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IL DUI lawyerOne of the tools that the state of Illinois uses to find and deter those who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is by conducting sobriety checkpoints. The Supreme Court of the United States has held that sobriety checkpoints do not inherently violate any constitutional rights, as long as they are conducted in a legal manner. In Illinois, this means the time, date and location of the sobriety checkpoint should be announced to the public prior to it taking place and signs and/or lights should be used to designate the checkpoints. Being pulled over for DUI can have a significant impact on your life, which is why it is important to understand that you do have rights when you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint in Illinois.

You Have the Right to Turn Around and Avoid the Checkpoint

The first thing you should understand is that you are not required to go through the sobriety checkpoint. Police officers are required to clearly mark DUI checkpoints and make them visible to drivers. If you see a DUI checkpoint coming up and you do not wish to go through it, you are legally permitted to avoid the checkpoint, as long as you can do so safely without breaking any laws. However, you should be aware that nearby officers may be watching for drivers who avoid the checkpoint and may pull you over for doing so.

You Have the Right to Avoid Answering Questions

One of the first things an officer does after pulling you over is try to gather probable cause for an arrest. Just like any other traffic stop, you have the right to remain silent. The only information and documents you are legally required to furnish when asked is your driver’s license, your vehicle registration and your proof of insurance. Probable cause can also be established by sight or smell, so you can choose to keep your windows rolled up and refuse to speak with the officer, however, you must also understand that if the officer requests that you step out of the vehicle, you must adhere to the order.

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IL defense lawyerEach year, the FBI collects important data on hate crimes that occur around the country in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Last week, the FBI released the 2019 hate crime statistics, the most recent hate crime data available for the U.S. According to that data, there were 65 hate crimes that were reported to have taken place in the state of Illinois in 2019. In recent years, lawmakers and law enforcement agencies across the country have put more money and resources into the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes, which has led to a big push to protect people of certain classes across the country. As a result, law enforcement and prosecutors often punish offenders to the fullest extent of the law. However, the consequences for committing a hate crime in Illinois can be serious.

What Is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime occurs when a person commits some type of crime against another person because of that person’s actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or physical or mental disability. Typically, hate crimes are violent in nature, but they can also consist of crimes against the victim’s property. Examples of hate crime in Illinois can include:

  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Intimidation
  • Cyberstalking
  • Trespassing
  • Damage to property
  • Disorderly conduct

What Are the Consequences of a Hate Crime Conviction?

The consequences of a hate crime conviction in Illinois depend on the circumstances surrounding the case. In most cases, a first offense is charged as a Class 4 felony, while a second or subsequent offense is charged as a Class 2 felony. Under certain circumstances, such as if the crime was committed in a school or church, a first offense can be charged as a Class 3 felony. All felony charges in Illinois carry the possibility of up to $25,000 in fines and years of prison time. If you are found guilty of a hate crime, the judge has the option to either order restitution paid to the victim or impose a fine based on the severity of the crime.

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Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense attorney court supervision

It can be a scary experience when you or a loved one has been charged with a crime. There are many parts of the criminal justice system that are confusing, overwhelming, and at times just downright frustrating. Much of this frustration and anxiety stems from the initial uncertainty of the outcome of the situation and how it will affect the rest of your life. Certain criminal offenses carry stigmas with them and a conviction on your record could mar it forever. Some crimes even result in consequences that could impact you for the rest of your life, such as if you were convicted of an offense that will never be eligible for expungement. Fortunately, your fate is not set in stone when you are charged with a crime. There are also a variety of sentencing options that are available for the judge to choose from in many cases, including court supervision.

What Is Court Supervision?

In Illinois, the courts allow judges to sentence certain misdemeanor criminal offenders to court supervision, which then suspends the judgment in the case for a specified amount of time. Felony offenders are not eligible for court supervision and must be sentenced to conditional discharge, probation, or prison. Rather than immediately doling out a conviction, court supervision basically puts the case on pause until your period of supervision has concluded. Court supervision also functions very similarly to probation, as the judge can choose to include certain provisions in the order for supervision that you must follow or face further punishment.

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Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney

In the state of Illinois, there are hundreds of crimes that you could be accused of committing, ranging from petty traffic violations to serious felony offenses that could change your life forever. Depending on the severity of your case, the prosecutor will determine what kind of evidence he or she needs to build a case against you. Evidentiary items, such as specific objects, weapons, or even DNA are typically taken from the scene where the crime was alleged to have taken place. However, in many cases, the police may opt to search your home or even your vehicle if you are charged with a crime. Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, each person has certain rights and protections with regard to searches and seizures. If those rights are violated, the validity of the evidence obtained during the search and seizure may become compromised. 

Issuing the Search Warrant

The right against an unreasonable search and seizure is one of the most basic rights awarded to every person in the country. In most cases, police almost always need a search warrant to enter and search your home. A search warrant is issued by a judge and contains information about a location that police are to search for evidence or for individuals connected with the crime. The warrant should describe the location of the objects that are meant to be seized and the actual object or person they want to seize.

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Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense attorney

In recent years, the term “criminal justice reform” has been touted day in and day out as something that is desperately needed across the country. Many groups have been calling for major changes to multiple elements of the criminal justice system, though no such law had been passed until now. Recently, both the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate passed HB3653 and sent the legislation off to the desk of Illinois State Governor J.B. Pritzker for a final signature. HB3653 contains many new laws that help those who have been charged with or arrested for a crime.

Cash Bail to Be Eliminated

One of the biggest changes that HB3653 brings is the elimination of the cash bail system. Bail is the current system that is used to release individuals who have been charged with a crime from jail before their trial, while still ensuring they will return to their court hearings and appearances. However, cash bail is often far-fetched for many people, even when only 10 percent of the amount is required to be posted. This resulted in prisons being overcrowded with individuals awaiting trial simply because they could not afford to get out of jail. By eliminating cash bail, non-violent offenders can await trial in their own community and violent offenders must remain in jail, regardless of their ability to pay. 

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