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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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Wheaton juvenile crimes defense attorneyIf your son or daughter has been accused of a crime, he or she will probably need to face trial but not in an adult criminal court. For minors ages 17 and younger, DuPage County has a robust juvenile court system. They take every crime committed by young people very seriously. From relatively minor crimes such as theft or traffic violations to much more serious offenses like underage drinking, DUI, drug possession, and sexual assault,  juvenile offenses in Illinois have the potential to threaten the future of your son or daughter’s life.

Fortunately, in Illinois, despite a strict juvenile court system, the objective is still rehabilitation as opposed to punishment. Nearly everyone involved in the process is looking to help the accused get back on track after the follies of their youth or other lapses in judgment attributed to immaturity as a young person. However, that is not to say that your son or daughter should not have the appropriate representation from a juvenile defense attorney during their trial. Here are some reasons why the right lawyer during a juvenile defense case is critical.

Why Having an Attorney Matters

If you hire the right lawyer to represent your son or daughter in juvenile court, you and your child can benefit in the following ways:

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DuPage County criminal defense attorneyIf you are apprehended by law enforcement for any criminal charges, including DUI, drug charges, assault, Internet sex crimes, or a wide variety of other criminal offenses, there are myriad ways that a police officer could fail to follow proper procedures during and after your arrest that could be used against the prosecution if your case goes to trial. Anything from use of excessive force to neglecting to read you your rights or corrupting the evidence collected at the scene, be it unintentionally or otherwise. However, in this age of the COVID-19 pandemic, even with the first round of vaccines already being rolled out, there is an increased likelihood of the police making some mistakes that could infect you with the COVID-19 virus. If that is the circumstance, you might get the case dismissed or you could win the case on that single technicality. Here is an overview of the potential in using coronavirus exposure as a unique criminal defense strategy for this unprecedented time in history.

Law Enforcement Procedures in Place to Cope with COVID-19 in Illinois

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the federal level and state health authorities, as well as city-wide governments throughout Illinois at the local level, have issued directives and guidance for law enforcement concerning properly handling arrests and jailing or imprisonment during the pandemic. Among the major changes in police officer behaviors and procedures due to COVID-19 are:

  • The same advice given to civilians. Officers must maintain good hand hygiene by washing your hands/sanitizing yourself, do not touch your face, wear personal protective equipment (PPE like masks) whenever possible, and keep your distance at six feet whenever possible (within reason in the case of officers, provided it does not interfere with proper arrest and booking procedures).
  • If COVID-19 exposure or infection is suspected, the police should notify the EMS so they can evaluate anyone who exhibits symptoms and take them to a healthcare facility for initial care.
  • Disinfect belts, gear, and equipment regularly, especially if exposure is suspected.
  • For jailing, if the alleged offender is exhibiting COVID symptoms or claims to have COVID, the officer must attempt to separate them from the other people in jail or working in the jail as often as possible, even if that means giving them their own cell whenever possible until the alleged offender can get tested for the virus.

If you suspect or witness the police blatantly or deliberately—possibly even maliciously—not following such safety guidelines, your experienced lawyer might be able to use that during his arguments in court.

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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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Posted by on in Criminal Law
Sleeping Judge Not Enough for MistrialYour trial when facing criminal charges is a vitally important moment in you life. A conviction can result in a prison sentence and will remain on your record. So, you may be understandably offended if a judge or juror falls asleep during your trial. The action implies that your trial is not worth staying awake for. You may even seek a mistrial on the grounds that a judge or juror was not paying proper attention during the trial. However, Illinois courts have ruled that an isolated incident of a person napping during a trial is not enough reason to cast doubt on the trial’s outcome.

Recent Example

A defendant recently appealed his first-degree murder conviction, on the grounds that there should have been a mistrial after a judge apparently fell asleep during testimony. The trial transcript shows an exchange between both counsel and the judge following a video testimony. The judge did not respond to repeated requests to turn the lights back on until a clerk reportedly poked him to wake him up. The jury eventually found the defendant guilty, and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The defense counsel filed a motion for a mistrial, claiming that the judge had fallen asleep multiple times during the trial. The judge denied both the motion and the allegation, stating that:

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