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Posted on in Criminal Law

wheaton defense lawyerCivil rights groups are celebrating Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker for signing a number of measures into law designed to expand the rights of the LGBTQ community. These include updating insurance laws to include LGBTQ families, same-sex marriage guidelines, and repealing the controversial criminal transmission of HIV law. Before the recent change, individuals with HIV could face criminal charges for exposing others to the virus. 

Criminal Transmission Of HIV

State lawmakers passed the law in the 1980s, the height of the AIDS scare. However, critics have since argued that the law was misguided and criminalized those living with HIV. Under the previous law in the Illinois Criminal Code, you could be charged with a Class 2 felony if you knew you were HIV positive and you had sex without wearing a condom, gave blood, or simply bled on another person. If convicted, you could face up to seven years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Many critics argued individuals living with HIV faced the threat of prosecution even if they did not transmit the disease to another person. 

Now that the governor signed House Bill 1063, lawmakers say they are modernizing Illinois state law. They argued the law did nothing to decrease HIV infection rates and instead increased stigma against those living with the disease. State Sen. Robert Peters, a Democrat from Chicago, called the law “outdated, dangerous, and discriminatory” because it made the infected live in fear of legal consequences for “simply living their lives."

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Posted on in Juvenile Offenders

wheaton defense lawyerWhen college students are on their own for the first time, they have opportunities to learn about creative ideas, meet new people, understand different cultures, and, more than likely, experiment with alcohol. If you are a young adult or you have a child leaving for college this fall, it is important to understand the laws in Illinois regarding underage drinking

Underage Drinking Charges in Illinois

In Illinois, underage drinking is considered a status offense, meaning the act is against the law because you are not old enough to do it. To buy alcohol, you must be 21 years old. However, state laws prohibiting underage drinking differ for those under the age of 18 and those over the age of 18 but not yet 21. 

Under Illinois state law, here are the circumstances in which you could be charged with underage drinking as a minor:

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wheaton defense lawyerIdentity theft is when someone takes another person’s personal information for the purpose of committing fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which is tasked with helping victims recover from such a crime. Individuals convicted of identity theft or other computer crimes face significant criminal penalties. Although identity theft is fairly common, it’s often confused with other crimes. So, what is considered identity theft in Illinois?

Identity Theft in Illinois

In the Prarie State, the legal definition of identity theft mirrors how the FTC defines it, but specifically refers to the theft of “personal identifying information” or a “personal identification document.” These include identification cards like a driver’s license, account information, bank or credit card statements, bills, and a case could even be made if you use information you found about someone on the internet. 

In general, using stolen personal identifying information to commit fraud can amount to identity theft, but exactly how and who you steal from will affect the severity of the charge. Authorities consider it aggravated identity theft if you steal personal identifying information from a person 60 years of age or older or a person with a disability. Another aggravating factor is if you steal the information on behalf of a gang or organized criminal outfit.  

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IL defense lawyerThere is no question that domestic violence is a real problem in Illinois. Unfortunately, some people make up allegations of domestic violence or abuse to serve their own dishonest purposes. The penalties for domestic battery in Illinois include a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail. Domestic battery involving certain aggravating circumstances is a felony offense punishable by up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000. Moreover, being accused of domestic violence can have profound effects on your personal and professional reputation as well as child custody or other family law concerns.

Do Not Answer Police Questions Without a Lawyer

If you have been accused of physical violence against a current or former romantic partner, household member, or family member, you may be shocked and unsure of what to do next. You may assume that you can simply explain the situation to the police and get yourself out of this unfortunate predicament. Unfortunately, submitting to police questioning can often make the situation much worse. Remember, anything you say to police may be used against you during subsequent criminal proceedings. Decline police questions until you have spoken with an attorney. Your lawyer will help you determine how best to proceed.

Cease Contact With the Person Who Accused You

Whether you were accused of domestic violence by an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend, family member, roommate, or another individual, it is often best to cease contact with that person. If you try to talk to him or her about the false allegations, he or she may use this interaction as fuel for additional allegations. Furthermore, it is possible that the accuser has secured an Emergency Order of Protection against you. If this is the case, you are likely prohibited from coming within a certain distance of the individual or calling, texting, or otherwise contacting him or her. Violating an order of protection is a Class A misdemeanor criminal offense in Illinois. If you knowingly or unknowingly violate any of the terms of the protection order, you could face additional criminal charges.

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IL DUI lawyer Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and other drugs is a danger to all, including the driver, others on the road, and any passengers in the driver’s vehicle. Any DUI charges in Illinois can result in serious consequences, but certain factors make the charges more severe. For example, Illinois recognizes that children under the age of 16 often have little choice but to get into a vehicle with an intoxicated driver, such as a parent who has authority over them. Drivers who abuse their authority by putting minor children at risk are thus subject to additional consequences when they are convicted on DUI charges.

Additional Penalties for DUI With Passengers Under the Age of 16

In Illinois, a first conviction on DUI charges is a Class A misdemeanor. While state law allows a jail sentence of less than one year for a crime of this magnitude, the court will often issue a more lenient sentence for first offenders, perhaps including fines and court supervision in lieu of imprisonment. However, leniency is much less likely if there was a passenger under the age of 16 in the driver’s vehicle at the time of their arrest. In this case, a first conviction will likely include six months of imprisonment, and the offender will also be ordered to pay an additional $1,000 fine and complete 25 days of community service that benefits children.

The penalties only increase with subsequent convictions. A second DUI conviction in Illinois is usually still a Class A misdemeanor, albeit with increased administrative penalties and community service requirements. However, if the second conviction involves a minor passenger, it will instead be charged as a Class 2 felony. This means that conviction can include a sentence of up to seven years in prison, along with fines and community service requirements.

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