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IL defense lawyerWhen it comes to drug crimes, the penalties associated with a conviction vary dramatically. The penalties for possessing a small quantity of a controlled substance are much different than penalties for the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance.

In Illinois, being a “drug dealer” is considered to be a much more serious offense than being a drug user. The type of controlled substance allegedly in a defendant’s possession also influences the criminal penalties he or she may face. For example, selling a small quantity of marijuana is only a misdemeanor offense. By comparison, selling a small quantity of heroin or fentanyl is a Class 1 felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

If you or a loved one were charged with drug possession with intent to distribute, contact a criminal defense lawyer for help right away.

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DuPage County Criminal Defense LawyerMost people are familiar with the blood alcohol content (BAC) “legal limit.” In Illinois and 48 other U.S. states, the blood alcohol limit is 0.08 percent. However, few really understand what that means. You may ask yourself, “Does having a BAC over the legal limit mean I will be convicted of drunk driving?” or “Can I beat DUI charges even if I fail a breathalyzer?”

Understanding Breath Alcohol Tests

There are two main types of breath tests or “breathalyzers” used in Illinois. Usually, when a police officer stops someone and recognizes signs of potential intoxication, the officer will ask the driver to blow into a breathalyzer machine. This roadside breath test is different from the breath tests conducted at the police station. Roadside tests are preliminary tests used to justify a drunk driving arrest. However, these tests are not foolproof, and preliminary BAC test results are not admissible as evidence in a DUI case.

The breath test at the police station is an evidentiary test. The results of this test are admissible in court. However, blowing above 0.08 percent does not automatically mean you will be convicted of driving under the influence.

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Wheaton Criminal Defense AttorneyDrug overdoses lead to thousands of deaths in Illinois every year. Consequently, law enforcement is constantly looking for ways to suppress the manufacture and sale of illicit substances. One way police locate and arrest alleged drug manufacturers and drug traffickers is through sting operations. If you or a loved one were the subject of a sting operation or drug bust, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected and build a strong defense against the charges.

Are Undercover Sting Operations Legal in Illinois?

The term “sting operation” refers to a police strategy intended to catch criminals in the act.  Law enforcement officers may go undercover and pose as someone who is seeking or selling illegal drugs. Once the transaction has taken place, the officers reveal their identity and arrest the suspects. Sting operations such as these are legal. A police officer is legally permitted to lie and deceive criminal suspects.

However, there is a fine line between sting operations and entrapment. During a sting operation, an officer creates an opportunity for someone to break the law. Entrapment occurs when a police officer induces or coerces someone into committing a crime they would otherwise not commit. Entrapment is an affirmative defense in a criminal case. If a defendant committed the offense but only did so because he or she was forced or coerced into the act, the defendant will likely avoid conviction.

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Posted on in Criminal Law

wheaton defense lawyerPolice recently arrested three teens who allegedly broke into several cars one night in Elmhurst, a town on the DuPage and Cook county border. Area residents called the police after seeing the teens pulling on car door handles. An investigation revealed that they allegedly gained entry to three cars and stole from one. Police charged the teens with one count of Burglary to a Motor Vehicle and two counts of Criminal Trespass to a Motor Vehicle.  Burglary involves an unlawful invasion of privacy. Furthermore, entering a property without permission can lead to violence between the offender and property occupants. For these reasons, burglary is considered a felony offense in Illinois. 

Burglary to a Motor Vehicle

According to the Illinois Criminal Code, there is only one definition for burglary. Burglary occurs when:

  • An individual enters a building or structure without permission
  • The individual intends to commit a felony or theft

Burglary is not limited to residential houses and apartments. The offense may involve a house trailer, aircraft, watercraft, railroad car, or motor vehicle. The law equates a vehicle to a residence because people could (and sometimes do) live in a vehicle. 

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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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