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Domestic Violence Accusations Can Damage Your Reputation

 Posted on April 16, 2018 in Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Accusations Can Damage Your ReputationDomestic violence charges brought against you can be resolved with little or no legal consequences. Prosecutors may drop the case due to a lack of evidence or a court may find you not guilty of the charge. Unfortunately, accusations of domestic violence can be enough to damage your reputation. Some people will jump to conclusions about your character without knowing the facts of the case. Even if you are never convicted, they may decide that you must have been guilty of some wrongdoing because you were charged. Clear vindication from your domestic violence accusations is the best way to restore your reputation.

Lack of Privacy

It can be nearly impossible to keep knowledge of domestic violence charges against you private:

Illinois Lawmakers Consider Trying Young Adults in Juvenile Court

 Posted on March 17, 2018 in Criminal Law

Illinois Lawmakers Consider Trying Young Adults in Juvenile CourtMembers of the Illinois House of Representatives have proposed legislation that would allow young adults to be tried in juvenile court. The bill would amend the Illinois Child and Family Services Act to change the definition of a delinquent minor:

  • Starting in 2019, a delinquent minor would include anyone who committed a misdemeanor before the age of 19; and
  • Starting in 2021, the age limit would expand to anyone who committed a misdemeanor before the age of 21.

Judges would be allowed to decide whether defendants ages 18 to 20 should appear before an adult or juvenile court. The goal of the legislation is to reduce the recidivism rate of younger offenders who may be legal adults but are still maturing mentally.

Benefits

Civil rights groups criticize the prison system for creating career criminals. Younger offenders are locked up with little concern for how they will start a new life upon their release. With limited job skills and a criminal record, some former convicts return to the criminal behavior that initially got them arrested. Going through the juvenile court system has many advantages because the goal is to rehabilitate the offender:

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Recording Police Officers Is Allowed, With Some Limits

 Posted on February 15, 2018 in Criminal Law

Recording Police Officers Is Allowed, With Some LimitsVideo recordings of arrests can shed light on instances of police misconduct. A recording may show that the police officer’s account of the arrest was inaccurate or that the officer was overly aggressive with the suspect. The evidence may be enough to dismiss or reduce criminal charges. Police officers sometimes wear body cameras or have dashboard cameras in their vehicles. However, prosecutors will try to suppress video evidence that may hurt their argument. The defense can petition to obtain the video or present its own recording from the defendant or a third party. Illinois allows the public to record interactions with police officers, though there are circumstances in which it may be illegal.

Eavesdropping Law

Before a 2014 Illinois Supreme Court ruling, it was illegal to record a police officer during an arrest without his or her consent. After the law was deemed unconstitutional, Illinois lawmakers amended the section of the criminal code regarding eavesdropping. From the public's perspective, the changes improved the eavesdropping law in a couple of ways:

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Warrant Not Required When Hospital Initiates Toxicology Test

 Posted on January 18, 2018 in Criminal Law

Warrant Not Required When Hospital Initiates Toxicology TestA recent Illinois appellate court decision gained attention because it questioned the constitutionality of a state law that allows police to forcibly obtain a blood or urine sample after a person is arrested for driving under the influence. The court remanded a DUI conviction because police forced the defendant to provide samples without presenting a warrant, even though they had ample time to obtain one. The court stated that the Illinois law violates the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it allows police to conduct a warrantless search without needing to prove urgency. While it was a win for DUI defendants in the state, the decision applies only when specific circumstances occur. There are still scenarios where prosecutors can legally use results from blood or urine tests administered without a warrant.

Recent Example

In the case of People v. Sykes, the defendant was convicted on charges of driving under the influence of cannabis and child endangerment. The defendant had crashed her car into a wall after a day at the beach with her children. A responding police officer described her as smelling of alcohol and being disoriented. After she was taken to the hospital for examination, police arrested her on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The defendant refused a police request to submit to a blood or urine test, and two police officers waited outside her room while she received further treatment. A doctor asked a nurse to obtain a urine sample to determine whether the woman had any intoxicating substances in her system that would explain her disoriented state. The woman refused to give a sample, and the nurse used a catheter to obtain it. The nurse requested the help of several people to hold the woman down while inserting the catheter, including the two police officers. The urine sample showed the woman had cannabis and PCP in her system. Prosecutors obtained the test results months later, which they used to add the DUI cannabis charge.

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New Illinois Law Allows Immediate Sealing After No Conviction

 Posted on December 20, 2017 in Criminal Law

New Illinois Law Allows Immediate Sealing After No ConvictionCriminal charges brought against you that are acquitted or dismissed can still hurt your reputation by showing up on your record when someone does a background check. You can prevent such embarrassment by requesting that the public record of your arrest and charges be sealed. The only entities that would be allowed to see the sealed records without a court order would be:

  • Law enforcement;
  • The Department of Child and Family Services; and
  • Employers that are required by law to conduct background checks for felony convictions.

Sealing your record is a legal process that requires court approval and the opportunity for the state to respond. A recently enacted Illinois law allows defendants whose cases end without a conviction to immediately request the record of the charges be sealed.

Immediate Sealing

The bill revised Illinois’ Criminal Identification Act so that a defendant can file for immediate sealing during the same hearing that he or she was acquitted or the charges were dismissed with prejudice. The law applies to all charges, except for minor traffic offenses. The court would be required to come to a decision during the same hearing, and prosecutors would not be allowed to object to the motion. Factors that the court is likely to consider when making the decision are:

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Sleeping Judge Not Enough for Mistrial

 Posted on November 16, 2017 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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Unlawful Search Dismisses Drug Possession Conviction

 Posted on October 16, 2017 in DuPage County criminal defense attorney

Unlawful Search Dismisses Drug Possession ConvictionAn Illinois appellate court recently overturned a man’s conviction on the charge of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. The defendant successfully argued that Illinois state troopers unlawfully seized and searched his vehicle before discovering the narcotics. A lower court had dismissed his request to suppress the evidence. Without legal evidence of narcotics possession, the appellate court ordered that the charge be dismissed.

Case Details

Six days before the defendant’s arrest, an undercover state trooper met the defendant in order to purchase narcotics. The defendant allegedly provided the state trooper with a small tube containing methamphetamine, but no money was exchanged. On the date of the arrest, the undercover trooper informed the state police that he believed the defendant was transporting narcotics. Police located the defendant’s vehicle, and a state trooper pulled him over for driving seven miles per hour over the speed limit. While the trooper was questioning the defendant and checking for any outstanding warrants, another trooper arrived with a dog trained to identify the presence of narcotics. The dog alerted the trooper to possible drugs in the car. The defendant allegedly gave his verbal consent for the troopers to search the vehicle, but they did not find any narcotics or evidence of hidden compartments. State police then transported the defendant and his vehicle to a local police station, claiming that impending rain would threaten the safety of the troopers at the scene. When at the station, the police began a second search and received written consent from the defendant. The troopers found tubes containing narcotics, located near the vehicle's air filter. The defendant was charged and later convicted, resulting in a 15-year prison sentence.

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Being Charged with Criminal Transmission of HIV

 Posted on September 13, 2017 in Criminal Law

Being Charged with Criminal Transmission of HIVSexual assault cases, such as rape, hinge upon proving whether there was consent between both parties. Some consensual sex acts are also criminalized. Illinois law makes it illegal for someone to knowingly transmit HIV to an unaware person. The victim does not need to be infected in order for charges to be brought. Conviction on a criminal transmission of HIV charge is a class 2 felony, which can result in three to seven years in prison and fines of as much as $25,000. There have been situations where offenders with HIV have purposely or recklessly infected victims by having unprotected sex. However, spite can motivate some former lovers to make the criminal accusation.

Defining Criminal Acts

Since first adopting the criminal transmission of HIV law in 1989, Illinois has made several changes that narrow the scope of the offense. Not all sexual acts pose a reasonable risk of transmitting HIV. According to the law, there are three ways someone can criminally transmit HIV:

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Illinois Ranked 19th Among States with Strictest DUI Laws

 Posted on August 15, 2017 in DuPage County criminal defense attorney

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 Stops

 Posted on July 25, 2017 in Criminal Law

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.

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