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Cyberbullying Can Have Criminal Consequences in IllinoisPeople going through adolescence are still learning the appropriate way to interact with and treat other people. Because of their immaturity, some children engage in harassing or bullying behavior. The ubiquitousness of digital communications has created a subcategory of bullying known as cyberbullying. A teenager who engages in cyberbullying may face more than school discipline if caught. Illinois classifies cyberbullying as a criminal offense, and a teen accused of cyberbullying can end up in court.

What Is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying falls under Illinois’ law against cyberstalking, which is electronic communication that causes victims emotional distress or to fear for their safety. Cyberstalking can take many forms, including:

  • Unwelcome personal messages of a violent or sexual nature;
  • Targeting someone through social media;
  • Creating or maintaining a website dedicated to harassing a victim; or
  • Using digital communications to violate the privacy or security of the victim.

Why Is Cyberbullying a Crime?

People who instigate or participate in cyberbullying may believe that they are having innocent fun and have no intention of following through on any threats. However, cyberbullying can have real-life consequences if it affects the behavior of the target. A student may stop attending school out of fear of ridicule. In a few cases, cyberbullying targets have committed suicide. Cyberbullying can be more damaging than in-person bullying because:

  • It can be public;
  • It may encourage others may gang up on the target;
  • The bullying content is immediate and often permanent; and
  • The bullies can be anonymous, making it difficult to stop them.

What Are the Penalties for Cyberbullying?

Illinois identifies cyberstalking as a class 4 felony, which is punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine of as much as $25,000. There is a separate charge for interfering with a child’s school attendance as a result of cyberbullying. This is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by less than a year in prison and a fine of as much as $2,500.

Contact a Wheaton Juvenile Defense Attorney

If your child is accused of cyberbullying, you should first determine whether your child is actually responsible for the communications. If he or she is responsible, you can question whether the communications could have reasonably caused the victim to become distressed or to fear for his or her safety. An adolescent will not face imprisonment if found guilty of cyberbullying, but the consequences should focus more on teaching proper behavior than punishing your child. A DuPage County juvenile defense attorney at Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, can protect your child from overly punitive measures in a juvenile court. To schedule a consultation, call 630-260-9647.



Posted in Computer Crimes, Criminal Law, Cyberbullying, DuPage County criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Juvenile Crimes, Juvenile Offenders | Tagged , , ,

Five Facts About Wrongful Convictions in 2018Illinois by far led the nation for having the most defendants who were exonerated of their crimes in 2018, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. Of the 151 exonerations in 2018, 49 of them occurred in Illinois. The next closest states were New York and Texas, each with 16 exonerations. Thirty-one of the Illinois exonerations stemmed from a Chicago Police Department scandal in which officers framed defendants on drug and weapons charges. However, the 18 remaining exonerations would have still lead the nation. Wrongful convictions continue to plague the U.S. justice system, destroying lives in the process. The National Registry of Exonerations’ 2018 report shares several facts about wrongful convictions in the U.S.:

  1. Exonerees Spent an Average of 10.9 Years in Prison: The 151 exonerated defendants in 2018 lost a combined 1,639 years of their lives due to wrongful convictions, which was a record according to the report. Two defendants spent about 45 years in prison.
  2. Two-Thirds of the Exonerations Were for Violent Crimes: Of the 101 exonerations for violent crimes, 68 were for homicide or manslaughter charges. Sexual assault charges accounted for 17 more exonerations. The remaining violent crimes were for charges such as robbery, burglary, assault, attempted murder, arson, and kidnapping.
  3. Most of the Exonerations for Non-Violent Crimes Were for Drug Charges: There were 33 exonerations for drug crimes, such as possession or sale. Many of those drug crime exonerations came from the Chicago Police Department scandal. Other non-violent crime exonerations included gun possession, fraud, and sex offender registration.
  4. A Majority of the Wrongful Convictions Were Due to Official Misconduct: The report attributed 107 of the exonerations to police misconduct, which includes concealing evidence, threatening witnesses, and producing false forensic tests. Mistaken witness identification and false confessions were the other causes of wrongful convictions.
  5. Seventy of the Exonerations Determined No Crime Occurred: You can be exonerated for one crime while still being guilty of another charge. In 2018, 70 of the defendants who were exonerated had not committed any crime, including one defendant who had been sentenced to death.

Contact a DuPage County Criminal Defense Attorney

There are organizations that dedicate themselves to exonerating defendants for wrongful convictions. However, those organizations focus on high-profile cases, which is why homicide cases were the most common in the exonerations. A Wheaton, Illinois, criminal defense attorney at Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, is your best resource if you believe you have been wrongfully convicted. We can examine the evidence in your case to determine whether there might be cause to overturn your conviction. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-260-9647.



Posted in Assualt & Battery, Criminal Law, Drug Crimes, DuPage County criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Not Guilty, Wrongful Conviction | Tagged , , , ,

Rescinding a Summary Suspension After DUI ArrestBefore your case even goes to trial, Illinois can suspend your driver’s license after you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. A statutory summary suspension is a civil action that the Illinois Secretary of State’s office will use if a DUI suspect failed a blood alcohol concentration test or refused to take the test. You may be able to rescind your suspension if you can prove that:

  • The officer did not properly place you under arrest;
  • The officer failed to warn you about the consequences of refusing the test;
  • The officer had no reason to believe that you were driving under the influence;
  • You did not refuse the test; or
  • The test results were not over the legal limit or were inaccurate.

Your suspension may be automatically rescinded if the state does not allow a hearing on your petition to rescind in a timely fashion. An Illinois appellate court recently granted a defendant’s petition to rescind for that reason.

Recent Case

In People v. Patel, the defendant has been charged with two counts of DUI and was scheduled to make his first appearance in court on Sept. 14, 2017. The defendant filed a petition to rescind his summary suspension on Aug. 14, 2017, along with a discovery request for:

  • The booking room video from his arrest; and
  • The records of the Breathalyzer accuracy test.

At the Sept. 14 hearing, the prosecution had not yet provided the defense with the requested evidence. The court gave the prosecution an additional week to produce the evidence. During a Sept. 21 hearing, the defendant said that his summary suspension should be immediately rescinded because he had not received a timely hearing as required by state law. The court denied his request and ordered that the hearing on his petition should continue as planned.


An Illinois appellate court overturned the lower court’s ruling and rescinded the defendant’s summary suspension. When a defendant petitions to rescind a suspension, he or she must receive a hearing on the petition within 30 days or at the first scheduled court hearing, unless the defendant is responsible for the delay. In this case, the appellate court found that the state was responsible for delaying the hearing because it had waited until Sept. 8 to start the process of retrieving the defendant’s requested evidence. The prosecution had offered to commence with the hearing on Sept. 14, but the defense needed the evidence in order to present his case. By the time that the defense received the evidence on Sept. 21, 38 days had passed since the initial petition had been filed.

Contact a Wheaton Criminal Defense Attorney

Rescinding your summary suspension can allow you to continue driving while you await your DUI trial. A DuPage County criminal defense attorney at Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, knows how to find evidence when filing a petition to rescind your suspension. To schedule a consultation, call 630-260-9647.



Posted in Criminal Law, Driver's License Suspension and Revocation, DUI, DuPage County criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Summary Suspension | Tagged , , ,