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Arlington Heights BUI Defense LawyerSummer is approaching and many people are excited to enjoy summer activities like swimming, fishing, and boating. Alcohol and summer fun often go hand in hand. However, criminal charges for operating a boat under the influence of alcohol can bring summer enjoyment to an abrupt halt. If you are an Illinois resident, it is crucial that you understand state laws prohibiting boating under the influence (BUI) and the penalties associated with a BUI conviction.

Illinois Laws Regarding Drug and Alcohol Use on a Boat

Illinois Conservation Police report that 16 individuals lost their lives in boating accidents last year. Four of those fatalities involved impairment by drugs or alcohol. Although many people see drinking while boating as less dangerous than drunk driving, both are associated with increased risk of injuries and fatalities.

To reduce the number of boat accidents and injuries, Illinois penalizes BUI harshly. Under Illinois law, it is illegal to be in “actual physical control” of a pontoon, fishing boat, jet ski, or other watercraft if:

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Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense LawyerAssault occurs when someone makes someone else afraid of impending violence. Battery is the actual physical conduct between the two people. Criminal charges for assault or battery may follow a bar fight, domestic disturbance, or even an argument that got out of hand.

Criminal penalties for assault and battery can include jail time and a permanent criminal record. If you or a loved one were charged with assault, battery, or another violent offense, it is important to explore your defense options. One way to fight criminal charges for assault or battery is to argue self-defense.

What Counts as Self-Defense?

Most people will stand up for themselves if they are provoked. Unfortunately, some people find themselves facing criminal charges for simply defending themselves. However, successfully arguing self-defense during a criminal case is easier said than done. There are limited circumstances in which injurious force is justified in Illinois law.

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Arlington Heights Criminal Defense LawyerCriminal defense attorneys have a variety of tools at their disposal when defending a client charged with a criminal offense. For the prosecution to obtain a guilty verdict and convict a defendant of a crime, the prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Usually, the prosecution uses a combination of evidence and testimony to argue that the defendant is guilty. However, the evidence must meet certain criteria to be used in a criminal case.

If you or a loved one were charged with a crime, it is important to understand how a motion to suppress evidence may be used to defend against the charges.   

Evidence and Statements Acquired Through Illegal Means

Fortunately, Americans have rights protected by the Constitution and other legislation. If the evidence in a criminal case is obtained in violation of these rights, it may be suppressed. This means that the evidence is inadmissible in court and may not be used during the trial.

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Arlington Heights Expungement LawyerBeing arrested and put in the back of a police car can be an overwhelming and confusing experience. Many people in this situation are unsure of what to expect after an arrest. They are unfamiliar with the bond hearing process or what it means to be formally “charged” with a crime. Likewise, many people charged with a crime do not understand the long-term consequences of the charge.  If the charges are eventually dismissed or they are found “not guilty”, they assume that there is no record of the charges.

Unfortunately, being arrested or charged with a crime can still be recorded on a person’s public criminal record even if he or she is ultimately acquitted of the charges.  

Criminal Records in Illinois

Not every arrest leads to formal criminal charges. Sometimes, the prosecution does not have enough evidence to actually charge someone with a crime. The suspect is released from police custody and free to go about living his or her life. It is also possible to be charged with a crime only for the prosecution to drop the charges or dismiss the case. Individuals in these types of situations are usually unaware that the arrest or criminal charges are documented on their criminal record. Fortunately, there is a way to erase or “expunge” your criminal record.

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Arlington Heights Drug Offense LawyerWhether the charges are for drug possession, drug manufacturing, or drug distribution, being accused of a drug crime can dramatically alter your life. Depending on the type of substance and the amount of the substances allegedly in your possession, drug crimes can lead to profound consequences, including years behind bars.

If you or a loved one were arrested for a drug-related offense, contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer right away. Do not answer any questions from police and remain silent. Your lawyer will ensure your rights are not violated and help you form a strong defense strategy.

Drugs Were Discovered During an Illegal Search and Seizure

Police and other government officials are bound by the U.S. Constitution and other laws. They cannot search your home or property without just cause. To search a residence, police typically need a search warrant signed by a judge. Vehicle searches do not require a search warrant, however police do need probable cause to search a car, truck, or other vehicle without your consent. This means that the police must have a reasonable belief that a crime has taken place or there is illegal contraband in the vehicle.  If a police search is deemed unlawful, any evidence obtained in the search may be inadmissible during court. So, if police did not have a valid reason to search your property, any drugs or paraphernalia they found will not be usable in the prosecution’s case against you.

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