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DuPage County child pornography defense attorneyInternet sex crimes alone are difficult to defend, especially in such a fast-paced, technology-driven world where it takes more than good old-fashioned research and quality in-person testimonies to create compelling arguments. Sometimes you and your lawyer will need experts in computer forensics and other fields to help clarify issues and circumstances. Other times you will need a lawyer to go above and beyond in his or her own work to understand the complexities, subtleties, and intricacies of your case. Defending against possession of child pornography charges is no different in this sense. Here are some basic ways that a child pornography defense lawyer can help you with your case.

Ways a Child Pornography Defense Lawyer Can Help

There are many different strategies that a possession of child pornography defense lawyer can use to help you with your case. These key strategies include:

  • Disputing your knowledge of the illegal material—Perhaps someone else used your computer or other electronic device to download these illegal images. If they did this without your knowledge, the prosecution has the wrong person on trial. Even if you did know this, your charges might be reduced because you yourself did not engage with those images, or you immediately worked to remove them from your device(s).
  • Showing you had no intent to download illegal material—With the Internet being so confusing and full of chaotic information, it can be difficult to know when you are downloading something legal or illegal. Most times, the assumption is it is legal by virtue of the fact that you can easily get access to it and the company you are getting it from seems legitimate, but this is not always the case. If your lawyer can prove that you never intended on downloading anything illegal, then you might be able to improve your case.
  • Employing the assistance of experts—Your case, including showing your lack of knowledge with regards to the illegal images as well as your lack of intent to download such images, can be further helped by experts in the fields of computer forensics, psychology, and other disciplines. These experts can provide evidence supporting your arguments—from showing that your downloads were accidental or inadvertent to proving you thought you were downloading something legal.

Contact a DuPage County Internet Sex Crimes Defense Attorney

As with most cases, the right lawyer can make all the difference. This is just as true with any Internet sex crime as it is with child pornography charges. That is why you must retain representation from a knowledgeable Wheaton IL child pornography defense lawyer. Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, is an aggressive and experienced lawyer with more than 25 years of experience in criminal defense. Call Stephen A. Brundage today at 630-260-9647 for a free confidential consultation.

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drug court, Wheaton criminal defense attorneyIf you have been accused of a drug crime, be it possession, intent to distribute, or delivery/sale, you might already know that drug crimes in Illinois are taken very seriously, and the consequences can be severe. However, with the federal government rolling back arrest records and jail time for drug charges through such legislation as the FIRST STEP Act, the focus has shifted toward alternative sentencing for those accused of drug crimes. One of these alternatives is drug court. Here in DuPage County, drug court is common due to its usefulness.

What Is the DuPage County Drug Court?

DuPage County Drug Court is an alternative option for dealing with drug charges. It enables the accused the opportunity to take on their drug addiction and become more productive members of society without flooding the court system and prisons with too many people accused of drug charges. In DuPage County Drug Court, those charged with drug crimes can graduate from a three-phase program that helps them detox and eventually recover from their drug addiction, which in turn will reduce the likelihood of them appearing before a judge again for similar drug charges. Drug Court is not for everyone, as those who are accused of sale or intent to distribute might not have addiction issues, but this alternative to traditional drug charge penalties is still quite beneficial to eligible candidates.

What Are the Benefits of Drug Court?

There are many benefits to drug court relative to other more traditional ways the justice system handles drug charges, namely:

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cyberbullying, Wheaton criminal defense attorneyIn this brave new digital age of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and countless other social media apps and websites, bullying is no longer just an in-person way for a kid to get some lunch money at school. It is now a global issue that, under many circumstances, has the potential to be as harmful as it ubiquitous—sometimes even involving adults.

Schools are not the only organizations taking notice of this modern type of bullying. In fact, there is computer crime legislation in place across the nation, including Illinois, that sets forth rules to legally punish those who engage in cyberbullying. If you are accused of cyberbullying, consider these tips.

DO NOT:

  • Close or deactivate online accounts used to propagate the cyberbullying or open new accounts. This is a bit like hiding the murder weapon if accused of murder, only the hiding place is in plain sight. Social media sites and cell service providers often can retrieve data regardless of account status. More importantly, suspicious major online account actions can backfire and make you look guilty from the start.
  • Reach out to the accuser. Of course, you would like to civilly handle things without intervention from the law, but if the accuser is already getting the law involved, communicating without legal representation could create a host of legal issues for you as the case progresses.
  • Threaten those who could offer evidence or testimony against you. As with most criminal cases, the slightest tinge of a warning directed toward acquaintances and even your friends or family who might be able to give the prosecution help with their case could give the court all the evidence it needs to find you guilty.

DO:

  • Delete the messages, images, or other content that is causing harm. Unlike deactivating accounts, which is usually only helpful if keeping those accounts open would cause harm to the person being bullied, removing the content if posted publicly online will prevent further damage to the person’s reputation and psychological state. And, of course, do not post anything new about the situation, and do not persist with cyberbullying.
  • Hire a criminal defense attorney. Do not think you can handle this on your own. The penalties for cybercrimes, including cyberstalking and cyberbullying, are steep, including up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Do not think being a minor makes a difference, either. Earlier this year, two teen girls in Ohio were charged criminally for telecommunication harassment.  You will need an experienced attorney to help guide you through this challenging process.
  • Communicate with your children and/or lawyer. Be open and honest about the situation. If your child is being accused, have a talk with them about why what they might have done would be wrong and why they have been accused of it. Get their side of the story and then offer guidance. If you are the one being accused, be open and honest with your lawyer. Your lawyer is your ally throughout the process. Give him or her all the facts so he or she can better defend you. 

Contact a DuPage County Computer Crimes Attorney

Do not let cyberbullying ruin you or anyone else's life. Call a Wheaton, IL, cyberbullying lawyer at (630) 260-9647 for a free consultation. Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, offers valuable legal representation that is responsive to the needs of you or your child if accused of cyberbullying. He will use his prior experience in law enforcement as a police officer and commissioner to anticipate the prosecution’s arguments and properly prepare your defense. With the help of experts in computer forensics and other Internet-savvy professionals, he will do everything possible to develop a winning defense for you.

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self-defense, Wheaton violent crimes defense attorneyThe use or threat of force can be a criminal offense in Illinois. Threatening someone with violence is assault while committing an act of violence against someone is battery. However, Illinois allows actions that would normally be assault or battery if you were acting in defense of yourself, another person, or your property. The difference between battery and self-defense can be murky and heavily depends on the context. Your belief that you were acting in self-defense may not be enough to prevent an assault or battery charge if your response was unreasonable or excessive.

Establishing Self-Defense

There are four key components to proving that your actions were in self-defense:

  • You must have reasonably believed that you were in imminent danger of harm.
  • The threat must be unlawful, such as someone assaulting or committing battery against you.
  • You must show that force was necessary in order to protect yourself.
  • The force you used must not exceed the threat against you.

These considerations allow you to protect yourself, others, or property against criminal actions without punishment but set strict parameters that may make your actions fall outside of self-defense.

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theft, Wheaton criminal defense attorneysThere are multiple factors that determine whether a retail theft conviction is a misdemeanor or felony, which is an important distinction for the offender. A felony conviction has stricter penalties, sometimes including mandatory prison time, and causes more limitations for people who have one on their criminal record. The value of the stolen items is one of the primary differences between a misdemeanor and a felony retail theft charge. Unfortunately for Illinois residents, the state has one of the lowest monetary thresholds for a felony retail theft charge, which puts defendants at greater risk of a felony conviction.

Illinois Retail Theft Law

In Illinois, the cutoff between misdemeanor and felony retail theft charges is a mere $300. A first-time retail theft conviction involving $300 or less is a Class A misdemeanor, while a first-time conviction involving more than $300 is a Class 4 felony. To put that number into perspective:

  • The felony threshold for standard theft in Illinois is $500.
  • Illinois is one of only six states that allows felony retail theft charges for first offenses involving less than $500.
  • Fifteen states require the value of the items to be at least $1,200 before mandating a felony charge.
  • Some states have set the threshold as high as $2,500.

A group of Illinois state legislators is attempting to address the state's strict retail theft law by introducing a bill that would raise the felony threshold to $2,000, which would be one of the highest thresholds in the country. Since the law was introduced in January 2019, it has yet to move past short debates at the committee level.

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