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Proposed Law Would Require IIDs for All New Vehicles

 Posted on September 15,2015 in DUI

iid, DUI, illinois dui defense attorneyCiting statistics from a study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, a federal lawmaker has announced that she will be introducing legislation that will require all new cars manufactured by American companies to come equipped with ignition interlock technology in order to stop drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Ignition interlock devices (IID) measure a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) the same way a breathalyzer does. When the device is installed on a vehicle, it requires a driver to provide the device with a breath sample in order for the vehicle to start. If the driver’s BAC is over a pre-programmed limit, the vehicle will not start. Many states, including Illinois, use these devices as criteria for reinstating the driving privileges of a person who has been convicted of driving under the influence.

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When Can The State Seize Your Car?

 Posted on September 08,2015 in DUI

tow truck, impound law, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneySweeping vehicle impound laws are popping up throughout the country, and Illinois is no exception. Since the fees accumulate daily, the total amount due quickly exceeds the car’s value, in many cases. If the police seized your vehicle as part of a criminal law matter, what are your rights?

Vehicle Impound Law

Chapter 625 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes is the primary vehicle impound law in criminal cases. Peace officer shave the right to seize a vehicle without a warrant in the following situations:

  • DUI: Arresting officers must reasonably believe that a subsequent violation is likely. After a 12-hour waiting period, owners may ask to regain possession if they were not driving the vehicle at the time, or if they temporarily assign the vehicle to another qualified driver.

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Alleged Victims Receive An Official Voice In Criminal Courts

 Posted on August 31,2015 in Criminal Law

victims rights, rights of the accused, Illinois criminal defense attorneyGovernor Bruce Rauner recently signed HB 1121, the Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights. What are some important rights that defendants have in a criminal case?

The founder of Marsy's Law for All proclaimed that the measure gives alleged crime victims "a much stronger voice in the Illinois criminal justice system." This law follows up on a Constitutional amendment that voters adopted in November 2014. Among other provisions, Illinois’ version of Marsy’s Law requires prosecutors to keep alleged crime victims informed of a case’s progress, gives victims the right to be present at plea hearings, and clearly delineates victims’ rights.

California passed the first Marsy’s Law in 2008, and that measure is arguably the strongest victims’ rights provision in the United States

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To Plea or Not To Plea

 Posted on August 25,2015 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.

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A Totally Clean Slate

 Posted on August 18,2015 in Criminal Law

expunction, expungement, sealing, Illinois criminal defense attorneyA previous post discussed some informal and semi-formal ways to deal with the fallout from a criminal conviction. But in some cases, there is a way to either bury a criminal record or eliminate it altogether.

Once again, the relevant law is the Criminal Identification Act, and it is one of the broadest laws of its kind anywhere in the country. The underlying theory is that non-violent, first-time offenders should not face a lifetime of negative consequences, such as public prejudice and trouble finding a job or a place to live, due to a poor choice.

Pardon

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Denying Methadone to Inmates May Increase Relapse Risk upon Release

 Posted on August 11,2015 in Drug Crimes

methadone treatment, inmates, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyA recent study conducted by researchers from Brown University in Rhode Island reveals that prisoners who are refused methadone treatments while incarcerated are more apt to not seek treatment once released, greatly increasing their chances of relapsing.

Methadone is a synthetic drug which is often used to treat those who are addicted to heroin and other opiates. Methadone blocks the brains receptors which are affected by the opiate, thereby alleviating the intense withdrawal that addicts often suffer when trying to get off the drugs. Methadone can be taken either in liquid or pill form, and is usually taken once a day. In most cases, a single dose of the drug blocks withdrawals for approximately 24 to 36 hours.

Although many addicts have a high rate of success with methadone, most prisons in this country do not administer the drug to inmates with addiction issues. When a methadone-treatment patient is sent to prison, they are also usually cut off from the treatment immediately upon arrival at the jail.

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An Informal Fresh Start

 Posted on July 28,2015 in Criminal Law

expungement, sealing, Illinois criminal defense attorneyIllinois law provides several avenues for individuals to erase their criminal history records, or at least limit the negative effects of these records. In fact, after recent amendments that took effect in January 2013, The Land of Lincoln has one of the more liberal expungement and sealing procedures in the United States.

The relevant law is the Criminal Identification Act. But despite the statute’s expansion, many people may remain ineligible for expungement or sealing. Fortunately, some other options are available.

Deferred Adjudication

One of the most common types of expunction is not listed in the Criminal Identification Act at all. In deferred adjudication probation, the defendant reports to a probation officer, pays fees, attends Court-ordered classes, performs community service, and does everything else that probation entails. But at the end of the term, the defendant’s case is dismissed, so there is no disposition of guilt.

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Combining Alcohol and Marijuana May Increase Risk of DUI Arrest

 Posted on July 21,2015 in DUI

DUI, drunk driving, Arlington Heights DUI Defense AttorneyA new study has concluded that people who smoke marijuana while they are also drinking alcohol are twice as likely to get behind the wheel of a car drunk than if they are only drinking alcohol. The study was recently published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.  Referred to as "simultaneous use," the study also found that mixing alcohol with marijuana on a regular basis also increases the chances that the person will be involved in barroom fights, destroy marriages and other familial relationship, as well as damage career success.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Alcohol Research Group, which is one program of the Public Health Institute. The research team gathered data from surveys of approximately 9,000 people across the country regarding their drug and alcohol use. The surveys spanned from 2005 to 2010.

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Lake County Announces New Program for Non-Violent Felony Offenders

 Posted on July 14,2015 in Felonies & Misdemeanors

program, non-violent felony, Illinois criminal defense attorneyThe Lake County State Attorney’s office is proposing a new program aimed at people who are arrested for nonviolent felony offenses. Those who qualify could see the arrest permanently deleted from their criminal record.

According to State's Attorney Michael Nerheim, the Alternative Prosecution Program would give first-time offenders the opportunity to wipe the offense off their record, thereby also erasing it from background searches the potential employers may do when the offender applies for a job. Nerheim said that he developed the Lake County program using similar programs that exist in Cook, DuPage, Kane and McHenry Counties as examples.

In order to launch the program, the state attorney’s office needed to get the approval from the Lake County Board for the fees that will be associated with the program. Participants of the program would be required to cover all associated costs applicable to their case, including:

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Failure to Follow New Illinois Waterway Laws Could Hold Serious Consequences

 Posted on July 07,2015 in Criminal Law

boating, law, illinois criminal defense lawyerSummer is well underway and that means many Illinois citizens will be enjoying a multitude of outdoor activities. One of the more popular activities is boating. However, it is important to be aware of three new boating laws that went into effect this year. The goals of the new laws are to help promote boater safety and decrease the number of deaths and injuries which occur each year on Illinois waterways. Of particular focus to marine law enforcement is the crackdown on boat operators who drink and drive.

Illinois Senate Bill 3434 - Operating Under the Influence (OUI) went into effect on January 1st of this year. This law allows the state to seize a person’s boat or other vessel if that operator is engaging in certain criminal offenses. One of those offenses that this law takes harsh action against is operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The penalties for driving a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level over the legal limit of .08 are now similar to those penalties for driving a vehicle with an illegal BAC level.

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