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booster bag, shoplifting, Illinois Criminal Defense LawyerWhen most people think about shoplifting, the first thing that comes to mind may be a young person slipping a candy bar or other small item into his or her pocket and walking out of a store. While such a scenario certainly does represent a common form of retail theft, the reality is that shoplifting has evolved into a much more advanced problem. It frequently involves people of all ages and increasingly complex tools and techniques designed to help them illegally obtain merchandise without paying full retail price. One of these tools is called a booster bag and the use of such bags is becoming a large problem for retailers in the battle against shoplifting.

In many retail establishments, most items, and particularly those that are likely to stolen, are tagged with some sort of security device. The device is paired with a detector stationed near the store exits that identify still-active devices on merchandise before it leaves the store. Many security tags are hidden in packaging or affixed to an item in such a way that makes it difficult for a would-be thief to remove without being noticed or permanently damaging the product. Obviously, this is intentional and, in many cases, provides a decent level of protection against theft.

More determined thieves, however, are starting to come prepared. By bringing a booster bag with them into the store, they are looking to defeat loss prevention efforts and get the merchandise they want, regardless of security tags. A booster bag can be any container, but is often a shopping bag, purse or backpack, that is lined with aluminum or other type of foil aimed at hampering the security tag detection system at the store's exit. The foil creates a barrier between the tagged item inside and the detector, often allowing a shoplifter to walk out without sounding an alarm. As one might imagine, the possibilities for a losses in a particular store can be significant as a booster bag could potentially hold a large amount of illicit merchandise.


DUI-Defense-Illinois-DUI-Attorney-Drunk-DrivingEach year in the United States more than 10,000 fatalities occur as a result of alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2013, about 65 percent of those fatalities were drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. In Illinois, drivers 21 or over with a BAC of.08 may be subject to prosecution for driving under the influence or DUI. Driving Under the Influence in Illinois is not limited strictly to operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, but also includes impairment due to use of marijuana, methamphetamine, other narcotics, or prescription medication.

In Illinois alone, nearly 1000 people were killed as a result of DUI-related accidents in 2013, according to NHTSA numbers. During that same year, Illinois law enforcement made almost 35,000 DUI arrests. A detailed analysis of drunk driving offenses in the state begins to provide a profile for the average DUI offender. Statistically, men are three times more likely than women to be arrested for DUI, and the majority of offenders are under 35 years old. Offenses are most likely to occur between 11pm and 4am and the average BAC is .16 or twice the legal limit.

While these numbers may seem startling, they are actually indicative of downward trend in DUI related incidents statewide over the last several years. Since 2011, DUI arrests have dropped more than 10 percent, a development in which Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White takes great pride.

In a given year, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of pieces of legislation which make their way through the state government and end up being signed into law. Many bills set a future date on which they are set to take effect and in a large number of cases, a new year provides a convenient starting date for new laws. This year, more than 200 new or amended laws became effective on January 1, covering a wide range of issues from traffic and vehicle concerns to children and family interests to the criminal code and law enforcement, including record expungement.

While many of the new laws seem rather bureaucratic, there are several which may be of interest to the public at large.

Ban on Ticket Quotas (PA 98-0650)

It is not uncommon for a driver who has received what he or she perceives to be a questionable traffic ticket to assume the issuing officer was just trying to make his numbers. However, beginning in 2015, it is now illegal for a police department to mandate ticket minimums for its officers. Additionally, the number of citations issued by a police officer may no longer be used a job performance measure.

When a driver is pulled over by law enforcement on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), the police will usually have the driver go through a series of field sobriety tests.

There are three standardized field sobriety tests used by police across the country, which were developed at the Southern California Research Institute, with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These tests are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk-and-Turn (WAT), and One-Leg Stand (OLS).

When there is a disturbance to the brain’s ability to control eye movements, an involuntary bouncing or jerking of the eye occurs when a person tries to look sideways. This is referred to as nystagmus. Alcohol affects the brain’s ability to control the eye muscle, so a person who has been drinking will show signs of nystagmus. The more the person drinks, the more pronounced are the eye movements. For the HGN test, an officer will hold a penlight about a foot away from a person’s face and tell them to follow the light.

Scientists have developed a new sensitive testing method for detecting specific sequences of DNA. The process, developed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, was recently published in Chemistry of Materials, which is a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

This new DNA testing is much less expensive than other DNA analysis currently in use and does not require pricy equipment to perform. In fact, only one common piece of laboratory equipment, a fluorimeter, is needed. Thus, this makes testing in the field possible. The results are also obtained very quickly with this new test, allowing for the ability of analysis right at a crime scene.

The scientist who developed the test says it can be used for all types of DNA testing, including medical diagnostics and forensic testing. The process can also be used to detect biological agents used in terrorism.

Lead researcher and physical chemist Mircea Cotlet described the process: The sensors we’ve developed use a light-absorbing polymer to amplify the fluorescent signal of a dye that emits light only when it binds between two matched pieces of DNA.

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