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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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Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorneyWhen introduced to the legal system, the jargon is confusing. With words like arrest and charge used incorrectly on a daily basis, it becomes difficult to understand how much trouble you are facing. Other often misunderstood terminology includes felony and misdemeanor classifications. It is important to discern their differences and their potential penalties to build an appropriate defense case.

The Charges

Every state in the United States has a unique legal system. With it, they also have individualized penalties for crimes based on the severity of each. Two classifications in Illinois are:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois shoplifting lawyerPsychologists believe that, although people are inherently good, when given the opportunity to get something free through stealing, many people are likely to make an attempt. With this in mind, grocery stores and retailers across the country prefer to have a staff member in each department. These employees are intentionally placed to dissuade shoplifting through their presence. Managers and loss prevention specialist believe making eye-contact with someone debating shoplifting discourages the potential offender, keeping them honest and decreasing loss. Although thwarted on the sales floor, there are other opportunities for theft to occur. Money and product are often lost at the checkout counter.

Tactical or Mistake?

Everyone makes mistakes. Upon returning home after a shopping trip, customers will find that - while scanning quickly and providing excellent customer service by having a conversation - the cashier accidentally missed an item, and the store did not receive proper payment. At the self-checkout lane, items mistakenly are not scanned for many reasons, even when passed over the barcode reader. However, this is an opportunity that many use to obtain items without payment. There are two behaviors used most frequently to cheat at self-checkout lanes. These tactics are:

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Posted on in Traffic Violations

Illinois traffic violation attorney, Illinois defense lawyerObtaining and maintaining your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) comes with important duties. These drivers are responsible for safely operating larger-than-average vehicles and transporting goods and products from one site to another, often across many state lines. In 2015, there were an estimated 10 million CDL holders in the United States, although only about 3.5 million of these have gainful employment as drivers. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that approximately one in 15 of employees is a truck driver. It is a job that is in high demand and pays well. However, with copious amounts of large vehicles on the roadways with the ability to cause catastrophic damage, regulations for operation are becoming increasingly strict. With a single traffic violation, the livelihood of these drivers is at stake due to CDL suspension or revocation.

Benefits to Becoming a Truck Driver

Just as with any employment opportunity, becoming a truck driver comes with considerable positives and negatives. However, those who are drivers seem to find that the benefits of becoming a truck driver far surpass any negatives and are unlike those found in any other field of employment. These advantages are not worth jeopardizing over a legal infraction. Benefits include:

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Posted on in DUI

b2ap3_thumbnail_DUI_20161212-150629_1.jpgEarlier this year, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner made considerable alterations to the legal world with regards to marijuana. Not only did this move decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug, but it also redefined the terms of DUI of marijuana. Now, DUI charges are applicable only after finding a certain amount of THC in your body through testing. Another advancement has come into play to assist officers in determining who is high, the marijuana breathalyzer. This technology may alter the legal process once again.

The Law

The topic of marijuana has always been an incredibly heated debate. It was a monumentally progressive advancement for our state to become the 17th in the United States to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot. Now, instead of a criminal record, for quantities of less than ten grams of marijuana, officers issue a citation and a fine. This step significantly frees up officers and the legal process, as well as allows these individuals to obtain employment still and pursue higher education. Additionally, the terms of DUI marijuana changed. The charge only applies if:

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Illinois traffic lawyer, Illinois defense attorneyOperating a vehicle in excess of the speed limit is strictly prohibited by the laws of Illinois. Truthfully, speeding is illegal no matter your state of residency. However, it is within the rights of the attending police officer to decide to issue a warning or a citation based on the current situation. As the driver of the vehicle, you have the ability to help sway the outcome in your favor.

Points to Remember

First and foremost, bear in mind that your behavior does not always have an effect on their decision. The officer may have a bad mood, and a citation will be issued regardless, because, in their opinion, you deserved it. Of course, opinion is not indicative of fact, and we are glad to help you sort out those predicaments. Also, state police, highway patrol, and troopers are all more likely to stick to the law and issue a ticket. The general rule of thumb is, “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Imagine how you would react if someone approached you in a confrontational manner. Would you be likely to help them out or stand your ground?

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Illinois gun laws, Illinois defense lawyerGun laws in Illinois used to be nearly impossible to maneuver outside of a private residence. If an individual were outside of their dwelling in possession of a firearm, weapons charges would be brought up against them. Now, the laws are slightly more lax. However, regulations are still among the most strict in the country. Many people argued and made numerous deals to grant the ability to select individuals to be able to concealed carry. A moment of rage can nearly instantaneously revoke those privileges as well as lead to incarceration.

A Firearm Is a Tool

A firearm is not a toy. It also is not to be used as a form of threat, nor to force someone to do your will. A firearm is simply a tool that may be used to protect yourself and your family from immediate danger. It is not to be used as a deterrent for a crime unless you have reason to believe that you are in a life or death situation. To draw your weapon on another person is to threaten to assert deadly force. Doing so without just cause is illegal. Assess the situation with these guidelines:

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Posted on in DUI

Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois defense lawyerThe numbers from recent polls indicate that the majority of Americans partake in alcoholic beverages, with beer and wine topping the lists for preference. Other research delves into the reasoning for the consumption, citing social pressure, isolation, and the psychological effects among the top reasons. However, the anxiety-reducing effects that alcohol often ranks above the rest. Many believe that during the high-stress holiday season between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day has a direct correlation with the increase of holiday DUI statistics.

Dangerous Holidays

Although Independence Day took the top spot for the most deadly holiday of 2015 due to the amount of DUI fatalities, coming in closely behind it is “Blackout Wednesday.” If you have not found this date on your calendar, do not be alarmed, it is not an official holiday. Blackout Wednesday is unofficially coined and occurs on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Eve if you will. Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve pale in comparison. Reasons this particular Wednesday resulted in nearly 400 DUI related fatalities in 2015 include:

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Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorneyIt is illegal to take possession of a vehicle without permission; this is stealing. If you are in the market for a used car and accidentally purchase a stolen vehicle, you can also face theft charges. Take proper precautions to ensure that the vehicle is not stolen. Otherwise, you may find yourself caught up in theft charges. After all, possession of a stolen vehicle is considered a Class 2 felony.

Hiding a Stolen Vehicle

A VIN is a 17-digit Vehicle Identification number. No two VINs are identical, similar to a human fingerprint. The identifier tracks all transactions regarding the vehicle, including everything from oil changes to accidents, theft, and sales. A goal of many thieves is to disguise the VIN immediately on an acquired vehicle. Two popular methods to accomplish this are known as VIN cloning and VIN altering.

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Posted on in DUI

Illinois drunk driving attorney, Illinois defense lawyerSporting events of any kind seem to go hand-in-hand with the consumption of vendor stand food and alcoholic beverages. For years, venues for large events overprice product and still fans flock to the vendors in droves to buy all they can carry back to their seats. Often, patrons drink more than their usual amount. Season after season, officers wait outside stadiums across the country to spot those who had a little too much fun, resulting in a significant number of DUI.

Venues Take Responsibility

Fault often rests on the shoulders of sites agreeing to sell alcohol to the point of impairment, putting not only their fans at risk but also the citizens of the hosting city. Although occasions such as these result in a substantial amount of revenue, there is also a significant amount of liability of the employees and property itself. Illinois Dram Shop laws can hold vendors selling alcohol accountable if an intoxicated patron ends up dying or killing someone else on the way home. Therefore, vendors and venues are cracking down on drinking responsibly, enforcing rules such as:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyerAlthough it may not carry the accompanying stigma of other sex crimes, public indecency is still a sex crime that can affect the remainder of your life. Knowing what it is and how to avoid it can assist in preventing future law enforcement interactions. Understanding how to combat the charges are beneficial as well in that a conviction of this magnitude can affect not only your life but that of your children and family.

Public Indecency Broken Down

Websites exist that exploit the clothing choices of individuals when they leave the house. Many photographs leave viewers wondering about the boundary between comical and legal trouble. Where does self-expression need to be curbed by the law?

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Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyerAll Americans have certain unalienable rights bestowed upon them by our forefathers, listed in our Bill of Rights. They consist of 10 individual amendments to the Constitution that protect our rights and freedoms. They include our free speech, the right to a fair and just trial, and more. One in particular that exist but is not broadly understood is the Eighth Amendment, the right to reasonable bail.

The Eighth Amendment Understood

Congress passed the Bill of Rights on September 25, 1789, later to be ratified December 15, 1791. The Eighth Amendment says:

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