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b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-design-18.jpgIn the weeks leading up to the new year, counties throughout Illinois are preparing to implement the facets of a new law that should reduce jail overcrowding. Signed into law earlier this year, the Illinois Bail Reform Act was created with a goal of making it easier for those charged with minor criminal offenses to remain free until they are required to appear in court. 

Defendants Now Have Options to Gain Release

Proponents of the new legislation indicated that the previous bail system unfairly detained the poor and indigent for relatively minor offenses. The new law is said to restore a defendant’s constitutional rights, and avoid serving time in jail prior to actually receiving a trial. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_633967292.jpgExcept in cases of murder, treason, arson and forgery, among others, the prosecution of crimes is restricted by a statute of limitations. This law sets a time limit under which law enforcement and prosecutors have to charge a suspect with a crime. Illinois made a change earlier this year when legislation was passed and signed that eliminated the statute of limitations for sexual assault and abuse committed against children. 

Reaction to Decades-Old Case Prompted Change

A once-prominent elected official  from the state of Illinois had sexually abused high school students during his time as a teacher and coach in the 1960s and 1970s. When it was learned that he would only face sentencing for financial-related crimes, citizens urged their legislators to make changes to state law. 

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Arlington Heights, Arlington Heights criminal defense lawyer, Arlington Heights drunk driving lawyer, drinking and driving, DUI, DUI arrest, DUI attorney, DUI charges, DUI lawyer, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, illinois dui attorney, refusing a chemical testReports indicate that approximately one-quarter of people pulled over in the U.S. refuse a breathalyzer test if asked. This can have serious consequences, even if you have not been drinking. Illinois driving laws include a clause that allows for a person’s license to be revoked purely on his or her refusal to submit to chemical testing when pulled over. In fact, a person can have his or her license suspended for a full year for refusing a breathalyzer test in Illinois. This is six months longer than if a person submits to a breathalyzer test and is found to have a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.

Recently, a Chicago guitarist was arrested for a drunk driving incident in which he allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian, and had a blood alcohol content that was twice the legal limit. However, when initially questioned, he refused to take a field sobriety test. He finally submitted to a breathalyzer nearly seven hours after the incident while he was in holding.

There are three types of chemical testing to determine sobriety employed by the state of Illinois—breath, urine and blood. According to DrivingUniversity.com, this is because in Illinois a statute of "implied consent" applies. By getting into your car and starting the ignition after you have been drinking, you automatically consent to a chemical test for alcohol in the event that you are asked. This is known as a "No Refusal" law. According to WGEM.com, there are currently nine states, Illinois included, that have No Refusal laws in place.

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Posted on in DUI

Arlington Heights, Arlington Heights DUI attorney, blood-alcohol level, criminal defense lawyer, DUI, DUI defendant, expungement, felony DUI crimes, Illinois DUI, Illinois DUI laws, intoxication, Scott F. AndersWhen a person is charged with driving under the influence (DUI), some may assume the individual was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. However, the scope of DUI expands to other types of offenses, such as high driving. 

According to the 2014 Illinois Fact Book, published by Secretary of State Jessie White, driving under the influence involves operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, medically prescribed drugs such as cannabis, or any other intoxicating substances like methamphetamine. Under Illinois state laws, a person is considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol if his or her blood-alcohol level is .08 or higher.

In addition, drivers are not permitted to "operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis prescribed for medicinal purposes." If a judge finds a person guilty of DUI, his or her driver’s license could be suspended for at least six months, although the penalty could last for a year. A driver's medical cannabis card may also be revoked. Also, depending on the circumstances of the arrest, the driver could face other consequences—especially if the intoxication led to the injury or harm of another person.

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criminal exoneration, Arlington Heights criminal defense, criminal lawyer, Chicago attorneyAccording to a report from the National Registry of Exonerations, last year, Illinois was the number two state in the nation which exonerated people who were wrongfully convicted of crimes. In 2013, the state exonerated 9 people, officially vindicated of the crimes for which they were convicted. Some of those who had been convicted had been in prison for decades for crimes they had never committed. The number one state with the most exonerations in 2013 was Texas, with 13 people absolved of their criminal convictions. New York followed with 8, California with 6, Michigan and Missouri were tied with 5. According to the registry, there have been 1,304 exonerations nationally since 1989. One third of the total number of exonerated cases was for crimes that didn’t actually happen. Almost half of these were for non-violent crimes. The racial/ethical breakdown was as follows: 47 percent of those exonerated were black, 40 percent were white, 11 percent were Hispanic and 2 percent were Native American or Asian. Ninety-two percent were men and eight percent were women. Eleven percent of those exonerated had pled guilty before trial. Eighty-one percent were convicted by a jury and seven percent convicted by a judge. One percent was unknown.

The total number for 2013 was 87, which was the highest year ever. However, the percentage of those exonerations based on DNA evidence dropped. A spokesperson from the registry said this decrease is a good indicator of the increasing number of convictions that are being granted that are for crimes other than murder and sexual assault.

 However, legal experts also point out that these figures also highlight the need for a good quality defense attorney. Almost one third of those exonerated were convicted due to what the registry refers to as an "inadequate legal defense." The total number of years combined that the 87 people whom were exonerated had spent a total of 12,500 years in jail for crimes they didn’t commit. If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are protected in the courtroom.

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