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Posted on in DUI

Illinois drunk driving laws, Illinois defense attorneyA fatality can be a life-changing experience for any loved ones left behind. It is especially heart wrenching if the death was sudden and unexpected, such as in a traffic collision. It can be equally life-altering for those accused of causing the accident. If driving under the influence is the contributing factor found in the investigation, two sets of lives may be altered forever.

The Situation

After a long work week, you and your spouse decide to go out to dinner. You both order a glass of wine and begin catching up like old times. By the time dinner arrives, your wine is gone, and you decide to have another. With laughter, you accidentally spill some red wine on your white dress shirt. The sun has gone down, and it becomes evident that it is time to get home. However, on the way home, there is construction, and the lights are blindingly bright. You do not see the temporary lane shift on the highway, and you and an oncoming car collide. The accident results in severe injuries, and the other driver passes away as a result.

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Posted on in DUI

Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois defense attorneyYou probably had a realization at the moment you saw the police lights in the rearview mirror that a change was about to happen. Anxiety may have developed for the unknown and the uncontrollable as the officer approached your window. If you were drinking before you got behind the wheel of the vehicle, the stress perhaps was even greater. A DUI could change the course of your life not only because of the punishments involved but also because it becomes a matter of public knowledge until it is expunged or sealed.

There Are No Secrets Anymore

Gossip used to be the primary method anyone used to shovel up dirt on someone else. However, with the growth of social media and other informational resources, the information is available for anyone to discover without speaking to anyone or even leaving the house. Unless you are considered to be high profile, the information is not located on billboards or the nightly news, but the information is easily obtained. Several methods of learning about DUI arrest records are:

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois drug crimes lawyerIllinois is one of the states that has legally approved the use of marijuana as a medicinal tool. However, under current regulations, to legally use the product, there are limited methods of obtaining cannabis prescribed by a physician. For many citizens, the cost of purchasing from a dispensary and even on the black market are too high, and they seek an alternative route to get the help the need. Growing the product at home is certainly the most cost effective, but doing so carries an increased risk of drug charges.

The Law on Growing Marijuana

The Medical Cannabis Project is in a constant state of flux. In most cases, the changes coming to the program are beneficial to the public. For instance, Governor Bruce Rauner signed SB 2228 on July 29, 2016, which instantaneously and effectually decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. However, there are a few details of the project that still need to be reconsidered, such as the inability to grow your plants legally. Currently, the penalties are as follows:

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyerControversial as the topic of gun control is right now, there is a constitutional right to bear arms. Illinois rates as a B+ for firearm safety regulations, which inevitably means that it is harder to own a firearm in Illinois than other states with lower scores. The higher standards exclude a significant portion of the population from the purchase of firearms. If you are eligible for gun ownership, there are limitations on the weapons you may possess. Citizens not following these regulations often face weapons charges.

Disqualifiers to Purchase

To legally purchase or otherwise own firearms or ammunitions, the Illinois Department of State Police (DSP) must issue a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card. The process necessary to obtain a FOID is designed to weed out unqualified individuals due to safety concerns to themselves or others. The limitations that may result in ineligibility are:

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Posted on in DUI

Illinois drunk driving lawyer, Illinois defense attorneyMany often say that ignorance is bliss. The phrase is used notably either about the period before any devastating news was received or when others know the truth of a circumstance and the person living in it is unaware and happy in their non-reality. This term also has applications in a variety of legal settings. However, can ignorance of the law be used as a defense for DUI in Illinois?

Ignorance as a Defense

In limited circumstances, ignorance or a misunderstanding of the law is applicable as a defense. As with any defensive strategy, the details surrounding the event are key elements. If the questioned behavior is not obviously wrong, this may be an avenue to consider when planning defense cases. Ignorance potentially may be a solution if the following qualifications are satisfied:

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Posted on in Traffic Violations

Illinois CDL rules, Illinois criminal defense attorneyWhen your income is dependent on your driver’s license, it is imperative that it remain up-to-date and valid at all times. When commercial driver's license (CDL) holding drivers see flashing lights behind them, they understand that it is not just a speeding ticket they may face, but the entirety of their career may be on the line. Therefore, it stands to reason that these drivers may be interested in a solution to dispute charges and keep their driving privileges. 

How to Earn a CDL Suspension

To know how to avoid penalties, you must first understand the various behaviors that can potentially be punishable by a suspension upon entering a guilty plea. These charges include:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois disorderly conduct lawsWhen an emergency arises in which you need the assistance of a first responder (i.e. police, fire department or paramedics), it is in your best interest to call 9-1-1. The operator has direct communication with the personnel you need and will stay on the line with you until assistance arrives. The 9-1-1 system is a useful resource, one that does have limited capabilities based on the number of operators available. The same holds true for all of our emergency responders. If you were to call without a real emergency, you might face charges for disorderly conduct.

How It Causes a Problem

Many dispatch centers have a limited number of operators available to answer phones. They have all heard their share of off-the-wall phone calls, including but not limited to:

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Illinois criminal law statutes, Illinois defense attorneyBy definition, stealing is taking possession of something that is not yours, regardless of tangibility. The idea of saving money by taking ownership of something that you did not purchase is not a new idea, however with the birth and growth of virtual items, the list of things available to steal has also grown. Now, the Internet is nearly essential to function in daily life, requiring a monthly internet bill that some budgets cannot cover. Therefore, hacking into someone else’s wi-fi network seems like a valid option. However, this is still a form of theft that can get you into trouble.

Why Is It Stealing?

The Internet is seemingly unlimited, without a visible ownership due to the nature of the product. While some individuals do actively invite complete strangers to use their internet connection by leaving their network open without a password, the majority of the population leans toward their privacy. There are a variety of reasons for people to limit the usage to people they know, including:

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Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois defense lawyerFor many Americans, moving from one state to another is a chance to start brand new. Moving is an opportunity to leave the person you were behind and to create a new beginning. Occasionally the past can leap out and bite us when we least expect it. What if one of the hidden details from the past is a DUI conviction? How would that affect your standing now that you have moved to Illinois?

The Circumstances

Two different DUI scenarios exist in which what happens in the other state will have a direct impact on an Illinois driving record. These scenarios are:

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

b2ap3_thumbnail_probation.jpgEveryone makes mistakes. Some are small and some can be life altering. While we cannot go back and change what has already been done, we can, however, learn from our mistakes and move on. This theory is the driving force behind Illinois’ Second Chance Probation, a probation alternative to a conviction.

What Is Second Chance Probation?

For those clients who have never been in trouble with the law before, there may be a multitude of foreign legal terms to learn. Second Chance Probation should be something you push to the top of your list to research. Under certain circumstances, those who have never been previously convicted of a felony offense, or granted a special diversionary program in lieu of another punishment, may be eligible to receive this special probation. If the probation period is completed and all of the terms have been met satisfactorily, then a conviction will be withheld.

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Posted on in Traffic Violations

b2ap3_thumbnail_reckless-driving.jpgYou may be familiar with the general term “reckless." Perhaps you have heard it, read it, or even used it as a part of your daily vocabulary. However, are you familiar with what the word means with regards to its application to a driving behavior? What does reckless driving mean in a court of law and what are the potential punishments if you are convicted?

Reckless Driving in Legal Terms

Reckless, careless, negligent, and thoughtless are all similar words to describe the same behavior. They are all adjectives to describe an action committed with blatant indifference toward the lives and property of themselves and those surrounding them. In fact, the Illinois General Assembly explicitly defines reckless driving in State Statute 625 ILCS 5/11-503, which states that a person has committed the act of reckless driving if they:

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Illinois drug crimes attorney, Illiois defense lawyerIf you are unsure of the intricacies of the law, it becomes difficult to ensure that you are behaving lawfully in every aspect of your daily life. Drug laws are no exception to this. There are several elements of the Illinois Controlled Substance Act. You may have a general understanding of the law, but knowledge of what it fully entails may assist you in altering your behavior to prevent unwanted drug charges.

The Forming of the Act

On February 5, 2010, the Illinois Controlled Substance Act was put into effect. The creation of the act grants government and law enforcement officials the authority to prosecute various drug crimes. The reasoning behind creating laws was to combat the rising crime that perceived to be directly related to contraband in the community. A few of the substances that are considered controlled are:

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Posted on in DUI

Illinois DUI laws, Illinois drunk driving attorneyNo one ever anticipates being the recipient of a DUI charge when they begin their drive. If we had that information, perhaps more individuals would choose one of the many alternate options to make it to their destination. However, once a driver has been pulled over safely, it is the duty of the officers to complete standard procedures. If the officer fails to complete the routine in a legal manner, anything that the driver is charged for, including driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana, may be susceptible to being dismissed.

Chronological Order of a DUI Traffic Stop

Officers endure extensive training programs to be prepared to follow protocol instinctively during a traffic stop. If the officer strays from the guidelines set for them, they potentially may also be in violation of the law. The steps flow in such a way to protect the rights of citizens, and these rights are not to be infringed upon. These measures include:

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Posted on in Traffic Violations

Illinois traffic attorney, Illinois traffic lawsSpeeding happens. Occasionally it is intentional, for instance for an emergency or someone is simply late for work. Other times, an individual is lost in thought and is not paying attention to the odometer. No matter the reason, speeding can potentially put the lives of others at risk and Illinois law seeks to enforce harsh punishment to those who are found guilty of speeding traffic violations. When the odds are stacked against you, it is best to guard yourself with legal backup to protect your driving privileges.

The Laws

The law punishes speeding by minors and commercial truck drivers differently than the general driver. Therefore, for the scope of this article, we are focusing just on general speeding traffic laws. Illinois is one of the states that has an “absolute” traffic law. That means that if you even go over the posted speed limit by one mile per hour, then you are in violation of the law. According to state statutes, the basic speeding law states:

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Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois driving statutesFor years, if you went to the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you have been able to get everything accomplished and leave the facility with a freshly printed driver’s license or state ID. However, Secretary of State Jesse White just announced that as of July, this will no longer be the case. Due to a federal mandate, states must take precautions to protect against identification fraud. These changes will also affect license reinstatement process because to reinstate your license you need to reapply for the license.

Federal Mandate

The mandate that Illinois is following was passed by Congress in 2005 as a direct result of the 9/11 Commission’s push for higher standards to prevent duplication of identification cards. Therefore, the Department of Homeland Security enacted what is known as “Real ID Act." For states that do not meet these standards, if they were to visit a federal facility, their state issued ID would not be an acceptable form of admittance. This will also affect air travel and notices will start to become more and more prevalent in the coming years. For now, the services that remain unaffected are:

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Posted on in DUI

Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois defense lawyerIt may go entirely against your self-preservation instincts. It may go against everything your family and friends have advised you to do. Yet, there may be some added benefits, depending on your case, to plead guilty to your charge of driving under the influence (DUI). If you think you may want to explore this option, then it really should be done so under the supervision of a lawyer to ensure that it is the best option and that you are not making a serious error.

Benefits of Pleading Guilty

As aforementioned, we are in no way suggesting to go around admitting guilt haphazardly. To do so could be disastrous to any legal claim you may have. It is always the best route to not say anything without a lawyer present, because, as stated in our Miranda Rights, “Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.” Yet, depending on the details of your situation, you may want to consider and weigh all of your options carefully. A few of the benefits of entering a guilty plea are:

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Posted on in DUI

Illinios DUI attorney, Illinois defense lawyerIf you are arrested or accused of driving under the influence or while intoxicated, you will automatically be faced with having your license suspended, known in the state as statutory summary suspension. In addition to your license being suspended, you will also be facing possible fines or jail time. Statutory summary suspension makes it all the more crucial that if you are arrested on such charges that you being dialogue with a qualified legal professional right away. 

For many people, having a suspended license means no way to get to work, to pick up children, or to carry on with necessary daily routines. Your attorney can work with you to file a petition before a judge in order to negate the suspension following a DUI arrest, but there is only a 90-day window to do so. That is, you only have three months from the day of the alleged incident to submit the petition in writing and file it with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Failure to do so could mean that your license will be suspended throughout the duration of your case — resulting in losses greater than they otherwise could be.

Even in the chance that the judge rescinds your license suspension, you will still be driving on a restricted license. The state of Illinois requires that any person who has petitioned a judge for use of a restricted license must drive a car that has a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed. These devices limit use of the car if the person operating it registers a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit.

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Illinois traffic violations, Illinois defense attorneyThere are several reasons that a person may be pulled over for a traffic violation, but not all traffic violations are created equal and statistics show that not all drivers experience traffic violations equally across the board. Between 2008 and 2010, the ratio of traffic stops to citations stayed relatively constant, though the number of traffic stops has continued to decline slightly each of those three years: The number of traffic citations declined in type.

Despite the highly publicized cases of African-Americans being pulled over for traffic violations without due cause, in Illinois in 2010 the number of traffic violations for which a car was stopped was far higher among Caucasian drivers. The interesting statistic is that the ratio between stops and citations for Caucasians was much lower (meaning less citations were issued) than it was for other races. This means that if you pulled over for a traffic violation and are black or Latino, you are more likely to receive a traffic citation than if you are white. 

There are also interesting statistics when it comes to the reason for the traffic stop. Nearly three-quarters of all traffic stops for Caucasians were for moving violations, compared with 18 percent of traffic stops for equipment malfunction and 8 percent for license/registration violations. These percentages are very different for minorities. Sixty-seven percent of minorities stopped were stopped for a moving violation, compared to 21 percent stopped for equipment malfunction and 12 percent for an issue with license or registration. Minorities were also more likely to be stopped for a longer duration of time than white drivers.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Illinios-gun-laws.jpgFor the safety of the people, Illinois has imposed very strict gun regulations as well as stiff penalties for those who are convicted of violating those laws. Some actions potentially result in multiple charges and therefore potentially multiple consequences if found guilty. Recently, the constitutionality of those penalties were called into question. In the case of People v. Williams 2015, the punishment of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and violation of the FOID Card Act were put under the microscope, and thus the regulations of weapons charges came into question.

The Case

The Argument: The penalties for the statues of Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon (AUUW) and violation of FOID Card Act  were vastly different for two statutes that regulated the same behavior, which in turn violates the “proportionate penalties clause” of the Illinois Constitution. This basically says that if two actions are identical, then the penalties should be proportionate. In this instance, AUUW carries a Class IV Felony punishment and FOID Card Act violations are considered to be a misdemeanor.  

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawerWarrantless cellphone searches occur more often than they should, which is not at all. Often it occurs when the police officer is using the device to “contact immediate family”, as in the case of The People v. Robert Butler, yet it happens in other instances as well. Most of the time, this does not present too much of a problem. The problem arises when the officer crosses a boundary and stumbles upon unrelated information and uses it against the very person they initially were assisting. This trespass on a citizen’s privacy is exactly what is protected by our Fourth Amendment rights. When a situation like this arises, it is very beneficial to have a firm understanding of your rights.

The Story

In the case of the People v. Robert Butler, an officer witnessed a shooting victim being “pushed” out of the passenger seat of a vehicle in the hospital parking lot. Upon coming to the victim’s aid, the officer attempted to “notify the family” by confiscating the victim’s cellular device. Instead of going into the ‘contacts’ portion, the officer “accidentally” went into the messaging option, where a text was sent just two hours before saying, “I needa pipe cuzz, asap”. In this statement, ‘pipe’ is slang for handgun, as the defendant testified in court. According to the testimony of the police officer, that is when he (the officer) stopped trying to find the ‘contacts’ list and began to obtain a warrant for further investigation. This was justified because when reviewing reports of gunfire, no shots were fired at the location that the defendant said he was shot at. There was, however, a report of a shooting at another location.

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