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Understanding Criminal Record Expungement and Sealing Options in Illinois

 Posted on April 14,2015 in Expungement

expungement, sealing, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyIf you have ever been arrested and fingerprinted in Illinois or any other state, you have an arrest record. Until it is expunged or sealed, the record is viewable to the public. Many clients come to us seeking help with reviewing their criminal record history and determining their eligibility for expungement or sealing. Such action can help many clients pursue and obtain employment, housing, and other privileges.

Expungement and Sealing in Illinois

The expungement or sealing of your criminal record does not happen automatically. Someone must petition the court for an order that directs the clerk’s office and law enforcement to destroy or seal the criminal records in question. While the Criminal Identification Act governs the process, each county has its own procedures that must be strictly followed or the petition may be denied on a procedural issue.

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Warrants Required for Searching Cellular and Smartphones

 Posted on April 07,2015 in Criminal Law

smartphones, mobile devices, Arlington Heights Criminal Defense AttorneyMobile devices and smartphones are so common that it feels like they have always been a part of our lives. It may be hard to believe, but most people in North America have only been using some type of mobile, cellular device for roughly the last twenty years. Regardless of whether your device is a base model cellular phone or the latest smartphone, there is an abundance of information about you, your contacts and your activities stored within the device.

A recent criminal case in California regarding the warrantless seizure of a cellphone was appealed and heard eventually by the  U.S. Supreme Court. This lead to the Court affirming its position on the unique distinction smartphones and cellular phones deserve as devices with significant data and personal information storage records. As such, law enforcement is required to obtain a search warrant before searching a suspect’s mobile device.

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Defending a Drug Crime Conspiracy Charge in Illinois

 Posted on March 27,2015 in Drug Crimes

drug crimes conspiracy, criminal law, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyWhat Qualifies as a Criminal Conspiracy?

The Illinois state statutes define a criminal conspiracy as an explicit arrangement among two or more persons to commit criminal activity or crime(s). Generally, anyone who is charged with conspiring to commit a drug related crime would receive penalties similar to what would have resulted if the crime had actually been committed and a conviction was successful.

Drug Conspiracy is a Serious and Often Nuanced Charge

Conspiracy charges in drug crime cases rarely encompass the only allegations a defendant must content with. Typically, conspiracy charges are one prong of  various additional charges that the individual in question must defend themselves against.

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DUI Stop in Illinois? Five Ways to Protect Yourself

 Posted on March 20,2015 in DUI

DUI, DUI stop, rights, Illinois DUI Defense AttorneyA criminal defense attorney recently garnered national attention from a viral video of him successfully passing through a DUI checkpoint without saying a word.

Florida lawyer Warren Redlich claims that all any driver is legally required to do at a DUI checkpoint is to show the officer a sign that says, "I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer." Drivers are also required to show their driver’s license and insurance information. This may all be done from the driver’s side of a rolled up car window.

What Works In Florida May Not In Illinois

Mr. Redlich’s stunt set off debates amongst lawyers all over the country as to whether or not this tactic would work in their respective areas. It is important to keep in mind that the culture of civil procedures in the state of Florida is not always a harbinger of the most legal practices in our country.

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What Is the Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies?

 Posted on March 13,2015 in Felonies & Misdemeanors

misdemeanor, felony, Arlington Heights Criminal Defense LawyerNo matter how minor or major the charges, nobody wants to face the consequences of breaking the law. Unfortunately, people make mistakes that can lead to serious charges.

One way to ease some of the anxiety is to understand the laws that relate to your case. Many people are unsure about the differences between the two main categories of criminal offenses: misdemeanors and felonies. The category under which your offense falls will almost certainly affect the potential severity of your penalties. Knowing what constitutes each can give you a clearer picture of whatever legal situation you may be facing.

Understanding Misdemeanors

Misdemeanor offenses are typically less serious than felonies. Still, it is important to take misdemeanor charges seriously as the penalties could involve steep fines, jail time, and restrictions that limit your personal opportunities. Multiple misdemeanor offenses may lead to harsher penalties.

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Understanding Domestic Violence Laws in Illinois

 Posted on March 06,2015 in Domestic Violence & Orders of Protection

domestic abuse, spousal abuse, Illinois Criminal Defense attorneyFacing domestic violence charges can be a frightening ordeal. In addition to the potential legal penalties, people who face these charges often endure scrutiny from friends and family. The truth, though, is that you still have rights, and an attorney can help protect them. Besides contacting a criminal lawyer, you should also familiarize yourself with the Illinois laws that relate to domestic violence.

Legal Definitions of Domestic Violence

Any amount of abuse against a family member or other member of the household—whether it is physical, verbal, or mental—may be considered domestic violence.  Examples include:

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NHTSA Study Highlights Differences in Marijuana and Alcohol DUI Risks

 Posted on February 26,2015 in DUI

marijuana DUI in Illinois, criminal defense lawyerA new government study addresses the issue of driving while under the influence of marijuana. This report is especially timely given that more and more states are passing new statutes allowing the use of medical marijuana.

According to the study, which was conducted by the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), people who are driving while under the influence of marijuana were at a much lower risk of getting into a car accident than drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.

The report, Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk, contains the results of the NHTSA’s 20 month study. And according to that data, there is not a substantial change in the car accident risk for people who have smoked marijuana before they get behind the wheel of a car. However, drivers who have blood alcohol content (BAC) even as low as .05 increases have almost seven times the risk of crashing than someone who is sober.

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Illinois Revenge Porn Law Signed by Governor

 Posted on February 19,2015 in Sex Crimes

Illinois revenge porn law, Arlington Heights sex crimes lawyerThe state of Illinois recently passed what many legal analysts say is the toughest revenge porn law in the country. The governor has signed the law, which makes it a felony to post sexual videos or photos of another person online without his or her permission. The new law goes into effect June 1, 2015.

Although there are currently revenge porn laws currently in effect in 16 other states, the Illinois law is considered the strongest because of the following reasons:

  • It does not matter what the defendant’s motive was in posting the photos. Some of the other state’s laws require that the offender had intent to cause emotional distress to the victim, but the Illinois law concerns itself only with the harm that is done to the victim, not what the intent of the offender was.

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High Court Expands Police Powers

 Posted on February 12,2015 in Sex Crimes

police powers in Illinois, Arlington Heights criminal lawyerAccording to a recent United State Supreme Court case, the old adage that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" does not apply to criminal prosecutions.

The Facts

Heien v. North Carolina began on an early spring morning in 2009 near the North Carolina-Virginia border. Surry County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Matt Darisse observed a "stiff and nervous" driver in a Ford Escort. He followed the car for several miles. Eventually, the driver slowed down and only the left brake light came on. Sergeant Darisse pulled the car over and gave the driver a warning. But the entire time, Mr. Heien was lying prone in the back seat. Sergeant Darisse became even more suspicious, obtained consent to search the car, and discovered a sandwich baggie full of cocaine.

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A Brief Guide to Criminal Trespassing Laws in Illinois

 Posted on February 05,2015 in Criminal Law

Illinois no trespassing sign, Arlington Heights criminal lawyerTrespassing laws serve a number of important purposes. They ensure safety by defining what areas people can and cannot enter. They also protect the property of business--and homeowners.

Like any criminal offense, though, there are times when trespassing charges are not valid. It may be possible to reduce the charges or convince the court to drop them altogether. If you would like to learn about the defense strategies available, contact an experienced criminal attorney who has experience in trespassing cases.

Deciphering Trespassing Signs and Laws

According to Illinois law, it is required that a sign specifically identify which areas are open to the public. Purple markings or poles may indicate that an area is not open to the public.

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