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IL defense lawyerDespite the rights given to us in the Constitution, not all individuals are treated equally when it comes to the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system was created with the intention that everyone would be treated as equals to give everyone a fair chance at life and liberty. Unfortunately, that is not always the reality. In many cases, smaller minority groups and even juveniles involved in the criminal justice system are unfairly treated. Fortunately, steps are being taken each day to help combat some of the injustices that currently exist. In recent weeks, the state of Illinois has become the first state to prohibit police officers from using deception or lying when interrogating a juvenile suspect.

Changes in the Law

When police are investigating a crime, one of the many tools that they use to do it is interrogations. In recent weeks, interrogations have been in the media, specifically, the ability of questioning officers to mislead juvenile suspects. Now, law enforcement officials in the state of Illinois are prohibited from using deceptive tactics when interrogating young suspects. Police often use deceptive practices, such as lying, conveying fabricated information, and falsely promising leniency for confessing against juveniles. However, under the new law, any evidence obtained through these means will not be admissible in court.

Deception and False Confessions

The criminal justice system has long recognized a need for differentiation between adult and juvenile offenders. The first juvenile court in the country was created in Cook County in 1899. Since then, nearly every jurisdiction in the country has some form of a juvenile justice system. According to the Innocence Project, juveniles are especially vulnerable to false confessions and are actually between two and three times more likely to give a false confession than an adult. In around 30 percent of cases involving wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence, deceptive interrogation practices were a contributing factor.

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IL defense lawyerRelations between law enforcement and the country’s citizens have been rocky because of various and multiple events that have been portrayed in the media. In many cases, police have overstepped the boundaries in place that protect a person’s constitutional rights. One common right that is often violated during traffic stops is the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. In most cases, a police officer must have a warrant to search your vehicle, just as if they were intending to search your home. However, there are certain exceptions that would allow officers to legally search your vehicle without a warrant and obtain evidence that may result in a criminal charge.

You Consent to the Search

The easiest way officers can legally search your vehicle without a warrant is simply by gaining your permission to search your vehicle. In most cases, the officer will ask you if he or she can search your vehicle before they resort to telling you that they are going to search it. You do not have to consent to a warrantless search. However, if you do not consent to a vehicle search, the officers will likely still proceed with the search under one of these other two circumstances.

The Evidence Was in Plain View

Officers have the right to search your vehicle if they see something that is considered to be in “plain view.” This means that whatever the officer sees must be able to be viewed from a place that the officer has a right to be and the incriminating nature of the item must be apparent.

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IL defense lawyerCountries around the world vary when it comes to the legal drinking age. In some countries, such as Germany, the legal drinking age is 16. In other countries -- around 61 percent of countries around the globe -- have a legal drinking age of 18 or 19 years old. The legal drinking age for anyone in any of the 50 states is 21. If a minor is caught drinking before they are 21, they face possible criminal charges, a driver’s license suspension or revocation, and expensive fines. In Illinois, an adult who furnishes alcohol to a minor or allows minors to drink on their property can also face criminal charges.

Illinois’ “Social Host” Law

Despite years of bringing attention to the dangers of underage drinking and advocating against it, plenty of teens still consume alcohol across the country. The majority of alcohol consumption by minors is done at home in social settings. However, parents are not permitted to allow minors to drink. This “social host” law was put into effect in 2013 and prohibits parents from knowingly allowing their child or other minors to consume alcohol, even in a private residence. Parents who break this law face a Class A misdemeanor charge, which is the most serious of misdemeanors. For a Class A misdemeanor, you face up to one year in jail, a minimum fine of $500, and the possibility of up to $2,500 in fines.

If the parent knowingly allows minors to consume alcohol on their property and anyone suffers a great bodily injury or death, the parent can be charged with a Class 4 felony. This means that you could face between one and three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

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IL defense lawyerIf you have ever watched a movie or TV show dealing with the subject of crime, chances are you have heard someone try to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, which is also sometimes shortened to simply “pleading insanity.” This is often an easy subject to dramatize, making it a prime subject for show business, but this idea actually also has legitimate merit in the legal world, though under specific circumstances. In some situations, pleading not guilty by reason of insanity is a possible way a person could be held not criminally responsible for a crime, but only if they meet certain requirements.

Insanity in Illinois

According to Illinois law, a person cannot be held criminally responsible for a crime if they are unaware of the illegal nature of their actions because of a “mental disease or mental defect.” Insanity is an admissible defense if the defense team can prove that a person meets the state’s requirements for “mental disease or mental defect.” Different states have slightly different ways of determining whether or not a person meets the standards, but Illinois follows the requirements set forth by the American Law Institute in the Model Penal Code. These standards state that a person cannot use the insanity defense unless they:

  • Have a qualifying mental disease or mental defect
  • The mental disease or mental defect caused the person to be unable to appreciate that what he or she did was illegal

Consequences of an Insanity Plea

Once you make the petition for insanity, you will then have to attend a hearing to determine whether or not the petition will be granted. If your defense team is able to successfully prove an insanity plea, then it will be determined whether or not you will ever be fit to stand trial for the crime. In either case, you will be sentenced to treatment in a mental health facility and could remain there for all or a portion of your sentence. There is also a possibility that the treatment ordered at the mental health facility lasts longer than your sentence would have.

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IL defense lawyerSince its inception, the United States has done things a little differently. When it comes to gun laws, the country as a whole is unique. The inherent right to gun ownership is written into the country’s constitution, though each individual state has the right to regulate the possession, use, sale, purchase, and/or transfer of firearms within their boundaries. While some states are laxer with their firearm laws, the state of Illinois tends to have rather strict laws concerning firearms. In particular, not everyone is legally permitted to own a firearm in the state of Illinois. Being caught in possession of a firearm when you are not legally supposed to have one can lead to serious consequences that require representation from a skilled Illinois criminal defense attorney.

FOID Cards and Ineligibility

Though not all states have the same requirements, the state of Illinois requires everyone in possession of a firearm to have a valid firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card to be in legal possession of that firearm. To be eligible to receive a FOID card, you must meet certain requirements, as there are certain things that can make you ineligible for ownership, both on the state and federal level. In general, a person is ineligible for a FOID card if they:

  • Are not yet 21 years old, or do not have a parent or legal guardian sponsor who is eligible for a FOID card
  • Are not a resident of the state of Illinois
  • Have been convicted of a felony
  • Are addicted to narcotics
  • Have been a patient in a mental health facility in the past five years
  • Have been a patient in a mental health facility more than five years ago, but have failed to receive a mental health certification
  • Have been involuntarily committed into a mental health facility
  • Are intellectually or developmentally disabled
  • Have been adjudicated as a mentally disabled person
  • Are an illegal alien in the United States
  • Are subject to an existing order of protection
  • Have been convicted within the past five years of battery, assault, aggravated assault, or violation of an order of protection in which a firearm was used or possessed
  • Have been convicted of domestic battery
  • Have been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. military

Speak to Our Rolling Meadows, IL Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Though it is written into our constitution that we have the right to bear arms, that right is treated more like a privilege that can be revoked if it is deemed necessary. In some circumstances, you may be found ineligible to own or continue to own firearms in Illinois, in which case, you must surrender them or face consequences for illegal ownership. Gun crimes are taken very seriously in Illinois, which is why having a skilled Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense attorney on your side is a good idea. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law will put his experience to use to get you the best outcome possible. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 847-253-3400.

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