Gurnee attorneys, Jeff Nutschnig and Mike Cavanaugh, specialize in handling traffic, DUI and expungement cases. Their office is located at 4017 Old Grand Avenue in Gurnee. They can be reached by telephone at (847) 263-8820 and through their website, www.mcavanaughlaw.com.
Nutschnig and Cavanaugh met while both were law students and were interns at the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office. Both worked at the State’s Attorney’s Office as prosecutors upon law school graduation. Cavanaugh later started his own law practice in Gurnee, while Nutschnig worked at a law firm for 10 years. In January of 2015, Cavanaugh and Nutschnig joined forces and opened their firm, Nutschnig & Cavanaugh.
Getting a traffic ticket is where most people encounter the law. Whether a person should hire an attorney to handle their traffic ticket depends on the circumstances. Generally, a person can handle a traffic ticket without an attorney if the traffic offense is minor (such as rolling through a stop sign or speeding 10 mph over the limit or less), the driver is over 21 and has a good driving record. Conversely, if the driver is under 21, has a commercial driver’s license or a poor driving record, it might be best to hire an attorney. Additionally, if the traffic charges are of a more serious nature, an attorney can also assist with other implications of traffic offenses such as suspension or revocation of driver’s licenses.
A DUI is a serious charge with far-reaching implications that is best handled by an attorney. A DUI charge typically begins with a police officer having a reasonable, articulable suspicion (similar to probable cause) to pull over a driver. Such suspicion might be erratic driving such as speeding or improper lane usage. After a driver is pulled over, the police officer typically questions the driver about drinking and is looking for signs of alcohol consumption. The driver has the right not to talk to the officer and can ask for an attorney when pulled over, but lack of cooperation with the police can make the driver’s experience more difficult and it is likely the officer will not give the driver any breaks. Another scenario for a DUI arrest is when police set up holiday checkpoints for stopping cars.
Once a driver is pulled over by the police on suspicion of DUI, the police can conduct field sobriety tests such as standing on 1 leg or walking and turning. Additionally, a driver can be asked to take a breathalyzer test for blood alcohol readings. The officer has a portable breathalyzer test for readings taken at the traffic stop. If taken, this test is not used in court but is admissible for probable cause. If a driver is taken to the station, another breathalyzer test can be administered at the police station and such results are admissible in court.
There is both a criminal and civil portion to a DUI. The civil portion is called the statutory summary suspension of license and is based on the breathalyzer test. If a driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test, that driver faces a 1 year suspension of license. If the driver takes that test and the reading is over .08% blood alcohol, the driver faces a 6-month suspension of license. If the test is taken and the reading is under .08%, there is no suspension of license. Only a first-time DUI offender can obtain a penalty of court supervision and license suspension, wherein, a license can be later reinstated. As supervision is only available for first-time offenders, subsequent violations for DUI may result in a revocation of license. Obtaining a license after revocation is a more difficult and lengthy process and requires a hearing before the Secretary of State after undergoing alcohol counseling.
Another area of practice for Cavanaugh and Nutschnig is that of expungement and sealing records. Having a record, even for a misdemeanor, has implications for educational and job prospects. Charges that have been dropped or been adjudicated with court supervision may be eligible for expungement. Certain felonies and some misdemeanors that are not eligible for expungement can be sealed, that is, sealed from public view. It is important to know that expungements take time (up to 90 days) and that there are normally waiting periods (normally 1 to 2 years) before a matter can be considered for expungement.