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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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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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Illinois defense lawyerWith the rise of technology, internet-based crimes have become more common in our society. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, nearly 300,000 complaints were made concerning internet crime in 2017. Illinois ranked number seven on the list of states with the most internet crime incidences. The state of Illinois made changes to the Cyberstalking section of the Criminal Code of 2012, which went into effect at the beginning of 2018.

What Is Cyberstalking?

According to Illinois law, cyberstalking takes places when a person uses electronic communication to cause another person to fear for their safety or suffer emotional distress. The law also says that cyberstalking is committed if a person uses electronic communication to harass another person on two or more occasions and threatens bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint of the person or a family member of the person.

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Posted on in Criminal Law

plea bargain, criminal defense, Arlington Heights Criminal Defense LawyerAlthough riveting courtroom dramas serve as the dramatic climax in countless movies, books, and TV shows, most criminal matters are resolved without such a high-stakes intellectual duel.

Plea bargaining first appeared in the 1880s, which is not very long ago when considering the fact that criminal trials date back to Biblical times. In one of the earliest recorded cases, Albert McKenzie, who pilfered $52.50 from his sewing machine company employer, pled guilty to misdemeanor embezzlement to avoid a felony trial. The practice grew steadily before exploding in the 1980s and 1990s, partially in response to the federal government’s "war on crime" that drastically increased the minimum sentences for even low-level offenses.

Today, although estimates vary, around 95 percent of criminal cases are disposed of by plea bargain. By comparison, again depending on the location, about 85 percent of civil cases are settled out of court.

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