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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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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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