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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerThere are many hardworking Americans who own trucks as their daily drivers. Some use it for off-road adventures, others for the feel of having something larger, and another portion uses it for work and project related towing. However, especially in a few of the newer trucks, you may need CDL licensure to operate your vehicle and avoid a traffic violation, regardless of the purpose of use. While each state regulates many of their requirements, federal regulations are in place for many interstate highways and close to the border.

Does Your Truck Require a CDL?

Most major vehicle manufacturers now produce a one-ton dually for those requiring the durability and ability to pull a house, if necessary. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 requires many drivers of these vehicles to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License, even if it is not being utilized for commercial purposes. The guidelines for those requiring a CDL include:

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Posted on in DUI

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerThe breathalyzer as we know it today was born in 1954 by a man named Robert Borkenstein and has undergone little alteration since it’s introduction. An estimated 86% of the adult population of the United States claims they have consumed alcoholic beverages at least one time in their life, many of which went on to drive home. Breathalyzers use technology to detect the amount of alcohol on the breath of these drivers, which results in DUI allegations. This form of sobriety test has many pitfalls, and for this reason, researchers, inventors, and scientists all over the world scramble to create the next alcohol detection device.

The Current Device

The current tool is a guideline and no means is it perfected to 100% accuracy. Everyday items such as mouthwash and cough syrup are known to register a false positive in some machines. By breathing into the device, the device is estimating the amount of alcohol on your breath.

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerCameras accompany many red lights all throughout Chicago and the surrounding area. These cameras are not there simply as a deterrent for breaking traffic laws, they take a picture of the license plate of the vehicle. If the motion-activated camera detects a vehicle operating illegally, it takes a quick snapshot. The photograph is reviewed, and a citation is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. To avoid taking time out of a busy schedule to go to court, many individuals just pay the fine via mail and get on with their lives. However, as with any traffic violation, there may be a defensive strategy for you.

How the Camera Works

Each camera is equipped with a radar detector which senses oncoming vehicles. Once the attached light turns red, the camera takes a photo as well as a video of the back end of the car. A central agency is supposed to review the image for clarity and then pass it along to City’s Department of Revenue for processing. Throughout Chicago, there are cameras for:

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Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorneyWhat happens behind closed doors stays there, unless that behavior infringes upon the rights of another individual to be free from harm. Once accusations of domestic abuse between two people begin, these matters become the business of the state, local police officers, and your attorney. Unfortunately, many of these allegations stem from other agendas of the alleged victim. In many domestic abuse cases, the accusations are unfounded or a self-serving attempt to discredit a spouse in a child custody case. Each case varies from one to the next and utilizing the knowledge and experience of an attorney is advisable as one misstep in this delicate situation can drastically alter your future.

Possible Defenses

It is never advisable to go into a domestic violence case without having the proper legal backup. If you attempt and fail in court, not only is your reputation at stake, but there is the possibility of years of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines, up to $25,000.00 in some cases, not to mention the potential for losing any custodial rights to your children. However, there are a few common defenses that have proven successful in previous court cases given the right circumstances. These are:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shoplifting_20170428-021830_1.jpgShoplifting is one of those crimes in which anyone may have a proclivity. From a juvenile doing it to impress their friends to a single parent trying to provide for their family or even an elderly adult who mistakenly forgot the item at the bottom of the cart, shoplifting charges are not bound by age, race, or gender. Mainstream media has somewhat glorified the act by making it the subject of many Hollywood movies and song played on the radio, perhaps leading to an increase in shoplifting cases. However, the state of Illinois still believes stealing is not a victimless crime and anyone convicted of such allegations face harsh penalties. Fortunately, other alternatives are possible to conviction, given agreeable circumstances and utilizing the assistance of a proven attorney.

Traditional Consequences

Penalties accompanying shoplifting convictions depend primarily on the retail value of the item or items taken. The retail value is the cost at which the store sells the item, traditionally the full price regardless of a current sale or discount. If the item or items when added together amount to less than $300.00, the charge is a Class A misdemeanor, whereas over the $300.00 threshold is a Class 4 felony. If the offense occurred as a group effort, the total between all included parties determines the severity of the charges. Specifically, even if your portion of the theft amounted to the cost of a pack of gum, the charges also include the cost of the items taken by your alleged accomplices. Maximum penalties include:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois DUI lawyerNo person can work 24-hour days, seven days each week, every week of the year. CDL holders are no different. Although they work seemingly tirelessly to keep our nation’s economy running smoothly, delivering truckload after truckload of our daily necessities, truck drivers have home lives as well. Also, just like a large portion of the world population, occasionally on their time off, they would like to sit down to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. However, if a CDL holder is off-duty and gets pulled over in their personal vehicle, the results vary from other DUI charges.

Commercial Vehicle vs. Non-Commercial Vehicle

If a driver is not working, perhaps with a day or two off, truck drivers often drive their personal vehicle. Does it make a difference if you were caught driving while using your work vehicle versus using other transportation? The company whose vehicle is in operation during the finding of a DUI may have harsher punishments for the accused, however, to the state of Illinois, it makes no difference. A CDL is a type of licensure used for highly trained individuals, and to maintain the prestigious license, those holding them have a higher standard to uphold in all aspects of driving. Conviction of a "major" driving offense such as drunk driving potentially automatically disqualifies a CDL, which then, in turn, removes commercial driving privileges.

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Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois defense lawyerIllinois notoriously has some of the harshest DUI laws and penalties in the country. If convicted of driving under the influence, your license is automatically taken away through the use of statutory summary suspension. The suspension period varies dependent of how the initial stop progressed. If this is the first DUI on record, there may be programs to assist the outcome. Despite dismal odds, there are defensive options available, given the right circumstances.

What Is a Statutory Summary Suspension?

Unlike a revocation which denies driving privileges indefinitely, a suspension denies this allowance for a predetermined length of time. A statutory summary suspension specifically pertains to DUI. If a chemical test results in a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher of alcohol, other drugs, or intoxicating compounds, your driving privileges are suspended for six months to a year. After the allotted amount of time passes, your license is eligible for reinstatement after the payment of a $250.00 fee if this is the first offense. All reinstatement fees after the first offense are $500.00. If you opt to refuse the chemical testing, Illinois has an automatic suspension of 12 to 36 months.

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Illinois felony lawyer, Illinois defense attorneyWhen a crime is severe enough to constitute a felony conviction, it means that the penalty is punishable by at least one year in prison. Alternatively, a misdemeanor is less than one year in prison. Felonies break down into several different classes, ranging from one to four, Class X, and first-degree murder depending on the severity of the accused crime. Previously, punishments came based solely on the crime at hand and did not take into consideration other factors, including a previously spotless record. The Unified Code of Corrections changed at the end of 2016 with the passing of SB 3164, effectively altering the prison terms of those convicted of Class 3 or 4 felony.

The Punishments

During the sentencing of a crime, the presiding judge takes into account all parts to a story. With each criminal classification, there are parameters set in place that limits the authority of the judge ensuring that no penalty is too lenient or too harsh. The parameters for Class 3 and 4 felonies are as follows:

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Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorneyA background check is a compilation of various records within the past of a single individual or an organization, including criminal, financial, and commercial records. Employers utilize government agencies and private companies to dig up as much information about a potential employee during a pre-employment process. Companies implementing the extra precautionary measures reduce the risk of hiring a potentially dangerous individual to work in schools, hospitals, courthouses, and financial institutions where safety and security are paramount. These records show not only convictions but also arrests that did not result in a conviction, severely hindering even an innocent individual from finding gainful employment. As of 2017, new measures are in place to assist those interested in the expungement of their record.

Explaining Expungement

Even if someone was arrested but was found innocent or otherwise not convicted of the accusations, the arrest remains on the record for all interested parties to find. Illinois law grants that those who find themselves in such a position may file a petition with the court to have their records expunged. Qualifying arrests, felonies, and convictions have the right to request that the court destroys the records or seal them, so they are unable to be seen. Examples of crimes that may qualify for expungement include:

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Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyerStingRay devices are used prevalently throughout the state of Illinois by local and state police departments. These powerful devices, also known as “cell site simulators” or “IMSI catchers” mimic a standard cell phone tower. They are useful in tracking devices by sending out signals to a cellular device requiring it to give up its current location. However, with this technology comes the rise of privacy concerns as the device also transmits data back about many bystanders. The problem motivated Illinois legislators to alter laws to protect the rights of Illinois citizens.

Why Are They Used?

The StingRay is only about the size of a suitcase but can intercept, collect, access, transfer, or forward the data received or stored by hundreds or thousands of cell phones within any given neighborhood. Although they are not used throughout the entire United States, the cities and states that have them have been able to assist those in need. For instance, in October the technology helped in locating a 6-year-old girl in Arizona. When the device is in active mode, a compatible device is forced to disconnect from the actual service tower cell site and connect with the simulator, forcing all devices in the area to identify their location with the use of radio waves.

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Illinois DUI lawyer, Illinois defense attorneyReceiving a conviction of driving under the influence creates potentially irreparable impacts on an individual's driving record and reputation. From additional points on a driving record to your name visible on the local police blotter or news station, the side effects alone are a reason to avoid a DUI. In Illinois and around the country, police use portable breath tests, also known as breathalyzers, to create probable cause for the charge. Hundreds of unsuspecting motorists blindly agree to the procedure without question. However, when your future is in jeopardy, knowing your rights and when they are being infringed can prevent a problem before it begins.

Usage of Portable Breath Tests

Impaired drivers put themselves and others at risk for an accident. Understandably, police and lawmakers want to keep citizens safe, however, in many cases, their interests overshadow the rights of many of our clients. Many field officers inappropriately assess frightened drivers when no probable cause existed initially, giving them further reason to make an arrest if the result returns as positive. It is important to understand that the number on the breathalyzer does not mean a guaranteed conviction. PBTs do not measure alcohol directly. What they measure is methyl group compounds, which can indicate drinking alcohol in a rough estimation. However, a breathalyzer can register as alcohol with the presence of:

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Ilinois traffic violation lawyer, Ilinois defense attorneyIt is no secret that trains have the ability to create a massive amount of damage if any part of their operation goes awry. The fact that a driver is 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train rather than another motor vehicle makes awareness of the safety regulations and laws regarding railroad crossing imperative for safety. Illinois is the epicenter of the comprehensive rail system throughout the United States, with 41 companies currently operating in the state. The number of injuries involving railroads and traffic violations increased in 2015 prompting a crackdown on the laws surrounding railroad crossings.

Statistics Leading to the Increase

The number of railroad crossings in Illinois is staggering. When attempting to do a search of all of the intersections - public, private, and pedestrian - in Cook County alone, we returned with a number greater than 2,500. Statistics of incidents at railroad crossing such as these are as follows:

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Illinois CDL violations, Illinois traffic violations lawyerCommercial truck driving is a profession that entails the handling of great responsibility and also preparing for the safety of everyone on the roadways. Even small errors in judgment can lead to traffic violations, the loss of a commercial driver’s license, serious injuries, or even death. With the addition of poor road and weather conditions, the job becomes increasingly more perilous. Something as simple as breaking too hard can lead to a multiple-vehicle collision when ice is thrown into the mix. It is important to review safety tips for driving in hazardous winter weather conditions to protect the security of drivers as well as maintenance of a CDL.

Frequent Causes of Winter Related Accidents

There are several causations that--if not taken into consideration and properly prepared for--increase the likelihood of a violation or an accident. These elements include:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerInstead of purchasing items such as tools, machinery, or even linens and tables for a one-time use, many Americans choose to utilize rental options. Through the usage of a rental company, items are available for a fraction of the cost of buying the product brand new or used. As of January 1, 2017, a new law enforcing the return of equipment rentals became active. If you choose to retain the rented equipment past the due date, you may now face criminal felony theft charges.

Introduction of Illinois Senate Bill 1120

With a significant portion of the population on a strict budget, frivolously spending money to purchase items for a short project is avoided at all costs. Businesses began to rent out services and equipment at a relatively small price to alleviate the predicament in the community. Patrons decide their due date for the return of the rented product based on the estimated length of time for project completion. Many times, the actual completion date is well after the initial estimation, leaving the rental establishment without the use of their equipment for an unknown amount of time. With this new bill, if a person knowingly obtains the temporary use of labor, services, or equipment only available for hire with the intention of keeping it past the due date, criminal charges may ensue.

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerBattery cases, in any circumstances, are judged harshly. Many of us learn as children to keep our hands to ourselves and treat others the way we would also like treated. In regards to the battery of a pregnant woman and that of an unborn child, not only is there the social stigma that coincides, but there is also double the punishment for these felony crimes. Understanding how they are different may help determine the best course of action in your case.

Illinois Assault vs. Battery

The laws surrounding assault and battery vary from state-to-state. In Illinois, assault is any behavior that causes a reasonable fear of immediate danger to themselves, someone they love, or their property. Therefore, in Illinois, no physical contact needs making to qualify for an assault charge. Battery cases involve physical contact. Legally, battery occurs when an individual knowingly and unjustifiably:

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Posted on in DUI

Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois defense lawyerConsider any traffic stop in which you were a party. Even in a simple stop for something such as a broken tail light, this formality is a form of a seizure, which is protected by our Fourth Amendment rights. When a stop is performed without just and reasonable suspicion, any following charges should be deemed unconstitutional and be dismissed, even in cases involving DUI. However, these sort of outcomes depends on favorable circumstances coupled with a knowledgeable attorney who has the ability to use them to your advantage.

The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unlawful searches and seizures, including arrests, and demands a court-issued warrant even in cases with probable cause. However, a loophole exists in which if the officer believes the driver or general public are in danger, a warrantless stop is permissible. Reasonably suspicious activities are not clear-cut or defined for cops, offering ambiguity that allows an officer to use their judgment given the present circumstances. If the stop is improper, the stop itself and any resulting evidence are challengeable. Possible defense include:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal statutesAn unlawful use of a weapon conviction potentially wreaks havoc on the future of an individual. Many wrongfully believe that the improper use and ownership of a firearm is the only misbehavior resulting in weapons charges. There is an extensive list of prohibited weapons unrelated to firearms that earn the same charges. Penalties are harsh if convicted of either a UUW or an aggravated UUW. Having aggressive and efficient legal counsel is often the best course of action for navigating this legal area.

Prohibited Weapons List

With a firearm, there are prerequisites to fulfill before being able to legally own a gun. Alternatively, some weapons are prohibited regardless of your background or ability to possess a firearm. Unless you are on a short list of authorized individuals, the following weapons are banned from possession and ownership in the state of Illinois:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawsRetail theft charges may seem minor in comparison to the grand scheme of things. However, they are not taken lightly in a court of law. The retail establishment may choose to detain a suspect without involving police enforcement. One benefit for the store to not include the cops at first is they retain the ability to question without a lawyer or guardian present. The detainee is not under arrest nor do they face charges until the police are involved. However, once the owner or manager contacts local authority, the suspect then faces retail theft charges, requiring proper criminal defense.

Civil Penalties

If a store does decide to press charges, they have the option to pursue civil damages. Many stores have established working relations with local attorneys to send out civil demand letters, often demanding the payment of a fine. However, lawyers and store owners do not have the authority to levy a fine; that is an ability retained by the courts. If the issue goes to trial, merchants can recover damages for all of the following:

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

b2ap3_thumbnail_sixth-amendment.jpgUnderstanding your rights is essential to fighting any criminal accusations. The Bill of Rights are the first ten Amendments to the Constitution created. These rights provide constitutional protection to United States citizens, listing specific prohibitions of governmental power. Along with the right to a reasonable search and freedom of religion, you also have the right to an attorney. Let us look at this amendment in further detail.

The Sixth Amendment

Many people are only familiar with a line or two of what rights this impressive document grants as a whole. Going through each line one-by-one is beyond the scope of this article, so the focus here will remain on the Sixth Amendment. There is a significant amount more to the Sixth Amendment than just the right to legal representation. In its entirety, the amendment says:

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Illinois sex crimes lawyer, Illinois defense attorneyAfter a conviction, any crime has the potential to be life-altering. Although, most crimes do not carry the additional stigma and other consequences as a conviction for sex crimes. Unfortunately, many sexually based crimes are based on false accusations, landing many innocent individuals on the sex offender registry for an extended period. It is imperative to protect yourself using proper legal representation to better your chances of avoiding the worst case scenario.

Is Registration Required?

Any crime involving sexual assault or that is sexually motivated faces judgment as a sex crime. Upon a charge of any of the vast number of sexual offenses, including rape or public indecency, an unfavorable result would require the necessity of publically registering as a sex offender. The case outcomes requiring automatic registration include:

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