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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 traffic crimes defense attorney

We all know what a construction zone looks like -- orange cones everywhere, blinking lights on reflective signs, men and women in hardhats working on the scene. Most states have specific traffic laws that must be followed when driving through a construction zone, including Illinois. In most cases, these laws are more strict than typical traffic laws. This is because these laws were put into place to protect the construction workers themselves, and also the drivers on the road. The most common construction zone violations are speeding violations, which are taken seriously by the state. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were, on average, nearly 5,200 construction zone crashes each year between 2012 and 2016. Of the 683 fatal work zone crashes reported in Illinois in 2016, more than 27 percent involved speeding as a factor. Because of the increased risk in a construction zone, penalties for breaking the law in a work zone are typically also more serious than regular speeding penalties. 

Construction Zone Speeding Ticket Penalties

In Illinois, the first and second time you are issued a speeding ticket in a construction zone, it is considered a petty offense, meaning you face fines, not jail time as a punishment for your ticket. You face a minimum fine of $375 for a first offense of speeding in a work zone, with a possible maximum fine of $1,000. For a second speeding ticket in a construction zone, a minimum fine of $1,000 is imposed. The Illinois Secretary of State will also suspend the driver’s license of anyone who commits a second offense of speeding in a construction zone within two years of the first offense for at least 90 days.

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Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney

For every crime, there is an equivalent range of acceptable penalties that comes along with it when you are convicted. There are different types of felony and misdemeanor crimes that vary in severity, from a low-level Class C misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail, to the most serious charge of them all, a Class X felony charge, which carries between six and 30 years in prison. Sentencing guidelines for crimes that are committed in Illinois vary and offer a range for which sentences are considered acceptable, meaning not everyone who is convicted of the same crime will necessarily receive the same sentence. There are many different factors that can affect the severity of your sentence, both positively and negatively. Focusing on the factors that could potentially reduce the severity of your sentence can greatly benefit you in the long run.

Factors in Mitigation

When it comes time to sentence you for the crime of which you have been convicted, the prosecution will have a chance to present a case as to why the judge should impose a penalty that is more severe. Once they are finished, your attorney will have the opportunity to argue why your sentence should be more lenient, mitigating the factors brought up by the prosecution. Depending on your situation, your attorney may use the following factors in mitigation:

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Arlington Heights, IL traffic violations defense attorney drivers license reinstatement

Driving is one of those privileges that we do not realize is a privilege until we are no longer permitted to use it. Driving is necessary for many people in their everyday lives, but there are many ways you can lose your driving privileges in the state of Illinois. From not paying fines and fees, to avoiding paying court-ordered child support, a driver’s license suspension can come in many forms. However, the most common reason a person’s driver’s license is suspended or revoked is because of a DUI arrest and/or conviction. In Illinois, you can have your license suspended for simply failing or refusing to complete chemical testing after you have been arrested for DUI. Losing your privileges can be simple, but driving while your license is suspended or revoked can result in serious consequences that can set you back even further.

Driving on a Suspended License

Life can become difficult if your driving privileges have been suspended and it can become tempting to simply drive regardless of the suspension. However, this could result in even more difficulties and penalties than you are already facing. The penalties that come with driving on a suspended license charge depend largely on how many prior convictions a person has, if any.

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Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney traffic violation

Cell phones have proven to provide many benefits and much convenience, but as they become more prominent in our daily lives, they have also become more prone to have issues. The past couple of years have shown an upward trend in the number of cases of distracted driving across the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 2,800 people died in distraction-related accidents while an estimated 400,000 people were injured in distracted-related driving accidents in 2018, the latest year for which data is available. In recent years, more states have passed laws making cell phone use and distracted driving illegal, as is the case in Illinois.

Illinois Cell Phone Laws

In Illinois, drivers are forbidden from using what the state defines as “electronic communication devices.” According to Illinois law, electronic communication devices include cell phones and any other small computer or handheld electronic device that is not integrated into your vehicle. The state of Illinois does not permit the use of electronic communication devices while driving. However, there are a few exceptions to that rule.

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