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Illinois Ranked 19th Among States with Strictest DUI LawsA recent study comparing state laws for driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances concluded that Illinois has the 19th strictest DUI laws in the country. Arizona has the strictest laws, while South Dakota is the most lenient. According to the research findings, Illinois is stricter in its DUI laws than neighboring states Indiana and Wisconsin, which tied for 37th.  The study suggests that Illinois may have harsh penalties for DUI convictions but can in some ways be considered moderate compared to other states.

Metrics

The study looked at the criminal penalties resulting from DUI convictions and practices meant to prevent DUI incidents. Researchers selected several metric categories and assigned each state a point value based on their compliance or strictness with the category. The categories included:

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Illinois Study Suggests Racial Bias Exists in Traffic StopsThe Illinois Department of Transportation is required to compile an annual study of traffic stops in order to identify whether there is racial bias in who gets stopped. Cooperating police departments throughout the state submit their traffic stop data from the previous year, including:

  • The total number of stops;
  • The reasons for stops;
  • The duration of stops; and
  • The outcomes of stops.

The drivers involved are sorted into one of six racial categories: White, African American, American Indian, Hispanic, Asian and Native Hawaiian. Researchers use the data to determine whether drivers of certain races are more likely to be stopped, issued a citation or subjected to a vehicle search. IDOT released its study of the 2016 traffic stop statistics in early July. According to the data:

  1. The total traffic stops increased by seven percent from the previous year. There were 2,022,332 stops in 2015 and 2,169,796 stops in 2016. The number of stops has been between 2 million and 2.2 million since 2013. Nine more police departments participated in the 2016 study than in 2015, which may account for some of the increase.
  2. Minority drivers are 38 percent more likely to be stopped than white drivers, which is up from 25 percent last year. White drivers made up 61 percent of the total drivers stopped in 2016, followed by African Americans at 22 percent and Hispanics at 14 percent. However, the study measures the likelihood of being stopped based on the ratio between the percentage of stops that involved minorities and what percentage of the total drivers are minorities.
  3. Traffic stops in 2016 lasted for an average of 11 minutes. African Americans and Hispanics were slightly above the average at 12 minutes. Asian and Native Hawaiian drivers averaged 10 minutes per stop.
  4. Half of Hispanic drivers who were stopped received a citation. Forty one percent of all stops resulted in a citation, which is down from 46 percent last year. Whites and African Americans were least likely to be cited, both being at 40 percent.
  5. Police were more likely to search vehicles of African American and Hispanic drivers but more likely to find contraband in the vehicles of white drivers. About one percent of all traffic stops resulted in a vehicle search. Police conducted searches in slightly more than one percent of traffic stops involving African American and Hispanic drivers, and slightly less than one percent of white drivers. Police found contraband 30 percent of the time when searching vehicles of white drivers, and 24 percent of the time with minorities.

Conclusion

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Defending Against Sexual Assault ChargesSexual assault charges can be fragile for prosecutors because of the nature of the evidence. The prosecution must prove that:

  • The defendant committed the sex act; and
  • The accuser did not consent to the act.

If the accuser cannot provide reliable testimony or physical evidence of the sexual assault, there is little chance that the case will end in a conviction. However, a skilled defense against sexual assault charges will not rely on the prosecution failing to prove its case. If you have been charged with sexual assault, your defense can be proactive in explaining your side of the case and finding holes in the prosecution’s evidence.

Physical Evidence

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Posted by on in Criminal Law

Illinois criminal defense attorneyCriminal charges for kidnapping your own child might seem strange, but it is a reality that many loving, well-meaning parents have faced. In fact, Health Research Funding (HRF) indicates that nearly 204,000 children have been abducted by a family member; that family member is often a parent or legal guardian. Learn more about parental kidnapping charges in Illinois, including what you can do to protect yourself when facing such accusations.

What is Parental Kidnapping?

Parental kidnapping sounds like a heinous crime – like a parent abducted their child with malicious intent. This is not always the case. In fact, some cases involve parents who have exceeded their parenting time, either accidentally or for reasons beyond their control. Others have attempted to protect their child from an abusive partner. Some may take the child because they fear they are about to lose custody or visitation with their child in a contentious divorce. All these reasons are understandable, but it does not make the action any less illegal.

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Federal Drug Convictions Come With Harsher PenaltiesU.S. Attorney General Jess Sessions recently instructed federal prosecutors to use the maximum charges in drug cases. If prosecutors follow through on the mandate, it will further illustrate how federal drug charges can have greater consequences for defendants than state drug charges. While both Illinois and federal drug convictions can result in prison sentences, federal laws require mandatory prison time for many convictions.

Illinois Laws

Punishments for drug convictions in Illinois vary, depending on the substance, the quantity and whether there was an intent to deliver:

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