can so I understand fully the situation I am in. Thank you!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.

I am sorry to hear of this situation for you. I suppose there could be a number of variables beginning with whether the other minors were in a vehicle at the time they were ticketed.

Not that the law distinguishes a passenger from a pedestrian but the District Attorney has that full discretion to base a plea agreement upon the circumstances on a case by case basis.

Additionally, it could also be based upon your BAC. It does not have to do with the law enforcement officer however as they have no say in how one is sentenced. They only write the tickets

This is a Class C misdemeanor and as such is punishable in the following manner

An underage person may be fined up to $500 and sentenced up to six months in jail.

So, I would suspect that in lieu of the jail time, your fine is being increased. I suggest you might want to ask your attorney why you are on probation for one year instead of 90 days. It could be that you are being given a "deferred" adjudication. That means that if you have not further incidents of any kind while on the probation, the guilty will be stricken from your record and you will not carry the misdemeanor.

But, of course, only your attorney can explain that to you , if that is the case.

Please let me know, if you have further questions in this regard.

Thank you

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you. If by BAC you mean blood alcohol content then that does not help explain the situation because my friends blew a great deal higher than I did at the time of the incident and they were in a dorm room when the incident took place. Also, our biggest question is that we have been told that we went to state court rather than city court because it was a state police and not a city police and that because it went to state court the consequences are more severe than if it had gone to the city but we do not understand the aspect of the law that explains this. I am appreciative of everything that my lawyer has done but there have been many aspects I have been unable to understand and I was hoping that by talking to you I could assure that what he is telling us makes sense. Basically, why can the state prosecute me on much harsher terms than the city? Sorry to have so many questions but I've tried to research it all elsewhere and have had little luck.
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.

The penalties are the same under State law.

But I see what you mean now about State v. City - there may be less severe penalty if you are cited only under a City Ordinance. That would keep the matter in City Court. And that could be why you were in State Court, as you were charged under a State law and not a City Ordinance.

As I stated, it could also be that you were in a vehicle and not in a dorm room. As such, they are only going to be cited with the City Ordinance and not the State law.

As to the BAC, I mentioned it might be a possibility because, of course, I was not privy to the BAC of the others.

I am trying to help you with this. Please do not hesitate to ask more questions or for further clarification.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
OK so basically as unfair as it may be the state will charge me whatever it deems necessarily because it is state law even though the city may have done something completely different? So even though I was in city limits it went to state court and it just so happens that the state is giving more more sever consequences than the city likely would have? Also, i would have to double check with my lawyer but I am nearly positive that he said I am being charged with a class A misdemeanor instead of C but I don't understand why that would be?
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.

I suggest that the reason you were charged under the State law and not the City Ordinance is because you were in a vehicle and subjected to the road block testing conducted by the state. So, yes. Even though you were in City Limits, it can still be a state charge.

I apologize, it is a Class A misdemeanor. I must have slipped the fingers or had C on my mind. That does provide for a fine of up to $1500 and a possible 6 months in jail.

Please let me know, if you have other questions in this regard. I really want you to be able to understand the situation and why you were charged the way you were.

Thank you

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you this is helping me to make more sense of everything. However, do you know why the state is allowed to give consequences so much more harshly than the city would give? My case could have gone either way so it is very disconcerting to know that had it simply gone to the city it would not be near as harsh. Also, my lawyer seemed to originally believe that I would not lose my license, however he said I will likely lose it for 90 days now, is this usual protocol for an underage drinking ticket in Illinois?
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.

Actually, it is the other way around. A City/Town is permitted to have ordinances or laws that are not as severe as a State law. However, they cannot have penalties that are more severe.

The State allows the city and towns that autonomy. And, I suspect, in City and Towns where there are colleges or universities that is quite prevalent as the colleges are large contributors to the tax base and so the laws are more lenient to accommodate the college students indiscretions.

Please let me know if you have other questions in this regard.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
sorry i just remembered one more question I have.Can the offer the state sends me get worse if I did not except the offer they sent me the first time, or should it only stay the same of get better?
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.

The state can withdraw a plea at any time. And as you can see the possible penalty is 6 months and or up to a $1500 fine. So, yes. It can get worse.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
ok my lawyer advised me not to accept my first offer and ensured me that it would not get worse and originally I thought that he said nothing about loss of license and then later he said I may lose it so could that be something the state added on because I did not accept the first offer. or did he just not realize that the license would be suspended?
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.

I cannot tell you why your attorney did not know about the suspension. That is an entire separate process via a civil proceeding with the Motor Vehicles. It has nothing to do with the District Attorney or the Criminal aspect of this charge.