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orland park criminal defense laweyrBeing accused of a crime you did not commit is a nightmare come true for many people. Being convicted of a felony or misdemeanor you are not guilty of can be deeply upsetting and bring harsh, undeserved penalties. Our legal system has safeguards, like the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard for conviction. Yet, people are still found guilty - or plead guilty - to crimes they did not commit. 

There are a number of complex reasons why some defendants fall through the cracks and serve sentences for crimes they are not truly guilty of. Working closely with an experienced criminal defense attorney to develop a strong defense strategy is likely your best hope for avoiding a wrongful conviction. 

Why Do People Plead Guilty to Crimes They Did Not Commit?

For those who lack significant experience with the justice system, pleading guilty when you are not can seem insane. Yet, it happens constantly. Reasons innocent people may claim guilt include:

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arlington heights dui defense lawyerGetting pulled over is hardly ever a pleasant experience. Most people experience some level of anxiety when getting stopped by the police even if they do not think they were doing anything wrong. If you have had a few drinks, being pulled over can be even more frightening. In this case, you run the risk of being arrested and being charged with a DUI, whether you feel drink or not. If this has happened to you, it is important that you speak with a well-qualified defense attorney as soon as possible. You may have defenses available that a lawyer can help spot. 

What Should I Expect if I Get Pulled Over After a Few Drinks? 

If the officer who pulled you over suspects that you have been drinking, he is likely to try a few tests that could later help him prove you were under the influence. Refusing these tests in Illinois will result in a license suspension and you could still get a DUI even if you do not cooperate with testing. If you get stopped by police after drinking, a sobriety assessment might include: 

  • Straight line - You may be asked to walk a straight line, placing one foot in front of the other. Stumbling or swaying could be interpreted as a sign of intoxication.

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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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