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IL DUI lawyerDriving 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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dupage county criminal defense lawyerEarlier in 2021, the Illinois legislature passed House Bill 3653, known as the Criminal Justice Omnibus Bill, and Governor Pritzker subsequently signed it into law. The bill provides for substantial policing reforms, as well as significant changes to how defendants are treated in the Illinois criminal justice system. Parts of the bill take effect on July 1 of this year, while others will be phased in over time. If you are arrested on criminal charges in the coming months and years, you are likely to benefit from the additional protections the bill provides for your constitutional rights.

Criminal Defendants’ Rights in Illinois

The Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution provides several important protections for people who are charged with a criminal offense. These constitutional rights apply in both federal and state cases. If you are charged with a crime, you should be sure to understand the following:

  • The Fourth Amendment provides protection from unreasonable search and seizure of your person or property, which typically means searches without a warrant, consent, or probable cause.

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Wheaton assault defense attorneyWith regards to criminal law and criminal defense in particular, all crimes are serious, carrying with them significant penalties, but all crimes also have varying degrees of this substantiality. Concerning battery and assault specifically, and aggravated battery and aggravated assault especially, the differences are slight but certainly could result in much more serious and severe consequences depending on classification. Here is a summary of the major differences between assault, battery, aggravated assault, and aggravated battery to illustrate this point.

Assault: Defined

According to Illinois law, assault happens when someone without any legal authority knowingly engages in an action that places someone else in a circumstance more likely to lead to battery.

A simple assault would result in a Class C misdemeanor, which carries with it up to 30 days in jail and up to $1,500 worth of fines, in addition to potential other penalties.

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Wheaton juvenile crimes defense attorneyIf your son or daughter has been accused of a crime, he or she will probably need to face trial but not in an adult criminal court. For minors ages 17 and younger, DuPage County has a robust juvenile court system. They take every crime committed by young people very seriously. From relatively minor crimes such as theft or traffic violations to much more serious offenses like underage drinking, DUI, drug possession, and sexual assault,  juvenile offenses in Illinois have the potential to threaten the future of your son or daughter’s life.

Fortunately, in Illinois, despite a strict juvenile court system, the objective is still rehabilitation as opposed to punishment. Nearly everyone involved in the process is looking to help the accused get back on track after the follies of their youth or other lapses in judgment attributed to immaturity as a young person. However, that is not to say that your son or daughter should not have the appropriate representation from a juvenile defense attorney during their trial. Here are some reasons why the right lawyer during a juvenile defense case is critical.

Why Having an Attorney Matters

If you hire the right lawyer to represent your son or daughter in juvenile court, you and your child can benefit in the following ways:

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DuPage County criminal defense attorneyIf you are apprehended by law enforcement for any criminal charges, including DUI, drug charges, assault, Internet sex crimes, or a wide variety of other criminal offenses, there are myriad ways that a police officer could fail to follow proper procedures during and after your arrest that could be used against the prosecution if your case goes to trial. Anything from use of excessive force to neglecting to read you your rights or corrupting the evidence collected at the scene, be it unintentionally or otherwise. However, in this age of the COVID-19 pandemic, even with the first round of vaccines already being rolled out, there is an increased likelihood of the police making some mistakes that could infect you with the COVID-19 virus. If that is the circumstance, you might get the case dismissed or you could win the case on that single technicality. Here is an overview of the potential in using coronavirus exposure as a unique criminal defense strategy for this unprecedented time in history.

Law Enforcement Procedures in Place to Cope with COVID-19 in Illinois

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the federal level and state health authorities, as well as city-wide governments throughout Illinois at the local level, have issued directives and guidance for law enforcement concerning properly handling arrests and jailing or imprisonment during the pandemic. Among the major changes in police officer behaviors and procedures due to COVID-19 are:

  • The same advice given to civilians. Officers must maintain good hand hygiene by washing your hands/sanitizing yourself, do not touch your face, wear personal protective equipment (PPE like masks) whenever possible, and keep your distance at six feet whenever possible (within reason in the case of officers, provided it does not interfere with proper arrest and booking procedures).
  • If COVID-19 exposure or infection is suspected, the police should notify the EMS so they can evaluate anyone who exhibits symptoms and take them to a healthcare facility for initial care.
  • Disinfect belts, gear, and equipment regularly, especially if exposure is suspected.
  • For jailing, if the alleged offender is exhibiting COVID symptoms or claims to have COVID, the officer must attempt to separate them from the other people in jail or working in the jail as often as possible, even if that means giving them their own cell whenever possible until the alleged offender can get tested for the virus.

If you suspect or witness the police blatantly or deliberately—possibly even maliciously—not following such safety guidelines, your experienced lawyer might be able to use that during his arguments in court.

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