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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1212049237-min.jpgNearly every incarcerated person hopes for an early release. For some, this could become a reality with the passage of Illinois Senate Bill 2129. This new law will open the door for a state’s attorney to ask the court that a prisoner’s sentence be reduced “if the original sentence no longer advances the interest of justice.” There are a number of factors that can be considered in determining whether early release under this bill could be appropriate for an individual convicted of a felony

Because this law is so new, it is not entirely clear how it will work in practice. For some people incarcerated in Illinois, however, there may be the hope of a reduced sentence in light of changing circumstances. 

What Makes Someone a Good Candidate for Release Under this Law?

Generally speaking, the state does not want to keep people incarcerated unless it is necessary to serve justice or keep the public safe. Sometimes, after the original sentencing, a convicted person’s circumstances change so that justice may not demand their continued incarceration. 

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Posted on in DUI

arlington heights dui defense lawyerBreath tests like breathalyzers are used by law enforcement to estimate a driver’s blood alcohol content. Refusing to submit to field sobriety or chemical testing when you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) carries administrative consequences, including a one-year license suspension. Some people would be willing to lose their license for a year if it means getting out of a DUI. Unfortunately, however, you can still be charged with - and convicted of - DUI without ever going through any formal testing. Other forms of evidence can still be used to prove that you were intoxicated. If you have been accused of a DUI, you will need a strong legal defense even if you never submitted to testing. 

If I Refuse Testing, What Evidence Can Be Used Against Me?

There are many ways for the police - and later the prosecution - to prove that a person was intoxicated. Formal tests are helpful but not necessary for a DUI charge. You can probably tell when a person you are talking to or even observing is inebriated without asking them to close their eyes and touch their nose or drawing their blood. Police officers are trained to look for other signs of drug or alcohol intoxication during the stop that can later be used to prove impairment, including: 

  • Slurred speech - Even if you said nothing during the stop except to identify yourself and request a lawyer, an officer could later testify that your speech was slurred. 

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Posted on in Criminal Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_66943093-min.jpgBeing falsely accused of a criminal offense is horrifying. You have done your best to lead a law-abiding life, but for some reason, that is not enough, and you are now under suspicion anyway. There are a number of reasons you may have been accused of something you did not do, ranging from mistaken identity to a malicious lie. False accusations of domestic violence and similar crimes are strikingly common, especially when a couple goes through a rough divorce or break-up. Immediately contacting a criminal defense attorney as soon as you learn that you are under suspicion may give you the best chance of proving your innocence. 

What Can I Do If I Am Wrongly Accused of a Crime? 

The exact steps you should take will depend on how far along in the criminal process you are. If you are merely a suspect and have not been arrested or charged, refusing to talk and asking for a lawyer is probably the right thing to do. If you are already facing charges or have been indicted, the time to contact an attorney is yesterday. Here are some other tips that may help: 

  • Be proactive - If you are merely a suspect, you should still take action. This is the best possible time to retain a lawyer. By getting on top of the situation, your lawyer may be able to work with the police or prosecutor to show that you are innocent and avoid you ever being charged in the first place. 

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arlington heights dui defense lawyerYou complied with a breathalyzer test after being pulled over, and it showed that you were over .08. Now you are facing DUI charges and it feels as if you have no hope of avoiding a conviction. This situation may feel insurmountable, but it is not. Even if you failed a breathalyzer, there are still ways an experienced attorney can defend you. Successfully challenging the results of a breath test is not only possible, it is one of the most common DUI defense strategies. Like other medical testing equipment, breathalyzers are sensitive devices that must be used correctly to produce accurate results. If you are facing a potential DUI conviction, securing strong legal representation should be your top priority. 

How Can Breathalyzer Results be Challenged? 

Breathalyzer results are not infallible, although prosecutors sometimes act as if they are. These devices must be maintained, used, and calibrated correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions to produce accurate and reliable results. If the police department you were arrested by failed to do so, there is a strong possibility that your breath test results will be inadmissible. Common defects in breath test maintenance and procedures include: 

  • User error - Not all police officers are appropriately trained to administer breathalyzer tests. There are procedures that must be followed to avoid an inaccurate result, such as a mandatory observation period where the arrestee must be monitored to make sure they do not put anything in their mouth that could affect the test. The results could be invalid if any part of the tests device’s instructions for use were not followed. 

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Posted on in Expungement

arlington heights expungement lawyerHaving any criminal record at all can have a serious impact on your life. Even if your conviction was relatively minor and happened a long time ago, you may feel as if it is still following you. Every time you apply for a job, or a lease, or a school, you may have to answer uncomfortable questions or face outright rejection. You served your sentence and have stayed out of trouble sense - but it probably feels like you are still being punished. Fortunately, Illinois courts may allow what is called “expungement,” meaning they essentially erase the charge from your public record. If you are interested in getting your life back through expungement, you will want to speak to an experienced attorney who can help determine if you are eligible. 

Is My Conviction Eligible for Expungement?

Not every conviction can be expunged. The goal of expungement is to allow non-dangerous offenders who made a one-time mistake a second chance at a clean slate. Because courts must balance the goals of protecting the public by keeping records of individuals who may be dangerous open and helping minor offenders avoid lifelong punishment, only certain types of charges can be dismissed. Expungement may be an option in the following cases: 

  • Misdemeanor - If you were found guilty of a misdemeanor and given probation or another type of court-supervised release, you are probably eligible for expungement. Domestic violence and order of protection violations, DUI, and any sex offense are exceptions and cannot be expunged. 

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