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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_540796327.jpgWith greater availability of legalized medical marijuana and increased abuse of opioids and other illegal substances, law enforcement encounters with impaired drivers have taken on a new dynamic. In an attempt to better identified those driving vehicles while under the influence and make Illinois roadways safer, police are employing a new type of roadside sobriety test.

Swabbing Starts This Month

The tell-tale sign of alcohol on the breath or slurred speech was usually enough for police to reasonably suspect a driver was impaired. However, determining whether or not a driver is high on drugs presents new challenges, ones for which a newly employed roadside test is expected to help overcome. One west suburban Illinois police department is beginning to use a test that reveals the chemicals in a person’s system 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-design-15.jpgUsing cell phone records to track a suspect’s movement and activity is a frequent technique used by law enforcement when conducting a criminal investigation. However, change appears to be on the horizon as members of the United States Supreme Court seem to indicate that prolonged cell phone tracking without a warrant amounts to an unreasonable search and violates an alleged defendant’s right to privacy.

What Has Changed?

A previous Supreme Court ruling indicated that citizens could expect no privacy from making calls from a landline or for checks they wrote on a bank account; it is widely known and expected that calls or transactions for these are kept for a number of business purposes. This latest challenge seems to indicate a shift from that position.

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Arlington Heights criminal defense lawyerAlthough the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not acknowledge marijuana as a prescription drug, there are currently 28 states with medical marijuana laws in place. Illinois is one of those states. Yet users should know legalization does not mean free reign. There are still regulations, stipulations, and limitations that must be followed, and any failure to do so can result in serious consequences. The following explains further.

Approved Conditions

Passed in 2013, and put into effect in 2014, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Act currently includes 40 chronic diseases and conditions. Though not an exhaustive list, some of the most commonly covered conditions include:

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illinois-wrongful-convictionsWhen you have been caught and accused of a crime, the legal procedure that should follow can quickly take a turn for the worse if the investigators pursue coercive interrogation. A great example of the horror that might unfold is the story of Juan Rivera, who spent 19 years in prison for a rape/murder that he never committed. His story is just one example of the many stories coming out of the term of Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, who is accused of promoting torturous techniques to force people to confess.

A new law in Illinois is aimed to reduce the number of wrongful convictions that have led to high numbers of exonerations across the state. Known as Illinois SB1006, recordings of interrogations in violent crime cases will help to protect accused individuals. The interrogations in Rivera’s case were not recorded and in his case it was simply his word versus the police officers he was accusing.

This is not Illinois’ first attempt to address the issue of wrongful convictions. In 2003, a law sponsored by Barack Obama (at the time a state Senator) required homicide interrogation recordings. Although this was a big step forward, accusations of only rape or other violent crimes might have put other individuals as the same situation as Rivera.

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